> The #3DBenchy Torture Test
The #3DBenchy Torture Test
- Built the Ender 3 V2
- Printed 3D Benchy
- Printed XYZ Calibration Cube
I built and printed an object using the FDM 3D printer, Creality Ender 3 V2. Because the Ender 3 V2 is a build-it-yourself printer, it is very customizable, allowing users to modify or replace parts as necessary. However, with great control comes great responsibility. Because much of the hardware and software settings are adjustable, getting the 3D printer to work properly can require more hands-on learning time and patience compared to other out-of-the-box printers. This can be both a pro or a con depending on the level of control a user may want to have while operating their 3D printer. I chose to build the Ender 3 V2 because I wanted to get more hands-on exposure and intuitive understanding of how 3D printers work. Though the building and calibration process was frustrating at times, it was a great learning experience overall!
The first two objects I printed were the 3D Benchy and XYZ Calibration Cube. 3D Benchy is a 3D model designed by Creative Tools specifically for testing and benchmarking 3D printers. The XYZ Calibration Cube is a simple calibration test cube to help users further calibrate their 3D printers by comparing the model's actual dimension against the expected dimensions. It definitely took me a few tries to get the printer settings correct, but the final result was worth it!
Below are images of the final prints, including both successes and failures. You may notice that there are obvious layer lines in the final printed models; this issue was resolved in my next project. For this milestone in particular, I was just happy to get the 3D printer working.
XYZ Calibration Cube
Initial Failed Prints
Initially, I had trouble understanding how to level the print bed; it was through a lot of trial-and-error before I figured out how to do so properly. Incorrect bed leveling can result in the nozzle getting too close or too far away from the print bed at different times during the print, thereby causing the print to fail completely in worst case scenarios, or to create ugly lines or squiggles in the printed objects. The nozzle being too far away will cause the filament to fail to adhere to the print bed properly, while the nozzle being too close can cause the nozzle to drag along the print bed, thereby blocking plastic from extruding.
The print bed and nozzle temperatures are also really important, and is dependent on the type of filament used. Nozzle temperatures getting too high can either burn the filament or cause over-melted, runny filament to exit the nozzle in an uncontrolled manner. Nozzle temperatures being too low won't melt the filament enough for it to extrude from the nozzle properly, causing blockage to form in the nozzle. Print bed temperatures being too low can cause the filament to fail to adhere to the print bed. Print bed temperatures being too high can cause the first few layers to warp or not be able to cool properly.
Different types of filaments are also chemically distinct and can react variably depending on the nozzle, print bed, and surrounding ambient temperatures. I chose to use PLA because it is the most popular 3D printing material used by 3D printing enthusiasts (meaning it's tried-and-tested and there are many resources online for debugging). Additionally, PLA is non-toxic, easy to print, inexpensive, and produces less fumes.
In general, do your own research before deciding which filament, 3D printer, and 3D printing process to use!
- If an object initially fails to print properly, quick debugging tactics include re-leveling the bed, verifying the filament type, filament width, and nozzle temperature, and adjusting the print bed temperature. Printing with a raft can also help when dealing with warping (this setting can be adjusted in Cura), however, this is more of a workaround than an actual solution. While going through this entire process myself, I utilized the r/ender3v2 subreddit for general debugging tips. Interestingly enough, most user issues can be resolved by adjusting the settings listed here! The experience and intuition for 3D printing definitely takes a lot of time, patience, and practice, but after experimenting a few times, I definitely started getting used to the process.