The essential 3D printer owner’s toolkit
There are certain tools that most 3D printer users possess. These vital pieces of equipment ensure that your prints run smoothly, and that you get the best results possible. You don’t necessarily need to invest in them all at once; but over time, it’s likely you’ll end up adding them all to your tool collection.
Spatula or palette knife
On occasion, you might find that your 3D print has stuck a bit too well to your build plate. When this happens, a spatula or palette knife normally solves the problem. All you’ll need to do is ease it gently under the print and carefully lift it up.
Over time, you’ll probably get a collection of different palette knives. To start with, we’d recommend getting a palette knife that’s stiff, and one that’s flexible. Titan’s stainless steel scrapers have a tapered tip, which we find works particularly well.
Pliers have a variety of uses, from print core maintenance to fixing your 3D printer. Look for a good quality pair of pliers with a rubberized, slip-resistant grip. You’re likely to need more than one type – we’d recommend needle nose and wire-cutting pliers (which are particularly useful for snipping away support material or trimming filament).
A digital caliper has many applications in 3D printing. It’s useful for checking the precision of your prints, and you can also use it to dimension parts to replicate in CAD software. Calipers are also handy for checking filament measurements – as filaments aren’t often manufactured to exact measurements. Simply measure it at a few different positions, average the readings, then adjust the filament diameter in your slicing software if necessary.
Tweezers are useful to have to hand whenever you’re printing. They’re great for plucking oozing filament from the extruder nozzle before it starts printing (which means no more burnt fingers). They’re also handy for cleaning up your print afterwards. We’d recommend purchasing a set of tweezers in various shapes and sizes, to ensure you’re covered for every eventuality.