3D Printing Tools

7 Basic 3D Printing Tools to Get Started

3D Printing Tools

You plan to do some 3D printing sessions? You will need some tools you may not have thought of. Make sure to get these basic 3D printing tools.

3D Printing Tools #1: Masking tape or Kapton tape

Usefull 3D printing tools: Use masking tape to cover the print bed
Use masking tape to cover the print bed.

The tape is used to cover the print bed. This way, the printed object can be easily removed when finished. Moreover, the object adheres better to the surface and does not warp. When the print bed is made of glass, you do not necessarily need tape – we recommend you do some testing with and without tape.

Masking tape as used for painting will do when printing PLA filament. When printing ABS filament, you better use more expensive Kapton tape as it endures higher temperatures (up to 400°C). However, Kapton is twice as expensive as masking tape.

We use tape with a width of 50 mm (2 inch). Thus, we need less strips.

You do not need to replace the tape after each print. You will notice when it’s time to remove the old tape.

3D Printing Tools #2: Glue stick

Usefull 3D printing tools: Washable glue helps improve the adhesion of your object on the print plate
Glue helps improve the adhesion of your object on the print bed.

A glue stick helps improve the adhesion of your prints. Simply coat the print bed with glue – either directly on the glass print bed or on the tape.

Alternatively, you can use hair spray. But we find it difficult to apply that as precisely as a glue stick. We wouldn’t want to have the spray on the moving parts inside the printer.

A simple glue stick will do, as long as the glue is washable (i.e., water soluble).

3D Printing Tools #3: Palette knives

When the 3D printed objects sticks too well on the tape so that you cannot remove it (without breaking it), a palette knive comes in handy. If the print bed has a glass surface, make sure you do not scratch it.

Ideally, you keep a set of palette knives at hand, some with smaller blades, some with wider blades.

3D Printing Tools #4: Cutting tools

Usefull 3D printing tools: You will want to get a set of really sharp knives.
You will want to get a set of really sharp knives.

Most supporting structures can be removed by hand. Sometimes, however you need a plier or a sharp knife to cut it off. And you typically need a really sharp knife to remove plastic blobs and the remnants of support structures. A cutting mat will also come in handy.

We recommend you get knives with exchangeable blades. A set such as the Elmers/X-Acto Basic or Standard Knife Set will be fine.

3D Printing Tools #5: Pliers, screw drivers & hex keys

Wire cutting pliers are useful for trimming filament and for removing thick support structures. And sometimes you will need combination pliers to fix something that got lose on your 3D printer.

Also screws tend to go lose over time, e. g. on the stepper motor, so you will need a screw driver to refasten it.

Hex keys are required for assembling your printer and for tightening things.

3D Printing Tools #6: Sand paper

For postprocessing your 3D printed objects you need sand paper in various grits, from coarse to fine.

3D Printing Tools #7: Caliper

Usefull 3D printing tools: Get a caliper to measure the correct thickness of filaments and printed structures.
Get a caliper to measure the correct thickness of filaments and printed structures.

In the beginning, you may not need a caliper (unless you’re an engineer). But over time, you will want to measure thicknesses to check the precision of your prints – especially, when you start experimenting with different wall thicknesses.

And you will use it to measure the thickness of filaments as filaments often not are produced to exact measurements. You will need the values to adjust the filament diameter in the slicing software.

We use digital calipers as it is easier than in an analogue one to precisely read out the values measured.

Source of the front image: Pixabay user Unsplash