3D Printing is a world that only becomes more and more accessible each passing day. With more 3D printers for beginners joining the market each year and the decreasing prices of printer filaments it’s easier and easier to make your own projects from the comfort of your home. That said if you really want to take your printing game to the next level there’s more tools and tricks you can add to your printing repertoire.
If you are really invested in crafts then you know that building is only half the process. Touching up your creations can be as fun and time consuming as printing or designing them. See the thing is that practical as 3d printers are they won’t all offer a perfect finish, there will always be small imperfections, just like there would be in any mass produced item. That’s where tools like a knife can come in handy for removing excess material. But beyond cleaning up your models there are also specialized items that can help with maintaining your printer, like brushes for the nozzles on the printer. As with everything the main machine is only the first step, and if you want to go the extra mile that’s where 3d print tool kits come in.
Now the question is, do you need one yourself? That depends. Cleaning and maintenance tools are vital to ensure any machine keeps working in perfect condition. But detail knives are only really important if printing is a hobby for you. If you really want to give life to your projects a complete 3d print tool kit will be a great addition, but if you are not that invested then one with the right cleaning tools should be enough. It all comes down to finding out what you specifically need.
Filament Friday is one the first names that come to mind when discussing tool kits and that’s for good reason, at only $40 you get access to all the detailing and cleaning tools you might need and even an electronic caliper. This is a one-stop kit for all your needs, but the range is so wide you might not end up using everything on it.
Rustark’s set is totally meant to be a great entry point kit for anybody. The wide selection of needles and knives makes it possible to touch up any kind of model regardless of size or the consistency of the material. And it still packs some great needles for nozzle maintenance. Detail work is undoubtedly the main focus, but it’s a great deal in general.
Both affordable and made with both cleaning and maintenance in mind, Glarks’ kit offers a good selection of tools both for maintaining your printer’s nozzles as well as doing detailed work on finished models. That said don’t expect the sheer variety of other kits, and since part of the piece count is used on regular items like a glue stick it’s not quite the most complete set in the market.
Reptor’s offering in the 3d print tool kit scene is 100% meant solely for printer maintenance, but that makes it one of the most affordable in the market. For basically $10 you get all that you’ll need to keep your machine in proper condition, there’s no more tricks or whistles but affordability and simplicity do make a great combination.
While it might be something of an specialized set this scraper set does offer something not all kits take into account. Removing a freshly printed model from your printer can be hard. And if done incorrectly it can even damage the model on certain machines. This scraper set is cheap and to the point, multiple sized scrapers to ensure a clean removal, don’t expect anything else, but if you are having trouble with model removal this can be a huge help.
Syba’s kit is one of the most technical in the market but there’s no denying it serves it’s purpose on the right hands. At it’s core it offers the core essentials for cleaning, scraping and detail work. However it usually only includes one tool per function, instead it adds a set of wrenches for any mechanical touch-up you might need to do on your printer. Not meant for everybody but a great relief for experts.
AMX3D’s 25 piece set was made with their client’s feedback and input in mind, and aims to offer the complete experience in a single package. Tweezers for maintenance, scrapers, knives and even a file. The Pro Grade Kit might not be the cheapest in the market, but it definitely packs all you could ask for.
If all you really need right now is an easy to use scraper set then Foreasy is undoubtedly the most affordable yet resilient set out there. This Amazon’s Choice product is easy to use and easier on your wallet. And can be the ideal complement for any other kit that might not have a good scraper of it’s own.
Not a tool kit per se, but Vizbrite’s caliper might be the one tool your favorite kit is missing. A Caliper allows you to get exact measurements out of any item, and this is vital if you need to print a replacement or copy something. But very few tool kits come with their own, so this affordable caliper can be the perfect addition for your 3d print tool set.
At 42 pieces you can expect Rustark’s set to come with a little bit of everything. Packaged with pretty much everything it’s 34pc cousin had the biggest additions this set comes with are the fine brushes and a caliper of it’s own. Once again it’s not something all hobbyists will need, but their inclusion makes this one of the most complete 3d print tool kits out there.
What should I keep in mind?
Your number one consideration is just what tasks you plan to use your kit for. If your main focus is touching up your project and making sure it shines beyond it’s raw form then you need to look for kits that offer a good selections of knives, brushes, files and/or detailing pens. However if your main concern is just making sure your printer remains working properly and you can print easily irregardless of the fine details then all you really need is a good scraper and cleaning tools like needles or nippers. Make sure to keep in mind what the main use of your kit will be and finding the right one from the above will be easy.
I saw cheaper/more expensive kits for other materials, what’s the difference?
While most of these brands offer tool kits for a wide variety of crafts and purposes it’s important to take in mind that they are not interchangeable. The kind of cutting power a printer filament and clay need is not equivalent. Using tools not meant for 3d printing can damage your print or even your printer in the case of cleaning needles. The difference in price ultimately comes down to this, certain materials can use lesser quality tools.
Is there a printer that comes with it’s own kit?
Not really. You might find some bundles on Amazon occasionally but in general printers and tool kits don’t even have the same manufacturers. it might feel a little bit inconvenient at first, but the fact that tool kits are sold separately can let you choose the perfect on for your needs or budget. It’s just a good investment on the long run
I don’t understand what X tool does.
If you find your tool kit’s instruction manual lacking rest assured that there’s a lot of video tutorials online. In fact Filament Friday has it’s own YouTube channel which covers all you could need when it comes to both the usage of each tool and the right tricks and tips to become an expert. It doesn’t matter if you don’t buy their kit either, as the advice is universal
Won’t a scraper damage my printer?
Scrapers don’t really have an edge to them, so it shouldn’t affect the printing surface of your machine. Do keep in mind that you should peel off horizontally, laying flat with the printing surface. But overall all these tools are meant to be used with printers so you shouldn’t expect any inconveniences as long as they receive the proper use.
Ultimately the key to getting the right tool kit is to be honest with yourself and honestly gauge how much use you’ll give to each function. There’s a wide variety of kits out there and you can mix and match as well. The above cover all the possible angles and budgets too so as long as you give it some thought we have no doubt you’ll come out of here with the perfect tool set for all your future prints.