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Beginners in the 3D printing industry surprise no one in 2020. There are so many affordable 3D printers in the market that even a budget under $200 can quickly transform into a brand-new machine at your home. What’s next? It is the question beginners start asking after buying a 3D printer. Follow Gambody’s 3D printing guide for beginners to start working on your first model right away.

A simple 3D printing guide for beginners created by Gambody combines all the common questions that come to your mind after you obtain a 3D printer. It explains all the steps you have to take to 3D print a model of your choice, including the most popular W’s and other questions:

  1. What is the type of my 3D printer?
  2. When can I download STL files for the 3D printing model purchased on Gambody?
  3. What version of files from the “Source Files” tab do I need?
  4. What is the difference between multiple versions of STL files?
  5. Why one small model has so many STL files?
  6. Do I simply save STL files on SD card and insert it into a 3D printer?
  7. Why use slicer software before 3D printing anything?
  8. What are supports used for in 3D printing?
  9. Can I scale the 3D printing model myself?
  10. Where to search for simple models for beginners?
3D printing guide for beginners

3D Printing Guide for Beginners

Find the answers in Gambody’s 3D printing guide for beginners and start to 3D print your first model with pleasure and in high spirits.

1. What is the type of my 3D printer

Each 3D printer runs its 3d-printing kind of process. It uses a particular material extrusion technique. You can learn all the details about the nine main types of 3D printers on Gambody blog, or shortly understand which 3d printer you have from this 3D printing guide for beginners.

Types of 3D printers 3D printing guide for beginners

The most popular types of 3D printers are:

  • FFF/FDM – extrude thermoplastics (PLA, ABS) through the nozzle to the print bed, building a model layer by layer.
  • DLP/SLA/LCD – work with liquid plastic (Resin) shaping it with a light source to produce solid layers.
  • SLS – work with powdered substances (Nylon, Metals, Ceramics) forming a model with a laser.

Less common types of 3D printers are SLM, EBM, LOM, BJ/MJ.

2. When can I download STL files for the 3D printing model purchased on Gambody

Once you purchase any 3D printing model on Gambody marketplace, you immediately receive access to its STL files. You can freely download all versions of which that the model is comprised from the “Source files” tab on any model’s page.

When to download STL files for purchased model 3D printing guide for beginners
Download links for STL files are underlined in red

This access remains granted to you as long as your Gambody account is active.

3. What version of files from the “Source Files” tab do I need

Gambody marketplace offers several versions of each 3D printing model. You need to download the version of STL files from the “Source Files” tab that was adapted and optimized for your 3D printer type.

What version of STL files to download 3D printing guide for beginners on Gambody

Follow this 3D printing guide for beginners to get the correct files:

  • If you have FFF or FDM 3D printer and print with ABS or PLA filament, you should download the FFF/FDM version of STL files.
  • If you have DLP, LCD or SLA 3D printer and print using Resin, you should download DLP/SLA or DLP/SLA Eco version of STL files.
  • If you have SLS 3D printer, you should download SLS version of STL files.

4. What is the difference between multiple versions of STL files

Several versions of STL files for the same 3D printing model take into account the practical aspects of building the project on particular types of 3D printer. Gambody team makes sure that the chosen scale of the model and the number of cut parts guarantee the best printing result.

For example, FFF/FDM version of STL files is usually bigger because ABS or PLA filament is more affordable than other printing materials. Besides, FFF/FDM printers craft clean and detailed models when they are printed at a larger scale, and it is more interesting to paint such bigger projects.

Difference between FDM and DLP/SLA STL files 3D printing guide for beginners

At the same time, DLP/SLA versions of STL files are twice less in size than FFF/FDM version. Smaller size can save the expensive Resin material and consider the smaller build plate of DLP/SLA/LCD 3D printers. Resin printers are great at building little details, and they deliver excellent results when making a smaller-scale model.

DLP/SLA Eco versions of STL files come with hollowed out parts of the model. Hollow models intend to keep the printing costs down and save even more Resin than regular DLP/SLA versions.

