Before I bought my first printer I asked the fine printer experts on /r/3dprinting what kind of tools were needed in the craft.
I collected a list of probably 50 items that I started looking into. I asked around, asked my dad about brands and what is a waste of money.. (for instance they have digital calipers on Amazon for as low as $8.50, but a decent tool usually runs for about $100. My dad happened to have an old set in his shop and gave it to me. Along with a power drill. . But that's another story. I will say that my tool investment went from about $50 on nail clippers, tweezers and a woodburner to probably $500 between Christmas and my birthday(March) that year.
I bought a bunch of tools that seemed affordable and relevant, and honestly I still haven't used some of them. A square tool, micrometer, Allen wrenches(most things that need them seem come with them so far), a dremel, gap measure feeler, soldering tools (however I do use a wood burning tool for art, so I didn't need to purchase that.
Your mileage may vary. I haven't tinkered a ton with upgrading or anything, and I'm sure once I start my own Reprap(lingo for home built 3d printer, usually made with bits and bobs, and printed parts) I will use more of them. I also have used the calipers mostly to design my own items.
They spend a lot of time in my old toolbox that I salvaged from my dads junk pile. That said here are the tools I use the most:
- Exacto knives
- Metal palette knives - I use them to slide between the bed and plastic layers and break stuff apart so they need to be solid.. I would try these I used the cheap ones meant for painting and they work but they break easily, I'll probably upgrade next time.
- Carving Knives - 3D tool set A - Basically exacto knives that are a bit stronger, and the set has straight, diagonal, curved and 45 degree angle blades for easily carving out pieces of the plastic.
- Sandpaper/polishing cloth to smooth things out
- Isopropyl alcohol to clean up my printer bed
- Needle-nose pliers - to grip and pry things apart. also to hold things in place when I need a better grip than allowed with tweezers
- Painters tape/kapton tape - I stick this directly to my bed so the filament sticks better, and i dont scrape up my bed when prying the prints off. I also use glue on top of the tape for most prints.
- Disappearing purple glue sticks - spread out over tape on my bed to give the filament something to bond with.
- a digital food scale -to measure how much filament I've used
- nail clippers
- Rag and Water for cleaning glue residue off of things
- Tacky glue for gluing snapped off pieces like on my voronoi elephant