There is more to 3D printing than just owning a 3D printer. Several tools are needed to help in creating and finishing printed objects, as well as to aid in maintenance and repair. For anyone who has built their own 3D printer from scratch, they most likely already possess many of the tools I am going to talk about in this article. For those who have bought a pre-built printer, their printer most likely did not come with any of the tools needed other than a screwdriver or an Allen wrench, but even those are scarce in pre-built printers.
Not everyone is into creating their own objects to print in a precise manner, but if you own a 3D printer, there will come a time when the printer will need to be serviced, and without the proper tools this becomes a very difficult, if not impossible job.
On the other side of the equation, an entirely different set of tools are needed to finish 3D printed objects if precision and accuracy are needed, or simply for better aesthetic results. Many of these tools are also staples in every Maker's took arsenal, so if you are reading this, chances are you already have everything you need.
I am going to break this article down into three categories: General Use, Maintenance, and Part Creation / Finishing. General use tools will be what I consider to be staples that should remain within arm's reach of the printer at all times, as they are frequently used during the printer prep, and print removal process.
Maintenance tools consist of those tools that might be needed to disassemble the extruder, or other parts of the printer in the event of a jam, or failure of the axis drive system such as a broken belt, or failed stepper gear. Part Creation / Finishing tools will cover what I like to use to finish out my 3D Prints for fit, as well as finish.
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