Hello Machine Bros!
Today we want to show you the best accessories and add-ons that you can find on the market for your FDM 3D printer! With these accessories, you can improve, and get better performance and experience from your 3D printers.
If what you have is an SLA 3D printer, check out 2022 Best Accessories for Your SLA 3D Printer
By the way, have you already seen our new 3D printer comparator? We invite you to take a look at it, it will be useful to you whether you are looking to buy your first 3D printer, or you are thinking of expanding your collection of 3D printers, we even show you recommended accessories and add-ons for specific 3D printers.
Now, let’s start!
Enclosure for 3D Printers
As its name indicates, these enclosures seek to close the printers to have a more controlled 3D printing environment, by having a constant temperature inside the printing volume, so that the plastic, when it comes out molten through the nozzle, does not suffer from such an aggressive thermal shock which can affect the piece you are 3D printing.
With this accessory, it is easier to 3D print since you reduce the risk of warping and/or cracking.
It’s important to be aware of the temperature of the electronic components so that they do not overheat.
Next, we show you two different enclosures depending on the size of your 3D printer:
3D Printer Filament Spool Holder
The spool holders that 3D printers originally bring are usually rigid, therefore, the filament spool slides on it, which generates friction. This friction can end up hindering and making the work of the extruder more difficult since it is the extruder that must deal with this friction.
To solve this, we can find in the market spool holders that are capable of rotating freely, reducing the work and force that the extruder must execute to pull and extrude filament.
Here are some examples:
Depending on the 3D printer you have, you may need one with or without a base.
Double Gear Extruder or Dual Drive Extruder
Some years ago, most extruders consisted of a part that is coupled to the motor and another that rotates freely. The piece coupled to the stepper motor was in charge of pulling and pushing the filament towards the nozzle. Over time, extruders began to come out where both pieces are coupled to the motor, which improves the flow of filament, thus achieving a more constant extrusion.
Even some Bowden-type 3D printers with a dual-gear extrusion system are capable of printing with some flexible filaments. But today, having a dual gear or dual drive extruder is a plus those manufacturers add to their 3D printers.
There are various dual drive type extruders, and depending on your 3D printer, one or the other may work for you. Next, we will show you some examples.
Auto-Leveling Bed Sensor
As the name implies, they are sensors for automatic bed leveling. What most of these sensors do, is take several samples of the distance from a certain height to the 3D printing bed.
These samples are taken at different points of the bed and what the 3D printer does is generate a mesh of points, with which it already knows the differences in height between the different parts of the bed, that is, it knows the existing unevenness.
Knowing this information, the 3D printer corrects at the software level and G-code the necessary height so that the printing layer comes out at the same level as the bed.
There are 3D printers that come with these sensors from the factory, there are other printers that can be added as an accessory with almost no modification. On the other hand, there are other printers that have to update the firmware and even in some others we even have to change the motherboard.
Here we will show you three examples of these sensors:
Filament Runout Sensor
These sensors are capable of determining when there is a filament break or when it simply ran out, thus pausing 3D printing so that the operator replaces the filament and resumes 3D printing.
There are 3D printers that already come with this type of sensor, and there are printers that can add this sensor with little or almost no modification, but we can also find printers that require a firmware modification or even replacement of the motherboard to be able to add a filament runout sensor.
Here are some examples.
Capricorn PTFE Bowden Tubing
We all know that the PTFE tube used in 3D printers tends to deform over time due to high temperatures. This causes plugging and inconsistent extrusion, which results in poor 3D print quality.
The Capricorn brand offers a PTFE Bowden tube with better resistance to high temperatures, which allows the tube not to deform as easily, thus achieving a more uniform extrusion and better printer performance.
Silicone Supports for Bed Leveling
Sometimes leveling the bed of the 3D printer becomes an extremely tedious task, but it is important to have a well-leveled bed. Whether you have an auto-leveling sensor or not, silicone mounts can help make bed-leveling something you don’t have to do on a recurring basis.
These silicone mounts replace the factory springs, they are resistant to the temperature generated by the bed, remain flexible, but are stiffer than commonly used springs. Thus, achieving that the bed does not lose its leveling frequently.
It is important that you choose the right mounts for your 3D printer, as these are not flexible enough to fit just any printer. We must always be careful to buy the supports with the height that suits our 3D printer.
Motherboards for 3D Printers
There are 3D printers that come with outdated or faulty motherboards so it can happen that we need to replace them with the latest version of the motherboard.
For example, there is a particular case with the Ender 3 V2, which initially came with a version 4.2.2 card, which caused many problems, and was later replaced by 4.2.7, but users who already had their printers with the 4.2.2 card had to replace them themselves.
We also have companies that make these cards so that they are compatible with various 3D printers and have some improvements.
Glass Bed With or Without Special Coatings
In general, glass beds offer very good adhesion to the first layers of a 3D print, they also have almost no unevenness (this is the case with good quality glass).
They are generally borosilicate beds and there are also some glass beds that come with some special coatings to improve adherence and make it easy to remove the 3D printed part once the bed reaches room temperature.
Flexible and Magnetic PEI Beds
This is another type of 3d printing bed that has gained a lot of popularity, thanks to the fact that it also offers good adherence. They are also magnetic, which allows the bed to be easily detached from the printer since they are flexible and they do not require the use of retaining clips that reduce the 3D printing area a bit.
Here we show you some examples.
