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📐 Model positioning

The first rule in arranging a print in the laser sintering technology is to make the cross-section of a solid model as small as possible which guarantees the best quality-to-durability ratio. In large cross-section surfaces, there is an accumulation of heat inside the print, which may lead to internal stress of the material and result in the print edges curling up or down, especially in prints with right angles. Sinterit STUDIO has several tools to facilitate the arrangement of models. In the Models tab, you can manipulate model settings – pan, rotate and scale. Try to always keep the models within the white rectangle shown in the view, this will allow you to get a properly sintered 3D print. The tips below concern printing from PA12 SMOOTH and PA11 ONYX material. While using FLEXA or TPE powders, these rules are still valid but don’t have such a significant impact on the printouts.

1. Flat surfaces

In flat and thin surfaces, a lot of internal strain and shrinking occurs. Do not lay your models flat! The heat accumulating in the layers may cause deformation of your model. The best solution for this kind of model is to print it rotated by 45° on every axis. This will help to minimise the cross-section of the surface and release heat, which results in a better quality print.

EXCEPTION:
Flat surfaces of up to 12 cm2 or consisting of only one layer (e. g. a booklet page).


Fig.1: Incorrect arrangement of a flat model. In both cases, accumulation of heat may occur.

 


Fig.2: Correct arrangement of a flat model.

2. Solid blocks and boxes

The main rule in arranging the printing of a dense model, as in the case of flat surfaces, is to make the cross-section area as small as possible. In solid blocks and boxes, there is a significant accumulation of heat inside the block volume and local internal stress, which may deform the final product. The bending or curving of the block usually occurs at the corners.

2.1 Solid blocks
Solid blocks must be positioned so that no side exactly aligns with (is either parallel or perpendicular) the Print Beds walls. It is recommended to turn the model in all three axes, in the 15° to 85° range (45° for each axis is optimal). Arranging the models at an angle diminishes the heat accumulation in the following layers. With blocks with irregular angles or rounded surfaces, the rule of the smallest section surface possible also applies.


Fig.3: Incorrect arrangement of a solid block.

 


Fig.4: Recommended arrangement of a solid block.

EXCEPTION:
For cylinders with smooth surfaces, you will get the best effect by printing them vertically, along the Z-axis. However, it will not be a big mistake to arrange it at a 45° angle.


Fig.5: Recommended arrangement of the cylinder.

2.2 Boxes
The arrangement recommendation for boxes and closed blocks is the same as for solid blocks. Additionally, be sure not to put such models, especially boxes, upside down and/or cover them with a lid if they come with one. Even if the model’s sides are thin, the heat accumulated within the box may deform the print.


Fig.6: Incorrect arrangement of the box model.

 


Fig.7: Correct arrangement of the box model

3. Spheres, cylinders, pipe cylinders and other rounded objects

It is recommended to print cylinders and pipe cylinders with a smooth surface arranged vertically. However, sometimes this arrangement is not possible due to the size of the model. In such a case you will have to rotate it (preferably at an angle of 45 degrees). If the rounded model has details you also need to rotate it.


Fig.8: Correct arrangement of the cylinder with details.

4. Sharp details vs. smooth edges

If the model has some detailing, please orient the detailed surface upward. The detailed surface will be sharp, while the bottom surface will be smoother.

4.1 Sharp details
If one of the surfaces contains detailed features and you want them well-visible, the model should be put in such a way that the detail is facing up. It is essential to keep the cross-section area as small as possible.

IMPORTANT
Flat models with sharp details should be arranged at 45 degrees at each axis, with the detail facing up. This angle will allow both correct printing of the flat surface and a defined and strong detail.


Fig.9: Defined details, such as inscriptions, should be arranged face up.

4.2 Smooth edges
If you want to keep the detail smooth, arrange it upwards. Laying the part with the detail down will cause it to overrun.


Fig.10: The correct positioning of the detail for a smooth finish.

5. Openings and holes

If possible, any openings in the model should be laid flat (axes X and Y) and facing up (Fig.11). Arranging them vertically may result in the opening shape change e.g. from round to oval and/or not retaining the intended size after printing.


