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Jun 29, 2017, 05:55 PM

3DLabPrint Tips, Tricks & Settings (Must Read!!)

This thread is setup for discussion on tips and tricks that will make your life easier while printing, building and repairing your 3D printed planes. Please try to keep things on topic, this will make it easier to read and search.

Below are some of the areas that I have been working on and I will go into much more detail as I assemble my findings.

Filament Selection
I’ve been testing some High Temp PLA that has been getting some attention over the last couple months, it’s known as PLA+, HTPLA or High Temp PLA. This is really promising…

HighTemp PLA Technical Data:
PLA (Poly lactic Acid) and ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) filaments are the most popular forms of filament. Compared to ABS, PLA is biodegradable and has a low melting point and a low glass transition temperature. PLA is soluble in chlorinated solvents, hot benzene, tetrahydrofuran, and dioxane.
PLA has a crystallinity of around 37%, a Glass Transition temperature 60–65 °C, a melting temperature 173–178 °C and a tensile modulus 2.7–16 GPa. HighTemp PLA can withstand temperatures up to 110 °C.
HighTemp PLA has a nucleating agent added that helps lower the crystalizing temp giving HTPLA almost twice the thermal properties. Crystallization is an efficient way to improve thermal and mechanical properties.
To increase crystallization, parts must be soaked in hot water or an oven after printing at 60C-80C for about 5 minutes. This process brings PLA above the Glass Transition Temp (TG) point, which is where the temperature region of the polymer transitions from a hard, glassy material to a soft, rubbery material.

NatureWorks manufactures a 3D Series of pellets for 3D Printing
From impact resistance to a low carbon footprint, Ingeo PLA grades provide an unmatched portfolio of advantages in 3D printing filament. Our specialty grades 3D850 and 3D870 were developed specifically for manufacturing 3D printer monofilament. These grades have excellent processability and printability, as well as improved impact resistance in printed parts.
Monofilaments made with Ingeo PLA have notable 3D printing characteristics such as precise detail, good adhesion to build plates (no heating needed), less warping or curling, and low odor (no strong, greasy, or oily smell while printing). These properties make this grade well-suited for 3D printing using many different types of printers and for a broad range of printing applications.
• 3D850 - This grade exhibits faster crystallization rates and is able to develop improved heat-resistance in 3D printed parts. This low color resin grade demonstrates the best performance in formulated systems designed to enhance toughness or heat-resistance.
• 3D870 - Engineered to deliver improved heat resistance and high impact strength to 3D printed parts, this formulated grade achieves thermal and mechanical properties similar to ABS while offering an alternative to styrene-based materials.

Annealing PLA

Hot Water Annealing (suggested)-
When annealing parts they are susceptible to warping, you will need to leave the printed supports attached or create supports while heating
Water Bath is safe way to heat uniformly. Using a controlled thermometer, heat the water between 110F & 140F, place the parts in for about 6-10 minutes. This will give the objects enough time to absorb enough heat energy to allow the polymer chains to move, stretch and realign and to recrystallize, forming a sturdier internal matrix. Let the parts cool slowly, as a quick cool-down will result in inferior annealing results.
After annealing, you can expect to see some significant improvements in the strength of your PLA object. A 40% increase in strength and durability is not uncommon. Likewise, you can also expect to see good improvement in stiffness. A 25% improvement here is not unexpected. Finally, the stability of the annealed PLA at higher temperatures will also be improved. So, if you need stiff, high tensile PLA parts with good heat resistance, annealing can be the answer.

