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Yesterday I introduced you to the Silhouette Alta, Silhouette’s newest machine launch and their first 3D printer. (Haven’t read the FAQ yet? See here.) Today, I’m sharing tips and tricks I’ve picked up in my first experiences with the Silhouette Alta.
(If you are a seasoned 3D printer user, feel free to skip this post entirely. These are simply my findings and things I’ve come across as a brand new 3D printer owner.)
12 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About the Silhouette Alta
- PLA filament has a shelf life of about a year. In more humid environments, the shelf life is reduced. As someone who likes to buy in bulk, I’ll have to rethink this.
- PLA filament is made from plants and is food safe.
- PLA filament absorbs water from the air and should be stored in an air tight container.
- PLA filament can be drilled, sanded, and/or painted.
- Acrylic paint, nail polish, and model making paints all work well on PLA. I picked up this set.
- 3D printing is a slooooooooow process. Detailed designs take hours to print.
- The platform base on the Silhouette Alta must be covered for the 3D print to stick to it. Painters tape works better than the included Alta tape. (Psst: Other users say glue sticks and hairspray work well, too. They both sound too messy for me though.)
- Investing in some 3D print removal tools will save your finger nails from having to pry designs off the base. I picked up this set.
- If you don’t have a 3D print removal tool laying around and your design is stuck, place the base in the freezer for a few minutes. When you take it out, it should pop off.
- You need a decent amount of free space on your computer (4GB of RAM) to run the Silhouette 3D software. I had to first delete a lot of junk files to even load the program. Silhouette 3D also seems to work best when all other programs are shut down.
- The Silhouette 3D software shuts down unexpectedly and often. If you are in the middle of printing something, don’t fret. Reopen the software and the 3D print should continue.
- There are multiple large communities of 3D printer users. Use Google to search them out and read, read, read. The more you can learn about 3D printing – the more of an asset your Silhouette Alta will be.
Enjoying Alta Week on the blog? Tomorrow I’ve got 25 ideas of things you can print with your Silhouette Alta.
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Since 2015, Christine Schinagl has been helping crafters start and run craft businesses through her blog, Cutting for Business. As a Silhouette and Cricut crafter herself, she has a unique take on what works and what doesn’t work in the craft business world. She also teaches a course on creating digital SVG designs, available at How to Design SVGs.