Fig.11: Correct arrangement of models with openings.

In case there is no other way (the model is too big or the flat surfaces bend), the model with openings should be arranged at an angle in all three axes (Fig.12). Please be aware that the round shapes may then be distorted.


Fig.12: Acceptable arrangement of models with openings.

6. Movable parts

If the model contains movable parts, please position it perpendicular/parallel to the printing chamber. This way, the joints will be the most accurate and if designed properly, the model should retain the intended articulation.


Fig.13: This arrangement should provide a movable model.

When the movable model is rotated, the joints would not be so accurate. This may make e.g the revolving joint immovable.


Fig.14: Incorrect arrangement, which may cause sticking of moving parts to surfaces.

✔️ Tips

How to store Sinterit powders

To be sure that the Sinterit powder is dry and ready for printing, You have to follow a few rules:

  • Store the powder in room condition ( ~23°C and 50% humidity – the lower humidity the better)
  • Always store the material in a sealed dry box/container.
  • Do not leave the container open.
  • Clean the machine right after the printing and store the material immediately after removing the print cake. 
  • Do not let the powder stay in the printer for more than a couple of hours.
  • Put a few silicone absorbers into the container (but do not forget about them when filling the printer)

If you have any questions contact Sinterit support.

How to dry Sinterit powders

The first sign of Sinterit powder water absorption is when it becomes sticky and dark. It may stick to the overflow bin, metal elements, and the recoater rotary shaft. The wet powder is not always granulated. 

To dry your powder you can try putting it in the regular kitchen oven for 3-4 hrs at 100℃. Put the powder into a tray. Spread the powder so there is a 2-4cm layer of it in the tray. Stir it from time to time. Fan forced circulation in the oven is also a good idea.

The nylon powders are highly hygroscopic and if they absorb water, they are very difficult to dry out. If the powder reaches high humidity it will become useless and the only solution is to purchase new powder.

If you have any questions contact Sinterit support.

What location to choose for the printer installation

As SLS printers are temperature sensitive, it is recommended to place the unit away from ventilation ducts or air conditioning units. To ensure that each side of the printer is at the same temperature, it is recommended for the printer to be placed at a distance from the wall. If one side is significantly cooler, the temperature sensors inside the printer might read an incorrect temperature.

For best performance, the printer should be placed on level ground on the Sinterit Platform.

If you have any questions contact Sinterit support.

How to swap from powder V1 to powder V2

If you still use V1 (discontinued) and you want to switch to V2 all you need to do is to print using V1 profile in the Sinterit Studio. After printing use a V2 Fresh powder to refresh. After refreshing the V1 powder with V2 Fresh three times you can switch to V2 profile.

If you have any questions contact Sinterit support.

How long can the powder stay in the printer

The optimal moment to remove the print from the printer is when the temperature of the top layer drops below 40°C. It’s strongly recommended to remove the printouts within 48 hours after the end of printing.

If you have any questions contact Sinterit support.

How to check the IP address of the printer

Go to “About” in the printer’s menu. If the printer is connected to a network you will see an IP address.

If you have any difficulties contact Sinterit support.

How to set the IP address manually

Currently, this option is not available.

If you have any questions contact Sinterit support.

How to check the MAC address of the printer

To check MAC address of the printer:

  • Check the IP address of your printer (Turn ON the printer and click ABOUT tab)
  • Make sure that the printer and the computer are connected to the same network (It is possible to check it in Sinterit Studio -> “PRINTERS” tab, if the device is visible, it means that they are connected to the same internet network; see picture attached)
  • Launch the command window (Start –> cmd) and type: arp -a
  • You will find the devices connected to the local network, the IP and MAC address (see picture attached)
  • Find the printer’s IP address and you will be able to check the MAC address.

Alternatively:

  • Create hotspot wifi by your telephone,
  • Connect the computer (where Sinterit Studio is installed) and the printer as well to the created hotspot,
  • Make sure that the printer and the computer are connected to the same network (It is possible to check it in Sinterit Studio -> “PRINTERS” tab, if the device is visible, it means that they are connected to the same internet network; see picture attached)
  • Launch the command window in Windows (Start –> cmd) and type: arp -a
  • You will find the devices connected to the local network, the IP and MAC address (see picture attached)
  • Find the printer’s IP address and you will be able to check the MAC address.

