3D Printing (FFF) Workshop

Updated 12 January 2022

Welcome to the 3D Printing Workshop! I'm Aidan from Core Electronics and in this workshop we are going to take a hands-on journey into the exciting technology that is 3D printing. I have personally spent the past 12 months immersing myself into everything to do with Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) 3D printing. I'm going to try and share the best of what I have learned along the way with you. Let's take a look at the course goals and structure.

The structure of this workshop is based on Chapters and Sections. We include some supplementary content beside each of the videos. That content is there to help provide some static notes on slightly more complicated ideas or concepts. 

This course will start off by looking at the technology that 3D printing is built on and the interesting ways 3D printing is being used around the world. Then branch out and explore the many parts and materials that make up a 3D printing. Following that, we will take a guided tour of 3D printer software and learn the lay of the land. Then we jump straight into our first 3D print, followed by some investigation of our results.

Following our first successful print, we will tweak and optimise some of the options and settings to fine tune our print quality. I'll be explaining it all along the way, and showing you the effects of the different settings on final products.

This workshop is for beginners from all walks of life, so you needn't worry about learning prerequisites! I'm a full-time maker and I'll be right here to answer any questions you might have along the way.

Finally, you won't explicitly need a 3D printer for this course, it will be just as educational either way. If something isn't quite the same on the 3D printer you have, let us know and we will do our best to explain the differences. Enough talking about the course, though, let's get into it with an overview of 3D printing technology.

If you are interested in Resin 3D Printing Technology, another 3D printing technology that produces solid models from liquid resin, we also have a number of great guides for that, just follow the link.  

If you run into any issues throughout this workshop, then please reach out to us on our forum. We're full-time makers and are here to help. 

Chapter 1: What is 3D Printing

1.0 Chapter Overview

Welcome to Chapter 1 of the 3D printing workshop. We are going to take a second to investigate the tech behind 3D printing before we jump into printing. By the end of this chapter you should:

  1. Have learned about some of the popular 3D printing technologies.
  2. Have a good understanding of where 3D printing is being used and why.
  3. Know what type of manufacturing process 3D printing is, and more importantly why.
  4. Understand what materials are used by 3D printers
  5. Understand what hardware is on a 3D printer and how it has evolved since the first consumer printers
  6. Understand the workflow and software required to use a 3D printer.

1.1 The Different 3D Printing Technologies

Goal: To investigate FDM printing technology alongside other 3D printer technologies to gain a better understanding of the way we print models.

FDM by Zureks

Stereolithography apparatus vector

Selective laser melting system schematic

Laminated object manufacturing

1.2 Manufacturing Processes

Goal: To understand different types of manufacturing processes', namely where 3D printing lies on the spectrum.

1.3 Where does FDM 3D printing fit with you, the maker?

Goal: This section will discuss realistic limitations of 3D printing

1.4 Filaments

Goal: In this section we discuss filament. From the standard sizes right through to some of the newer filaments on the market, this section will give you a decent understanding of printer filaments.

Proto Pasta Conductive PLA Filament

Flexible Filament

Carbon Fibre Filament

1.5 3D Printer Hardware

Goal: In this Section we look at the main components and parts in a 3D printer. Futhermore, we discuss how that technology has evolved over the past years to arrive where it is at today.






The Print Surface


The Frame, movement, and coordinate system

DeltaRamki cartesian-printer

1.6 The Workflow of 3D printing: Taking files from a 3D Model to Printer Code

Goal: In this section we discuss the basic workflow when using a 3D printer. We discuss CAD & 3D printer software options for makers and decide on what software we will be using in the future.

If you want to follow along in the next chapter, you can download the latest version of Cura.

If you are using a Lulzbot 3D Printer, grab the Lulzbot Edition at lulzbot.com/cura 

Chapter 2 - Preparing, slicing and printing your first 3D Model

2.0 Chapter Overview

Here we are at Chapter 2! Now that we have a decent idea of what 3D printing is, and how it comes together, we are going to learn how to prepare and print our first 3D model!

This chapter will cover the following topics:

  • Installing your printer using Cura
  • The basic settings of Cura
  • Model manipulation on the Cura Print Bed
  • Cura's advanced settings 
  • Preparing your printer for printing (loading filaments, cleaning the bed etc)
  • Removing your print from the bed
  • First Print Results!

2.1 Printer Install and a general overview of our Print Slicer

Goal: In this section we are going to install a printer to our fresh Cura installation, then we take a look around the basic settings of Cura.

2.2 Model Manipulation

Goal: In this section, we are going to learn how we can duplicate, rotate, scale and move our model around in Cura.

