Q: What is Flash Print?
A: Flash Print is the recommended software to use with your PowerSpec 3D Printer. A similar option is Power Print. Either option will work, however Flash Print offers a wider variety of options to customize your print.
Q: What is the difference between Basic Print Mode and Expert Print Mode?
A: Basic Mode will automatically apply the defaults of more advanced settings, such as retraction speed, raft layer height, support thickness, etc. Expert Mode will let you change these settings.
Q: How do I enable Expert Print Mode?
A: To change your print mode from Basic to Expert, click on File>Preferences>Print and then under the Printing Window Type drop down, choose Expert Mode. You will not notice any difference in the normal settings for your file, such as Scale, Rotate, Move or View, however once you click Print you will notice you have quite a few more options to choose from.
Q: What is Variable Layer Height?
A: Variable Layer Height allows for a smoother final finish, better layer adhesion, and a physically stronger part. It is important to note that variable layer heights only help when printing geometry that has more than about a 45-degree slope to it, such as spheres. For parts that are primarily vertical in shape a fixed layer height is just fine.
Q: How do I change layer height using Variable Layer Height?
A: If you hover over the blue bar on the right side of the screen, you'll notice that it draws a line on the model as well. This is merely a preview and will move based on your mouse position on the bar on the right. Once you find the position you want to start changing the layer height, right click, and choose add/delete layer.
Q: I’m still confused, what are the numbers and percentages under Add Layer Height?
A: Please note that the Layer Height it lists there is not the height of the layer itself, but rather the height from the bottom of the model to where you selected. The percentage will be a percentage of the layer height that you set on the General tab; this is what you need to change to set the individual layer height. Once you choose your first layer, click the add option. You can now see it is listed under Delete Layer Height. You can go by exact measurements by changing the Add Layer Height measurement, or you can continue to hover over the bar on the right and choose locations based on the visual indicator.
Q: What is the difference between Layer Height and First Layer Height?
A: Layer Height is the base height for each layer, while First Layer Height is going to be the layer height of the first layer that is placed down. This can help the stability of the print if you are having issues with it not sticking to the print bed. You can also add a raft to assist with this.
Q: I’m not sure what temperature to set my print at, what do I set it to?
A: Temperatures will vary based on the filament you are using. For exact temperatures, check with the manufacturer of your filament. It should also be listed on the packaging. Alternatively, you can also check out our FAQs on each of the different types of filament, where temperatures will be discussed.
Q: What is base print speed and when would I change this?
A: Base print speed prints is the base speed at which your printer prints. Lowering this speed will result in better print quality, however it will take longer to print. Increasing this speed will make your prints faster, but at the sacrifice of print resolution.
Q: What is travel speed and when would I change this?
A: Travel speed is something that will vary quite a bit between different printers. It is the speed at which the extruder travels while NOT printing, and just moving to the next location where it will print. Increasing this speed can help reduce oozing out of the nozzle while it is not printing. The exact speed will vary based on whether you have a Direct or Bowden style extruder.
Q: Do I have a Direct or Bowden style extruder?
A: If you are using a PowerSpec 3D printer, all our printers are using a Direct extruder aside from the i3 Mini Printer, which is a Bowden style extruder. If you are unsure, you can check out this article which covers the differences between the two.
Q: What is retraction length and speed?
A: Retraction is where filament is pulled back from the nozzle to reduce oozing while the printer isn’t actively printing. This can result in less ‘strings’ within your print where the nozzle moves between areas of printing. This also is something that will be changed depending on your specific printer, the filament, and whether you have a Direct or Bowden extruder.
Q: How would I calibrate retraction and travel speed for my printer?
A: There are quite a few “calibration” models available online that will allow you to easily change your retraction and travel speed settings for your printer. One such option you can find here. Keep in mind for Bowden extruders you will typically need faster speeds and a larger retraction length due to its design. Retraction will also not be as effective on Bowden extruders.
Q: What is Shell Count?
A: Shell Count determines the thickness of the outside wall of your print. It is how many layers are printed that contain the infill. Typically, two is fine, as setting this higher will use more filament and take longer, but the print will be sturdier and less likely to leak if it is holding liquid.
Q: What is Maximum Path Overlap?
A: Maximum Path Overlap is how much your infill overlaps with your perimeter. Normally this should be left at 30%. However, if you are having issues with a gap between the infill and the perimeter of your print, you may need to adjust this. Before adjusting, you want to ensure your bed is perfectly level, as well as the first layer height is not too low, as these can cause identical issues as well.
Q: What is Exterior Speed and Exterior Maximum Speed?
A: Exterior Speed is the speed at which the exterior shell is printed. Exterior Maximum Speed is the maximum speed it will allow the shell to be printed at. It is recommended to leave these settings at default.
Q: What is Visible Interior Speed and Invisible Interior Speed?
A: The Visible Interior Speed is what speed the visible portion of the interior shell is printed at. Finally, Invisible Interior Speed is the speed at which the internal shell is printed. It is recommended to leave these settings at default.
Q: What is Top Solid Layers and Bottom Solid Layers?
A: Top Solid Layers determine the number of solid layers on the upper surface of the model. Bottom Solid Layers determine the number of solid layers on the under surface of the model. As with the Exterior and Internal Speeds, the recommended settings will work in almost every instance.
