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3D Printing Cheat Sheet wanted?

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I am thinking about creating a 3D Printing Cheat Sheet. Cheat sheets are short (one or two pages) instructions with common wisdom for a specific topic. They are very popular in programming milieu. Here is a list of cheat sheets:


I think that 3D printing lacks a good cheat sheet and it would help many many people get started (or as a reference). Understanding something new is almost always hard, expecially when it is something complex or not completely explored. 3d printing is not a new technology, but 3d printing for the masses is. There are countless articles, blog posts and discussion about do's and don'ts but everything is scattered around the net. It is not an easy task to gather, sort and categorize this wisdom.

You have earned your experience through practice, trial and error. I am sure it took a lot of time. This experience, condensed on one or two pages would be a huge help for others. I don't mean to create dumb shortcuts and spoon feed newbies with infos so they don't need to think for themselves. I want (and need it for myself btw.) common wisdom in a compact form printed (like oldsk00l on paper) and pinned on the wall near my Ultimaker.

If others do have the same need or recognize the usefulness of a cheat sheet - I propose to start working on one. I am not sure if it should be focused on Ultimaker or on 3D printing in general. Both variants have their appeal. Maybe start with a general one and then add an Ultimaker addendum. I am sure the RepRap folks would love to see their MendelMax and Prusa addendum as well. From a marketing perspective - it would be a great promotion for Ultimaker if the first 3D printing cheat sheet features the UM logo...

Off the top of my head I can name the follwing topics that would fit on such a cheat sheet:


  1. Importance of filament diameter and calibrated e steps + digital caliper
    • Why? - Because it is one of the most important variables that directly influence print quality


[*]Bed leveling


  • Why? - Another important variable that influences print quality


[*]Speed vs. Temperature


  • Why? - Because printing slower/faster needs different temperatures (as far as I see it). And since time is a valuable asset, printing fast and in good quality is the holy grail of 3d printing


[*]Characteristics of printing material


  • Why? - Because printing with ABS instead of PLA makes a big difference (warping, heated bed, temperature). Material properties are very important when deciding on a 3d printer and on the purpose of the printed object(s)


[*]Essential quality settings - layer height, infill, perimeters


  • Why? - Because even small errors in these values are guaranteed to mess up a print


[*]Support material, brim and raft


  • Why? - Because it is no fun to have prints fail after several hours of printing just because the support material was missing or because stuff doesn't stick to the bed




  • Why? - Because cooling can make or break small and delicate objects and affects quality.


[*]Nozzle size and speed implications


  • Why? - Because the layer height is bound to the nozzle size. Also (like Illuminarti's mantra "...you need to think about the volume of plastic pushed through the nozzle") it influences print speed and quality


[*]Prominent problems and their causes


  • Why? - Because everybody had one of these problems. z-banding, ringing, blobbing, gaps in surfaces, shifted layers...




These are the Ultimaker specific topics. To make this huge post shorther, here is just a quick list:


  • Tighten your pulleys
  • Belt tension
  • Spring compression on the material feeder


So what do you think?


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Any cheat sheet needs to be on a wiki. That way people like illuminarti and I (and Aaron and nicolinux and others of course) can update it and add to it and correct it.

If the cheat sheet gets really good then you will see many answers on here being links to the cheat sheet. So it shouldn't just be an intro, it should also be useful for people who have a particular problem (e.g. "my part is tilted!").

The cheat sheet needs to be able to show problems with photos so people can recognize their particular issue and solution more easily.

It needs to have separate pages linked together so people can start with their particular problem:

"I have blobs" which would have links to the 12 causes of blobs which are mostly unrelated (Cura infill pops through edge, Z movement releases blob, over pressure, stringing, ...)


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However he is not talking of a comprehensive manual, but a cheatsheet; the thing that lies on your desk when you start to learn a new thing and just need a quick refresh about a superficial point.

You don't always look for a specific answer. And cheatsheets have their fans. I can't see why It wouldn't be compatible with a comprehensive wiki manual.


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I am all for wikis - I use one daily and love it (Confluence). From experience I know that wikis do take a lot of work to maintain. Take a look at the UM wiki. Apart from the mechanics build guide, the rest is rather neglated and sparse. Even if we wanted to keep a congruent well of wisdom for 3d printing in a wiki, it would fail because most of us would rather tinker with stuff than document it. Except Ultimaker is willing to pay somebody who spends a few howers a week mainaining a wiki. But I don't see that coming. Most corporations don't grasp the importance of storing and structuring knowledge. Although when I look at the mechanics build guide, that's already very good.

@UM: do the same thing for the 3d printing topics I mentioned in the first post, make it big, put a Ultimaker logo on it and you are guaranteed to gain more attention (and I guess revenue) from potential buyers _and_ media.

A cheat sheet on the other hand is a finished product with a clear goal. Of course it doesn't have to be done once and never again. There is always version 2 and so on. But a clear and concise document that is visually appealing and easy to read, would go a long way for pretty much every 3d printing enthusiast.


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