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What filament material do you use on your 3D printer?

Advice sought.

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Steve Skelton 126/06/2020 11:51:38
77 forum posts
3 photos

I bought an Ender 3 Pro, primarily for myself to play with, about 6 months ago and suddenly found myself using it more for work purposes than anything else designing components on Atom 3D and slicing on Cura. It has paid for itself many times over.

As the components require good mechanical properties and long-term performance, I decided it has to be ABS as PLA has lower temperature performance and will, I am led to believe, eventually biodegrade under some environmental conditions.

As a result, I tend to use ABS-X for everything now as it is flexible and can be solvent welded. I run the bed at 110 deg C and the hot end at 250 deg C. The only snag I find is that I have to design and print everything so that if the component is subject to shear it is printed so the shear will be along the line of extrusion rather than normal to it.

ABS-X is a material, made in the Netherlands, that it is claimed, offers low warp, low odour and improved inter layer adhesion. I have found this to be the case compared to conventional ABS filament.

I have also bought an enclosure to improve the printing performance avoiding draughts and maintaining the unit at a constant (although quite high) temperature.

What are other people’s experiences of non PLA filaments in an engineering context? I would like to try other materials and think it would be quite useful for others on this forum to know of peoples experiences with recommendations and benefits or any shortcomings or problems that may occur.

Steve

Rod Ashton26/06/2020 12:01:11
320 forum posts
12 photos

Following

Steve F26/06/2020 12:52:36
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78 forum posts
22 photos

Hello

Small word of warning re the hot end. You are a bit close to the limit as the hotend has a ptfe liner to the nozzle. This can start to burn ! I swapped to an all metal hot end.

I have used FF Titan X that has similar specs. I also have good results with 3D Jake niceABS. PETG is unusual and seems to be used instead of ABS with less shrinkage but beware some are high temperature. PETG is sticky but when you get a good print the detail is great.

The new kid on the block is ASA cross between ABS and PETG. Maybe try HIPS easy to glue (airfix liquid)

regards

Steve

Martin King 226/06/2020 13:07:41
692 forum posts
271 photos

Hi Steve, Can I ask what enclosure you got please?

Martin

Neil Wyatt26/06/2020 14:22:31
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17970 forum posts
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Funnily enough in the last issue of MEW I suggested taht people share their experiences with different types of filament.

I recently saw a picture of a bracket in PLA that had warped in the current weather. It was black and holding a weather station in full sunlight.

I've put PLA parts through a dishwasher at 50C and 60C and the 50C parts showed no distortion, so that give you and idea of allowable service temperature.

My 2m band yagi is held together by 3D printed parts in black PLA (chosen for UV resistance) and has been nearly 6m in the air in full sunlight and all weathers for over two years and shows no signs of degradation.

An electric toohbrush stand I made over two years ago toothbrush gets wet twice a day and washed once a week and shows no signs of degradation.

I think that to biodegrade PLA needs to be shredded or ground and incorporated in a compost-type environment for some considerable time.

I'm not a big fan of ABS as I don't like the smell and very high temperature of the bed. I haven't printed a great deal of items in ABS, although printing figures and smoothing them with acetone vapour worked very well..

PETG is OK but fussier than PLA to print.

Nylon 66 is tricky and the main issue is keeping the filament dry.

I'm using PLA PLUS at the moment, the black I tried first had poor layer adhesion, but white prints are stronger as unlike the black you can raise the temperature to get good layer adhesion without lots of stringing.

I've found PLA pretty consistent across suppliers, other types of filament seem to vary more as they have more additives and different recipes.

In the past I've used some PLA filaments that were essentially as strong in all three directions, which really surprised me. Even when my test bars fractured the fracture ran across layers as much as along them.

I forsee an enclosure in my printer's future, well actually it will probably be a complete rebuild...

Neil

Steve Skelton 126/06/2020 14:31:44
77 forum posts
3 photos

Martin,

The enclosure is a Creality unit which I bought via Amazon as I needed it quickly. Quite expensive at £80 but had the approval of the Finance Director (SWMBO). It is large – photo shows the printer in the enclosure with a light inside to show detail.

BTW I now only use a glass bed.

Steve

dscf4936a.jpg

Barrie Lever26/06/2020 14:32:21
658 forum posts
75 photos

I am using Protopasta HTPLA carbon fibre filled.

Gives superb results and does have good heat resistance. I do a free standing post cure on the parts at 150 deg C.

The exhaust strap (black ring in the photo) is made with this material, it is not a tight fit on the exhaust but has held up during bench tests.

My printer is Dremel 3D20 enclosed and I print at the fine setting and 220 deg nozzle temp.

If any one wants more setting details I will dig them out.

