How to Create Amazing Vases with a 3D Printer
Whatever your style, can you use a 3D printer to make your own unique vases? 3D printing allows you to bring your ideas to life and make beautiful decor pieces for your home.
In this blog, I'll go over how to use a 3D printer to create stunning vases that you can use to give your space a finishing touch. So let's get started!
Introduction to 3D Printing
3D printing is a promising technology that has revolutionized how we design and create objects. It's a process where you can make an object layer by layer using various materials, from (composite) plastics to ceramics and metals. This technology has enabled people to easily create complex shapes and designs that are impossible with traditional manufacturing.
3D printing is an excellent tool for technical and aesthetic applications. So, you can start creating unique art pieces, jewelry, and home decor from home! How awesome is that?
Nowadays, you can find 3D printers in various sizes, and with different capabilities, so you can choose one that best fits your needs. In addition, since 3D printing is becoming more popular, the price of 3D printers is dropping. So it's a great time to jump in.
Can You Make Vases with a 3D Printer?
The answer is yes! You can make vases with a 3D printer. And creating your own unique objects is a lovely way to add a twist to your home. With 3D printing, you can make intricate and complex designs in any size, shape, or color you like.
But there are some things to consider regarding 3D printing vases. The type of machine, materials, and settings will impact the quality en properties of your 3D print. I'll go over some of these considerations in the next section.
What Materials Should I Use to 3D Print Vases?
When it comes to 3D printing vases, you can use various materials, from regular plastics to composites and ceramics. In this blog, I'll focus on plastics and filament-style 3D printers, also called FDM/FFF. The most common materials used in filament-style 3D printing are PLA and PETG.
Polylactic acid (or PLA) is a bioplastic made from renewable resources, such as cornstarch or soy. It is an excellent option for 3D printing vases because it's easy to work with.
In addition, it has a relatively low melting point (190 - 210 C) and is available in many colors and finishes. Which makes it ideal for beginners. In addition, it has a reduced carbon footprint compared to fossil-based filaments, so it's a great choice if you're looking for a more sustainable way of 'making' your vase.
PETG is another popular choice for 3D printing. It's a durable, flexible material with a higher melting point than PLA. And it's also more resistant to heat and chemicals, making it an excellent choice for vases that come into contact with water. There are both primary and translucent materials available. Most of them are more resistant to UV rays compared to PLA.
Nowadays, more and more companies pop up with recycled variants of both PLA and PETG. Which makes your printed object even more sustainable.
What is Vase Mode and How Does it Work?
Vase mode, known as 'spiral vase' or 'spiralize outer contour,' is a setting in your slicer software. When enabled, the 3D printer prints only the outer wall of an object in one continuous movement. Gradually increasing its height. It allows fast printing speeds, a smooth print surface, and removes the seam-line from an object.
When vase mode is enabled, you can only print one outer wall. So, to make your vase sturdy, you have to adjust the wall thickness of your vase accordingly. This is important as it will affect the strength and durability of the vase.
To print thicker walls, I recommend printing with larger nozzle diameters. For example, 0.6+ mm for smaller objects (20 - 30 cm) and 1+ mm for larger objects (35+ cm).
How Thick Should a 3D Printed Vase Be?
The thickness of a 3D-printed vase will depend on the shape, size, and material you're using. As a general rule of thumb, when printing in vase mode the wall thickness of a 3D-printed vase should be at least 0.8 mm thick for vases up to 30 cm. If you are printing taller, like 40 - 50 cm, print your vase with a wall thickness of at least 1.2 mm. All the way up to 2 - 3 mm.
It's also important to consider the shape and texture of the vase. For example, if you're printing a vase with a wide body, it's best to print it thicker to ensure it is solid and durable.
On the other hand, a thinner wall thickness would suffice if you 3D print a slim but tall shape. Sometimes, a texture also adds strength to the vase. Allowing you to use slightly thinner lines to achieve the same level of sturdiness.
Ultimately, it's all about experimenting and seeing what works for you.
Are 3D Printed Vases Fragile?
3D-printed vases can be fragile depending on the shape and thickness of the walls. PLA and PETG are relatively durable materials but can be prone to breaking if the walls are too thin. That's why using the proper settings is essential when 3D printing vases.
It is also good to know that not all materials can withstand UV rays the same. For example, some PLAs can become brittle if exposed to UV rays for long periods. Consider this, or find a material that can withstand this better, like PETG and some PLA-variants with UV-resistant additives.
Is PLA Good for Vases?
PLA is a good material for 3D printing vases. It's bioplastic and made from renewable resources, so it's a great choice if you're looking for sustainable home decor.
PLA is a strong and durable material. However, I don't recommend using it with water because it can become brittle over time.
Is PETG Good for Vases?
PETG is another excellent material for 3D printing vases. It's a durable, flexible material with a higher melting point than PLA. As a result, it's a perfect choice for vases that come into contact with water. PETG is also moderately resistant to UV rays.
Are Vase Mode Prints Strong?
Vase mode prints are generally strong and durable. But this depends on multiple factors, such as the shape of the vase, used material, nozzle diameter, and wall thickness. Since you can print your object with only one perimeter in vase mode, a proper wall thickness is essential to make your vase solid and sturdy.
Is it Safe to 3D Print on Glass?
Yes, it is safe to 3D print on glass. But, when printing large objects, it's important to note that some materials adhere firmly to the build plate. In some cases, this can cause problems when removing the print, especially when using PETG. In that case, I recommend using some glue sticks or bed adhesion products to prevent your object from adhering too well to the build plate.
You could also replace your build plate with a sheet of G10 FR4 or flexible PEI-coated spring steel plates, available online.
3D printing is an excellent technology for creating your own unique vases that can be used to show off your (dried) flowers and decorate your home. You can use various materials, such as PLA and PETG, and print in vase mode for a strong and long-lasting vase. Of course, to get great results, you must be willing to experiment with settings and materials. But it's worth it. So why not get started today?