3D Printer Cooling: You know they exist, but you may not understand why. This brief and simple article will go over what type of cooling system you can use and what they’re used for in our favorite equipment.
The application of additive manufacturing, often known as 3D printing, is expanding rapidly. 3D printing has progressed far beyond the simple printing of equipment, fittings, and prototypes to the complete manufacture of sturdy, dependable goods utilized in a wide range of sectors.
Nevertheless, if you do not adequately cool them, you may experience issues. 3D printing generates a large quantity of heat energy during the printing process, particularly when generating more complicated objects. Without an excellent cooling system, this might possibly harm your machine.
For cooling the 3D printing equipment, you can use an air cooling system like a cooling fan or a water cooling system. But before using it, you should know why you need a cooling system.
Why is it Important to get a Cooling System?
A 3D printing functions by placing the material, like PLA thermoplastics, in levels until a solid structure based on a computer file is formed. As more producers, enthusiasts, and businesses explore this technique’s possibilities, they’ve also created new approaches to increase the finished product’s quality. Using a cooling system to increase bridging and overhang efficiency is one of these techniques.
A cooling system is essential for a 3D printed product’s optimal efficiency. It may be designed to run at various rates throughout the printing process, which has several advantageous effects. Stringing is a problem that happens when the equipment cannot swiftly eliminate the force that pulls the thermoplastic material out of the head. Applying a cooling fan with varying speeds improves the consistency of a 3D print. It keeps it less reliant on the surrounding temperature at the moment.
A printer cooling system will protect your equipment from harm during the printing process. It will balance the heat generated, making the equipment work more efficiently. That’s why you should use a cooling system before beginning a 3D printing work that needs the machine to produce through gaps or build overhangs at steep angles.
A cooling system might be a game-changer when it comes to producing high-quality prints. A cooling system can help you produce a cleaner, more attractive end result by reducing stringing if used appropriately. A 3D printer needs cooling in various parts of its machinery. But not every part absolutely requires a cooling system. Read on to know more about it.
3D Printer Parts where Cooling Systems are utilized
When it comes to 3D printers, there are five places where a cooling system is commonly used:
- Control Board: Cooling systems are applied to cool the printer’s essential circuitry, like the CPU and motor drivers. It is critical to keep these parts cold to last a long time.
- Hot End: The cooling fan can be located near the cold side or heat sink of the printer’s hot side. Throughout a print, they are utilized to protect all except the heating unit and nozzle from becoming overheated.
- 3D Prints: Part Cooling systems pump a flow of cold air directly beneath the nozzle, cooling down newly produced plastic.
- Power Supply: A cooling fan in a power supply safeguards the high-power transistors, resistors, and transformers from getting too hot under pressure.
- Motor: Cooling systems are significantly less frequent here. However, stepper motors in 3D printers may include a condenser to ensure functioning at an appropriate temperature.
However, do you really require a cooling system on your printer in all of these places? The quick answer is most likely. Except for motors, every one of the components mentioned above ought to have a cooling system. However, you don’t have to bother about the fan in the power supply. Power supplies are generally self-contained and do not need alteration.
Now, you must be wondering what kind of cooling system you should apply or which is the most beneficial? In that case, first, take a look at these factors that you should consider before deciding on a cooling system.
Essential Factors to Consider before picking a Cooling System
To guarantee that both systems perform effectively and consistently for many years, connecting an adequate cooling system with a 3d printing machine is critical. In this article, I’ll go over some essential elements to think about when choosing a cooling system to secure your significant investment in a 3d printing machine.
The first consideration is the necessary cooling capacity, which is stated in kilowatt-hours (kW) or BTU/hr. During the selection procedure, it is crucial to note that additional parameters like the fluid’s discharge temperature may affect a cooling system’s capability.
Evaluate Air-Cooled vs. Water-Cooled Alternatives
The second consideration is to expel heat into the air or inside a water plant or liquid supply. Energy is transformed to heat in an air cooling system like a cooling fan. The heat source is eliminated from the condenser in the water cooling system. Because both offer benefits and downsides, you must carefully select the best one for you.
The third aspect to examine is the cooling system’s electrical setup. The cooler should always be suited for the area where it will be put and linked to the proper power supply. The first task is to decide if the cooler must run on 50 Hz, 60 Hz, or both frequencies. The second stage is to determine the voltages applied to the power supply. The final step is to ensure that the power supply is appropriately sized.
The last critical component is determining if the cooling system requires communication with the 3d printing machine. Electronic technologies are rapidly being combined to produce smart devices. It is typical for the cooling system to be linked to the 3d printing machine and convey information like current water temperature, temperature reference value, and condition.
Considering these essential criteria throughout the specification phase might assist you in choosing the best cooling system design for your machine. Effectively assessing these parameters will aid in the long-term reliability of your 3D printer and the protection of your asset.
