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What Do I Need for My 3D Printer to Create What I Want?

Like a camera with diverse choices in lenses, 3D printer accessories lend versatility and excitement to the world of 3D printing. Enhance your experience with a variety of unique add-ons for your business or personal 3D printer.

In recent years, 3D printing has grown leaps and bounds. Now the technology is even more accessible than ever, with different models and price points available to accommodate just about any budget. Besides that, 3D printer accessories expand the world of possibilities for playtime, prototypes and professional product end results alike.

3D Printer Accessories 101

Different 3D printer accessories make it easier to achieve your desired outcomes for personal or commercial 3D printing. Learn more about the various features and discover which 3D printer supplies may improve your 3D printing experience.

Read on to learn more about qualities to look for in 3D printer accessories like:

  • 3D printer enclosures
  • 3D printer extruders
  • 3D printer ink
  • 3D printer nozzles
  • 3D printer controller boards
  • 3D printer frames
  • 3D printer tables
  • 3D printer power supply

3D Printer Extruder

When choosing 3D printer parts, don't skimp on the extruder. Extrusion is the process that delivers the right amount of filament, or 3D printer ink, to the "hot end," where it's melted and shaped into your desired design. The 3D printer extruder relies on a motor for power, a filament drive gear to grab and pass the filament, and an idler to hold the filament in place as it's extruded. A direct extruder attaches directly to the hot end. A Bowden extruder does not, but instead first runs the filament down a tube. Choosing the best 3D printer extruder comes down to a matter of preference as well as various factors like the type of 3D printer you have, whether you'll print with a lot of flexible materials and of course, printing speed.

3D Printer Enclosure

Usually shaped like a box, a 3D printer enclosure gives your printer a safe space of its own. This 3D printing accessory becomes even more important when you're working in a shared space or especially for the home office with children. While you can build your own, it generally makes sense to choose a 3D printing enclosure that completes your printer and keeps your creations as sterile and protected as possible.

3D Printer Nozzle

The quality of your 3D printer nozzle has a direct impact on the end result you produce. This piece is responsible for the manner in which the heated filament leaves the extruder through the hot end and melds together to create your finished product, prototype or design. Key components of the 3D printer nozzle, or print head, may include the filament diameter and nozzle diameter, shape, pitch or angle of the threading, length of the shaft, and the material. Nozzles range from .1 mm to 1.0 mm, with smaller nozzles allowing for finer details and larger nozzles offering speedier printing jobs. You may also want backup nozzles to swap out quickly when a nozzle becomes clogged or can't be cleaned. Specialized 3D printer head accessories make it easier to achieve supreme detail in your designs. When printing in 3D, you can enjoy higher resolution and greater precision with small layer tool heads.

3D Printer Ink

Where traditional printers use ink or toner, 3D printer ink is actually plastic filament in most cases. This plastic ink may come in an assortment of different materials, such as ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), PLA (Polylactic Acid) and PVA (Polyvinyl Alcohol). Of course, plenty of other 3D printing "inks" are gaining popularity, too, including carbon fiber, nylon and even food ingredients such as chocolate.

3D Printer Board

The 3D printer controller board is the brains behind the operation, packing all the processing power. Be sure to regard these 3D printer accessories with great care, as the finished results of your printing projects rely on it. Depending on the demands of your 3D printing setup, you can find 8 bit boards for lighter loads as well as 32 bit boards for heavier processing requirements.

3D Printer Frame

When it comes to 3D printing, a wobbly frame just won't do. It's the frame that actually supports the meat and potatoes of your 3D printing setup. Make a point to build or buy a sturdy 3D printer frame that can withstand the day-to-day printing environment. This frame should have stabilizers and a robust design. If nothing else, the 3D printer frame completes the look of the printer. As you look into this 3D printer accessory, consider cost, dimensions, user-friendly assembly and the impacts to your desired build volume.

3D Printer Table

It helps to have a dedicated space for your 3D printer. That being said, a 3D printer table can lend further versatility and portability, especially if you choose a rolling storage cart with wheels for the 3D printer table. Some 3D printer tables function as work benches, with storage underneath to make it easy to keep your 3D printing materials, ink and creations carefully stowed until needed.

3D Printer Power Supply

When deciding where to station your system, remember that you'll need to hook up to a 3D printer power supply. Keep in mind the future modifications you might like to do in your printing environment, such as adding lights for nighttime printing or using fans for cooling. Choose a larger power supply with multiple spare ports to offer greater control as your needs evolve. You might also wish to look into an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to continue your electrical current in the event of a power outage.

Broadening Your 3D Printing Horizons

New 3D printer accessories open the door to endless opportunities to create something new. Research your ideas to discover the best tech accessories to help bring them to life. You can rely on 3D printer accessories to connect the dots between concept and completion. Browse the available accessories for 3D printing or reach out to a specialist to help you outfit your 3D printer with everything you need to succeed.

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