Bed Clips Clams for 3D Printing Bed
If you prefer glass 3D printing beds, there are clips that firmly hold the glass bed to the 3D printer. They don’t take up a lot of space and they’re not tall, which reduces the chance of the nozzle bumping into these clips.
Before buying them you should make sure that they are indeed capable of holding the glass to your printer, this depends largely on the thickness of the aluminum plate and the thickness of the glass.
Nozzles of Different Diameters and Materials
Some say that having a 3D printer with only one nozzle is like having a professional camera with only one type of lens.
We can find nozzles of different diameters. With the ones of smaller diameters, we can easily 3D print small details, but we sacrifice printing time, also, it increases the chances of clogging the nozzle.
With larger nozzles, we 3D print much faster, plus we can use filaments that contain particles of wood, metal, and carbon fiber, among others. They also have less chance of clogging, but the problem is that we sacrifice 3D printing small details.
There are also special steel nozzles to 3D print with composite filaments that, otherwise, using normal brass nozzles, would suffer much greater wear in a short period of time.
Full Metal Hotend
Most of the desktop 3D printers that we find in the market use a hotend that has a PTFE tube, which is not very good at withstanding high temperatures.
For this reason, they sell full metal hotends as an accessory, which are capable of reaching and withstanding higher temperatures.
You can find these hotends for direct and Bowden-type extrusion.
Direct Extruders for 3D Printers
Direct extruders are not necessarily better than Bowden extruders, each one has its advantages, which we will go into more detail about it in a future article.
But in case your 3D printer has a Bowden type and you want to convert it to one with direct extrusion, they also sell kits for this.
Direct extruders work better with flexible filaments and also require fewer draw distances.
If you decide to buy one of these kits, it is important that you verify what voltage your old and new hotend works with, they should work with the same one.
You must also be sure that mechanically, the structure of your 3D printer is capable of moving these direct extruders without problems since they are usually heavier than the Bowden-type configuration that they come from the factory.
The best way to make sure your 3D printer can handle the weight of a direct extruder is by researching on forums, reading user reviews, and checking out the direct extruder manufacturer’s page. Normally the manufacturer indicates which 3D printers are compatible with the extruder.
Most 3D printing filaments absorb moisture from the environment, which causes problems when 3D printing, as moisture affects the quality of the 3D print.
To solve this problem, they sell very useful filament dryers like the ones below.
Bags to Store Filaments
The intention of these bags is similar to the previous accessory, to fight against humidity. These bags seek to prevent the filaments from absorbing moisture from the environment.
These are a solid cheap option to keep humidity away from your 3D printing filaments.
Upgrade to Dual Z-Axis
Many of the cheap or Low-Cost 3D printers come with only one motor for the Z axis. If you want more stability in the Z-axis, they sell some kits to add another motor with its respective mechanism to the Z-axis.
With a Dual Z-axis, you can better level the X-axis, obtain greater stability, and get higher quality 3D prints.
Torsion Spring for Tensioning Toothed Belts
There are 3D printers that do not have belt tensioners, one way that the belts are always tense is to add one of these springs.
To make it work, it is necessary that the belts work in a free space, where the springs do not trip against anything.
It is necessary to remember that a very tight belt generates an over effort in the step motors, which causes them to overheat. Very loose belts can cause belt jumps, that is, loss of steps (the motor would move but said movement would not be reflected in the axes), for which we would have layer displacements in any of the axes where the belt is loose.
Backup Battery/UPS for 3D Printers
Backup batteries are used to keep the 3D printer running for a while longer in case of a power outage. Although it is true that some printers are able to resume printing after a power outage, it is also a reality that many times they do not do it correctly.
For this reason, when placing a UPS, if the power cut is momentary, the printing will continue as if nothing had happened. And if you notice that the power outage will be for a longer period of time, you can take the necessary precautions to try to save the 3D print in the best possible way.
For example, if you have an electric generator, with the UPS you would have enough time for the generator to supply the necessary electricity to continue 3D printing as if nothing had happened.
It is also possible that the UPS it will give you more time to plan at what point it would be more optimal to pause the 3D printing.
Choosing a suitable UPS will really depend on your budget and the characteristics of your equipment. Since some UPSs stay on longer than others, some UPSs also provide more power than others.
Support Rods for Tall 3D Printers
There are 3D printers that are tall, and some users have noticed some instability in them. For this reason, we can find some support rods that we can install to guarantee more stability.
Conclusions on Recommended Accessories for FDM 3D Printers
As you may have already noticed, these accessories for FDM 3D printers can simplify and improve the task of printing in 3D. Do you think we missed mentioning any other accessories? Or maybe you don’t know if an accessory is compatible with your 3D printer. We invite you to write to us or comment below.
Have you seen our new 3D printer comparison tool? We invite you to take a look at it, you will find a lot of useful information like prices, and tech specs, including interesting accessories for some 3D printers.
If you are just getting started with 3D printing, or are already familiar with it, these three articles may be very useful to you:
Most Used 3D Printing Terms: In this article, you will learn about the terminology used in 3D printing.
Beginner’s Guide of Simplify3D: It is designed for all those who are starting in this world of 3D printing using the slicer Simplify 3D.
Advanced Guide of Simplify3D: For all those who are looking to overcome the barriers and limitations that Slicers can offer and print spectacular models.
Do not hesitate to leave any questions you have in our comments section, as well as any contribution or suggestion you wish to make, we are here to grow together in this wonderful world of 3D printing.
See you soon Machine Bros!