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How To Transport 3D Printers Safely and Securely

Introduction

Transporting or shipping a 3D printer can be a nerve-wracking thought. They are somewhat delicate pieces of equipment with many moving parts.

There are many aspects that need to be considered when transporting 3D printers. You need to take as much care as possible when packing the printer, as any broken parts could end up costing a hefty sum to replace and may stop your 3D printer from working.  

As long as you follow a few key steps, you will be able to ship your 3D printer wherever you need to with little risk of damage.

Whether you’re mailing it via a courier or just want to take it with you on the train, the procedure is the same.

In order to maintain the integrity and functionality of such a sophisticated piece of equipment, you just need to take all the appropriate measures and keep track of the safety needs of every part and component that you have in your unit.

The goal is to keep everything where it needs to be and to preemptively address the type of potential impact that it is likely to encounter on its journey from point A to point B.

It is worth noting that it doesn’t need to be a particularly small or large model printer for it to necessitate special considerations for, particularly vulnerable parts.

Anticipating potential scenarios is key in making sure that your 3D printer is protected to the extent that it will work properly upon arrival at its final destination.

Secure Loose Components

Like with so many packages that make their way across the globe on a daily basis, one of the biggest priorities is to make sure that your printer undergoes a safe travel experience.

So, you need to ensure that different vulnerable components are isolated and subsequently tightly secured within the packaging that you are sending.

The mode of transportation should also be considered thoroughly, as there is a considerable difference between sending it by plane, than just moving it in the back of your car.

In all cases, you need to take your 3D printer apart and package the different parts tightly and securely, so they don’t become loose and come into contact with the other parts.

What you need to bear in mind is that 3D printers have very small component parts that are especially susceptible to damage. These are the ones that you really need to focus on when packaging the 3D printer.

It is not ideal to have loose parts and components bouncing around and/or knocking against anything, which is likely to cause damage. Therefore, they need to be secured tightly in one place. A printing arm is one example, and in most models, it is quite minuscule and narrow, so you need to make sure that it isn’t left loose.

A very good idea that many people have when packing their 3D printer is to affix the different parts with zip ties. They’re very affordable and do the job quite well. This will do wonders as far as stabilizing components that should not be moving around too much.

Zip ties are also great for ensuring that the different parts that you have taken apart do indeed have more than enough space from one another.

Pay special attention to loose and moveable pieces, as these have some of the most delicate components. Where different parts of a printer meet, are the areas that should be especially considered for protective measures as their functionality may be affected greatly even if they sustain just a minimal amount of damage.

Glass Print Beds

As you might already have considered, glass parts need to have special attention as they are amongst the most fragile parts. A very effective method is to have them bubble wrapped, in order to make sure that they don’t get scratched or break. Many glass beds will fit into a padded envelope, which is a convenient method of protection.

Be wary of loose components hitting the glass, and also the print nozzle moving during transit and scratching the bed.

Cables

Remember to unplug all the cables that are found in the back of the unit, or the jacks could get twisted and stretched. You should do this in a particular order and add labels if possible so that you can keep track of where it all has to go back. Otherwise, you might have trouble hooking it all back up again when it comes to that part. One thing that you can do is to take a picture before you unplug anything so that you have a record of where exactly every cable is.

Before packing things away, you should clean your printer thoroughly. If you’re shipping a 3D printer that has been used before, you need to ensure there are no printing materials in its nozzle.

It can be tempting to just leave the printer in the state it is in, but with a thorough clean, it will make a considerable difference to the setup at the other end.

It is quite common for printer heads to malfunction after holding material within them, even if it’s just for a couple of weeks at a time.

Another factor to take into account is that dust should be kept away from the machine, particularly when it is being stored for a long time. There can be a build-up of a considerable amount of dust, which can accumulate and lead to damage if it is subsequently used without cleaning. To avoid this situation, you need to ensure that once you have fixed all the parts securely, you air seal the package.

Online forums are a good place where you can talk to people and get advice on any particular model of a 3D printer. You can learn from first-hand experiences and then make informed decisions about the best way to package your printer to ensure a safe journey to the customer. You can also find online videos that are very helpful in giving you step by step instructions on how to package your printer safely and securely.

Verdict

Most damage to 3D printers is caused by a lack of care when packaging them, so remember to pack each piece securely and ensure every piece is accounted for and not floating around inside the package.

Following the above advice will ensure your printer is delivered in a perfect state to your destination, with all the parts intact.

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