Being able to maintain your 3D printer properly with care usually involves lubrication in the moving parts of your machine. Light machine oils or silicone lubricant is widely used in the 3D printing world.
This article will be a guide on which lubricants are popular to use with 3D printers, and what techniques people use to get the best results. Keep on reading through this article to get the up-to-date advice on 3D printer maintenance.
What Parts of a 3D Printer Needs to Be Lubricated?
Simply put, all moving parts i.e. any surface that moves against another surface needs to be lubricated in order to have a smoothly working printer. In all of this, the following areas of a printer needs to be lubricated from time to time.
The X, Y and Z axis: these moving parts of the 3D printer determine where the nozzle is moved to, and so they are constantly being moved around.
The Z-axis which moves vertically and the X and Y which moves horizontally are constantly moving when the machine is on. Wear and tear may occur if they are not lubricated regularly.
These coordinates determine the position of the hot end nozzle, which is moved around by different rails and driving systems.
Guide rails: these help to support the Z-axis as they move. The bearings on the railing can either be metal on metal or plastic on metal.
Many 3D printers will use simple threaded steel rods or lead screws, which are essentially extra-long bolts. These parts also need to be lubricated.
Stepper motors don’t need any maintenance or lubrication since they are a brushless motor which doesn’t have brushes that need to be replaced or anything.
How Do You Lubricate & Maintain a 3D Printer?
No matter the kind of lubrication being used, the steps to carrying out the lubrication is the same. Follow these steps for correct lubrication of your printer.
The first step in lubrication is cleaning. Clean all parts that requires lubrication thoroughly. This will ensure that remnants of former lubricants do not get it the way when you are applying the new one.
You can use rubbing alcohol to wipe down moving parts such as the belt, rods and rails. Do not use acetone as it is corrosive and may likely eat through the plastic. Give the parts some time to dry out from the alcohol.
The next thing is to apply the lubricant. Depending on the type being used, space out the lubricants at equal distances and take note not to apply too much of it. With the aid of an applicator, spread the lubricant.
It’s a good idea to use some rubber gloves while you do this so the lubricator doesn’t touch your skin since some lubricants can cause slight irritation.
Once the lubricant has been totally spread on all the moving parts, move the parts form one side to the other to ensure that there is no friction. You can do this manually or make use of the motor controls located in the 3D printer.
Make sure you cannot see excess lubricant while moving the parts because this usually indicate that you have applied too much lubricant. This can do the exact opposite of what it’s supposed to do and make it hard for the parts to move.
If you noticed that you have applied too much lubricant, gently wipe off the excess with paper towels and run the parts along its axes again to make sure everything is smooth.
Find more information about how to lubricate your 3D printer in the video below.
Best Lubricants You Can Use For Your 3D Printer
As easy as lubricating a 3D printer is, the difficult part is figuring out the right lubricant to select. Of course, many new 3D printers now come with maintenance tips and advice on what lubricants to use.
If you do not have this information about your printer, you can visit their website to ensure that you are using the right lubricant. The following are the best printers for your 3D printers.
Super Lube 51004 Synthetic Oil with PTFE
Many 3D enthusiasts use a great product called Super Lube Synthetic Oil with PTFE, a staple lubricant for your 3D printer.
It is a premium, synthetic oil with suspended PTFE particles that bond to surfaces of moving parts providing protection against friction, wear, rust and corrosion.
Product that contains PTFE are types of lubricants which are solid substances usually suspended in a medium such as alcohol or any other similar spirit. They can be sprayed on the printer parts that needs to be lubricated.
The viscosity is similar to that of cooking oils such as canola or olive oil. It adheres to almost any surface and prevents dust and corrosion of metal parts.
3-In-One Multi-Purpose Oil
Another great option that is used in the 3D printing community is the 3-In-One Multi-Purpose Oil.
One user who purchased this oil used it for their motors and pulleys, and it quickly solved their issues. The value of the product is one of the highlights because it is very affordable while getting the job done.
This oil is actually used in the manufacturing of some 3D printers because it works so well, and can even give immediate results for noise reduction. Another benefit is how there is little to no odor unlike some other lubricants out there.
You can also use it successfully on your linear bearings for great results in your prints, while giving extra life and durability to your 3D printer. Most experts recommend using oil regularly for maintenance.
Get yourself some 3-In-One Multi-Purpose Oil from Amazon today.
White Lithium Grease Lubricant
You’ll hear plenty about White Lithium Grease if you are looking for a suitable lubricant for your 3D printer, or even other general items that require some maintenance. Permatex White Lithium Grease will work very well for lubricating your machine.
It is an all-purpose lubricant which has metal-to-metal applications, as well as metal-to-plastic. Moisture isn’t a problem for this lubricant and it can easily withstand high heats too.
Permatex white lithium grease makes sure that surfaces and movements are friction-free, allowing you to get that top quality from your 3D printer. You want to use it all around your 3D printer, especially on the lead screw and the guide rails.
You can also use it with door hinges, garage doors, latches and much more.
The White lithium grease is a great, weather-resistant lubricant, and it can also be easily removed and replaced when it’s time to replace it.
Many people who chose this lubricant over something like WD40 saw amazing results, especially to stop squeaks and screeches that occur.
If you are getting vibrations or feedback from the joints in your Z-axis, you can see much better elevation control after using this grease.
Get yourself some Permatex White Lithium Grease from Amazon.
DuPont Teflon Silicone Lubricant Aerosol Spray
Silicone lubricants are more popular among 3D enthusiasts as they are cheaper, easy to apply and non-toxic. A great one to go for which is easier to apply than the lubricants above is the DuPont Teflon Silicone Lubricant Aerosol Spray.
One user described this silicone spray as exactly what they needed for their 3D printer. This clean, light-duty lubricant is excellent for all types of materials and provides a great protection, as well as lubricant for your machine.
It helps prevent rust and corrosion too.
Get the DuPont Teflon Silicone Lubricant Aerosol Spray from Amazon.