B.

dsc_1022.jpg

Neil Wyatt26/06/2020 16:11:04
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17970 forum posts
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I had a 3D20 for review for a few months, it was very good, the only real issue being the lack of a heated bed.

How long do nozzles last with the fibre-filled PLA, Barrie? Do you use stainless steel ones?

Neil

Barrie Lever26/06/2020 18:44:21
658 forum posts
75 photos

Neil

To be honest for quite some time I just used the brass Dremel nozzle it worked great, I changed to a cheap hardened nozzle and it did not work so well.

Now I have a hardened nozzle from 3D Jake in Austria it is made by Brozzle and that works nicely.

I have only used the Dremel so I don't if I am missing something with the heated bed?

I think the heated bed experience could easily be like my experience with Mitutoyo Digimatic micrometers, I thought Mitutoyo were the dog's do da's until I got my first Etalon a few month's ago.

You don't know what you are missing until you have tried.

B.

jimmy b26/06/2020 19:26:32
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649 forum posts
38 photos

I use PLA 99% of the time.

I get filament from HERE for important prints, no filament has ever failed from them.

For general printing, I have had very good results with the packs of 20 x 10M filaments from ebay. 95% perfect prints!

My printers are the Aldi specials. Like Neil I rarely use ABS due to smell. TPU is fantastic stuff, but can challenging to print!!

Jim

Barrie Lever26/06/2020 20:31:05
658 forum posts
75 photos

Jim

Yes that is where I get my carbon HT PLA from, you dont even have to pay for it until 14 days after receipt.

B.

IanT26/06/2020 21:10:29
1551 forum posts
144 photos

I've been using Sunlu PLA+ - which seems to work well enough for the things I've been printing (at least now I've figured out the bed adhesion issues).

I also purchased some Sunlu Carbon Fibre PLA (as it sounded kind of sexy and I thought "it might come in handy" - e.g. I've no idea what I actually need it for) .Afterwards, I read/discovered that the CF material will apparently wear my standard brass nozzle away at an alarming rate.

So I purchased some 'hardened' nozzles from UK supplier E3D. I ordered a 'triple' nozzle pack - which was not exactly cheap (£30) but E3D reviews were very good (I do hope they are not self-authored!) and I decided it might be a sensible "investment" to get three (for the price of two).

I received them about a week ago now but as I'm still busy with the PLA+ - I'm leaving the 'Carbon' reel sealed up nice and dry for now. So my adventure into 'Carbon Fibre' (for which I have no current plans) is proving to be quite expensive...

I should remind folk that my printer is the Sovol SV01 and now after a few months usage, it seems reliable and works well. However, I am going to 'mod' it along the lines that Myfordboy suggested in his YTs. I have not had any issues with the Sovol but the mods are simple to do, the parts were cheap and I just can't leave well alone!!

This hot weather is a bit uncomfortable but doesn't worry my Atlas Shaper - although a very hot steel chip down the front of my (open) shirt this afternoon did wake me up a bit! Moral - do your shirt up and use a chip catcher even for the "quick" jobs...

Stay safe everyone.

Regards,

IanT

Lainchy26/06/2020 21:23:37
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246 forum posts
95 photos

+1 for the Sunlu PLA+

I print at 215 deg, and 55 deg bed. Great stuff it really is.

Robin26/06/2020 23:16:23
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349 forum posts

+2 for Sunlu PLA+ if you lot come up with anything better I have 3kg to get through.

When the PLA print finishes I prise it off the bed, it bends, I move it to a cold plate and weigh it down to set. It remains bendy for a while, unlike ABS.

My real snag with ABS is getting it to stick to the bed. If a corner lifts I lose the flying height, it prints a solid layer which makes it lift more when it shrinks. The bendy nature of PLA means that doesn't happen.

I can fume ABS over hot acetone and smooth it. PLA doesn't seem to dissolve in anything.

I thought ABS could be glued with polystyrene cement but that only seems to work with High Impact Polystyrene.

The best feature of PLA for me is I can print on dirty Pyrex without a raft. Lovely and smooth on one face at least.

IRT27/06/2020 09:59:14
104 forum posts
32 photos

I moved over to PETG about 18 months ago.

It does not shrink and warp on the bed.

On the downside, it is stringy.

I get mine from Fillaprint.

20181215_124120.jpg.

Edited By IRT on 27/06/2020 09:59:45

Steve Skelton 130/06/2020 16:32:55
77 forum posts
3 photos

I had meant to reply much earlier but work got in the way and then after composing a reply and just before posting it Western Power Distribution decided it was the perfect time to disconnect the power in our area and everything (including my will to live) disappeared in a big beeeeeep.

So here we go again.