2.3 Advanced Settings in Cura

Goal: In this section, we venture beyond quick print settings and take a look at the full palette of print settings in Cura.

2.4 Printer Preparation

Goal: In this Section, we learn how to prepare our printer so that we start our first 3D print the right way.

2.5 Removing a Print from the Bed & Print Results!

Goal: Congratulations! Your first print has completed successfully, now let's learn how to remove that part from your print bed without damaging ourselves or the printer.

Chapter 3 - Filament Guide

3.0 Chapter Overview

In this Chapter, we are going to look at the most popular filaments in more detail, namely their properties, the level of printing difficulty and popular uses.

We will be looking at the following features of each filament:

  1. The Temperature required for print
  2. The Bed Temperature required for print adhesion
  3. Solubility of material - what chemicals you can treat this filament with
  4. Impact Resistance of the material - how easily it breaks
  5. Warping/Shrinking issues of filament
  6. If the filament is rigid or flexible
  7. The fumes the filament lets off as it is printed - ventilation considerations
  8. Is it biodegradable
  9. Ease of use - Is it easy, average or hard to manage when printing with.

3.1 ABS Overview

Goal: We will take a look at the story behind ABS Filament, including its properties & uses with your 3D printer

3.2 PLA Overview

Goal: We will take a look at the story behind PLA Filament, including its properties & uses with your 3D printer

Chapter 4 - Fix my Print!

4.0 Chapter Overview

Welcome to Chapter 4 of the 3D printing workshop! We have covered a lot of information so far, I hope you're keeping up and enjoying yourself. We are going to learn how to diagnose and fix quality problems in our 3D prints. I think it's important to get our mindset right for this Chapter, though. What do I mean by that? Well getting good at 3D printing takes time, and you have to be ready to Fail. Following along with the workshops is going to go miles in helping you make sure you are prepared, knowledgeable and ready for the problems you encounter but you will still encounter them. The key thing to know is that every print and every artefact you aren't happy with is going to tell a story that you will eventually fix and overcome. The best way to fix these issues is to do isolated printer tests on specific variables, and fine tune our sense for each one.

So with that, let's take a look at some of the common issues we notice with 3D printing and more importantly, what we can do to fix them.

4.1 Warping

Goal: We keep hearing about this print issue called warping, in this video, we will investigate the causes and fixes available for warping 3D prints.

Lulzbot Mini Printer Enclosure





4.2 Stringing

Goal: Stringing is a common issue with a simple fix, in this video, we will look at some printer tests that can dial in your printer to remove stringing entirely.

Retraction Test Cubes by jcrow: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1240361/



4.3 Overhangs and Supports

Goal: Overhangs can be the bane of your 3D printing life, in this video we are going to learn how to set up our printer to deal with overhangs.

Overhang Test Print by Walter: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:58218/

Chapter 5 - Printer Maintenance and where to next.

5.0 Chapter Overview

Welcome back to Chapter 5 of the 3D printing workshop! Now that we have taken a look at printing problems and their fixes you should almost be ready to venture out into the world of 3D printing with enough knowledge to print and troubleshoot your way through most 3D prints. That said, you're still probably in for hours and hours of 3D printing, so I thought it would be good to show you what maintenance you can perform on your 3D printer to make sure you are taking the best care of it. The last thing anyone wants is mechanical failures during their prints. Let's avoid that by tackling the big maintenance
We are going to look at a basic maintenance routine and schedule that applies to all printers, as well as printing your own replacements parts and finally where you can go for more information and support now that you know all this printing stuff.

5.1 Bed and Toolhead Maintenance

Goal: In this video we are going to take a closer look at the things we can do to our print bed and extruder to keep them working well into their printing life.

5.2 Mechanical Maintenance

Goal: The mechanical parts on your 3d printer need some TLC too, in this video we show you the basics.

5.3 Printing Replacement Printer Parts

Goal: Printers printing printers? In this video we show you where you can download replacement part STLs as well as how you can slice them to make your replacements as durable as possible.

5.4 Additional Resources and Where to next?

Goal: In this video, we talk about where to go now that you have learned all the printing basics. Additionally, I give you some personal recommendations for resources and communities for 3D printing.

A strategy for obtaining great prints guide by MHackney on Lulzbot Forum - https://forum.lulzbot.com/viewtopic.php?t=1709

All3DP Printer Troubleshooting Guide - https://all3dp.com/common-3d-printing-problems-3d-printer-troubleshooting-guide/

Fix my Print subreddit - https://www.reddit.com/r/FixMyPrint/

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