Unconventional Environments The Feasibility of 3D Printing Outside

Unconventional Environments: The Feasibility of 3D Printing Outside

Wondering if you can use 3D printing technology in unconventional environments? Look no further! In this article, we’ll explore the feasibility of 3D printing outdoors and discuss the crucial factors for successful printing in outdoor settings. We’ll cover everything from choosing the right UV and water-resistant filament to understanding how environmental conditions impact print quality. Plus, we’ll provide insights on storing and maintaining your 3D printer for optimal performance. Whether you’re a hobbyist or professional, get ready to unlock the potential of outdoor 3D printing!

Suitable Filaments for Outdoor 3D Printing

When considering suitable filaments for outdoor 3D printing, PETG and ASA are excellent options to explore. PETG filament offers high durability and impact resistance, making it ideal for withstanding outdoor conditions. ASA filament, on the other hand, provides excellent UV resistance and is highly durable, making it a reliable choice for outdoor applications. Both filaments offer the necessary properties to ensure successful and long-lasting prints in unconventional environments.


One suitable filament for outdoor 3D printing is PETG, which offers excellent durability and resistance to weathering. PETG filament has several advantages for outdoor use. It is highly durable and impact-resistant, making it ideal for withstanding harsh environmental conditions. PETG also exhibits excellent flexibility, allowing it to withstand extreme temperatures without warping or cracking. However, PETG does have limitations. Prolonged exposure to UV rays can cause degradation, so it is important to consider the level of UV resistance required for your specific outdoor application. Additionally, proper maintenance and storage conditions are crucial for maximizing the lifespan of PETG prints. It is recommended to store PETG filament in a cool, dry place to prevent moisture absorption and degradation. Overall, PETG filament provides a viable solution for outdoor 3D printing due to its strength, resistance to weathering, and flexibility.


To continue the discussion from the previous subtopic on PETG filament, another suitable filament for outdoor 3D printing is ASA, known for its excellent performance in challenging outdoor environments. ASA filament offers several benefits for outdoor applications, including high UV resistance, dimensional stability, moisture resistance, and durability against impacts and wear. When compared to polycarbonate, ASA filament provides similar UV resistance without the risk of discoloration. To successfully print ASA filament in unconventional environments, it is important to control temperature, humidity, and ventilation to avoid print quality issues. Proper storage and handling of ASA filament is crucial for maintaining its longevity and performance. Store ASA filament in a dry and cool environment, preferably in airtight containers or zip-lock bags with desiccants to prevent moisture absorption. Following these best practices will ensure successful outdoor 3D printing with ASA filament.

Environmental Factors Affecting Print Quality

You need to consider environmental factors that can affect the print quality when 3D printing outside. Proper humidity control, temperature regulation, and ventilation systems are crucial to ensure optimal print quality and prevent any potential issues. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

– Humidity Control and Moisture Resistance:
– High humidity can damage printer electronics and printing materials, so it is important to control the humidity level.
– Recommended relative humidity should not exceed 50% to prevent moisture-related problems.
– Store printing materials in a zip-lock bag or BCN3D Smart Cabinet after use to protect them from moisture.
– Filaments with water resistance, such as Nylon and TPU, are suitable for outdoor use due to their ability to withstand exposure to moisture.

– Temperature Regulation and Impact Resistance:
– Maintain a suitable room temperature between 15ºC and 30ºC to avoid print quality issues.
– Very hot environments can cause material flow or shrinkage problems, while very cold environments can lead to warping and delamination.
– Filaments with high durability and impact resistance, like ASA and Polycarbonate, are recommended for outdoor use to withstand impacts and wear.

