The first steps in additive manufacturing

Die ersten Schritte in die additive Fertigung Es gibt eine Frage die sich viele stellen, die mit dem Thema 3D-Druck noch nie in Berührung kamen. 3DDruckBoss hilft dir die ersten Schritte und Hürden in der additiven Fertigung zu meistern und bewahrt dich d

There is a question that many who have never encountered the topic of 3D printing ask themselves.

3DDruckBoss helps you to master the first steps and hurdles in additive manufacturing and saves you from paying empty money.

What is 3D printing?

3D printing is an umbrella term that branches out in many different directions. We have limited ourselves to the two most common methods here and would like to explain them a bit:

  • SLA = Stereolithography
  • FDM = fused deposition modelling

SLA Stereolithography

3D printers that work with this process are ideal for producing detailed objects. However, you have to know that you also have to take certain precautions for this manufacturing process and need a few other things besides the 3D printer.

Here's a quick checklist of what you need with an SLA printer:

  • 3D printer
  • Wash & Cure (washing and curing station)
  • Resin (resin mixture with 405nm)
  • Gloves (Nitrile disposable gloves)
  • Mask (3M half mask with filter inserts)
  • Isopropanol (99.9%)
  • plastic spatula
  • kitchen roll
  • FEP film (the first is already permanently installed with every new printer purchase)
  • Slicer (program to make the files ready for printing)
  • STL file
  • USB stick (usually included when you buy a new printer)

Here we go into more detail on the individual key points:

Which SLA 3D printer?

Brands like Elegoo and Anycubic are really perfect to start with, considering that many self-employed people also mass-produce with these 3D printers - including us!

Even today, the quality that comes out sometimes takes our breath away.

Elegoo Mars 2 Pro is ideal for every beginner and is very user-friendly.

Which Wash & Cure?

Wash & Cure is a two in one device and in our opinion worth every penny! This allows your finished prints to be washed out and hardened after a few simple steps.

We would preferably offer you to get the Wash & Cure from the same brand as the printer you have chosen, simply because many adapter options have been specially designed by the manufacturers so that you can simplify handling with the have use.

The device saves you a lot of mess and can be closed with the supplied hood and is therefore less harmful to you during cleaning. And that brings us to the next important point, which many do not take so seriously.

Hazardous Materials SLA Print

Isopropanol (IPA) and resin are not to be underestimated and everyone should inform themselves about all risks in order to protect themselves properly when working with this method.

The most important things are disposable gloves and a good mask with filter inserts. Resin is only non-toxic and even food-safe when it has hardened. But before curing, you should ideally not come into contact with it, because even the resulting vapors are rather odorless but still poisonous.

The same applies to the isopropanol. There is a so-called waterwashable resin that can be washed off with water, so you can do without isopropanol and of course protect yourself even more. Unfortunately, we have found that water-washable resin is not suitable for series production because we cannot completely remove the outermost film. But there are enough people who are completely satisfied with it.

Other accessories for SLA printers

To get the finished objects off your building board, we recommend a plastic spatula. The reason for this is that you damage the platform as little as possible and with a bit of skill you can get the prints removed cleanly. A little tip, have a Tupperware ready and line it with paper towels, so the pressure can then gently fall into it.

Replace FEP film

Your new 3D printer will normally be delivered to you ready to print, but after a few hours of printing you will not be able to avoid replacing the FEP film. You can recognize a damaged FEP film by the fact that you either have faulty prints, or if you take a closer look at them, you can see that the film is warped or damaged in places. When replacing, the tank/container should be completely free of resin. Then you loosen all the small screws on the back and take out the frame that clamps the foil. We then recommend that you thoroughly clean all components. Now you can put the new FEP foil in the mold, but be careful - most FEP foils have a protective foil on both sides that has to be removed before mounting, you should also pay close attention to where the top and bottom are, that's what you remove preferably from the supplied operating instructions.

What is slicing?

Slicer programs like Chitubox or Lychee Slicer are specially made for SLA printers. Both programs are free and are sufficient to achieve perfect results. We work with Chitubox and explain here in short steps how to get a file ready for printing.

