Project tutorial
Using Slic3r with the Materia 101 and Printing a Pirate Hook

Using Slic3r with the Materia 101 and Printing a Pirate Hook © GPL3+

Work with Slic3r and the Materia 101 and print a pirate hook.

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Components and supplies

PlastInk - White ABS Filament (1.75mm) 1kg

Necessary tools and machines

Apps and online services

About this project

1. Download the STL

Download the objects we are going to print.

2. Change to Expert mode

Open Slic3r, click on the “file” menu, click on preferences and choose “Expert” from the mode drop down menu and click on “OK”.

3. Download and import the settings

We only go through the settings for our specific print today and will not go through all the details of Slic3r.

  • Go to file and click on “Load config bundle”. Navigate and choose you downloaded file and click “OK”.

Now you should have preset settings under each of the three tabs after the main “Plater” tab.

4. Drop the STL's into Slic3r

  • Drag and drop the file you want to print on the “plate” on the plater tab. The model will end up in the center by default.

In this case we have two models to print to finish the pirate hook. The Hook will be printed laying down and the bowl-like holder for the hook will be printed standing up.

NOTE: A 3D printed object is weakest in the bonds between the layer. 

The models are already oriented in this way so you don’t have to do anything. You can only print one model at a time because of the size of the print surface. Also you might not want to print them at the same time. They are of different size and hence they might need different settings.

5. Get a good first layer

These are the settings that are important for the first layer to stick to the print surface and consequently for a successful print. 

Use a Higher temperature for the first layer. The extruder hot-end can be made hotter for the first layer, thus making the material being printed more fluid. As a rule of thumb, an additional 5° C is recommended. You can find this settings under the “Filament” tab. Observe that the bed temperature is set to zero since you have no heat-bed on your 3D printer.

Lower speeds. Slowing down the extruder for the first layer reduces the forces applied to the molten material as it emerges, reducing the chances of it being stretched too much and not adhering correctly. 30% or 50% of the normal speed is recommended.

Don’t use the fan for the first layer. If you are heating up the hot end 5°C higher, you want to keep the extra fluidity of the plastic for the first layer.

Wider extrusion width on the first layer. To make the print stick better to the print-bed you can use a thicker extrusion width on the first layer. You can find the extrusion width input settings here: Print Settings → Advanced → Extrusion width.

6. The thickness of the walls, roof and floor

The Vertical shells

The vertical shell or the "walls" are the outermost lines on each layer, and defined by a number of perimeters.

The perimeters thickness are either automatically calculated by Slic3r or set in the menu found here: Print Settings → Advanced → Extrusion width → Perimeters.

If you are making something that will be used for play or for everyday use, choose a higher number of perimeter.

In the case of the Hook and holder, choose 3 perimeter for the setting under "vertical shells"

The Horizontal Shells

In Slic3r, you choose the number of solid layers that makes up the bottom and top of the model. These could be called the roof and floor of the print. These are always oriented facing upwards with no concern to the model being printed. So give this some thought when positioning the model on the build-plate.

A thicker layer height means that you can go for a the fewer numbers of solid layers. So for 0.2 mm layers, you might use 5 top/bottom layers (1 mm); for 0.06mm layers, the highest resolution of the printer, you can go for 10 layers (0.6 mm).

When you start to cover the object infill-pattern with solid layers you basically are printing in the middle of the air and the soft plastic has nothing to rest on. Hence it takes a few layers to get the perfect surface.

Some people like to have a thicker solid layers in the bottom of the print to compensate for an uneven print surface. I don’t think you will need this, if you keep you print surface clean and even, that is.

In Slic3r the thickness of the horizontal shell is always a multiple of the layer height, as it should be. This is worth noting, since not all slicers work on the “number of solid layers” principle. Cura for example uses a value set in millimeters.

For our object choose 5 solid layers on top and 5 solid layers on the bottom. 

7. Layer height

There are two main considerations you have got to factor in when choosing layer height.

  • Desired resolution: Finer layer equals a nicer finish of the final object. Thinner layers extruded at a lower speed can result in a more durable print than thicker layers.
  • Printing speed: You could say that printing thicker layers is like printing many thin layers at once. Objects that have a pure mechanical purpose might not need the aesthetics of thin layers and can be printed with a layer height of perhaps 0.3 mm to save time.

Your machine is capable of printing layer of a thickness between 0.05 mm and 0.35 mm. A good medium setting is 0.15. Printing an object with layers thinner than 0.1 mm might be tricky and will take a very long time to print. We can’t go thicker than 0.35 because of the extra pressure this will put on the feeding mechanism. This might result in the filament slipping on the cog feeding it to the hot-end.

Let’s set the layer height of this print to 0.15 mm and the first layer height to 0.3 mm.

8. Skirt, brim and support material

  • Skirt: ​A skirt is something which we make to get the plastic flowing. It is a few loops extruded around the object without touching it. 
  • Brim: A brim is like an extension of the lowest most layer of your model. It is made to make the object stick better to the surface. A good example of when you might need this is if you are printing a case for an arduino board and you notice that the corners of the box is warping. Then you could simple add a few millimeters of brim. We don't need a brim on the hook or the holder.
  • Support material​: Support material is the stuff that hold your print up while you are printing it. It's needed when the print hangs out in "free air" and makes what is called a "overhang". On our models we need support and the standard "pillar" type in Slic3r will do just fine. 

9. Filament settings

  • The extrusion temperature: In our case we are going extrude at a temperature of 205 C on the first layer and then lower the temperature to 200 C. You could print this as hot as 210 C, since we are printing bigger objects, but 200 C or lower will be better suited on the future when you are printing smaller objects.
  • The thickness of the filament: It is not good to trust the manufacturers specification on the filaments thickness. Always take a few measurements with a caliper and make an assessment of the filaments actual thickness. If your filament is 1.8 mm thick and you have set a value of 1.75, that means that your lines will be 2.85% thicker than expected.Your machine uses what we call 1.75 mm filament. So this is a good starting value.

10. The Cooling settings

NOTE: This only applies to PLA.

You printer uses a fan to cool the material that is extruded and make up the model. This is mainly so that the material set quicker and you can print faster and finer details.

The one and only cooler of the material is the small fan in front of the extruder. It can vary in speed and therefore its cooling effect.

A small object  needs more cooling and a bigger one needs less. When printing at hotter temperatures you definitely need to have the fan at 100%.

11. Before printing

Make sure that:

  • You have applied a coat of hairspray or glue stick on the print surface. Always apply the hairspray outside of the machine. You don't have to apply a new coat every time you print. 
  • Have a level print bed. If the distance between the nozzle tip and the bed deviates by even a small amount it can result in either the material not lying down on the bed (because the nozzle is too close and scrapes the bed instead), or the material lying too high from the bed and not adhering correctly.
  • The feeding mechanism is clean. This is something you might check once in a while. Plastic particles might build up and the drive might loose traction on the filament strand. 

12. The results!

This is our finished Pirate Hook!

NOTE: The most efficient way of fastening the hook in the holder was with a hot-glue gun.


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Published on

November 29, 2016

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