3D printing has a huge learning curve. I’ve been cramming knowledge since the first print I did with my QIDI Tech 1 and have still barely scratched the surface of what is available to me. I’m at the point where I can produce quality prints in succession, but there have been a lot of failures along the way.
This Pokemon Oddish Plant Holder caught my eye on Thingiverse months ago, so I decided to try and print it off. It’s more complex than my previous prints (multiple parts, steep curves) but is simple enough that I felt I could tackle it. I ordered the appropriate blue filament from Amazon and started playing with the .STL files and the Makerbot software.
I kept an eager eye on the printer for the first attempt at printing Oddish. It was apparent that something was extremely wrong with the print after the monstrosity pictured above was produced. I canceled the print, feeling frustrated, and went back to Makerbot to tweak more print settings.
“Okay it looks like it’s getting too hot, I’ll lower the extruder temperature and try that.”
“Okay maybe it’s printing too fast, I’ll try turning up the quality to max so it prints slower.”
“Perhaps the angle is too steep and I need to split the model in half so it has a better base.”
“Everyone on the forums is suggesting to use Simplify3D, I’ll drop $150 for a copy since they have a money back guarantee.”
Cooling Fans Are Clutch
Finally, after days of effort and many rage fits, I notice something: in all of these attempts, I’ve never seen the printer’s turbo fan run once. I email QIDI Technology support about it and they write back with the suggestions of opening up the casing to check certain points on the motherboard. I groan at the thought of taking apart the printer hardware, but work with the support person to switch cables around, check lights, do test prints, change settings, etc.
It turns out a connector on the board is bad and when the fan cable is connected to a different port, the fan turns on when it’s supposed to and the prints come out perfectly.
Even though it was frustrating to fail so many times, I’m glad I stuck with it and learned so much about the 3D printing process. I now have 4 Oddish prints completed (for gifts) and feel confident I can tackle all basic print jobs.
I would not recommend the Makerbot Desktop software unless you can actually afford a Makerbot printer, which it plays nicely with. I will be keeping the copy of Simplify3D (S3D) that I purchased. S3D is as amazing as everyone suggests. It recognizes the QIDI Tech 1 and has specific options tailored for my specific printer. It was easy to adjust seettings, add rafts and supports, and just makes the process … simple!
Extruder temperature: 215° C
Platform temperature: 40° C
Include Raft: true (this is extremely helpful when printing something topheavy like a giant Oddish)
Generate Support: true
Extruder Multiplier: 0.85 (I would rather under-extrude than over, this seems to be perfect for the filament)
Cooling Fan Speed: 100% for all layers