6 tools everyone with a 3d printer should own.
I like to be prepared. Having the correct 3d printing tools has always been a priority of mine. As a mechanics kid, Of course, our car was always broke down but hey such is life right. My father owned the shop and I was lucky enough to have a father that insisted I learn how to use tools. This also meant I needed to learn When to put them away. Which was any time it wasn’t in my hand. Nothing teaches faster than seeing the tool you left out, come speeding at you through the air with only a warning yell of, “Put this away ******!” Good times I can assure you. Somehow I survived to adulthood and now have a healthy respect for tools and some quick reflexes but I digress. Being one of the people who don’t own a production 3d printing machine I perform a good bit of maintenance on them. More Preventative than because of the need for repair. So I have a lot of tools to work with them but I also have found tools handy for print cleanup as well. Here is a list of the 3d printing tools I think everyone who owns a 3d printer should consider owning. Oh and I’m Cheap so nothing on this list is expensive, though a few might require some DIY to make.
Let’s start with hand 3d printing tools. Precision screwdriver sets.
Just one of a growing number of Screwdriver sets I own. I like it because it is very well made. Low cost and feels very comfortable in your hand. This is only an example though I have a few Cheaper sets I keep in my car that work every bit as well as some of the more expensive offerings out there. Just find a set that works for you. Screws loosen over time on these machines. Even the ready to go machines will need a little maintenance eventually. Find a good set and I know you will find many uses for them. You might also consider getting a small electric screwdriver as well but that is more luxury, not a necessity.
A good Tap & Die Set
Practically indispensable if you print anything other than toys with your printer. I Print a lot of practical models. Things like Raspberry pi Cases, Car interior Pieces you name it. But even Props use a lot of screws and having a good set of taps around has never been a bad thing. I have a very old set of taps but This is a set I would suggest for anyone looking to cut threads.
This is one of those times I’m not going to tell you what I like or have bought because frankly, what I own is way more expensive than need is for the purposes of measuring anything related to 3d printing. Any cheap one I suggest someone will come out of the woodwork to tell you that it’s terrible and I’m an idiot for suggesting it. Look for something low cost and easily readable. Anything more is overkill. That being said skipping out on a set is a mistake. Without a set, you won’t be able to calibrate for things like part shrinkage. The best parts are made when you keep track of actual filament diameter and that is impossible without calipers.
I’m not going to give you a link here either. In this case, it’s because just about any file set will eat through your prints so just find a set that fits you. Go cheap or expensive just make sure they will feel comfortable in your hands for hours at a time because just like sanding you’re going to be at it for a long while if you really want your parts to look good. Here is a tip, anytime you know you’re going to be finishing a part make your walls thicker so you have more to work with.
A 3d pen
The last 2 are specialty items just for 3d printing. First is a 3D Pen This comes in very handy for Part repair, cleanup, and welding. One of these around can save you a lot of heartaches. Another Helpful tip. The next time you have a part start lifting off your bed don’t freak out. Pause the print Grab your 3d pen and weld it back to the bed in that area. It will take a little trial and error but I have saved a few parts that way but it only works if you catch it early.
This one is for the ABS guys
I Print almost exclusively in abs. For one it is cheap and for two it makes finishing parts a breeze. But in the past, I used an old cr ockpot and that is dangerous, to say the least. I only recently came across this and had to make it. Now I’m not done with mine yet and I’m stepping away from his design in that I am using an eBay atomizer but this is great. It’s self-contained and far less hazardous to your health but the results shown are as good as the crockpot method if not better. I have seen commercial units like this but the price is ridiculous compared to this.
That’s It for now if you like these posts please let me know and I’ll make more.
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Nice post! Helps to know some challenges 3d printing might throw at you and how to be prepared. More please!
I really like the screw driver set. Thanks for the information.
Really a nice tool set.
A nice list f tools to start with. I think an Exacto knife or similar type of hobby razor knife set would be a good addition to the list
This was a good article on accessories. I’m getting ready to purchase my first 3D printer — I’m going for the Flashforge Dreamer, and this gives me an idea of what I need to purchase as well. Thanks.
Great article. I would add the hobby knife as mentioned as well as some sort of pick tool, like a dental pick set.
A set of dental picks and a painter’s multi-tool are must haves.
I have all the tools but one. I never considered a 3d pen to be a tool, but I guess it makes sense as a welder.
@3am-productions Hey Nathan, I don’t use ABS due to the lack of ventilation options in my current workspace. A friend of mine does and said that for smoothing ABS he buts the part in an old paint can with some Acetone on a paper towel. He pops the lid on and hits the side of the paint can with some heat from a blow dryer on high. He said it works like a charm. What are your thoughts on this method?
I didn’t know those 3d pens could be used to fix delaminations, now I have an excuse to buy me one…or two, can you recomend one?
That’s a nice digital caliper, I do think when you buy tools it’s better to spend a little extra to get a good quality one, every time I buy some cheap tool it breaks down after a few uses, so I do think it’s justified to buy the expensive one.