Three Tips For Maintaining Your Dental Practice's 3D Printer

A 3D printer may be an essential tool for dental practices that need to make custom orthodontic retainers and braces. However, these are extremely complicated machines that will take regular care to keep them in good condition, but it can be common for some dental professionals to overlook some simple steps that can help the printer to avoid performance compromising issues. By using these three 3D printer care tips, you will be better able to keep your printer working as efficiently and accurately as possible. 

Keep Your Printer's Software Updated

Over the course of time, there will likely be numerous software updates for your printer. It can be easy to overlook making these updates because your printer may seem to be working correctly. However, failure to keep the software updated can lead to malfunctions, decreased performance and numerous other issues. Many 3D printer programs can be set to automatically update the software when a new version is released, and it may be wise for you to select this option to ensure you do not forget.

In addition to updating your printer's software, you will also want to make sure that you are updating any proprietary software from orthodontic vendors that your practice uses. For example, practices that use Invisalign may receive new schematics for improved retainer designs. By updating to these schematics, you can help ensure that your patients are receiving the best care possible.

Properly Store Your Filaments

In order to create three-dimensional objects, these printers will require a special filament that can be melted and molded into the desired shape. Unfortunately, it can be common for individuals to incorrectly store these filaments. When this happens, they may collect dust or other particulate matter that can clog your printer. As a result, you will want to make sure that you are storing any unused filament in a medical grade airtight container. In addition to preventing dust, this can also stop excess moisture from degrading the filament and contributing to bacterial growth, which can pose a threat to your patients. 

Keep The Nozzle Clean To Ensure Accuracy

As you use the printer, it is possible for the nozzle to accumulate pieces of filament. When this filament cools and hardens, it can clog the nozzle. Interestingly, the nozzle does not have to be completely clogged for your printer to experience performance issues because these materials can alter the way that the filament leaves the nozzle, which can impact the precision of the printer. For orthodontic purposes, it is essential for the printer to be as accurate as possible to ensure that orthodontic devices properly fit patients' mouths. 

You can mitigate this problem by regularly clean the nozzle. To do this, you will need to remove the nozzle from the printer and gently scrape away any filament that has collected on the exterior. To clean the interior, you may need to submerge the nozzle in a special cleaning solution that can dissolve the filament in a matter of hours. You can minimize any disruptions to your practice during this step by making sure to always keep spare nozzles available.  

For further assistance, contact a local outlet, such as Next Level Orthodontic Lab.