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How to Create a 3D Printing Timelapse

Aug 07,2023 | 3D4Create

I. Introduction

Timelapse videos of 3D printers in action are extremely satisfying to watch. Seeing a physical object materialize out of thin air layer-by-layer in a sped-up progression is almost mesmerizing. Beyond entertainment value, 3D printing timelapses can have practical purposes too. They allow designers to study print processes, help identify printer issues, and simply look cool for showing off your latest creations!

Creating a timelapse of your 3D printer is easier than you may think. With some basic equipment, tweaked printer settings, and timelapse software, you can start producing your own 3D printing timelapses to share. 


II. Equipment Needed For 3D Printing Timelapse

To capture a 3D print timelapse suitable for sharing online, you’ll need:

  • 3D Printer - Obviously you’ll need a working 3D printer to film in action. Any type from desktop FDM printers to resin printers will work.
  • Camera/Smartphone - Any camera that can connect to power, be positioned steadily, and controlled remotely will work. Using a smartphone camera is perfectly fine.
  • Tripod - Essential for holding the camera completely still throughout the long print. Position beside the printer.
  • Software - App to control camera remotely and take timed interval shots. Check your camera and phone’s timelapse modes.
  • Lighting - Good lighting ensures your timelapse is bright and clearly focused. LED work lights are inexpensive.
  • Memory card - Ensure your camera has ample storage space for hundreds of photos.
  • Power supply - For long prints, power your camera so battery doesn’t die mid-timelapse.

Equiment needed for 3D printing timelapse shooting


III. Camera Settings and Position For 3D Printing Timelapse

  • Angle/Perspective - Position the camera on a tripod close to the print area capture the entire build plate. Get creative with angles if desired.
  • Focus - Make sure camera is focused sharply on the key area of the print bed. You want a crisp, clear timelapse.
  • Frame Rate - For timelapses, a 1 frame/second or 1 frame/5 seconds capture rate is common. Faster printing may need a quicker rate.
  • Resolution - 1080p or 4K resolution provides a balance of quality and file size. Higher resolution means larger video files.


IV. 3D Printer Settings

To optimize the 3D printing process for timelapses:

  • Print Speed - Slower overall print speeds show more visible progress per timelapse frame. 40-50mm/s is a good starting point.
  • Filament Color - Light or vibrant colored filament shows up best on camera. Avoid translucent or ultra-dark materials.
  • Print Bed Visibility - Position models to maximize view of the print bed and extruder movements.
  • LED Lights - Use LED strip lights on the frame to brightly illuminate build area.
  • Enclosure - Open panels or remove doors on enclosed printers for light and camera access.

eSUN 3D Printer Filament PLA+ 1.75mm 1KG

eSUN 3D Printer Filament PLA+ 1.75mm 1KG


V. Capturing and Processing the Timelapse

Once your scene is set up, it’s time to capture a 3D printer timelapse:

  • Take Consistent Images - Use your camera or smartphone’s timelapse mode to take images at set intervals until print finishes. Hundreds of nearly identical shots!
  • Import Images - Import the sequence of timelapse images into editing software like DaVinci Resolve, Premiere Pro, or Apple iMovie.
  • Set Video Speed - Condense the long print into a shorter watchable video by speeding up playback. 10-60X normal speed is common.
  • Color Correct - Adjust lighting to ensure proper color and brightness throughout the timelapse.
  • Add Effects - Get creative with zooming, motion effects, text, transitions, music overlay, and more!


VI. Sharing Your 3D Printing Timelapse 

Now that your 3D print timelapse is complete, get it in front of audiences by:

  • Upload to YouTube - Produce a nice intro and outro, then publish on YouTube to share. Great for driving views.
  • Post to Social Media - Shortened versions can grab attention and engagement on TikTok, Instagram Reels, etc.
  • Share in Communities - Fellow 3D printing enthusiasts will appreciate your timelapse on Reddit, Twitter, Discord, and forums.
  • Embed on Site - If you have a portfolio website, embed the timelapse as part of your project documentation.

Timelapses make great content since they compress long prints down to just minutes of the most interesting footage. Take advantage of audiences’ short attention spans!

Create an Awesome 3D Printer Time Lapse Video!!!

You can create an awesome 3D printer timelapse video (Photo: Creality Cloud)


VII. Conclusion

Creating mesmerizing 3D printer timelapses is very achievable with just a few key pieces of equipment and software. Position your camera steadily, refine your print and lighting settings, capture hundreds of frames, and turn it into an engaging timelapse video. The ability to visually reveal the 3D printing process in a whole new way makes the effort totally worthwhile.

Whether you want to document your craft, troubleshoot issues, or entertain audiences, timelapses are a fun project for any 3D printing enthusiast. Just follow the steps in this guide and you’ll quickly start mastering the art of 3D print timelapses!



1. How do I create a timelapse of a 3D print?

A: Set up a camera or webcam to capture the entire process at regular intervals. Combine the frames using video editing software for a timelapse video.

2. Can OctoPrint help with creating a timelapse?

A: Yes! OctoPrint has a built-in timelapse feature. Configure it to capture images during the print, then use plugins like Octolapse to compile them into a timelapse video.

3. What software can I use to make a timelapse video with pictures?

A: You can utilize software like Adobe Premiere Pro, Windows Movie Maker, or dedicated timelapse tools such as LRTimelapse. Import your pictures, adjust settings, and export the final timelapse video.

See Also

How to Create Articulated 3D Print

How to Design and 3D Print a Guitar

How to Make Mini Safe Box with 3D Printer


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