Proper Storage and Handling of Printing Materials

To ensure the longevity and quality of your 3D prints outdoors, it is essential to properly handle and store your printing materials. One of the main factors to consider is humidity control. High humidity can lead to material degradation and moisture absorption, affecting the performance and durability of your prints. To prevent this, it is recommended to store your printing materials in a zip-lock bag or a BCN3D Smart Cabinet after use. This helps to minimize exposure to moisture and maintain the integrity of the filaments. Additionally, proper ventilation is crucial to prevent the accumulation of harmful gases during printing. Make sure to provide adequate airflow in your printing area to ensure a safe and controlled environment. When handling the materials, it is important to take precautions to avoid any damage. This includes wearing gloves to prevent oils from your skin transferring onto the filament, as well as handling the spools with care to avoid any physical damage. By following these storage and handling guidelines, you can ensure the optimal performance and lifespan of your 3D printing materials.

Choosing the Right Location for Printer Installation

When considering the installation of your 3D printer, it is important to choose a suitable location that provides sufficient space for easy access and maintenance. Here are some key points to consider when selecting the right place for your printer:

– Printer Placement:
– Ensure that the printer has enough space on all sides to allow for easy access during maintenance procedures.
– Install the printer on a solid and robust surface to absorb vibrations and prevent any potential movement during operation.

– Working Environment:
– Temperature, humidity, and ventilation are crucial factors that can affect the printer’s mechanics, electronics, and print quality. Control these variables to avoid short and long-term problems.
– The room temperature should be maintained between 15ºC and 30ºC to prevent any print quality issues.
– Extremely hot environments can cause material flow or shrinkage problems, while very cold environments can lead to warping and delamination.

– Safety Guidelines:
– Check the installation area specifications provided by the printer manufacturer for different printer models to ensure proper installation requirements are met.
– Consult the safety guide for installation area recommendations to ensure a safe working environment.
– Seek tips and information from the forum community to gain insights from experienced users.

Importance of Regular Printer Maintenance

Regular printer maintenance is crucial to ensure optimal performance and longevity of your 3D printer, as it allows you to address any potential issues and keep the printer in good shape. By following a maintenance schedule, you can reap the benefits of a well-maintained printer. One of the key aspects of printer maintenance is troubleshooting common printer issues. Regularly checking for and addressing issues such as clogged nozzles, filament jams, or calibration problems can prevent major issues down the line. Additionally, cleaning and lubricating printer components is essential to ensure smooth operation. Dust, debris, and residue can accumulate over time, affecting the printer’s performance. Regular cleaning and lubrication of components such as the extruder, build plate, and belts can help maintain optimal printer performance. By implementing a regular maintenance routine, you can ensure that your 3D printer functions at its best, producing high-quality prints consistently. So, don’t overlook the importance of regular printer maintenance in ensuring optimal performance and longevity of your 3D printer.

Additional Resources for Tips and Information

Exploring the BCN3D forum community provides valuable tips and information for improving your 3D printing skills and knowledge. Here are some additional resources that can assist you in troubleshooting and enhancing your printing experience:

– Tips and Techniques:
– The BCN3D forum community is a hub of shared knowledge and expertise. Browse through the threads and discussions to find tips and techniques from experienced users.
– Online forums dedicated to 3D printing, such as Reddit’s r/3Dprinting or the Ultimaker Community, are also great sources of information. Engage in discussions and ask questions to get valuable insights from the community.

– Community Support:
– Joining online communities and forums allows you to connect with a network of 3D printing enthusiasts who can offer guidance and support. Share your experiences, seek advice, and learn from others’ successes and challenges.

Lifespan and Storage of PLA Filament

To ensure the longevity and optimal performance of your PLA prints, it is important to understand the lifespan and proper storage techniques for PLA filament. PLA filament can last for 12 to 18 years under normal room temperature conditions. However, 3D printed objects made from PLA can last from a month to many years, depending on storage conditions. PLA can break down at different rates depending on its environment, so it is crucial to take steps to prevent degradation.

PLA filament does not have an expiry date, but it can degrade if exposed to humidity or direct sunlight. Factors that affect filament life include moisture, mechanical stress, filament quality, and proper storage and handling. To prevent degradation, it is recommended to store PLA filament in vacuum-sealed containers with desiccants to prevent moisture absorption. Proper storage in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight can also help prolong the lifespan of PLA filament.

