Your 3D printer was printing great and now it’s not. 3D printers print great when you first get them and if you don’t properly maintain them, they will fail. In this article I will explain how to maintain your printer to ensure your ability to continue turning out great prints. All 3D printers require some amount of routine maintenance to continue printing.
10 Routine Maintenance Steps
Experts say you should perform routine maintenance on your 3D printer about every 1500 hours or every two months. This is true, but you should also perform maintenance before and after each print.
Tools/Items Needed to Maintain Your Printer
- Synthetic Oil With PTFE (High Viscosity)
- Small Wire Brush
- A good set of hex key screwdrivers and hex key wrenches (MM and Inch).
- Needle Nose Pliers
- Palette Knives (for removing your prints)
- Blue painters Tape or Kapton Tape (for your print bed)
- Glue Stick
- Hair Spray (glass bed adhesive).
- Wrenches for removing the print nozzle
- Denatured Alcohol
The following steps should be done every time before you print.
- Clean/Maintain the print platform, replace the tape if used.
(Warning the Print Nozzle and Bed can be very hot, around 400 degrees Fahrenheit!)
- Preheat the nozzle and extrude a small amount of filament.
- While the nozzle is still hot, use a steel brush on it too clean any excess filament.
- Preheat the print bed and level it.
Do these steps every 1500 hours of printing
- Disassemble the extruder and brush excess material from the filament wheel teeth.
- Perform several cold filament pulls on the nozzle. (I’ll explain later).
- Check all the belts for tightness and fraying.(replace or tighten as needed)
- Check that all screws throughout the printer are tight.
- Oil all the rods with good Synthetic Oil With PTFE (High Viscosity).
- On the issue of updating firmware, my opinion is that if your printer is not broken; do not upgrade your firmware. Doing so might be the last thing you ever do with your printer.
Cold pulls are great for removing debris from the inside of your nozzle and also removing clogs. Just follow these easy steps to perform a cold pull.
- Heat your nozzle up to 200 Celsius.
- Insert you filament until you see it flow from the nozzle.
- Turn the heat off or down to 100 Celsius.
- Once the heat reaches 100 Celsius grab the filament give it a firm pull.
- The filament should pull free and be in the shape of the interior of the nozzle.
That’s all there is to a cold pull. I would suggest that you do this at least three times to ensure the nozzle is clean.
If you perform the steps as discussed here you should enjoy your printer for much longer and continue to see exceptional print quality in your prints no matter what printer you use.