As I mentioned I have been using ABS as I need a high-temperature polymer with a glass transition temp above 90 degrees and as the Tg for PLA is 60-65 that ruled it out, ABS is over 100 degrees, so as ABS can also be solvent welded with plumbers pipe adhesive I find it a quite useful material.

The actual grade of material I use is ABS-X. I do not have any problems with bed adhesion and do not tend to use any adhesion promoters providing I run the glass bed at 110 degrees. If the item I am printing has a small footprint, or the potential to lift from the bed then I use Kaptan tape with an ABS slurry painted on it (just ABS filament dissolved in acetone). The print is then easily removed by taking the tape off the bed. I used to paint the slurry directly onto the glass bed but have destroyed a bed when trying to remove a print from it as it took a lump of glass with it from the bed on removal!! This happened twice so I don’t think it was not just a bad bit of glass.

Neil, you mentioned odour problems with ABS. I use ABS-X and do not have any problem at all despite running it in an office without any ventilation. And I, like you, have been put off nylon due to the need to keep it bone dry,

Steve F and IRT, thanks for the info regarding PETG – not something I have tried, although I think I now will. I understand it has good weathering performance.

Barrie, carbon fibre filled Protopasta HTPLA sounds fascinating and is something I think that I have to try. Although it is PLA does the post extrusion heat soak increase the Tg when the PLA turns into a crystalline structure on heat treatment?

Thanks everyone for your comments. Like most of you I also buy my filaments from 3DFilaPrint, they are very helpful and their delivery performance is excellent.

Thanks

Steve

Neil Wyatt30/06/2020 19:10:08
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Posted by Barrie Lever on 26/06/2020 18:44:21:

I have only used the Dremel so I don't if I am missing something with the heated bed?

Two advantages, you can print PLA onto a borosilicate glass bed at about 50C with a thin layer fo PVA and its pretty reliable and the object 'pops' off when the bed cools.

Other one is being able to print filaments like nylon PETG and ABS that pretty much demand a heated bed.

Neil

The Novice Engineer03/07/2020 23:17:15
67 forum posts
29 photos

Hi here are some of my experiences

My material of choice is ABS , mainly for its strength and high temp capability. I use it for engineering bits, adaptors fixtures. and recently a set of Gauge 1 goods wagons. ABS is easier to bond than PLA and I can get a good finish with a small bit of effort. [ Sanding and /or Acetone vapour ]

I've found PLA is generally easier to print but not so easy to bond or finish [ no solvents smooth it like ABS] its outside durability is not as good as ABS [ The PLA bird feeders didn't last through a summer]

I have been playing with 3D printers for a few years and have been through a long learning curve.My first 3D printer was a Leapfrog Creatr that I have modified and rebuilt in a number of different configurations to get around issues of

- Getting the prints to stick to the bed [Heat it , Blue Painter's Tape or a PEI surface recommended for PLA]

- Stopping distortion, and getting dimensionally correct prints [Stiffen the machine and fiddle with the software]

- Getting a decent surface finish [fiddle with the software , slow down, lower layer height and patience]

PLA was reliable ABS was a problem lifting from the bed and distorting. The high temp causes issues with small features

My current printer is a Tiertime UpBox+ that has produced some decent ABS prints that are spot on dimensionally. It has an enclosed chamber with a heated bed with swappable perforated flexible build plates or a smooth plate with a PEI surface.Items pop off -ish when cool.

The software for the UpBox is Up Studio, this has fixed setting that produce consistent results. The filament setting are built in [ they can be edited but its not User friendly !!} The UpBox runs ABS at Nozzle 270 C and Bed 100 C. So far I've been using TierTime filament that is good, but not cheap! ~£50/kg Cheaper filament's have a lower working temp and appeared to soften at the feed mech and stop extruding , then char in the nozzle!

I am currently doing some tests of other High temp ABS filaments Multicomp and YOYI that run to 260-270 C these are looking favourable.

My penny's worth

Steve Skelton 104/07/2020 16:26:19
77 forum posts
3 photos

Hi TNE,

That printer looks really great - printer envy!!

I agree with you on the ABS front, do you run 1.75mm filament? Tiertime ABS looks expensive, does it produce much in the way of fumes. Have you tried ABS-X?

I have run both but ABS-X is easier to print. I have had no problem with burn-up in the nozzle but do not keep ABS in the nozzle for any time and use a purge to keep it clean between runs.

Without changing the nozzle I think I am limited to 250 C.

Cheers

Steve

Neil Wyatt04/07/2020 20:34:17
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17970 forum posts
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Some very interesting experiences here.

Would anyone object to me summarising/quoting some of them to follow up the recent article in MEW? Probably just a page of text.

Neil

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