Introduction: Type a Machines 3D Printer Intro: a Study of Learning to 3D Print

About: Based in San Francisco I strive to incorporate custom lettering in the art that I design, print, and make.

After completing a Techshop SF class on the Series 1 Type A Machine 3D printer this is my first print.

I started with a download of an .STL file from and in this series of instructables I am showing my first 5 prints first on the type a machine and a series about the lessons learned in case you make similar discoveries while starting out 3D Printing. 

My first print here is from and the author describes it as a chip bag closer and letter opener - I think it is great.

I made it at Techshop
Submitted by SFlettering for the Instructables Sponsorship Program

Step 1: Printer Warmup - Adjusting Temp Settings During Print

Before the print begins the printer will pause toward the front and center while it reaches the correct temp

note: with some of the files from thingiverse I kept the default heat settings which ended up at 200+.
To change the heat settings in the middle of the print adjust the settings and click set in the printer control panel software.

Step 2: Printer Prep Position - About to Start Printing - Will It Print Correctly Tip

This position is the Type A Machine 3D printer right before it starts the print - it has already warmed up to the correct temp (185C) and then moved into position quickly enough that the image is a bit blurry.

sometimes the print will not start out correctly due to nozzle height adjustments (especially if you removed the print platform after your last print). An improper nozzle height when too far away from the print platform setting will create PLA that drags along after the print head and does not stick to the print platform resulting in several wasted minutes. 

Set the Z height carefully and double check often for success.

Step 3: Raft Layer Set to SKIRT - When You Do Not Need a Raft Layer Tip

To start the print this model has a raft layer with style settings to SKIRT. The raft layer promotes adhesion to the print platform and is a good way to ensure easier removal from the print platform. 

When I did not use a rask layer on smaller pieces I found the removal was easier depending on the dimensions. It was easier to remove tall objects rather than wide objects due to leverage. 

Using a raft layer is a good idea if you have already double checked your z as some prints that start out thin at the bottom and grow thicker as they move to the following layers will have a better final result when using a raft layer especially on layers 1-5 of the initial print.

Step 4: Completion of the Raft Layer Style Skirt

Here the second part of the raft layer in skirt style is laid down at a 90 degree angle to the first diagonal layer.

Some of the early lines that were imperfect can create problems for the bigger prints.
notice the mistakes toward the left side where the PLA dragged as those are still part of the final back surface even after cleaning off the raft layer 90% of the way. 

Step 5: Layer by Layer Growth - TOP Down View Type a Machine 3D Printer

From the top of the machine this is a view after several layers are added to the raft layer.
The second image shows the print after just 1 more layer was added. Although the raft layer was imperfect the actual object is printing well enough for a first print that I am pleased with the progress. Notice also in the image you can see where the PLA enters feed system.

Step 6: Finishing Up the Print - Cleaning Up the Raft Layer

Right before the end of the print I noticed how much relies upon the raft layer and what a difficult process is involved in removing the extra plastic from the initial layer - think about using wire cutters and sand paper to get it off and smooth.
Getting the print right the first time is a best bet although for a first print this is a great outcome (see final image in first introduction). 
A pliers and wire cutter was required to get the final look in the intro image. 
A great machine from, the Series 1 3D Printer. 

3D Printing Contest

Participated in the
3D Printing Contest