3D Printing For Beginners And Noobs – Introduction – Best 3D Printer And Filament To Buy For Newbies


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3D Printers

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing (AM), are processes used to synthesize a three-dimensional object in which successive layers of material are formed under computer control to create the object, the most common types of 3D printing for the home and some commercial environments are filament based 3D printers. Filament based 3D printing involves the use of materials such as plastics and nylon, stored on a long reel in the form of a thin filament, common diameters of 3D printer plastic filament are typically 1.75mm and 3mm, this is analogous to a reel of cotton on a sewing machine.

Home printers typically work with plastic filament. The technology behind this is referred to as Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF), more professional, industrial-grade machines use a technology called Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM).

In an FDM printer, a long plastic filament is fed from a spool to a nozzle where the material is liquefied and ‘drawn’ on the platform, where it immediately hardens again. The nozzle moves to place the material in the correct location to build your model layer by layer. When a layer is drawn, the platform lowers by one layer thickness so the printer can start with the next layer.

Below are some videos relating to the latest developments in this technology.



Filament Based 3D Printing

Fused filament fabrication is a 3D printing process that uses a continuous filament of a thermoplastic material. The thermoplastic material is fed from a large coil (spool), through a moving, heated printer extruder head. The Molten material is forced out of the print head’s nozzle and is deposited on the growing workpiece. The head is moved under computer control, to define the printed shape. Usually, the head moves in layers, moving in two dimensions to deposit one horizontal plane at a time before moving slightly upwards to begin a new slice. The speed of the extruder head may also be controlled, to stop and start deposition and form an interrupted plane without stringing or dribbling between sections.

NameMeaningExtruder Temperature Bed Temperature Fan SpeedFlow RateRetractionNozzle Size
ABSAcrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene245°c ± 15°c≫ 100°c (Typical 110°c+)Low/None100%DD ± 1.5mm
BT ± 4.0mm
Carbon FibreFibres made of carbon atoms200°C − 230°C
0°c − 50°C (The bed does not need to be hot)Medium/High100%> 0.5mm
Carbon Fibre Filed PETGFibres made of carbon atoms
Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol
Flexible TypesCovers a number of plastics which are flexibleMedium/High100%0.4mm
HIPSHigh Impact PolystyreneMedium/High100%0.4mm
NylonNylon = A generic designation for a family of synthetic polymers composed of polyamides (repeating units linked by amide links) Nylon is a thermoplastic silky material270°c120°cMedium/High100%0.4mm
PA (Nylon)PolyamideMedium/High100%0.4mm
PTPolyethylene terephthalateMedium/High100%0.4mm
PLAPolylactic Acid205°c ± 10°c≪ 60°c Medium/High100%DD ± 2.0mm
BT ± 5.0mm
PolycarbonatePoly = Many
Carbonate = A salt of Carbonic Acid
230°c - 270°c120°cMedium/High100%0.4mm
PETG / PET-GPolyethylene Terephthalate Glycol240°c ± 10°c≪ 70°cMedium/Low100%DD ± 3.5mm
BT ± 5.0mm
PVA / PVACPVA = Polyvinyl acetate
PVAc = Poly Ethenyl Ethanoate
TPU (Ninjaflex)Thermoplastic PolyurethaneMedium/High100%0.4mm
Wood (Based Filaments)Wood = Made of trees !!Medium/High100%0.4mm


Filament Type – ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) :

ABS - Pros :
You can refine the look with acrylic paint - ABS is a very good material for prototyping.
ABS is extremely tough and a little bit flexible and dimensional stable compered to PLA.
ABS can with stand more heat, weight, peruse and stress and is more suitable for were and tear compered to PLA.
ABS is more suitable for outdoor products compered to PLA - ABS is complete dissolved in acetone.
ABS has less stringy bits of plastic filaments between newly printed parts -  ABS can be chemical smoothed to remove layer lines.

ABS - Cons :
NOT Food Safe, Toxic - Bad smell, Make Sure You Ventilate Printing Area / Printing Rroom. 
ABS is Made From Non Renewable Petroleum - ABS is Not Recyclable and is Not Biodegradable.
Maximum vertical over hang of 45 degrees - High shrink ratio, which leads to warping, curling and delamination.
ABS needs to cool slowly - You need to stick down a base layer off ABS on the printer bed with build tack.
ABS is not idle for HD printing, the edges ABS produces are not as sharp compered to PLA and tend to be rounded out - Can build tacu.
For a larger ABS printing area or printed parts of 250 x 250 or grater you need a build oven / a heated bed and enclosure for temp control,
Especially on low end machines - Depending on the humidity or you printing area / printing room this will reduces the accuracy and strength of your print.
ABS can bubble and spurt out of the tip of the printer and clog the nozzle - High temp 400 degrees C.

