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Suggestions for Tiny Prints

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Anyone have any suggestions for printing really small and tiny objects? I had a guy ask me to print some really tiny objects at .02mm layer height and I didn't have much luck till I got up to .1mm.

Here are some of my settings

layer height: .1mm

shell thickness: .8

retraction enabled

bottom.top thickness .8

fill density: 20%

print speed: 40mm/s

raft and support everywhere

Printed at 180c

5mm retraction distance & 25 on the speed.

Here is a picture of the smallest of the 3 sizes lol

2014 10 14 19.04.49

2014 10 14 17.46.26

2014 10 14 17.42.34

yeah, that's a dime.


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Print several copies at once. Make sure the fans come on early at full blast. Try turning off bed heat. Disable raft if you can. Support is going to be a bitch to remove, can you change orientation to get rid of the need for it?

That said, printing very small parts is very difficult.

Also a screenshot of the actual model instead of a blob of plastic might help :)


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keep in mind that you'll have to keep it oriented so that the hinge is parallel to the build plate. if you make it perpindicular, the hing will break at the layer line. This limits you severely to your orientation. I think you'll be lucky to print this particular size. Maybe send the customer a link to this post, where we tell you it's too small! :p

The form1+ might be able to pull this off?


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Yeah, that whole keeping it level on the build plate is why I added the raft, not sure if that did any good or not but it came off easy enough. The support structure wasn't much of a match for my pliers either lol. The piece was functional but if the guy was asking for .02 layer height (which this was not) then I doubt he was going to be happy with just functional lol

Anyway, I gave it some solid attempts before i told him I was not going to be able to get the results he wanted. He said he would re-design it and send me a different set of sizes to try.

All that aside, I still want to learn how to successfully print tiny objects and one thought I had was to reduce the filament flow percentage. My thinking was that if I'm printing that fine of a layer it doesn't need to push that much filament. This of course was based on an assumption that the filament extruder moved the filament at a constant speed no matter the layer height you are printing. Feel free to correct/enlighten me.




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I think the firmware already adjusts the filament flow, so I'm not sure you'd need to adjust flow?

Here's a pic of a 1:87 traffic barrel for a model railroad guy. I told him up front that I was not going to be able to print it. Unfortunately, I made myself look like an ass, becasue it printed pretty good :p

The little light up top is 2mm in diameter, that's only 5x the nozzle width, so I have no idea how it was able to successfully print this. One thing I did was to find the lowest possible print temp, and line a bunch of them up in a row so that the left and right cooling fans were always hovering over one of the barrels.

Moral of the story... who freaking knows :)

traffic barrels


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Yeah, I'm sure someone else with my printer could probably make it print that. I still need some more practice first.

I print most of my stuff at 180 now. I have my doubts of the accuracy of the temp sensor though. There is nothing to hold the temp sensor to the heater block so I think there is a little air pocket around the sensor and that it is falsely reporting the temp. IMO the sensor needs something to help transform the heat from the block to the sensor.

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Another thing to try is different PLAs. I am not sure of the right words to use, but if you change filament for oil, some oils are really thin and runny and others more thick and blobby. Different filaments are like this (maybe not to the same extent true) but whilst I avoid small like the plague, I have found that some filaments are better than others at the tiny stuff.


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