It’s almost been a month since I got my Anycubic Photon 3D printer, and I wanted to post a follow up with some information that was requested in comments on the last post, and expand on a few points both positive and negative that I have discovered so far.
Tools & Supplies
These a couple of things I have found useful so far:
DIY Resin Filter
If you have a failed print, or even after a successful print, you can end up with small part-cured resin detritus pieces in your resin vat, and it’s a good idea to filter this stuff out.
This helps keep the resin clean and prevent any further failures.
Isopropanol and Glass Jars
My wife and I love pickles. We probably get through 2 large glass jars of them a week… This leads to many big glass jars kicking about, which just so happened to be perfect for dipping my prints into IPA, sealing the lid, and leaving them for a bit.
Them being glass also means that it’s easy to leave the IPA out in the sun after to cure the resin inside, filter it through the Resin Filter to get the bits out and then keep on using it.
I tried using plastic bowls and tubs, but I liked being able to put the lid on tight and know I wasn’t going to end up dropping something else in there, or spilling it everywhere.
As for the Isopropanol, I got 5l for under £20, and I am sure it’s possible to find it cheaper elsewhere… but I like free next day delivery. I’m pretty sure this is going to last me a year.
Obviously you’re going to use resin. It’s the main consumable in this whole setup.
So far I have only used the official Anycubic resin, though there are alternatives out there and many people on forums advocate other brands.
I’m currently still using the green resin, but it’s worth nothing that the other colours will have slightly different curing times – so it’s worth checking all the settings you’re using when changing resin.
Where to find things to print?
This is the big one… There are so many resources online, but my favourite ones so far:
This is the big one, you can probably find anything on this site. I’ve created an account which allows me to save things to collections – a feature that I have found particularly helpful.
It’s worth nothing that if you plan on printing anything you find that it may be worth just downloading it to be safe – if anything is particularly derivative then it may get lawyered.
This is where I found files to print off the angel statue, and a certain angry hermana which I doubled in size and printed off, I think she’ll make an excellent statue for my game board.
3D printing Kickstarters are a big thing, people get backing for STL files regularly. We are actually backing one by Warlayer for a bunch of terain… I have printed off and painted one of the test files and can’t wait to get hold of the rest of them.
This isn’t one I have particularly explored to the point of handing my money over yet, but many of the creators on Thingiverse also seem to have Patreons where they release a few sculpts a month, as well as giving an intro pack to new subscribers.
Some of them definitely look worth it, but I’m still working through the backlog of things I have to print for free currently.
Mia Kay’s Patreon is one of the first I am considering backing.
Finally, a couple of learning points I’ve encountered so far…
Update your firmware
Very recently (after I had the machine) an update came out that added Anti Aliasing (AA) capabilities.
The difference it makes is outstanding, frankly. I was printing most things at 0.025mm layer thickness as it was, and with the addition of AA it’s really made a difference to the smoothness of the finish.
It’s difficult to get a photo of it, my phone camera isn’t good enough, but hopefully this photo does a decent enough job of conveying how smooth the finish is. On round surfaces it’s even better.
The heatwave we had last week really highlighted how much the environment matters – the heat difference caused my resin to take on slightly different properties which meant my settings weren’t working properly and my prints were failing.
This sucked. I ended up tweaking them for the heat, which then passed.
So it’s worth keeping that in mind – the heat and humidity of your print environment will affect your prints, and if it changes you will need to account for that in your settings.
Use more supports!
When slicing and adding supports to your files, more supports is better. I was getting many failed prints because the supports I had simply weren’t able to take the weight of the print.
I changed to using the thickest supports, and a skid style base and this has seemed to fix my problems.
Sucking at something is the first step at becoming sorta good at something
I’ve seen my print failure drop as my experience grows. I have still run into problems, but I have overcome them.
Be prepared to research this stuff a lot, and through trial and error you can do it.
I’ll leave you with a photo of a print that just fell off all its supports. Sigh.
Until next time!