ABS - Miscellaneous :
Things like Lego, car bumpers and electronic cases are all made from ABS, You will need to use a raft and make sure your billed plat / bed is level,
ABS is good for printing out two or parts out of the same materials, as it is easy to remove the support materials, this very good for low end single extrude machines.
Combine smooth surface and a heated bed to help alleviate / stop warping, alternatively try to apple hair spry or draft blockers to get a better print out.


Filament Type - PLA (Polylactic Acid) :

PLA - Pros :
Food Safe
Non Toxic
Made From Renewable Corn Starch Or Sugar Produced From Organic Alternatives To Oil
It Is Recyclable (Type 7).
You can refine the look with acrylic paint - Low temp 180 - 220 degrees C.
PLA has a vertical over hang of 68 degrees compared to ABS which has only 45 degrees - 10% to 20% cheaper than ABS - PLA is unaffected by acetone.
PLA is good for beginners as it is easier to print with much less warping, curling or delamination.
PLA does not require a heated bed or an enclose for most models you want to print, the max temperature for PLA is 40 degrees C.
PLA is idle for HD printing as it creates sharper lines.
PLA is not as sensitive to chage in temp as ABS.
PLA is better for more complex printed models or projects / products
Pla is better for printing Mid air bridges as connections will print more reliable, esp between longer distances and at the site of connection such as anchor points.

PLA - Cons :
Although it has a sweet smell, You Should Still Work In A Well Ventilated Printing Area / Printing Room.
PLA in cold environments is even more brittle and can shatter which could blind people so ware eye protection when separating printed parts.
PLA is more likely to snap and shatter than ABS, which could blind people so ware eye protection when separating printed parts.
PLA is very brittle and not ideal for same materiel printing with regard to support material.
PLA has a very low glass transition temp, it can malt, soften, deform or warp at very low temp, even in the the boot of your car.
PLA is not suitable for outdoor use and should not be exposed to extreme weather / temp. stick down on the printer bed with build tack
PLA needs to be printed in a cool environment it will degrade in cold air or if exposed to UV light.
PLA can bubble and spurt out of the tip of the printer and clog the nozzle discoloration of the filament and result in depolymerization of the filament
PLA not as strong as ABS - PLA more stringy plastic between part
PLA can not be joined acetone.

Miscellaneous :
PLA has a wide verity of uses - Use distillery alcohol whips / cotton swabs on printer bed to remove oils - Use a raft and make sure your billed plat / bed is level.
Always repackage the filament when not in use for more than a few days or a week to stop it absorbing moisture out of the air.
Polymax, is modified from of PLA that comes with a built in modifier to make it stronger than ABS - It will still soften in low temp as per regular PLA 


Which 3D Printer Is Best For Beginners to Buy

3D printers, like so many other technologies, come in a wide range of types with a variety of features to suit different requirements and different budgets. Therefore it is important to first know what it is you went your 3D printer to do for you, as not all 3D printers can print using the same materials, at the same speed, the same size or to the same quality, etc. There are a number of factors you should take into consideration when planning to purchase a 3D printer, as we shall see in the table below.

ConsiderationYes / No (Other)Additional
Build Volume Minimum: 220 x 220 x 250Do you have room for anything larger? Such as 300 x 300 x 400 or 500 x 500 x 500
Extruder Type, Bowden or Direct DriveUser preferenceBowdens = Have issues printing softer filaments e.g. TPU, Nylon
Direct Drive = Preferred by some for there pull on the filament
Independent Dual Extruders (IDEX)Yes, If available with the printer of your choice, when you purchases itA Mixing Hot End is preferable, you can upgrade the Extruder to have two Nozzles, with an after market kit
Nozzle TypeBrass (Heat resistant) or preferable a Hardened Steel nozzleAbrasive resistant as well, if you wish to print fibre based filaments e.g. Carbon Fibre
Nozzle NumberMost 3D printers come with 1x as standard A Duel Extruder printer, may come with 2x Nozzles but in 1x Extruder head
Nozzle Size / DiameterCommon / standard nozzle sizes are 0.4mm or 0.35mmFor printing finer detail (Will be at a slower speed) 0.25mm, 0.2mm, 0.15mm and 0.1mm
Nozzle Cooling FanYes, Preferable a quite one, such as "Hero Me Fan Duct" and ""Without a cooling fan on the hot end, filaments such as PLA will not print correctly
All Metal Hot EndYes**
V Rollers / V Slots or Liner RailsLiner RailsYou can upgrade the X axis bar to a Liner rail, with an after market kit
Heated BedYes (100°c Minimum)120°c +, if you went to print a wider rang of filaments, you can upgrade the Heated Bed, with an after market kit
Metal Bed or Glass BedDirect Glass Bed with no metalYou can add flexible Bed Sheets on top of the glass such as "Wam Bam" or "Ever Flex"
Auto Bed LevellingPreferable, for larger printers of 300x 300x 300 or aboveYou can add the "BLTouch Snosor KIT" as an after market kit to almost any 3D printer
Silent Drivers / Stepper Motors Yes3D printers are very noisy without them
Voltage = 12 / 24v24v
Power Supply UnitIt should be a "Meanwell" unitGenerally considered the best and most reliable on the market, 3D printing can take hours, so reliability is essential
Control Board 8 bit or 32 bit32 bit PreferableThe more bits a control board has the more you can do with it
Thermal Runaway SensorYesPrints are much more lily to fail without one and you may lose a print that took many hours
Filament Run Out SensorPreferableCan be added as with an after market kit
Minimum Filaments It Should Print PLA, ABS, TPU, Nylon (Ninja Flex)If it dose not specifically say it prints anything other then PLA, check online as it may with a small settings adjustment
Belt TensionerPreferableAllows you to adjust the belt as it my become slack over time and result in poor prints over time
Screen Type Touch is PreferableThe wheel / knob controlled screen is not very user friendly
Screen Size4.3" inch or or largerPrinting on most printers can be done form the web interface, see "Octo Print"
Roller Bearings On SpoolPreferable (But not essential)Allows for smother feeding of the filament to the extruder
Printing Speed50 - 150 mm/sPrinting speed will depend on the filament you are printing, speeds or 50 mm/s should work for most filaments