Q: What is Fill Density?
A: Fill Density determines the solidity of the interior of the model. If you are looking for a stronger model, you want to increase this past the default of 15%. However, increasing it too much is unstable and may cause the model to stick to the extruder or create "spaghetti" in your model.
Q: What is Fill Pattern and which option is right for me?
A: Fill Pattern changes the pattern in which the infill is made. There are three options:
- Triangular - Appropriate when strength is required in the direction of the shell. However, it takes longer to print.
- 3D Honeycomb Infill - One of the more popular infill patterns. Provides greater overall strength in all directions than a rectangular pattern, with very little increase in print time. It is generally considered the most commonly used, strongest infill pattern.
- Line Infill - Compared with hexagon infill pattern, line infill pattern is less strong. Its toolpath is relatively simple and it takes less time to 3D print with a line infill pattern.
Q: What is Overlap Perimeter?
A: Overlap Perimeter will normally not need to be changed. It changes how much the infill overlaps with the perimeter. If you are experiencing the infill overlapping with the perimeter too much this may need to be lowered; or raised if it is not overlapping enough.
Q: What is Vase Mode?
A: When Vase Mode is enabled, the interior infill and top solid infill will not be
printed. Using this option will force 0% infill with only a single perimeter, so it is very rarely needed.
Q: What is the difference between Solid Speed and Sparse Speed?
A: The Solid Speed is the speed at which the top and bottom parts are printed, while the Sparse Speed is the speed at which the infill is printed.
Q: What is Maximum Solid / Sparse Combine Infill?
A: These options allow you to combine the overlapped infill to speed up printing. After combined, infill will be thicker while the thickness of the perimeter remains unchanged. The top/bottom layer height is not suggested to be above 0.2mm, while the inner combine layer height is not suggested to be more than 0.36mm.
Q: What are the Interval Layers and Solid Layers settings?
A: With the Interval Layers setting, you can choose to have layers on a regular interval. Several solid layers are forced to print which makes the model stronger while increasing print time. Setting the Interval Layers to 0 will disable this. The Solid Layers settings controls how many layers it makes if you have the Internal Layers setting enabled.
Q: What is the difference between Treelike and Linear supports?
A: Treelike supports are typically recommended for printing. As the name indicates, they are supports that look like small trees. This uses less filament and makes them easier to remove. Linear supports are simply bars that go straight up to support the model. These are typically used where flat platforms are required but uses much more filament and are more difficult to remove.
Q: What do the settings for Treelike supports do?
A: Speed changes the percentage of the base print speed for printing treelike supports. Space to Model(X/Y) determines the minimum horizontal space between the model and supports, which can make supports easier to remove. Shell Count determines how many perimeters are created for the supports and can make them thicker. Lower build plate while traveling is an option that lowers the build plate while the extruder is travelling (moving without printing) to avoid knocking down any supports.
Q: What do the settings for Linear supports do?
A: Space to Model(Z) determines the vertical space between model and supports, which can also make supports easier to remove. Space to Raft(Z) determines the vertical space between the raft and supports, which can make supports easier to remove from the raft. Path Space determines the space between adjacent support paths. A smaller space will give finer surface support but takes more time to print. A higher support thickness will give more solid supports; a lower thickness setting will result in supports that are easier to remove. Print Outline determines whether it will print and outline of the line support region. You can print an outline to avoid the issue of incomplete regions.
Q: What is Adapt Soluble Support Filament?
A: This setting changes the Linear support settings to the recommended settings for Soluble Support filament, such as PVA.
Q: What is a raft?
A: Rafts are platforms that your model is printed on. They are typically used if you do not have flat surfaces, or very much surface area touching the bed. Generally, the settings for this can be left at default.
Q: What is Pre-extrusion?
A: Pre-extrusion is a very helpful tool that prints a line around the print bed, outside of where your actual print would be. This allows any oozing to be safely deposited outside of your model to avoid any potential issues.
Q: What is a brim?
A: A brim is a series of “steps” that expand the outline of the model or rafts bottom layer to avoid warping.
Q: What is a wall?
A: A wall is built around your print so that your extruder can scrape oozing filament onto it. This is typically used for dual extruder setups, where the second extruder is also heated and not being used at that time.
Q: What settings do I need to change in the Cooling tab?
A: There are no settings you typically need to change from their default values in this tab. These are very specific settings, so if you are not sure what they do, and why you are changing them, it is best to leave them alone.
Q: What settings do I need to change in the Advanced tab?
A: For the Stepper Motor Voltages, it is recommended to leave these at their default values. Changing these could potentially cause damage to the printer. The other settings under the advanced tab can cause potential issues with the models you are printing, so it is advised to leave these alone as well unless you know exactly why they are being changed.
Q: What settings do I need to change in the Others tab?
A: Like the Cooling and Advanced tabs, there is nothing here you need to change. The default values for these settings are recommended.
Q: What happens if I run into issues with my printer and don’t know how to troubleshoot it?
A: If any issues you are experiencing started after a change you made, ensure you reset all values back to default. Resetting the printer itself may resolve the issue as well.