3D printing allows us all to create anything we can imagine. However, sometimes, 3D printers have difficulty printing some shapes. Tall and thin objects are among the most problematic prints since they require extra stability to stay upright during the printing process.
Here’s how to 3D print tall, thin objects:
- Create supports.
- Slow down your printer.
- Turn up the fan speed.
- Make small segments.
- Print the object sideways.
- Use a brim or a raft.
So, let’s get down to the details and discuss some of my favorite pro tips for printing narrow, tall, and thin objects with a 3D printer. I’ll share some of the best tricks around so that you can print anything and everything that you can think up.
1. Create Supports
Supports are a 3D printer’s best friend. They can ensure that your model is always in contact with the print bed, securing it firmly, even under the vibrations of the printer and the pressure of the nozzle.
Supports come in all shapes and sizes, and you print them alongside your model. You can create zig-zag supports that connect your model to a parallel structure, add a gridded support that will be easy to clip away from your print or create flat block-like supports that keep your model rigid and unmoving during the printing process.
When creating tall and thin models, using a support or two is the best way to ensure uniformity and a durable, seamless finish. Although supports may leave a scar or two on your 3D model, you can always sand the slight bumps out to give your object a beautiful shine.
2. Slow Down Your Printer
When your printer moves quickly, it creates extra vibrations and movement, often resulting in warped or moving pieces. In the worst-case scenario, your model will fall off the print bed – and hopefully, you’ll be there to catch it.
To help keep your model on the printer, slow down your nozzle and printing speed. Slower speeds are far less likely to disturb your piece, allowing it to remain standing tall while it is printed.
3. Turn Up the Fan Speed
Allowing your printed object to cool before another layer goes on can help it stay strong, preventing warping and weakness that could ruin your print.
When printing tall and thin objects, your fan can help you ensure that each layer cools quickly, which will make the model much more rigid. This rigidity can make all the difference if your model keeps moving, especially when printing the first layers of your object.
So, for delicate and narrow prints, always keep the fan running high. For additional cooling, you can also point large fans at your 3D printer. That will help you keep everything cooling well, no matter how thin each component is.
4. Make Small Segments
When it comes to 3D printing, there is such a thing as too tall. Taller objects generally receive more drag from the nozzle, and since they rarely have a broad base to keep them upright, they are prone to toppling over or warping.
If your design allows it, printing your tall object in small, connectable segments is the best way to ensure that each part of your model is solid and smooth. You can try to design joints into your plan using:
- Small joints
Then, in the post-printing process, you can quickly melt or glue these pieces together and sand them out to create an even join.
5. Print the Object Sideways
Keeping your model in contact with the print bed is the best way to ensure that your object stays smooth, seamless, and strong. You can always print any tall, thin object sideways as long as you also print removable support that keeps your model in the right shape.
Printing any tall object sideways is an excellent way to ensure that it will look uniform. Additionally, since it will be close to the print bed at all times, you won’t have to worry much about warping and instability.
6. Use a Brim or a Raft
When printing tall, thin objects with a 3D printer, the nozzle and vibrations from your printer can sometimes push your model out of place, causing rough edges and warping.
Usually, the type of warping you will see when this happens only appears near the top of your model, while the base will be smooth and seamless. That’s because the top of a tall, skinny object isn’t in direct contact with the print bed, which makes it far less stable.
To help keep your model from moving during the printing process, and thus to prevent warping, you can always use a brim or a raft.
A brim is a small layer of 3D-printed plastic that surrounds the base of your model. This thin lip will give your slim model a wider bottom, helping it stay upright and protecting it from vibrations that could pull it out of line.
If you want the most secure base for a model, you could also use a raft. Like brims, rafts sit at the bottom of your model, but rafts are usually larger and broader than brims. A raft uses more material, but it is ultimately more stable, and it will keep any object securely resting on your 3D printer.
Brims have distinct advantages since they take less time to print and waste less material than a raft. They are also easier to remove than rafts.
Keep in mind that the taller and thinner your object is, the larger your brim or raft should be. So, try to adjust when you print tall and delicate things.
Printing tall and thin objects can be a test of your design and printing skills, but it doesn’t have to be hard as long as you know the best ways to do it. Using supports, brims, and rafts can help keep your objects secure on the print bed, and you can also change the orientation of your print to keep it secure. You can also adjust your printer speed and increase the fan speed to prevent scorching and warping in even the thinnest prints.