Compared to other filaments like ABS and PETG, PLA filament generally has a shorter lifespan. ABS filament can fade, absorb moisture, and grow bacteria over time, while PETG filament can degrade when exposed to moisture. Both ABS and PETG filaments generally last longer than PLA, but proper storage and protection can help extend the lifespan of PLA prints.

PLA Material and Production

Now let’s delve into the production process and characteristics of PLA (Polylactic Acid) material.

– Advantages of PLA:
– PLA is produced from environmentally-friendly raw materials such as cornstarch, tapioca roots, or sugarcane.
– It is a biodegradable plastic commonly used in 3D printing.
– PLA is the most common 3D printer material.
– It is extruded from renewable materials.
– PLA is considered an eco-friendly alternative to traditional plastics.

– PLA vs ABS:
– PLA is more environmentally friendly than ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), which is derived from petroleum.
– PLA has a lower melting point, making it easier to print with.
– PLA has less warping and shrinkage issues compared to ABS.
– PLA has a slight advantage in terms of print quality and surface finish.

– PLA vs PETG:
– PLA and PETG (Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol) have similar printability.
– PLA is more brittle, while PETG is more flexible and impact-resistant.
– PLA has better biodegradability compared to PETG.
– PETG has higher chemical resistance and is more suitable for functional parts.

– PLA production process:
– PLA is synthesized from renewable sources through a process called polymerization.
– The raw materials undergo fermentation, purification, and polymerization to create the PLA polymer.
– The polymer is then melted and extruded into filament form for 3D printing.

– PLA environmental impact:
– PLA has a lower carbon footprint compared to petroleum-based plastics.
– PLA is biodegradable, meaning it can break down naturally over time.
– However, PLA requires specific conditions, such as high temperatures and humidity, for effective degradation.
– Proper disposal methods should be followed to ensure PLA is composted in industrial facilities rather than in home compost bins.

Degradation and Prevention of PLA Filament

You frequently need to consider the degradation and prevention of PLA filament when using 3D printing outside. PLA filament can degrade over time when exposed to unfavorable conditions such as moisture and direct sunlight. To prevent degradation, it is crucial to ensure filament quality and proper storage conditions.

Moisture absorption is one of the main factors that can lead to PLA filament degradation. When exposed to high humidity levels, PLA can absorb moisture, which can cause the filament to become brittle and affect print quality. To prevent moisture absorption, it is recommended to store PLA filament in vacuum-sealed containers or with desiccants, which help to remove excess moisture from the filament.

Another factor that can contribute to the degradation of PLA filament is UV exposure. Direct sunlight can cause PLA to degrade and lose its original shape. To prevent this, it is advisable to minimize the exposure of PLA prints to sunlight and use UV-resistant coatings or paints to protect them.

In addition to moisture and UV exposure, filament quality and proper storage conditions are essential for preventing degradation. Ensure that you purchase high-quality PLA filament from reputable suppliers. Store the filament in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. By taking these measures, you can prolong the lifespan of your PLA filament and maintain the quality of your 3D prints.

Comparison With Other Filaments

When comparing PLA filament to other filaments, it is important to consider factors such as durability, resistance to moisture and UV exposure, and shelf life. PLA has certain advantages and disadvantages when compared to different filaments:

– PLA vs ABS:
– PLA is more biodegradable and environmentally friendly than ABS.
– ABS has better impact resistance and can withstand higher temperatures compared to PLA.

– PLA vs Nylon:
– Nylon filament is more water-resistant and flexible than PLA.
– PLA has better dimensional stability and is easier to print with compared to Nylon.

– PLA vs TPU:
– TPU filament is more flexible and has better impact resistance than PLA.
– PLA has better printability and is more rigid compared to TPU.

– PLA vs Polycarbonate:
– Polycarbonate filament has better heat resistance and impact strength than PLA.
– PLA is easier to print with and has better dimensional accuracy compared to Polycarbonate.

– PLA vs ASA:
– ASA filament has better UV resistance and weather resistance compared to PLA.
– PLA is more environmentally friendly and easier to print with compared to ASA.

Considering these factors, it is essential to choose the filament that best suits your specific requirements and the intended application of your 3D printed objects.


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