If you have any difficulties contact Sinterit support.

Nitrogen

Nitrogen consumption is approximately 0,51 m³/h (8,5 l/min) so 24h long print job requires 12,24 m³ of nitrogen gas (0,51 m³/h * 24 hour ~ 12,24 m³ of N2). But be aware, it is just an estimation, in perfect conditions, without any losses. It is recommended to use a tank with some reserve (a couple of extra m³ should be enough).

You can check how long a print will take in the “Slice” tab in Sinterit Studio after slicing a project (report window on the right site). You can also check the estimated amount of nitrogen gas (in m³) required for the print job.

Examples:

  • N2 20L 5,3m³ 300bar will last for approximately 10 working hours for 1 machine (without any losses).
  • N2 40l 6m³ 150bar will last for approximately 11 working hours for 1 machine (without any losses).

Nitrogen purity has to be at least 99,5%.

The recommended pressure set on a tank pressure reduction valve should be set to around 5-6 bars.

If you wish to connect a nitrogen generator instead make sure that it also can produce a flow rate of at least 10l/min (besides purity of 99,5% and pressure of 5 bar).

If you have any questions contact Sinterit support.

What type of coupling does the Lisa Pro printer use

EU standard 1/2 inch pneumatic quick coupling.

If you have any questions contact Sinterit support.

Where can I download Sinterit Studio

You can download the latest version of Sinterit Studio here:

Sinterit Studio – download

The demo version of Sinterit Studio can be used as a basic version or be upgraded (for eg. to Advanced).

🔧 Maintenance

How to replace recoater's short cord

The recoater cord is a consumable part and has to be replaced after 200-300 printing hours.

You will need: a new recoater cord and a 2mm hex wrench

  • Turn the printer on and open the printer lid.
  • Turn the printer off and unplug the power cable.
  • Move the recoater arm by hand to the middle of the printing chamber.
  • Remove two black screws on the side (Lisa)/top (Lisa Pro) of the recoater arm.
  • Remove the black recoater cover.
  • Unscrew the recoater cord from both sides. Mind the position of the spring.
  • (Lisa) Unscrew the mounting plate off the cord.
  • Remove the cord.
  • Thread the new cord through the recoater arm. Mind the position of the spring.
  • (Lisa) Screw the mounting plate to the new cord.
  • Screw the recoater cord in place.
  • Reinstall the recoater cover.

If you have any difficulties contact Sinterit support.

How to replace short infrared heater

The recoater cord is a consumable part and has to be replaced after 200-300 printing hours.

You will need: a new recoater cord and a 2mm hex wrench

  • Turn the printer on and open the printer lid.
  • Turn the printer off and unplug the power cable.
  • Move the recoater arm by hand to the middle of the printing chamber.
  • Remove two black screws on the side (Lisa)/top (Lisa Pro) of the recoater arm.
  • Remove the black recoater cover.
  • Unscrew the recoater cord from both sides. Mind the position of the spring.
  • (Lisa) Unscrew the mounting plate off the cord.
  • Remove the cord.
  • Thread the new cord through the recoater arm. Mind the position of the spring.
  • (Lisa) Screw the mounting plate to the new cord.
  • Screw the recoater cord in place.
  • Reinstall the recoater cover.

If you have any difficulties contact Sinterit support.

How to clean laser's protective glass

It is recommended to clean the laser protective glass regularly. 

You will need: cleaning wipes, rubber gloves and window cleaner (with alcohol)

  • Open the lid.
  • Remove the reflector split pin, be careful not to let the reflector drop.
  • Loosen two quick-release nuts be careful not to let the laser protective glass drop.
  • Remove the laser protective glass.
  • Clean the glass from both sides.
  • Reinstall the laser protective glass.

If the residue is hard to remove you can use salicylic spirit.

How to clean pyrometer glass

It is recommended to clean the pyrometer glass regularly.

