The best 3D printer tools and accessories for your business

3D printers have a range of uses within a business, from printing custom circuit boards, scalable prototypes, or precision molded parts for a larger machine. Innovative companies have

Whether you’re considering getting your company’s first 3D printer or just looking to invest more in technology, there are a number of tools and accessories that can make your 3D printing experience that much better, no matter what. whatever type 3D printing use case.

Filament storage container

As anyone who’s had the misfortune of having to deal with a 3D printer jam knows, it’s really important to get moisture and dirt as far away from the filament as possible. Wet filament loses its structural integrity and does not stick properly during the printing process.

To this end, there is a range of filament storage containers available, suitable for all sizes and types of filament. Although a tightly sealed box may be enough to keep dust out, in more humid climates like the UK this might not prevent moisture from reaching the filament contained inside.

This is where containers with desiccant come in. A desiccant is a compound that absorbs large amounts of moisture from the air, and they are often packaged with products to absorb unwanted moisture. The most common everyday example of a desiccant is silica gel, which is often found in packets inside shoeboxes to prevent moisture from compromising the quality of shoes.

Desiccants can do wonders for keeping the filament dry, but after a while they themselves will need to be dried out or replaced completely. Alternatives to using desiccants in filament containers include vacuum sealed containers, which can effectively keep filament in pristine condition, or vacuum packs in which conventional containers can be sequestered.

Filament dryers

If you are unable to keep your filament dry, it can be salvaged by drying it accurately. This is where filament dryers come in, offering consistent temperature and humidity control and designed specifically for filament.

The most high-end filament dryers even have screens that display users’ temperature readings and allow settings to be adjusted to meet exact drying needs.

Digital caliper

A digital caliper can take your measurement accuracy to a new level, providing accurate measurements for every occasion on a convenient digital display.

Companies that invest in a digital caliper can forget about having to awkwardly mark a ruler to transfer measurements from one print to another, with the most accurate models offering readings accurate to three decimal places.

Good quality print beds

A house is only as stable as the foundation it is built on, and a 3D print is no different. Investing in a good quality print bed can increase the robustness and accuracy of your prints,

Good heat resistance is a must, as print beds can be heated to 90-110°C during the printing process. Heated beds help ensure that the first layer of the print remains stable, to prevent the entire structure from sticking to the nozzle and tearing as the print continues.

Print suppressor

Even the best quality printing materials cannot fully guarantee that prints will not fuse with the print bed when finished, and in these circumstances it is important to have a print remover available.

Also known as “hot bed shovels” or “spatulas”, print strippers are essentially a flat, sharp blade that allows the user to scrape their print from the bed without risking damage to the finished product. If you don’t feel like ordering a custom tool online, any good hardware store will stock a scraper/spackle knife, also known as a putty knife. Although they are intended for plastering jobs, they work just like an impression stripper and even come in larger sizes to suit your needs.

Range of nozzles

Nozzle attachments free you from the limitations of your default nozzle width, allowing you to fill larger builds faster or achieve a level of detail not possible with larger filament. This could be especially useful for companies that 3D print custom tools, or even print custom PCBs.

conductive filament

On the previous point, if your business is looking to 3D print printed circuit boards, 3D printers can do more than just put a blank board in place with holes for the conductive element.

The conductive filament can be used to establish a predefined panel pattern and is made of materials such as carbon fiber and graphene. It is important to note that 3D printed filament can only take quite a low voltage, so proposed builds should always consider the limits set by the manufacturer to avoid damage or safety hazards.

Companies offering conductive filaments include Protopasta, NinjaTek, and Voxelab.

Nozzle cleaning tools

The needles are ideal for nozzle cleaners as the sharp, fine tips can penetrate the nozzle to remove any excess filament that could cause problems or even completely block the nozzle.

For best results, it is recommended to heat the nozzle to melt away as much excess filament as possible, allowing it to be easily scraped off with the sharp needle tip.

Specialist cleaning kits are available, with a range of needle sizes and suitable handles to avoid unnecessarily tedious cleaning jobs or even minor injuries.

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