Best 3D Printers Under £500 GBP/ $700 USD

NB: None of my recommendations are sponsored and I have not received any free products for test, review or personal use, all opinions are my own.

Creality Ender 3 V2 3D Printer

Creality Ender 3 V2 – Anthony Matabaro Creality Ender 3 V2 – Anthony Matabaro Creality Ender 3 V2 – Anthony Matabaro Creality Ender 3 V2 – Anthony Matabaro

  • Build Capacity   From 220mm x 220mm x 250mm manually leveled “Carborundum” textured glass heated bed.
  • Assembly Type  :  Mostly pre-built.
  • Control Type  :  It has an encased PSULCDSDUSB, Melzi running Marlin, the heated bed power runs via an external MOSFET, that is already installed.
  • Construction / Martial  :  Extruded Aluminium.
  • Extruder  :  Mk10 bowden extruder.
  • Hot End / Nozzle :  All metal hotend.
  • Price  :  Roughly £268 to £300 Pounds Sterling – Or – $373 to $417 US Dollars – Or – €312 to €349 Euros.


If you do decide to purchase a Creality Ender 3 V2, I highly recommend watching the below YouTube video for assistance with setting up the printer for the first time, it literally saved me hours of messing around with the printer and print settings once I completed the assembly. My very first 3D printed object was a complete success and come out much better than some of the test cubes I had seen other people print online, thanks to Just Vlad‘s video.



Firmware Upgrades:

If you decide to upgrade your Creality 3D printer e.g. adding the BL Touch sensor, you will need to upgrade your firmware. The first video below demonstrates how to upgrade your firmware, the second video demonstrates how to install the BL Touch senor. The link below takes you to the Creality website where you can download the firmware for all of Creality’s 3D printers. Although the videos below are for the Creality Ender 3 V2, the steeps are very similar for all of Creality’s 3D printers and most other brands of 3D printers of this type.


Creality Firmware LINK = https://www.creality.com/download




Troubleshooting Common Issues:

The most common source of frustration with 3D printing for beginners, is learning how to level the 3D printing bed, the videos below should go some way to explain the process and the common pitfalls and mistakes.




Creality CR-10 3D Printer

creality_cr_10_ 01_anthony_matabaro_free_downloads_apps_games_projects_robotics_quizs_live_wallpapers_more creality_cr_10_ 02_anthony_matabaro_free_downloads_apps_games_projects_robotics_quizs_live_wallpapers_more creality_cr_10_ 06_anthony_matabaro_free_downloads_apps_games_projects_robotics_quizs_live_wallpapers_more creality_cr_10_ 03_anthony_matabaro_free_downloads_apps_games_projects_robotics_quizs_live_wallpapers_more

  • Build Capacity   From 300mm x 300mm x 300mm To 500mm x 500mm x 500mm depending on the model purchased manually levelled borosilicate glass, heated bed.
  • Assembly Type  :  Mostly pre-built.
  • Control Type  :  It has an encased PSULCDSDUSB, Melzi running Marlin, the heated bed power runs via an external MOSFET, that is already installed.
  • Construction / Martial  :  Extruded Aluminium.
  • Extruder  :  Mk10 bowden extruder.
  • Hot End / Nozzle :  Mk8 hot end.
  • Price  :  Roughly £200 to £500 Pounds Sterling – Or – $278 to $700 US Dollars – Or – €330 to €580 Euros.


If you do decide to purchase a Creality Ender CR-10, I recommend watching the below YouTube video by The 3D Print General, for assistance with setting up the printer for the first time.



I hope this guide has been of some use.
Thank you for visiting my site, Anthony Matabaro.

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