You will need: cotton cloth, ethyl alcohol (or salicylic spirit, at least 95%) and rubber gloves

  • Open the lid.
  • Clean the glass with an alcohol-soaked cotton cloth in a circular motion.
  • Wipe off any residue with a dry cloth. Be careful not to scratch the glass surface.

If you have any difficulties contact Sinterit support.

How can I clean the recoater arm

Powder residue can accumulate on parts of the recoater arm. In order to clean the recoater arm:

  • prepare 4mm hex wrench
  • turn on the printer and open the printer lid
  • turn the printer off
  • remove the black recoater cover and recoater cord (see “How can I replace a worn-out recoater cord?” in this section.)
  • remove the two screws connecting the linear bearing and recoater arm
  • remove all the powder residue using compressed air and a brush
  • install the recoater arm back in the printer, make sure that the recoater arm is at the right angle in relation to the recoater arm guide shaft.
  • reinstall the recoater cord and recoater cover

How can I remove melted powder residue

The best way to remove the melted powder residue on the walls is to use a very sharp blade – be gentle to avoid scratching the cylinder wall. You can also consider using a brass brush with soft bristles, that won’t scratch the surface of the cylinder walls.

If you have any difficulties contact Sinterit support.

How can I clean the printer

It is very important not to use isopropyl alcohol on any parts of the printer. It might damage the pyrometer window module and discolor painted surfaces of the unit.

Regular alcohol-based window cleaner is recommended for the majority of surfaces. But pure (at least 95%) ethyl alcohol is recommended for the pyrometer window modules.

Using other solvents or cleaning solutions might damage the pyrometer window modules and affect print quality. 

When cleaning the printer with a vacuum cleaner remember to use a Sinterit ATEX-certified Vacuum Cleaner. Using uncertified vacuum cleaners may lead to starting a fire or explosion.

If you have any questions contact Sinterit support.

Sinterit Studio update

To get the update:

  • Go open Sinterit Studio on your PC and open the “Help” drop-down menu.
  • Select “Check for update…”.
  • Click “Install update” in the popup window.
  • The update will be downloaded and installed.
  • After the Sinterit Studio reopens you will be prompted to perform a printer firmware update.

If you have any difficulties contact Sinterit support.

Lisa Printer firmware update

After updating the Sinterit Studio you will be prompted to update the printer firmware. If not you can start this process manually.

  • Insert a FAT32-formatted USB drive into your PC.
  • Launch Sinterit Studio and select “Update Printer…” from the “Help” drop-down menu.
  • Select your printer model and the correct USB drive then click on “Create Update USB Drive”.
  • Wait for the process to finish.
  • Safely remove the USB drive from your PC.
  • Make sure that your printer is turned off. Insert the drive into the printer and then turn it on.
  • Wait for the update to finish.
  • Remember to remove the drive from the printer and remove the update files from the drive

If you have any difficulties contact Sinterit support.

How to replace Feed Bed Insulation

Every time you change from a lower melting point material to a higher melting point material you should swap the seal cords.

You will need: Sinterit Lisa (PRO) Feed Bed Sealing Kit, rubber gloves, a stainless steel probe and a plastic spatula.

  • Turn on the printer and open the lid
  • Turn the printer off and unplug the power cord.
  • Remove the four screws that hold the feed bed plate in place.
  • Using the probe, remove the old seals.
  • Install bottom layer of seal – it consists of four short layers of rope.
  • The second layer consists of one long loop. The end should meet near the hinges.

If you have any difficulties contact Sinterit support.

How to replace Print Bed Insulation

Every time you change from a lower melting point material to a higher melting point material you should swap the seal cords. It is a good idea to clean off the powder residues on the walls before performing the insulation swap.

You will need: Sinterit Lisa (PRO) Print Bed Sealing Kit, rubber gloves, a stainless steel probe and a plastic spatula.