Annealing on your printes heated bed-
Annealing PLA on 3DLabPrint parts (1 min 52 sec)

Oven Annealing-

Glue Tests

I’ve been testing an assortment of different glues available at your local hobby shop and craft stores. Here are some findings-

Beacon 3-in-1
Beacon 527
Quick Bond

For Further information Please Contact:

Bob Smith Industries
BSI Foam Cure
BSI IC2000
BSI Super Gold+

For Further information Please Contact:
Bob Smith Industries

SCIGRIP 4 Acrylic Solvent Cement (fast set)
SCIGRIP 3 Acrylic Solvent Cement (very fast set)
SCIGRIP 16 (medium body fast setting)

Weld -On 4 is a water-thin, somewhat flammable cement formulated to quickly develop very clear and high strength bonds for many thermoplastic substrates. The bond is achieved by first softening the surfaces to be joined and then fusing them together with the dissipation of the solvent. The initial bond forms within a matter of minutes and is followed by a significant and continual increase in bond strength over the next several hours. WELD-ON 4 may be preferred by some plastic fabricators because it is less likely to leave white marks (commonly called blushing). Strong butt joints are made by using the soak method, this is done by using Weld -On 4 for wet to wet or wet to dry, preferably wet to wet for best results.

Here is a video on how to weld with SCIGRIP Weld_On4-
Weldon Technique (5 min 15 sec)

For Further information Please Contact:


BJB Enterprises
Armor-bond Rigid urethane adhesive

For Further information Please Contact:

Build Video
Gluing Together 3D Printed Flying Wing with Armor Bond Adhesive (0 min 52 sec)

Vinyl Graphics

Callie Graphics has been great to work with. Her pricing and turnaround time is very reasonable.

For those cutting their own or ordering vinyl, I have found that the 2mil High Performance Cast vinyl’s stick the best, available from Oracal, Arlon and 3M Scotchprint.
Last edited by electric-2000; Feb 05, 2018 at 02:41 AM.
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Jun 29, 2017, 05:56 PM

High Temp PLA

I've been doing test with various manufactures of High Temp PLA, it looks like there are only a couple manufactures with some re-branding going on. NatureWorks 3D Series is a company that has been doing some great research and development on the High Temp filament, many of the filament manufactures are buying the raw material from this source.

I have found that the high-temp PLA is not the fix-all for these single wall printed planes while sitting in the sun. I have tested clear on the dash of my truck and the temp was just over 90 degrees. There was no visible distortion on the large fuse section of the Mig. The next test was to paint some clear PLA with an olive drab and dark green camo paint scheme. Left out in the sun I was surprised how quickly it came up to heat, my gun showed 130 on the plastic in about 5 minutes and I did get some distortion . At first I thought I was getting some out-gassing of the Testers Enamel paint. but doing some re-testing with half clear and painted, same location and same sun, they both showed signs of distortion. Bottom line...make sure to keep your High Temp PLA under 100 degrees, inside or out.

On the positive note, this new product is only marginally higher priced, it prints very well and layer adhesion is excellent. For all of my PLA single wall prints, I typically Ive been printing hotter than normal, on my machine it's around 230-235 degrees.

Annealing PLA
To gain more strength, the manufactures of HighTemp PLA are suggesting that the product be annealed. This can be done in an oven or in a tub of hot water. The suggested temps are between 140F and 150F and then allowing it to slowly cool. For thin wall parts this is way too hot, I tried my oven at 120F and the water at 130F, both parts were distorted beyond use. When annealing parts like landing gears and other multi-layer parts I have had some success. There is shrinkage in the XY direction so you will need to do some tests with your material and compensate in your slicer to get an accurate result.
Last edited by electric-2000; Jun 30, 2017 at 11:12 AM. Reason: added Annealing info
Jun 29, 2017, 05:56 PM

Glue Tests

This topic can be debated for some time, as a modeler for over 40 years I've seen every type of CA, epoxies and water based adhesives. My initial tests began with what I call "Gel" adhesives, this consists of anything that has some viscosity to it. Then I went into the CA's and acrylic adhesives.

