Apr. 10, 2015 | By Alec

Theoretically, 3D printing technology can be used to make just about anything. Even a basic desktop FDM 3D printer should be capable of creating diverse, complex and unnatural shapes, just about anything you can imagine. But the reality is that most users only 3D print basic geometric shapes. So really how do we know what our 3D printers are capable of? And are they 100% accurate all the time?

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to find out and it won’t take more than an hour to do. Just 3D print the #3DBenchy boat, a model that has been specifically designed for testing and benchmarking 3D printers. It’s a small and recognizable boat that can be used by your kids at bath time should everything be successful, and is completely free to download, 3D print and share.

As the team behind 3DBenchy explain, every 3D-printing process can end differently based on the settings for printing speed, layer heights, surface smoothness and material consumption. 3D printing the #3DBenchy will help you find out what the best settings for your FDM 3D printer are, and all you need to do is press print. Download the file from Thingiverse here, and print it on a 1:1 scale, with a layer height of 0.2 mm, an infill of 10%, an extrusion print speed of 50 mm/s and a travel print speed of 150 mm/s.

Really the only thing you have to keep an eye on is the results. For the #3DBenchy team have developed a set of results that will help you to optimally calibrate your 3D printer through the little boat model. 3D printing itself will roughly take one hour, after which you will have to get your caliper out and measure the following areas of the boat for dimensional accuracy, tolerances, warping and deviations from the original parameters:

  • Bridge roof length (front and rear surfaces of the roof should be parallel at a distance of 23.00 mm).
  • Chimney roundness (cylindrical hole and outer top part of the chimney measure 3.00 and 7.00 mm in diameter. The depth of the blind hole measures 11.00 mm).
  • Horizontal overall-length (from bow to stern should be 60.00 mm).
  • Horizontal overall-width (from port to starboard should be 31.00 mm).
  • Vertical overall-height (from top to bottom 48.00 mm, with the top of the box 15.50 mm above the bottom).
  • Cargo-box size (box should be 12.00 x 10.81 mm on the outside and 8.00 x 7.00 mm on the inside, 9.00 mm deep).
  • Hawsepipe diameter (inner diameter 4.00 mm, depth of the flange 0.30 mm.).
  • Bridge front window size (front window 10.50 x 9.50 mm.).
  • Bridge rear window size (inner diameter 9.00 mm., outer 12.00 mm., depth 0.30 mm.).
  • Bow overhang inclination (40° overhang angle to the horizontal plane).
  • Bridge roof inclination (lopes at a 5.5° angle to the horizontal plane).
  • Small-detail stern nameplate (letters extruded 0.10 mm.).

For a full overview of all these points, along with clarifying pictures, go here.

Does your 3D printer succeed on all these points? Congratulations. And while small deviations are hardly a disaster, this little boat can help you to find out more about the weak points of your machine and can be used as guidelines for recalibrating the machine. These settings are also a valuable asset in determining differences between several printers, so it’s definitely worth checking out!



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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Nick S wrote at 4/13/2015 1:31:05 AM:

You can get the file over at https://pinshape.com/items/4786-3d-printed-3dbenchy-the-jolly-3d-printing-torture-test and share your print settings with the rest of the community as well!

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