  • Turn on the printer and open the lid
  • Turn the printer off and unplug the power cord.
  • Remove the four screws that hold the print bed plate in place. Be careful not to damage the wires that are attached to the heaters underneath.
  • Using the probe, remove the old seals.
  • Install bottom layer of seal – it consists of four short layers of rope. (note, there are two pairs, and one pair s slightly longer than the other)
  • The second layer consists of one long loop. The end should meet near the overflow bin.
  • The third layer consists of one long loop as well. This time the end should meet near the middle of the printer.

If you have any difficulties contact Sinterit support.

⚠️ Troubleshooting

The recoater arm vibrates when moving.

Sometimes you can see that the recoater arm is vibrating when moving (eg. during levelling procedure). This might be caused by insufficient oiling of the recoater guide shaft. To make sure that the recoater linear bearing is moving smoothly:

  • turn the printer on
  • go to the Advanced mode and then to the Mechanics tab,
  • move the feed bed down, (approx. 2cm below the printing chamber level)
  • start the levelling procedure
  • apply the silicone oil on the recoater guide shaft generously.
  • repeat applying through a few recoater passes

Cleaning the recoater arm and replacing the recoater cord might also help minimize recoater arm vibrations. (see “How can I replace a worn-out recoater cord?” and “How can I clean the recoater arm?” in the Maintenance section)

If the issue persists please contact Sinterit Support.

A yellow triangle with the number 202 appears on the screen.

Error #202 indicates a low oxygen level in the room. Make sure there are no leaks on nitrogen tanks and the nitrogen flow is cut off. Ventilate the room for at least 2 hours.

If the issue persists please contact Sinterit Support.

A yellow triangle with the number 84 appears on the screen.

Error #84 indicates a communication issue within the printer. This error doesn’t affect the print quality and should go away after the printer firmware update. Please see “How to update the printer firmware?” in the Maintenance section.

If the issue persists please contact Sinterit Support.

Unsatisfying quality of printouts

If the printout doesn’t meet your expectations, first check if the models’ geometry and placement is correct. You can download the “How to position models” tutorial from the Sinterit website. 

If the geometry and positioning of the models are correct, check if:

  • all of the short infrared heaters are lighting up, 
  • the recoater cord is in good condition,
  • the powder is in good condition, 
  • the pyrometer window modules are clean
  • the recoater arm is moving smoothly

If the issue persists please contact Sinterit Support.

I can’t see models in the Models tab in Sinterit Studio software.

Some rendering methods might have problems working with Windows PCs which cause the models in Sinterit Studio not to appear correctly. In order to change the default rendering method:

  • go to the Setting tab and select Display settings
  • choose OpenGL or OpenGL ES to see which rendering method works best with your PC.

If the issue persists please contact Sinterit Support.

Sinterit Studio shows message: “The model file is invalid (negative volume). It may produce incorrect *.scode files. Do you want to load it anyway?"

Sometimes, when exporting your 3D models as *.stl files an error may occur which causes the file to save with a gap between some polygons. Sinterit Studio cannot print such a file. If you have a faulty *.stl file:

  • go to Microsoft 3D Builder (you can download this app for free from Microsoft Store on your Windows 10 PC),
  • open the *.stl file,
  • click import model in the top right corner,
  • an error message will appear in the bottom left corner
  • click fix to fix the problem the process might take a short while
  • save the new *.stl file

If the issue persists please contact Sinterit Support.

Sinterit studio can’t find the Lisa printer in the network

Possible reasons are:

  • UDP traffic is being blocked (UDP is being used for discovering the printer in the network),
  • port 8888 is being blocked (it is being used for communication),
  • the printer has to be in the same subnet (it’s hard to judge by the IP),
  • there is no DHCP server set in the network.

If you checked all of the above you can check the connection via ping

  • launch the command window in Windows (Start –> cmd) and type: ping
  • after a space type IP address of the printer (eg.: ping 192.168.0.1) and press Enter

If you can successfully ping the printer, contact the administrator of your network.

If the test fails you can try connecting via phone:

  • launch Wi-Fi access point on your phone.
  • Connect your PC (with Sinterit Studio installed) and the printer to your phone
  • Check if the Sinterit Studio can discover the printer.

If you can successfully connect to the printer, contact the administrator of your network.

If you have any difficulties contact Sinterit support.

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