Calibration and resolution – 2 things you should understand before starting with 3d print
3D printing even with such user friendly devices as Zortrax M200 and M300 requires a certain amount of knowledge. 3D printing technology offers enormous possibilities, but the process is conducted step by step. Before you start, you need to know about calibration and resolution.
You put the material (filament) into the printer, press PRINT and a moment later you’ve got your object ready. While 3D printing might seem that easy, it is in fact a bit more complex. While Zortrax tries to make it as simple and as automated as possible, it’s still a process that requires some knowledge. Also, remember that printing takes time.
This word is often used in the context of monitors, TVs, or smartphones. In these cases ‘resolution’ refers to the number of pixels in the vertical and horizontal. It works in a similar manner with 2D printers, where we can find the parameter of dpi, or dots per inch. This number defines how many points a printer can fit into one inch.
With 3D printers the principle is the same. The stated resolution is understood as the thickness of a layer, usually expressed in microns, that is one thousandth of a millimeter. For the Zortrax M200 the resolution of a single printable point is 400 microns, and the layer resolution is 90–400 microns. Obviously, the thinner the layers, the more precise and smoother the model will be. This is a parameter you should pay attention to during preparations for printing.
Setting the proper resolution for the model will be reflected in its appearance, its precision, but also the time it takes to make it. A 90 micron printer has to be much more precise than when it’s working in 400 microns, and that means a longer time to create the object.
In 3D printers the object is always created on what’s called a table, that is a flat, horizontal surface. You have to make sure that the surface is level, so that the print head is acting flawlessly all throughout the process. That’s why the printer has to be calibrated, which means it has to be positioned properly, especially with regard to the table and print head. Detailed calibration needs to be done when the 3Dprinter is first activated and when anything is changed, such as when it’s moved from place to place. Calibration is also required before every 3D model for which changes were introduced to the project. Calibration simply means leveling the table in relation to the nozzle. With Zortrax printers, you can use the auto-calibrate option. You just have to remember to do it when you first activate the printer and later on. The entire process is described and demonstrated in the Zortrax on-line support center, so it should prove very easy.
The magic of 3D printing
3D printing is easy, but requires a certain amount of knowledge and preparation. Fortunately, devices such as the Zortrax M200 and M300 make the process highly automated and limits our work to preparing the printer itself. Just remember about the calibration process and about the resolution of the printer when you create your projects. And, of course, when choosing your new printer.