Hobby Blog 002 - 3D printing in this heat!

3D Printing in hot weather is hard work!

Under-extrusion and stringing

I mean, pretty often just standard, basic, 3D printing on a FDM printer is hard work! There are a lot of moving parts, elements to adjust, variables that need to be monitored. But heat... that's a big part of it.

With FDM printers, temperature is really important. A few degrees on the wrong side of the melting point for the filament and it doesn't flow nicely which can cause stringing and under-extrusion (to list just two issues). 

If the first layers of the print are not evenly heated then they contract and shrink at different rates. Even a small draught across the plate can cause a corner to lift and curve upwards. That can not only mean the "flat" bottom of the print isn't flat at all, but it can cause the print to disconnect from the plate and then you can be in a whole bird's nest of pain!

3D Printed bird's nest

When the prints are taking 24hrs or longer, maintaining an even temperature for the whole day night cycle during the print time is especially challenging (unless you print in an enclosure). It is never fun when a print fails towards the end of a very long print time!

Along with the heat, we often get humidity and humidity adds an extra wrinkle to deal with. One of the prints I'm doing for a customer failed three times in the same way at the same place. I think (and there's often a lot of guesswork and few facts in 3D printing) it was because the filament roll was a little older and had had chance to absorb a tiny amount of moisture from the air. New roll, box fresh and installed has worked fine without changing any other settings.

People aren't kidding when they say 3D printing is a whole new hobby. There's a lot of tinkering and troubleshooting but sometimes the results are really worth it!

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