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New Filament in Store

Dr3DFilamentSo, from tonight, we’ll be offering the Dr3D Filament range of 3D Printer filament. PLA, ABS, ASA, PMMA, PETG and anything else we can get from their fantastic range of materials and colours.  If it’s not on the site today, it will be added over the coming days.

We are shipping all filament ex-works, so there shouldn’t be any issue with sizes, colours or materials.

All material come packaged in vacuum sealed foil packs with silica gel to keep it dry.  Once opened, try and keep the filament in the foil packet with the silica gel to keep the filament in top condition.

Their filament has a dimensional tolerance of +/- 0.03mm which means the size you order is the size you get.  I don’t think you’ll find a filament manufacturer that can do better.

So, check out the store later and let’s see what you can print…

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Need a Doctor?

So I was at a 3D Hubs Meetup when one of the guys from Cinter said was I looking for a filament supplier.  Now I will always look at filament as for me, it is the next progression in 3D printing.  Most of the printers now do exactly the same thing, just with different mechanicals.  But filament, that’s where we can still make big steps.

So, of course, I said ‘yeah, why not’, and that’s when I was introduced to the doctor – Dr3DFilament to more precise.  Now, after speaking to Martin, I realised that he has  passion for filament, a serious passion and it’s working really well.

Now I didn’t realise that I’d met his PLA before, through a different supplier, but 2016-07-09 07.48.16the packaging he uses is unmistakeable.  The filament comes in shrink-wrapped foil, with the compulsory silica gel bag inside.  Now I like his PLA, I like it a lot and, to be honest, I’m glad I found out where it came from.  I knew it was UK, but I didnt know where… now, all is revealed, Weston Super Mare.

Anyway, so I ran some test prints with the samples he sent me, and I still need to run one more test, when I get my dual extruder Printrbot Plus out, which is a support filament called Scaffold.  I will report on that soon.  I printed on my extended Printrbot Simple Metal and ran the same model in each case, the 2016-07-09 14.08.50Angular Vase by Ysoft be3D.  I printed in ABS, which is a material I’m not particularly fond of, because of the warping – but it printed fine straight off.  I then went on to try PETG, which is becoming more popular at the moment and then I 2016-07-09 10.20.47went on to ASA.  ASA is a UV resistant ABS but like the ABS, it printed fine.  I was really starting to like these filaments.  Then I finished up with PMMA, which is 3d printable acrylic.

Everything I tried printed without a hitch.  The settings varied a bit, hotter beds, hotter print temperatures, but every vase came off the printer looking really well.  Since the initial vase tests I’ve been using the PETG a lot more, liking the translucent effect but I would happily recommend them all.

2016-07-09 23.35.05These Engineering filaments is going to be a 3D printing game changer.  Nothing will really make the printers a lot faster, but the ability to print these stronger, more adaptable materials, will allow people to produce prototypes that are more usable and durable, and able to be seriously tested.

I was so impressed that I’m going to start stocking these, and the other Dr3Dfilament materials in the store.  The price is attractive and the spools are a full 1kg.  So let’s see what you can print with it.








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ColorFabb Woodfill Fine

So when I first got into 3D printing, with my Printrbot Plus LC as it was known at the time, I had a play with LayWood.  It was 3mm and was really

woodfill Fine
woodfill Fine

thick and I hadn’t played with printers much.  I tried to print the same as I would print the ABS (which was all I printed with then) and ended up with a shiny faced item where the back was really just the melted vehicle the wood was suspended in.

The other side was okay, but the hot end was pretty clogged for a while afterwards.

So when I saw the woodfill at the 3DPrintshow in London, I knew I needed to give it a try.  Now my schedule is quite hectic, with 2 jobs and all the fun 3D printing stuff so, all in all, it did take a while to get an order into ColorFabb.  And then they were moving, so the order was a bit delayed and then it arrived and I was busy but now, finally, I had a chance to play with it.  So I placed an order for ColorFabb WoodFill Fine.

It comes in the normal ColorFabb cardboard box,  but this time there is a small flyer, giving some printing advice and a spool of quite rough feeling filament.  Now the flyer suggests printing as you would with PLA, so I loaded up a quick STL and sliced with some settings that Naomi from RoboSavvy came up with.