I'm going to jump right into something I discovered that is now my favorite go-to on assembling single wall sections of PLA printed parts. I've used the Weld-On products for years and I had a can of SCIGRIP 4 Acrylic solvent style cement laying around, along with the SIGRIP 16 which is the gel version, I'll cover that in my review on "Gel" type glues. At first I was thinking that the SCIGRIP 4 was going to make a great primer to etch the plastic before using CA, I found out that it quickly softens the PLA. When using SCIGRIP 4 with acrylic plastic sheets, you can wick it into the joint by capillary action using the solvent and a small needle. I tried this on a joint taped together and it worked quiet well but got a bit messy with the cement running around. Next, I tried a wet/wet application, where I dipped each part into a vat of solvent and stuck them together. It leaves a few seconds for re-positioning then it's over and the parts are fused together forever. There is a slight amount of fogging but that is controllable.

The SCIGRIP 4 and SCIGRIP 3 are water thin solvents, the SCIGRIP 3 is faster curing and there is not enough time to work with adjusting parts. I pour a very small amount into a stainless container, just enough to cover the bottom. The solvent evaporates very quickly so you need to be ready once you start. Dip each part into the vat for only a couple seconds then stick them together and adjust. That is it...make sure that you cover the stainless container to prevent evaporation. To control the fogging, keep just enough solvent in the vat to cover the first layer of printing and do not splash it onto any other area of the part. If it does fog, you can wipe some thin oil, 3-n-1 or TriFlow oil onto the hazed areas and it will clear it up.
Last edited by electric-2000; Jun 29, 2017 at 07:17 PM.
Jun 29, 2017, 05:57 PM

Glue Tests (con't)

Next on my list of favorite glues are the Bob Smith Industries line of adhesives. Through the years I have been a fan of BSI, their glues are some of the most purest CA's available, other favorites include Satellite City and Pacer. When I first starting gluing thin wall parts, I used SuperGold+ medium, this is a foam safe/odorless glue. I've found that all odorless glues need to be activated with a kicker or they take forever to dry. I use a small bottle with a .028 needle to apply the kicker a drop at time, this gives the ability to spot weld before fully activating the joint. As with most CA's there will be a slight bit of fogging, try wiping some thin oil, 3-n-1 or TriFlow oil onto the hazed areas and it will clear it up.

I decided to try the BSi Insta-Cure+ which is standard CA, it does not need kicker, although I still use my bottle to quickly spot weld areas. NOTE: When using Insta-Cure+/standard CA, I noticed that the working time for positioning parts is much less than with the foam safe. I also found that the bond from the Insta-Cure+/standard CA was slightly stronger than the foam safe CA.

For testing, I printed sample parts from PLA, the two parts glued up to make up a 5" disc. I tested dozens of different glues from various manufactures. After gluing two parts together and letting each type of glue properly cure, I did what I call a "cracker break". By putting pressure in the center and bending the parts I could judge the strength by how much force and where it came apart. The SCIGRIP 4 and CA's most always cracked away from the joint.

Other tests included the "Gel" type glues. Most of these type glues, including Beacon and Welders are a form of contact cement. They dry with a rubbery feel and don't hold up compared the the CA's. When using the "Gel" type glues all of my "cracker break" tests ended up breaking on the joint, with the BSI Foam Cure and the Beacon Foam-Tac holding up the best. I use these style glues when I need some flexibility at the joint.
Last edited by electric-2000; Jun 30, 2017 at 11:15 AM.
Jun 29, 2017, 10:33 PM
Registered User
Rudix's Avatar
Great information! Thanks for sharing your research and experience with us!
Jun 30, 2017, 08:00 AM
Registered User
Prowler901's Avatar
Great collection of information, Electric! Thanks for sharing it.
Jul 01, 2017, 04:45 AM
A.K.A sir Crashalot
methuso's Avatar
My "new" favorite on foam is pu mixed with a little woodglue to add moisture. Foams up quickly and you can wait a little to use it when its almost done foaming. This able you to use less glue but you can deside how much filling you need, just to save weight.
Maybe good for pla to? Since it seems to stick to EVERYTHING.
Just wanted to add the option.