Types of 3D Printer Cooling System
You can choose between using a water cooling or cooling fan for your 3D printing machine. Both have their own pros and cons. Continue reading to learn more about the many types of cooling systems.
Air Cooling System or Cooling Fans
A cooling fan is an essential part of a 3d printing cooling system that removes all heat produced during the printing process. And it balances the heat dissipated from the machine and increases the printing speed and quality.
The cooling fan is made to move airflow. They either force cool air to overheated parts or draw hot air from confined places. In any case, they produce a cooling effect. As discussed before, the cooling fan can increase the 3D printer’s optimal efficiency.
It can be designed to operate at various speeds throughout the printing process, which has several advantageous effects. Applying a cooling fan with varying speeds improves the consistency of a 3D print. It keeps it less reliant on the surrounding temperature at the moment. It can eliminate issues like Stringing. For good printing speed, one of the most crucial parts of the 3D printer is the layer fan.
The layer fan is a tiny fan installed in the 3d printing head and directed towards the produced component to cool the material as it exits the hot side.
The layer fan’s function is to cool the layered plastic so that the component hardens fast and the molten material does not get distorted. One of the secrets to high-quality 3D printing is an appropriate fit layer fan. Also, regulating the layer fan speed improves the printing quality.
Importance of Layer Fan
Every user has attempted to print small parts with the nozzle slowly inching in the same place, causing an increase of warmth that weakens the small part. A similar thing happens while printing long, narrow pieces, like a tiny diameter cylinder, where heat builds in the exact location and severely changes the shape of the small part. Another common type of displacement is seen in steep cantilevers, wherein the still-hot materials are distorted by being hung in the air until it hardens. All of these issues are easily handled by appropriately employing the layer fan.
The initial layer must stick to the foundation with enough hardness at the start of printing so that it would not pull off through processing. It is accomplished by employing a substance that enhances adhesion and maintains the temperature steady, necessitating turning off the layer fan on the previous layer. After the print has reached a specific height, the layer fan speed in each level should be modified to the object’s shape.
What Type of 3D Printer is Compatible with Cooling Fan
Because of its minimal softening point, PLA is the best substance of choice for a cooling fan. It implies that if the nozzle is left in the exact location for an extended length of time, the item will undergo permanent distortion. As a result, the layer fans work as an essential part of every FDM 3D printer that employs PLA or a composite substance-using polymer as a basis. Also, a layer fan and cooling fan are best for PETG, PP, and PVA as a material.
The layer fan is unsuitable with ABS and ASA. It is due to the ABS’s sensitivity to heat loss overdrafts, such as sudden rises that produce cracking and printing difficulties. As a result, it is critical to utilize ABS and ASA totally enclosed.
However, the cooling fan may not be sufficient to manage the heat of the motor and the other parts of the printing machine, mainly when it is operating at peak capacity. To utilize the cooling fan, the cooling period is too high. When this occurs, the filaments may abruptly melt, which can severely impact the printer’s efficiency and print quality. For that, a water cooling system is usually better than an air cooling system.
Water Cooling System
Water cooling is a technique for removing heat from parts and heavy machinery. The water cooling effect is frequently more effective than the air cooling system in 3D printing. Water is cheap and non-toxic. It also reduces the cooling time for the printing machine.
The system flows liquid from the motor to the radiator, tubers, and fans. A tiny compressor is installed within the machine to create cooling water and move it continuously. By doing so, heat is transferred from the hot liquid in the radiator, causing water temperatures to fall. The cooler fluid then flows to the engine. The process repeats as long as the machine is turned on.
Advantages of Water Cooling System
Water cooling systems are preferred for 3D printers as they provide a clear advantage:
- Can tolerate high-temperature conditions and high power requirements.
- More dependable than air-cooled systems.
- When applied with the proper printer, it is energy-efficient.
- Increases the printing speed with better cooling efficiency.
- Increases installation choices and improves heat dissipation.
To reap the benefits of a water cooling system, you have to couple it with the appropriate type of 3D printer.
What Type of 3D Printer is Compatible with Water Cooling System
Water cooling systems are advised for 3D printers that reach 210 degrees Centigrade or higher temperatures. It is also strongly advisable for 3D printers to be used in high-temperature situations.
It’s not a good idea for 3D printers to be heated. It is due to the fact that they must only be heating up right before they discharge from the hot side, or else they will clog the extruder and harm the equipment. That’s why there is a cooling system surrounding it to keep the temperature from rising too much.
Utilizing cooling fans rather than a water cooling system appears to be a good option since water cooling systems are generally more expensive. However, a water cooling system is advised for higher printing speed and improved printing output. Water cooling systems are far more effective at controlling the temperature of a 3D printer.