You can download the slicer here:


When that's done, go through the tutorial steps and add your printer. If there is no finished profile for your printer, you are welcome to contact us and we will find the right settings together.

Now you need another file, here we recommend you to browse Thingiverse, cults3d or yeggi.

Once you've found something passable, download the STL file and open it in the slicer. You can now scale, rotate and move the object in the layout space. In order to guarantee an excellent print, it is best to rotate the file 45 degrees, this way your layers will be printed perfectly and evenly and the automatic support will support the part well.

To activate the automatic support, change the tab on the right side, above. There you can now choose how strong your auto support should be. We would recommend light for rather small prints, as there is a risk that the object will detach during printing. We work with the medium support strength 90% of the time and for extremely large objects we occasionally add strong supports. As soon as you have decided on a support strength, press "All" below and your automatic support will be set. It looks a bit confusing at first, but it has to be like this!

Now you can change the tab again and click on “Write” or “Slice”. Now onto the USB stick and off you go. From now on it's time to wait.

Which FDM 3D printer?

Here the market offers a huge selection, which is overwhelming in the first place. But you can definitely say which 3D printers are excellent for getting started. Because where there is a community behind it, you can really simplify a lot, since you will have many questions when you have the device at home. One or the other problem can arise, we don't need to talk nice about it.

Brands like Anycubic, Creality or Elegoo have a large community on networks like Facebook. There you can explicitly search for the printer you have chosen and join the groups. The good thing is, if you have a question, you can ask it there and in the best case you will get an answer immediately. Better than any support ticket! You are also welcome to join our Telegram channel, there are also many bright minds represented there and they may be able to help you immediately.

Which slicer?

Programs like Prusaslicer , IdeaMaker , Cura or Simplify3d have performed well in the field of FDM and are also used by us. We primarily work with IdeaMaker and can also give you an unpaid recommendation here. Most slicers are free, or in a slimmed-down format also for free and are perfectly adequate.

Set supports correctly

The steps from commissioning to the finished object are a bit simpler with FDM printing and involve far fewer hazardous materials than with SLA printing, which is why FDM printing is definitely more popular and widespread.

Here you only have to know how to place the object in the construction space in order to be able to avoid a support structure in the best case.

We have a little tip for you on how to get a good idea of ​​the whole thing:

Just think that you are trying to build up your object from the bottom up with a hot glue gun, and that in one go if possible, and wherever there is an overhang, you logically cannot continue in the air and theoretically need a support structure in this area you can bridge the area.

This tip is for visual representation only. Normally your slicer does all this automatically.

With good settings, your printer can also bridge larger distances in the air, but you should set this up correctly with a Temptower or other test STL files, for example.

What else do you need for FDM printing?

Generally just the 3D printer, a PC/laptop and a lot of imagination! Because now everything is possible! That's not just something to say... the deeper you get into the world of additive manufacturing, the more you'll realize for yourself that there are absolutely no limits. You can also construct yourself with various programs and create and print out your own models. There are plenty of tutorial videos for beginners for programs like Autodesk Fusion 360 or Thinkercad.

Here is a short checklist of what is required for FDM printing:

  • 3D printer
  • personal computer/laptop
  • USB stick (or cloud-based 3D printer)
  • STL file
  • slicer software
  • spatula
  • tweezers
  • side cutters

As you can see, there are significantly fewer precautions that you have to take than with SLA printing.

Problems FDM printing

A brief overview of various causes of error that are quite common in the field of FDM printing. In another blog post we will go into these causes in more detail and with pictures and will explain in detail how to counteract them:

  • under extrusion
  • overextrusion
  • Bumps / Blobs / Zits (pimples)
  • Props / Support
  • stringing
  • ghosting
  • Liability
  • elephant foot
  • offset/steps
  • infill

We only wrote down these terms so that you have heard them before. ;-)

Hope we were able to help you a little and thank you for reading this post!

If you have any questions/suggestions for improvement or other concerns, just get in touch with us! We are always at your side with advice and action.