5. Why one small model has so many STL files

Each 3D printer has a limited print bed. Besides, every user likes to position 3D printing model in his way. Thus, Gambody team makes sure to cut every FFF/FDM and DLP/SLA project into several STL files, to make the 3D printing experience as smooth as possible.

Why one 3D printing model has many STL files guide for beginners
Download Baby Yoda STL files

Each STL file makes it possible to 3D print an error-free part of the model, save printing time and material, and use as little supports as possible. Then all the 3D printed pieces can be assembled or glued together, transforming into a finished product.

SLS versions usually contain a one-piece model (figurine). Sometimes it comes with two pieces, a platform and one-piece figurine which can be detached from the platform.

6. Do I simply save STL files on SD card and insert it into a 3D printer

No, 3D printers do not support STL files. The STL files adapted for your 3D printer must be converted into a G-code. This G-code file must be saved on the SD card and inserted into a 3D printer to craft the project.

SD card in 3D printer with G-code and not STL files 3D printing guide for beginners
Image: ultimaker.com

The G-code file is generated in slicing software (computer software that supports Windows/Mac machines).

7. Why use slicer software before 3D printing anything

Slice software is vital to use when it comes to the conversion of the STL files into a G-code, which is supported by a 3D printer.

Each 3D printing model’s page on Gambody marketplace shows a list of printing recommendations in the “Printing details” tab. It lists recommendations for the three most popular slicing software, Cura, Simplify3D and Slic3r. However, you can use other software such as PrusaSlicing, Repetier, Netfabb, Z-Suite, etc., as long as it is compatible with your type of 3D printer.

Using slicer software to prepare model for 3D printing guide for beginners
Preparing model for printing in slicer software

Once you choose your slicing software, you should download and install it on your computer. Slicer software is essential for creating a top-quality and impressive-looking print. Many factors affect the final result. Thus it is vital to preview each part of the 3D printing model and make adjustments if necessary.

Slicer software displays the layout of each part of the model. This way, you can take a closer look at the model, analyze whether the settings are optimal for getting the best result possible, etc. Gambody team, on the other hand, always makes sure to cut the model into the optimal number of parts for the more significant 3D printing results. But the final look depends on the settings you apply.

8. What are supports used for in 3D printing

Each 3D printing model is designed without supports. Support structures are only needed to support parts of the complex model during the printing process. All supports are not a part of the model; this is why you should remove them after printing.

While there are situations when you can 3D print without supports, most models and their assembly parts require support structures.

Why are supports necessary in 3D printing guide for beginners
Generating supports for Durotan model in Cura 3.5.1

Slicing software helps to build supports for overhangs and bridges in a 3D printing model. You can learn about the two main types of supports for beginners, simple and tree-like supports.

Supports for overhangs in 3D printing guide for beginners
Supports for overhangs

Models with sophisticated design have overhanging parts which float mid-air while you are printing them. The only way to prevent the model’s assembly parts from falling and failing to print correctly is to use supports. Support structures are added in slicer software, and they work like a temporary base for the overhangs which is removed after the print creation.

When you download STL files of a model you wish to 3D print, you should prepare these files for printing by launching them in slicer software. The software will show every area of the model that requires additional supports. Beginners should rely on default support settings and use the supports offered by the software. However, it is also possible to add supports manually.

9. Can I scale the 3D printing model myself

Absolutely. Each 3D printing model offered on Gambody marketplace is very detailed. Thus, you can scale it up in slicer software without issues and print a more significant project.

Is it possible to scale 3D printing model purchased on Gambody 3D printing guide for beginners
Scaling up Durotan 3D printing model in Ultimaker Cura

Gambody usually does not recommend downscaling the models because some small details can be lost unless you are using a DLP/SLA resin 3D printer. Still, if you need to scale down the model, you can do this in any slicer software that is compatible with your 3D printer type. Just be sure to scale down each part of the project proportionally.

10. Where to search for simple models for beginners to 3D print

Gambody team has created a compilation of the simplest 3D printing models you can turn into life on your 3D printer. Each chosen project looks fantastic and is designed for beginners.

Remember that Gambody marketplace offers the full technical support for the model you purchase. Our team is always here to answer any questions you have beyond the 3D printing guide for beginners and help you out when necessary.

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