Introduction: #3DBenchy - the Tool to Calibrate and Test Your 3D Printer

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#3DBenchy is a 3D model specifically designed for testing and benchmarking 3D printers. It is a small recognizable object that you can download for free, make and share.

By 3D-printing this STL file you will be able to benchmark your 3D printer and materials and compare the result to other users' prints and machines.

The 3D model is designed to print at 1:1 scale without support materials. It is challenging for most 3D printers but the small volume (15.55 cm3) typically prints in well under two hours and does not require much material.
The different surfaces of the #3DBenchy model reveal typical issues regarding surface finish, model accuracy, warping, etc.

Step 1: Shape Features

  • The Hull - The hull is a large, smooth overhanging curved surface that is challenging to 3D-print and clearly reveals any surface deviations.
  • Symmetry - #3DBenchy is perfectly symmetrical which makes any skewness and warping easy to detect.
  • High-Resolution STL file - The STL file is triangulated at a very high resolution which yields smooth surfaces. The maximum deviation from the original CAD file is set to 0.001 mm.
  • Planar Horizontal Faces - The top surfaces of the deck, box and chimney are planar, horizontal and parallel to the bottom plane.
  • Tiny Surface Details - If you have a high-resolution 3D printer, this is where you can shine! The letters on the stern are less than 2 mm tall and the thickness of #3DBenchy’s nameplate is just 0.1 mm.
  • Cylindrical Shapes - The chimney is designed to define concentrical cylindrical shapes with inner and outer diameters. These clearly show deviations in roundness.
  • Overhang Surfaces - Overhang issues are the Achilles’ heel of 3D printing. #3DBenchy offers several challenging areas such as in the difficult-to-reach inside of the bridge.
  • Low-Slope-Surfaces - These clearly show the layered structure of 3D printing. If printed horizontally, #3DBenchy’s gunwale and roof of the bridge will reveal the layer-steps.
  • Large Horizontal Holes - The rear window offers a large circular horizontal hole and the boat’s wheel offers a round difficult-to-reach secluded feature.
  • Small Horizontal Holes - The hawsepipe represents a small short horizontal hole and has a very thin flange against the hull.
  • Slanted Small Holes - The fishing-rod-holder provides a very small slightly-slanted blind hole.
  • First-Layer-Details - The shallow letters at the bottom of the boat clearly reveal typical first-layer-squashing.

Step 2: Measure and Calibrate

Use #3DBenchy to test and calibrate your 3D printer by adjusting hardware and software settings for optimal results.

The shape and size of this 3D model is designed to challenge 3D printers. Compare your #3DBenchy results with the dimensions illustrated below. These are easy to measure with a calliper. Print and check your 3D-printer’s result for dimensional accuracy, tolerances, warping and deviations related to changes in printing parameters and material types.

Regardless of how well #3DBenchy 3D-prints on a certain 3D printer, it is a valuable tool for comparing results between several different 3D printers, assuming that similar print settings where used.

  • Bridge roof length - The front and rear surfaces of the roof are parallel at a distance of 23.00 mm.

  • Chimney roundness - The cylindrical hole and outer top part of the chimney measure 3.00 and 7.00 mm in diameter. The depth of the blind hole measures 11.00 mm.

  • Horizontal overall-length - #3DBenchy’s horizontal overall-length from bow to stern measures 60.00 mm.

  • Horizontal overall-width - #3DBenchy’s horizontal overall-width from port to starboard measures 31.00 mm.

  • Vertical overall-height - #3DBenchy’s vertical overall-height from top to bottom measures 48.00 mm. The top of the box measures 15.50 mm above the bottom surface.

  • Cargo-box size - The box on #3DBenchy’s deck measures 12.00 x 10.81 mm on the outside and 8.00 x 7.00 mm on the inside. The depth measures 9.00 mm.

  • Hawsepipe diameter - The inner diameter of #3DBenchy’s hawsepipe measures 4.00 mm. The depth of the flange against the hull is 0.30 mm.

  • Bridge front window size - The rectangular front window measures 10.50 x 9.50 mm. Its parallel inner surfaces are horizontally cut into the bridge.

  • Bridge rear window size - The inner diameter of the cylindrical stern window meastures 9.00 mm. Its outer diameter measures 12.00 mm. The flange’s depth is 0.30 mm.

  • Bow overhang inclination - #3DBenchy’s high-cain spoon bow has a 40° overhang angle to the horizontal plane.

  • Bridge roof inclination - The roof of the bridge slopes at a 5.5° angle to the horizontal plane.

  • Small-detail stern nameplate - The sign and small letters at the stern are extruded at 0.10 mm.

Step 3: Printing #3DBenchy

As there are many types of technologies for 3D printing, it is difficult to recommend general settings that apply to all machines. Since the FFF (fused filament fabrication, a.k.a. FDM) is widely spread, we recommend the settings below for best results.

  • Scale: 1:1 (unmodified in size, from bow to stern #3DBenchy.stl measures 60.00 mm).
  • 3D-printbead: Heated bed at 55 °C for PLA plastic or 110 °C for ABS plastic filament First layer height: 0.3 mm
  • Default layer height: 0.1 to 0.2 mm (100 - 200 microns)
  • Infill: 10 - 25% Print speed (extrusion): 20 - 50 mm/s
  • Print speed (extrusion): upp to 50 mm/s
  • Print speed (travel): upp to 150 mm/s

Step 4: Download the #3DBenchy.stl File

You can download the #3DBenchy STL file below. It is saved in the binary STL file format and loads nicely into every 3D-printing slice software.


Step 5: Show and Tell!

Print your #3DBenchy and show it to the world. Just press the button "I made it" here on Instructables and don't forget to tag your image with #3DBenchy on social media.

It does not matter how "well" your print is! Remember that #3DBenchy is designed to be a very challenging model to print. By showing your result to others you will be able get good advice and improve your 3D-printing skills! :)

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