In 2019, 3D printing is a skill, a craft a trade. Software is getting better, and can fill in many gaps, but when it comes to performance thermoplastics, there's no substitute for a trained eye and experienced operator to create successful 3D printed parts.

With so many variables, and undiscovered methods and techniques, the world of FDM HPP’s is still very much in the “wild west” stages.

Every failure is another step towards mastery. Every failure teaches you something new about your part that you must master to get better. And, every failure takes you a step in the direction of getting that part perfectly tuned in.

One of the best things about a part failure is that you can see exactly how it failed, where it failed, and why it failed.

If you’re 3D printing with the expectation of getting parts right the first time, you’ll set yourself up for disappointment. Like riding a bike, most people don’t get it right the first time. Especially true in high performance polymers (HPP's), today, it takes a few iterations to get it right -- then, you're set up, and ready for production.

It works this way almost every time -- after several iterations, many learning lessons, finally, we’ve got the perfect part, and we’ve made it. Then we add that to our reference experience for all the parts we print in the future, and it makes us better overall.

Once you realize that a part failure isn’t really a failure, when you realize that it’s all a learning process, then you can begin teaching yourself exactly what you need to do next time. Over time, you’ll intuitively understand what a shape demands, what a filament demands, and what ways you need to calibrate your printer and your part.

Once you've gone through the failures, and found the solutions, then -- and only then -- can you hit print over, and over, and over -- generating perfect parts every time.

3D printing is a science, but also an art. Because software is still catching up with the human mind, FDM 3D printing is truly still a craft at it's core. Take that mindset into your venture, and you're set up to come out the other side with a result you can be proud of.

At Vision Miner, we specialize in FDM/FFF 3D printing high-performance plastics like PEEK, ULTEM, PPSU, PPS, CFPA, and more. If you're interested in using functional 3D printing and materials in your business, feel free to reach out, and we can help you make the right choice for your application. Call 833-774-6863 or email [email protected], and we're here to help!