Were you thinking about getting into 3D printing and don’t know where to start? Well, I’ll explain it all right here at Filament Friday. This episode of Filament Friday is brought to you by these patreon supporters. There are a lot of different 3D printing technologies, but the most common is FDM or FFF FDM stands for fused deposition modeling. Fff is the same thing, but it’s called Fused Filament Fabrication, Which is the one I like more. And all it requires is a spool of filament, which is plastic, and this comes in different materials that will get melted by a hot end on a 3D printer that moves around and build your design layer by layer as it melts the plastic. But how do you get to that point? Well, there’s three main steps 1) There’s the design itself, which is typically a dot. STL file, then 2) you need to convert that STL file into the g-code that controls the 3d printer And that’s done by a slicer, which is a software program that runs on your computer. Many printers come with a slicing program on their SD card that you can install on your computer. And most of them work on Windows or Mac and many of them, you can go right to their website and download them for free. There are slicers that you can buy such as simplify3D, which will cost you about 150 dollars. It has some nice features, but you don’t have to spend that money. You can use one of the free slicers and they work really well. Once you have that G-code file, you can 3) send it to your 3D printer, and there’s three very common ways to do that. One is to save it to an SD card and plug it into the SD card slot on the printer. Most printers have an SD card slot. You can also connect to your computer through a USB cable and send the information that way. Just don’t let your computer go to sleep. Because then it could mess up the print. The third way is some printers offer Wi-fi communication. And in that case, it’ll send your file wirelessly and save it most likely to its own SD card and print it from there. One of the first things I ever designed was a chess pawn, an actual size. Not this big one. And I designed it in Tinkercadcom. It’s a free software that you can use to design 3D prints. But you don’t have to design your own. There’s all kinds of sites to download designs that people share such as thingiversecom, myminiFactorycom And many others. In fact, I share my chess Pawn design on Thingiversecom. So we’re going to download that. Bring it in to Cura slicer and I’ll show you how to slice it. Then we’re going to print it on this ENDE 3 low cost printer. And here’s the chess pawn. The one on the left is my original, and then I redesigned it and improved it in Tinkercad on the right. And if you scroll down to thing files, you’ll see there’s STL files. This is what we want. So I’m going to download the CHEP underscore Pawn DOT STL and we’ll load that into Cura slicer. And here’s the Cura software version 3.6 running on my Mac. It’s got a Creality Ender 3 profile. I selected PLA material. I’m using a recommended setting, so its much easier Layer. Height is set to 0.2 You can see it’s a slower to faster, depending on how you slide it. Infill, I set to 20% and that’s it. We’re gonna click on prepare and let this thing slice. Now, if I look at the layer view, it’ll show me every layer, so I can slide through this thing and look at how it’s going to print. And if I tilt this, you can see what 20% infill looks like. There’s a lot of air in there. A lot of space. So let’s slide this back up. Then we’re gonna change the infill to 80% so this should be more solid And then we’ll click prepare again and look at the layer view. And now, when you slide it, you’ll see a much more dense chess pawn. So that’s the settings, the basic settings. Now let’s click on custom settings and what this does is give you more control over the slicer. This is what you learned by playing with it over and over again. You still got the 0.2 layer height, But now I can set shells. Which is the number of outer layers. You can see right here. There’s two on the pawn right now. If I change this to three, then it’s gonna print three solid layers on the outside as you can see And then print the infill And you can change that infill pattern. Right now it’s a grid. I can change it to triangles. These are just some of the settings you can change in the slicer. And you find out what works for you. And then there’s other settings you can change like the temperature for the material you’re using, And that can vary depending on what you’re printing with. The temperature of the bed that makes it stick and the print speed. You can print slower to get better results or faster. And then there’s how it sticks to the bed. I had a skirt That was going all the way around it. You can also do a brim and this will help prevent anything from warping. You can also print a raft like if your bed isn’t exactly flat. It prints a little island that your part will get printed on top of. So these are just some of the settings that you learn by using your slicer? So then you can save it right to the SD card and it’ll say eject. And now the SD card has the file. The g-code file And we’re ready to print it. Now I have the g-code file on the SD card. I just stick it in the slot here at the front. Plug it in and now I can turn on the printer and we can print the pawn. It looks really good, nice and smooth. It’s the same pawn. This one is 750 percent bigger. So you can adjust that in the slicer. You can take the same file and just up size it and print it big. And that would print on the same machine. So that’ll get you started with 3D printing? You just need to find your STL file. Use a slicer and print it on your 3D printer. Now, beyond that, it’s nice to have the right tools to help you remove files or to clean your nozzles and such. And I’ve put together a small tool kit. That is a collection of things. I’ve learned over the years. It’s the Filament Friday tool kit. I’ll put a link to this in the description below. You also need filament and there’s several different types of filaments. You can buy PLA ABS PETG. These are all types of filament and each one has a different set of properties. The most common to start with is PLA. It’s the easiest to print. We do have our own. Filament Friday filament PLA, but there’s other brands. Just about any brand will work in your printer. And then you can get exotic filaments like some that have metal infused into PLA. They’ve got wood infused into PLA And then some that are like rubbery, so you can print real flexible things. Those are more advanced materials for after you’ve tackled designing STL files slicing STL files and are comfortable printing them. And once you get into 3D printing, you’ll get all kinds of recommendations from people to change your hotend. Change your circuit board Reflash, your machine and all that’s fun. But the first thing you need to do is learn how to use the slicing software. Learn all those different settings. Try them out. Print with it to see what works for you and what doesn’t. I wish someone would have explained that to me when I got started because I spent so much time fixing my printer and very little time on the slicer. Once I started using the slicer and learned what it could do. My prints came out so much better. Many of the modifications I did probably weren’t needed. So remember, print with your machine for the first couple months as it is out of the box And just learn how to use your slicing software. Now that you know how to get started with 3D printing, Go get yourself a 3D printer. This Ender, 3 is a great low-cost way to start. And I’ve got many videos that show you how to use it. If you like what you saw here, maybe check out some of the other videos that are popping up. If you want to help support the channel, Patreon is one way or just buy through the affiliate links in the description below. It helps a lot. And if nothing else click on that CHEP logo and subscribe That way, you don’t miss any other videos. Thanks for watching. I’ll see you next time right here at Filament Friday.