Jul 01, 2017, 05:00 AM
Registered User

Do I like Beacon foam tac?

I love it!!!
Jul 21, 2017, 09:23 PM

Build Plate Adhesion or "Lifting edges"

I continually see issues with parts lifting from the bed. Not sure how many printer configurations are out there but if they have a heated glass bed there should never be a problem with parts lifting. I’ve been designing and building 3Dprinters for the last 3 ½ years, so I guess it’s fair to say that I’ve seen it all. With our systems I very rarely have issues with parts lifting and if there are issues I either have a bad STL file or I forgot to prep the bed. I’ve used PET sheets, yes they help, but some of the same problems will follow you even though you have added the PEI sheets.

Here are some general rules of thumb that I go by and they should help with adhesion issues-
Bed Preparation
1- The #1 issue to check is that the bed is dead nuts flat. Make sure your glass bed is at least ¼” thick and preferable Borosilicate Glass as it can take the heat.
2- Usually not an issue, but make sure your bed is heating evenly from front to back (a coil could be shorted out and only get partial heat).
3- This is the #2 issue for curing adhesion problems…manually level your bed using a feeler gage, I set mine to .004/.1mm but you could go less. Make sure that your nozzle is hot before leveling.
4- …or if you have an auto leveling function, check it to make sure that it’s accurate.
5- Clean the glass really well with Isopropyl alcohol, any oils will create lifting issues. I usually do cleaning down to bare glass every 5 or 6 prints. In between prints I scrape the glass with a razorblade to get the old plastic off.
6- Use “All Weather AquaNet Extra Super Hold” in the purple can. I spray a liberal amount, maybe a couple passes, for the first coat and let it dry maybe 2-3 minutes. Then after scraping between prints I spray a quick coat over the existing base.

Printer Settings
1. Using a slicer is a must, the supplied 3DLabPrint Gcode makes it easy for failure. Simplify3D is what I highly recommend, you will pay for it in lost prints.
2. I have altered my temps and extrusion multiplier in my firmware to match the settings that are used in the 3DLabPrint S3D Factory Files, this way there are very few changes to make.
3. The most important change is setting the “First Layer Settings Height” to 60%, remember I set my nozzle clearance to .004/.1mm, if you are running a .003 clearance then you could go up to 75-80% Height.
a. You might say that is too close, but the good outweighs the bad. First off you will get a print that does not fail and secondly you get a nice wide gluing surface making for a good bond (see image).
b. You will also quickly find out if your bed is properly leveled. If you find your extruder backing up from the tight tolerance, raise the percentage by 5% and try again. Don’t continue until you get a good wide first layer. It should be about double of the extrusion width.
4. Run your bed temp around 50-55 degrees, if it is too hot you will start to see the single walls deform close to the bed.
5. The nozzle temp should be on the hot side, if you can optimize your setting to run hot you will get a much stronger wall, making the overall airframe less chance for splitting at the printed seams.
6. Printer filament varies from manufacture to manufacture. If you have gone through all of these tips, you might try switching to a different roll or manufacture. Anything you get from the main suppliers typically costing around $28.00-$32.00 per roll will guarantee that you have some quality filament. I’s used some really inexpensive filament and have had great success , with other cheap stuff it always failed. I would say that moisture is #1 culprit. There are techniques for drying out your filament…Google it!

Other Notes to help with quality printing:
1. If you are running Support, I always change and up the Horizontal Offset distance to 1.5mm this ensure that your support breaks away easily while still giving great support.
2. Another setting I modify is the Extra Restart Distance, some of the support on the S3D forums say to run it at negative -.02 and it helps with blobs on the surface, especially around where the internal support meets the outer wall. I think that 3DLabprint runs this number a bit high, causing some over extruding in these areas, I change mine to .02 in the positive.
Jul 31, 2017, 07:06 PM
Registered User
hawaiianspork226's Avatar
Hey, great information, thankyou

I was gonna ask this in a new thread, but this place seems appropriate

I have been messing with different settings on s3d while tweaking designs for rc airplane wings. The spool of filament ive been using was working great a few months ago when i was printing other thin wall objects... since then ive taken a break before getting back into the thin wall printing.

