The most essential and obscure 3D printing tools and spares to keep your 3D printers running smoothly. If you're looking to establish a makerspace, this guide should be pretty useful for you.
3D Printer Assembly & Disassembly Tools
Let's start with the basic tools that almost everyone that has a 3d printer will need. When you get your 3d printer, you're likely going to assemble it yourself. Beyond this you may do some upgrades or you just might need to pull things apart for general maintenance.
The majority of fasteners on our 3d printers are metric socket cap bolts. they're used to hold the frame together, as well as bolting many of the components to the frame. Our 3d printer normally comes with allen keys. but i would suggest that the quality of these is not really up to the task, and you should look for a higher quality L-shaped allen key set.
Allen Key & Screwdriver
You can also get the allen key with a screwdriver handle. The straight key with handle is always going to be more efficient and easier to do fastener.
If you don't want to commit the space and money for a set of screwdriver
handle keys, one of these sets with multiple drivers can be a pretty good compromise. An added bonus is that all of these drivers will fit into a drill or a
So we've covered the bolt side but what about the nut. It's rare but sometimes we need a spanner or a wrench for these nuts and one of the ones that comes with the printer is definitely a keeper. The large end has two purposes. The first is ptfe tube fittings, the second is the eccentric nuts that we use to tension our v-rollers. The smaller end typically matches the m5 nuts, that hold on the v-roller assembly.
Typically you'll have a smaller spanner, which is designed to match the outside
of the nozzle. But i highly recommend getting a high quality adjustable wrench. These will allow you to hold the heater block while you're doing a nozzle change, without marking and damaging the outside.
Nozzle Wrench Socket
Instead of using that little spanner for the nozzle, i much prefer this cheap socket set.
Other general purpose tools are screwdrivers. You'll need philips head, flat head in a variety of sizes. Again a multi-set with its multitude of options can be a good alternative to buying individual screwdrivers.
Another good general purpose tool are pliers. By far my favorite tool in this category is the set of side cutters comes with your printers. These are great for clipping and removing existing cable ties or snipping the tails off new ones you've just applied. They're also excellent for cleaning up the end of your spool of filament before you reinsert it into the hot end.
Tuning & Maintenance 3D Printer Tools
Next up some specific tools for the tuning and maintenance of your 3D printer.
Let's start with the basics.
Lubrication & Grease
Lubrication is frequently overlooked. This synthetic grease is excellent for
places like the lead screw and lead nut to ensure nothing binds, and your printer is operating smoothly.
Ruler & Digital Calipers
Many calibration techniques rely on accurate measuring tools. A humble ruler and marker is a great tool when calibrating e-steps. Many tests however require the use of vernier or digital calipers. Because we need high accuracy whether it's measuring the exterior dimensions of an object or measuring the wall thickness you want.
If you are tuning the current set to your stepper motors and your driver's required manual setting of the vref, then a multimeter is an invaluable tool.
Spare Parts to Have on Hand
In terms of consumables, some of the most important relate to your first layer and the bed. Whether it's ipa steel, paper towel for cleaning or hairspray or glue
whether that's build tack or pei, build surfaces will eventually wear out and get damaged.
PTFE tube is another good thing to have spares of. As the tube will degrade over time, especially when used in aligned hot end. The tube can also fail from blockages or from the fitting cutting into it. The tube cutter is optional but a nice accessory to have.
It's also useful to have spare push fittings on hand. These can wear out and the little metal teeth can break off.
Nozzles & Thermistors & Heater Cartridges
Nozzles are one part of the assembly that will eventually wear out. If you don't want to spend big money on a hardened nozzle then just buy a series of cheap ones. As far as the rest of the hot end goes, thermistors, heater cartridges, as well as silicon socks are all handy-to-have spares. Especially if you have a long print.
Cooling fans is something else i consider a consumable, and i like to keep spares of stock fans, because they inevitably get noisy and failed.
If your printer uses v-rollers you might like to keep some spare rollers on hand
in case you have flat spots.
Micro SD Cards
Micro sd cards are small and can be easily lost. so it's good to have some spares on hand.
When we clean up a finished print, it should go without saying that the most important tools are personal protective equipment for your eyes ears and lungs. But not every project requires this type of work. So let's go back and start with some basics.
If you're not using a modern build plate system on your printer, then a scraper would help you to removing your prints much easier.
Pliers & Cutting Tools
Also included a set of pliers for removing support, a series of other wooden handle tools for prying off support and other odds and ends. A set of cutting tools, and a multitude of blades, as well as a cutting mat.
The combination of these tools has worked extremely well for the removal of support material. Generally i'll start with the pliers, and then move to the wooden handle tools to pry off other chunks, and then the blades if need be to get the surfaces smooth.
While we're cleaning up prints, let's not forget the humble drill and drill bits. 3D printers often print holes undersized. So drill is handy for getting the round and accurate again.
Sandpaper & Sanding Sponges
Let's turn our attention to the process of sanding to remove layer lines. Everyone knows about sandpaper, but not everyone knows about these sanding sponges. The abrasive is bonded onto each side, but in the middle is like a kitchen sponge this makes them easy to grab with your hand.
Heat Gun & Hair Dryer
One great shortcut to remove stringing is using a heat gun or hair dryer to simply melt away the fine wisps of filament.
One last gem is this small deburring tool. When your prints have some elephant foot and you wanted to remove that edge. This deburring tool does a tremendous job on printed plastic. It's not particularly sharp to touch with your finger but it's very effective in removing thin shavings off the edge.
Obscure / Unusual 3D Printing Spare Parts
Let's start with the humble toothbrush. When your hobbed gear is grinding filament, there's nothing better than a toothbrush to cleaning up the debris, and particularly for getting in between those tiny gaps in between the teeth in the hobbed gear.