The filament was flowing quite easily at 200 C, so I started off the print on my Metal Printrbot Simple.  The first couple of layers went okay, but when it came to curves, the speed seemed to be a bit much for it.  I tried again with my rock steady, slow-but-sure settings and started again.

Now the STL I was printing was one from Leo the Maker Prince (@leothemakerprince).  I met Carla at the London Hackspace Open Day a month or so back (and she really is awesome!).  I was printing the Ocarina, a small flute type

half an ocarina
half an ocarina

instrument.  Lots of curvy places, some holes, not the easiest of prints, so a fairly useful test.  There are 2 versions of the STL, one cut horizontally and one cut vertically.  I took the horizontally cut one and then split it, using slic3r, into 2 separate pieces and then sliced them.  I have to say, the quality came out pretty awesome. Both from a filament point of view and also the model.

There will still need to be a bit of sanding done and then I’ll need to glue the two pieces together to make them airtight.

But let’s talk about the filament.  The print quality was excellent.  There is a smell, a bit like burning MDF while it prints.  Not an unpleasant smell, but more than you normally get with PLA.  When sanding it tend to end up with white marks so, ideally, try not to print something that needs sanding!  I didn’t get round to trying some different temperatures to see if it adds a ‘grainy’ look to the prints.

After my early experiences with LayWood I was expecting a similar performance but time has moved on and this was as easy as printing with any other PLA/PHA plastic from ColorFabb.  I would certainly recommend it if you are looking for a different look to your prints.  I’m thinking maybe some ‘wooden’ jewellery or some artistic pieces.

I would like to see some of the filament suppliers offering a sample pack of their ‘exotic’ filaments for people to try.  Sometimes a full spool is a bit much if people just want to try.

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Playing with NinjaFlex

I first heard about Ninjaflex from an article on one of the many 3D printer news sites so I thought I’d grab a spool and see how it goes.  Well it took a while to turn up as it was new and only available in the USA but, since then, they’ve got more places in their distribution pipeline, so you can pick it up in the UK.  Now the printer I was going to try it in has been undergoing some upgrades – as is the want in RepRap printers, there’s always a new part to try.

Then someone asked Printrbot to help with settings.  Now, you may have realised if your a fan, than the guys at PBHQ have been really busy, what with new Metal Simple and portable Go v2 printers coming to market and shipping, so I said I’d give it a try.

I got a spool from the lovely UK Distribution person, Janan and I gave it a try.  And this is what I found…

It’s a bit like printing with a rubber band.  Don’t take that as a bad thing, it’s really incredible stuff.  I started by printing a calibration cube, the usual 25mm one I always start with.

25mm cube in Ninjaflex
25mm cube in Ninjaflex

I needed to play with the heat a bit, it needs more than PLA, but not as much as ABS.  I was using 210 degrees which worked fine for me.  The other thing which is really important, especially with the 1.75mm is that it is really, really wobbly.

Printrbot Aluminium Extruder
Printrbot Aluminium Extruder

The extruder needs to be supported as much as possible and the raised feed on the Printrbot’s Aluminium Extruder works fine for that.  I’ve got some 3.0mm that I’d picked up myself and, when I have my i3 together, I’ll see how it works with a Wades extruder.  Even so, with the feed, if you try and push the filament too fast, it will tend to kink and mis-feed.

The layers held together fine and the flexibility really speaks for itself, as the pictures show.  But being able to print with filament is only half the puzzle, the main issue for me is ‘what do you print with it’.  Apart from the calibration cube, I printed the ‘Hello World’ of 3D printing (in my world, anyway), Cute Octo from Thingiverse.  Very squishy and bendy, just like it says on the tin.

More practically, I printed a motor couple for a Printrbot Simple rebuild I did for someone.  Nothing hard, a simple hexagon cross section with a hole through the middle, 25mm tall.  Worked a treat.  An original Printrbot from the Kickstarter turned into a Simple with a wood kit, some screws and cable ties.

I’d like to try it with multiple extruders to see how it bonds with the different plastics but, for the time being, if you feel the need for some bendy printing, this stuff is definitely worth a try.  Not the cheapest filament you will buy, but hunt around and see if there are any deals around.

25mm cube
25mm cube squashed