New to the world of 3D printing? Or wondering why people keep printing little boats on their 3D printers? The 3D Benchy is ‘the jolly 3D printing torture-test’ designed by Swedish 3D technology reseller Creative Tools.
The name ‘Benchy’ is short for benchmark. This little boat is designed with geometric features, such as the portholes and an open cabin, that provide a challenge to 3D printers. When using a new filament, or 3D printer, the 3D Benchy can be used to see how they measure up. On setup, they can also highlight problems that may be occurring in the software commands sent to a 3D printer, or the filament.
Layer separation and ‘delamination’
If layers of extruded plastic aren’t sticking properly, the issue could be that the layers are too thick, or extrusion temperature is too cold. Both issues can be easily solved in the software used to program a 3D printer.
The dreaded (and occasionally comical) spaghetti-ing effect of a 3D print occurs when layers become completely delaminated, but the 3D printer continues printing. It can be caused by the same settings as above, but if it’s persistent it can be a fault with a 3D printer part.
Stringing/webbing to make ‘hairy’ prints
This is when thin strings of plastic build up in areas of the object that should be empty.
Enabling filament retraction can solve this problem. Retraction ensures that the 3D printer’s extruder doesn’t let the filament spill over between one section and another. Retraction on – the filament returns into the extruder in-between sections so it is not still melting out of the print head.
Rough surface blobs
This is a problem that may be solved by turning retraction off. If a 3D printed object doesn’t have any spaces in it, e.g. portholes and cabins, in some cases, it is better to turn retraction off so that the extruder isn’t resetting itself between every layer, meaning it can print more smoothly.
Infill is the interior structure of a 3D print. An ability to set this percentage is one of the things that makes 3D printed objects so light and efficient from a materials usuage perspective. The part of an object you don’t see doesn’t need to be solid, so a 3D printer creates it as a kind of waffle structure instead.
The solid layers is an object’s exterior, i.e. the visible part of an object. Imbalance between the infill and solid layers can create holes or gaps in an object.
Available for everyone
Licensed under the Creative Commons Act, Creative Tools encourage 3D printer users to download, distribute and remix the 3D Benchy .stl file as much as they please. The license even allows users to sell their 3D printed Benchy creations, as the site stipulates: ‘you own them!’
A devoted Flickr photo archive tracks the different 3D prints and designs of the boat in photos submitted by the 3D printing community.
Failure is a badge of honor
YouTuber Vicky Somma, (TGAW on YouTube) who 3D Printing Industry interviewed for global 3D printing day, has turned the iconic boat design into a badge of honor for 3D printing beginners, and frustrated veterans alike.
The From Failure Comes Knowledge Maker Coin celebrates the idea that failures are part of the process of 3D printing, and features a Benchy boat with the infamous ‘spaghetti-ing’ effect on top.
In 3D Printing Nerd’s video ‘My Top 5 3D Printer Tips After Getting Your First #3DPrinter’, Joel Telling also lists failure as an important part of the process. Essentially, it means that you are learning and experimenting.
Other tips, and a preview of people’s first 3D prints can be found in our Welcome New Makers article, from the beginning of 2017.
Featured image shows Neon 3D Benchy boats by Javen Wilson of Mosaic Manufacturing Photo via: 3D Benchy on Flickr