The parts im printing are really "hairy" now, regardless of what i change on s3d without going overboard. So im pretty sure the culprit is moisture... which is fine, the spool is almost gone anyways... and these are just test parts... the only major change in methodology since then has been print temperature - im printing at 235c now instead of 205.

So what do you think? I think moisture is the culprit... it has been pretty humid here in san diego lately...

Thanks for posting this thread!

Last edited by hawaiianspork226; Jul 31, 2017 at 07:19 PM.
Jul 31, 2017, 11:55 PM
That is some of the worst stringing I've seen!!
There are a couple basic rules to go by when you see stringing. Since you have had successful prints with that filament, for testing purposes it would be nice to go back to the last successful print and try it again to make sure that a setting did not get tweaked.

A higher retraction setting will break the stringing-
Sometimes speeding up the print will also break the stringing
Lastly try lowering the temp in 5 degree increments and slow down the print.

If I'm not using filament for a week , I'll use a vacuum sealer and suck it down a bit.

There are threads on putting your PLA in an oven for a couple hours. Set your oven to the warming setting, that should be around 180 degrees, turn it off and put your PLA in and let it cool down for 1-2 hours.
Aug 01, 2017, 01:56 AM
Registered User
hawaiianspork226's Avatar
Yup its pretty bad. My thin wall prints before these were really pretty good, and i didnt change anything except the extruder temperature... the spool probably sat around for about 4 or 5 months really, since last being used. So yea it had quite a while to soak up moisture. I tried tweaking all the retraction and wiping and coasting stuff. Im not too worried about it, at this point im pretty positive its a humidity/improper storage issue. I did not however try speeding up the print... but i might however... i think i am printing sorta slow. Took just over 9 hours to print the last 6" tall wing sample - dont know how that compares to other's print speeds...

I have a couple of rolls sealed up and ready to go but i dont want to open them until i know im ready to start printing a lot of parts right away. Planning to use white filament for this plane...

Im thinking about making a little dehumidifier box to put over the spool while its on the machine. Just a foil lined box with a lightbulb and some dessicant packets inside to dry the air out around the spool. I dont know the rate at which the filament gets saturated from the atmosphere but it seems like a little box like that is an easy way to ensure a bit of consistency

Aug 01, 2017, 11:51 AM
Registered User
markag6's Avatar
Raising temps from 205 to 235 is a pretty big swing. I would look at backing that back down and seeing if that helps.

I've never seen stringing that looks like that before. Could be moisture, but could also be printing too hot.
Aug 01, 2017, 09:17 PM
Registered User
hawaiianspork226's Avatar
Originally Posted by markag6
Raising temps from 205 to 235 is a pretty big swing. I would look at backing that back down and seeing if that helps.

I've never seen stringing that looks like that before. Could be moisture, but could also be printing too hot.
ill give that a shot. im pretty much done with my structural testing now, i think ive got a pretty good strategy for design now anyways

what i would like to do though is do / make a test to verify what the performance differences really are in terms of layer bonding at my go-to temp of 205 for most things, vs 235 as per the 3d lab print guides / recommendations.

anyone know where or who has done this in a thread or article or video somewhere that i can read up on? its easier to print at 205 for me... so if the performance difference isnt there... why make it harder than it needs to be...

the stuff i printed at 205 tends to break across the layer lines, not along them, so as long as thats happening... we're good, right? or does printing at a higher temperature actually make the entire object stronger, not just the layer adhesion?

Aug 02, 2017, 09:20 AM
Retired CAD guy
birdofplay's Avatar
3dprint lab claim to have done it.

You might want to contact them or read up on their site.

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