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Printing Flexible Filament – Things to Consider

Printing with flexible filament can be a delicate balancing act. To achieve great results, your printer needs to be a finely tuned machine along with using a good high quality filament and perfecting the settings in your slicing software.  Here are five things to consider when printing flexible material. Remember, changing any of these can drastically change the print. 3d printer flexible filament, 3d printing flexible filament, 3d flexible filament

1. Print Speed

print speed Due to the nature of flexible TPU filament and the potential to kink or buckle when being pushed through the hot end, it is highly recommended that you hit the brakes on your print speeds and slow them w-a-y down. Typical print speeds for non-flexible filaments can range from 30mm/second all the way up to 90mm/second. For flexible, slower is better so we recommended starting around 30mm-40mm/second and see what works best in your particular printer.

2. Proper Extruder Setup

extruder A direct drive extruder will work best when trying to print flexible TPU. However, you can print flexible on a Bowden-type extruder but with some increased difficulty. We are currently working on flexible extruder adapters that will allow you to print TPU easier on a printer with a Bowden-type extruder. If your printer is not equipped with a Bowden tube, then adding one to help guide the filament can give you a better chance of avoiding filament buckling.

3. Print Temperature

print temperature Flexible TPU is especially sensitive when it comes to the temperature of your hot end. We recommend that with our material you start at 220°-245°C and fine-tune your settings for the best results. This will reduce the oozing material from the print head that can create messy or stringy prints.

4. Retraction

retraction Your retraction settings will also play a big part in getting good results and avoiding stringy prints. Retraction is when the extruder motor moves in reverse ever so slightly to avoid extrusion when moving across a gap in a printed design. Too little retraction and you will be left with cobwebs of material all over your print. Too much retraction will leave you with blobs of filament when the print head starts its next segment of printing.

5. Bed Adhesion

bed adhesion Proper bed adhesion is key to any successful print but with flexible TPU, it is even more crucial. We recommend that you only try printing flexible on a printer with a heated bed with the temperature range set between 45°-60°C. Check out our article on bed preparation for more information.
With these instructions, the next step is to pick up a spool of flexible filament.

Important Advantages of PETG Filament in 3D Printing

ABS and PLA filaments are widely known in the 3D printing universe, but there are important advantages of PETG filament in 3D printing that are causing it to quickly growing as a popular option for builds. The properties of PETG make it an appropriate choice for producing a vast array of impact-resistant and flexible items. PETG Filament is one of the best options for people looking for a more durable 3D printing option. Whether you need to print larger prints or larger number of prints, the PETG filament are the best options. No matter what level of printing skills you have, the PETG can help you get the best results in less time and with little effort. Soo the PETG filament is will become the go-to option for printing high-quality 3D prints.

Composition

PETG is a modified form of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a thermoplastic widely used in plastic bottles. In fact, 43 percent of U.S. soft drinks are delivered in PET bottles. Glplastic-bottles-webycol-modified PET (PETG) is an increasingly popular filament material because it's more durable than common alternatives. The addition of glycol prevents crystallization so it won't become brittle when heated. PETG is a highly transparent co-polyester that can be dyed as required. It is possible to produce brightly colored, translucent prints with a nice, glossy finish with minimal post-processing.

Advantages

As the 3D printing industry matured, PETG emerged as a viable and attractive alternative to ABS and PLA. Here are some of the qualities that drive interest in this advanced filament material:
  • Excellent layer adhesion
  • Warp resistance
  • Reduced shrinkage
  • Higher density
  • Chemical resistance to both acidic and alkali compounds
  • Flexible printing on glass, acrylic, glass, blue tape and polyimide tape
  • Odorlessness during printing
Finished prints are pliable and more impact-resistant. In fact, PETG is flexible enough that it is virtually unbreakable in the layer direction. Excellent layer adhesion translates into improved surface finishes. Low shrinkage means it is often a good choice for printing larger items.

Versatile Applications

printing with petg, petg, 3d print petgPETG is worth considering any time your 3D print needs to be tough, durable, flexible and impact-resistant. It is ideal for use in the production of a wide array of mechanical parts. The rapidly expanding robotics technology sector is also embracing PETG printing. The smooth finish of PETG prints, and the fact that the plastic is FDA-compliant makes it an appropriate choice for printing creative and/or intricate kitchenware designs. You are really only limited by your imagination. Enterprises looking for a filament that will produce translucent, shatter-resistant items like phone cases will also want to take a close look at using PETG filament.

Filament Comparisons

PETG filament favorably compares to other popular 3D printing materials:
  • PLA/PHA filament -- Polylactic (PLA) is a biopolymer commonly derived from cornstarch and sugarcane. PETG print speeds are similar to those of PLA, although the melting point is higher. Like, PETG, PLA and PHA filaments are relatively easy to use. However, PETG is denser (1.38g/cm3).
  • ABS filament -- Acrylonitrile-Butadiene Styrene (ABS) is temperature-resistant like PETG. While ABS is harder, PETG is more flexible and more durable. PETG is odorless during printing, while ABS emits a noticeable odor.
  • TPU filament -- Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) is not as dense as PETG; the density of flexible TPU filament is just 1.21g/cm3. The chemical resistance of TPU is good, while the chemical resistance of PETG is excellent.
Once you do the math, you'll see that PETG can be a high-quality, cost-effective alternative to these other filaments.

Sustainability

One of PETG's virtues is that it is recyclable. It is different from many other plastics because its polymer chains are readily recovered for future use. PETG can be recycled for use as a gas barrier. Its chemical resistance makes it a good barrier when used with solvents and alcohol. Be sure to always check with your local recycler for their rules and regulations on what you can bring and what they can recycle. The Bottom-Line The PETG Filament is one of the best options because of the various features and benefits it offers. Use it to get the best results with your 3D printing needs. Make sure to buy only the high-quality PETG filament from a reliable dealer online so that you can enjoy the best results. We here at MakeShaper are excited to launch our line of PETG filaments. Available in two diameters and a dozen colors, our filaments provide superb extrusion every time, in every project. We also offer a wide range of made-in-the-USA filaments in a spectrum of deep, saturated colors and full range of diameters and spool sizes.  Crafted in Sanford, North Carolina, from high-purity raw materials, MakeShaper makes high quality performance filament so you can make anything!

Laying it Down – 3D Printer Bed Prep

Bed adhesion or 3D printer bed prep is one of many factors to consider when it comes to producing successful 3D prints. The first few layers are usually the most crucial as it can set the tone for the rest of the print. MakeShaper has a few suggestions on how to prep your bed prior to printing, but before we dive deeper – the first thing to consider is the orientation of the print itself when printed. Using supports may be a headache to remove, but a large footprint on the print bed could make even the first few layers susceptible to warping or other problems on certain materials. MakeShaper usually recommends using glue on printers with a heated bed, depending on the filament material. To apply the glue, first start when the bed is cool to avoid the glue melting. A rule of thumb is you want to apply the patch of glue slightly bigger than the base of the printed part. We recommend using a water-based (PVA) standard glue stick. Our office favorite is the classic standard of Elmer’s water-based glue. Since not all materials have the same print characteristics, we recommend different methods for applying glue for different materials. When printing with ABS, you should use two thin layers of glue. The first layer should be applied in the same direction and not overlap. The second layer should be applied over the first layer perpendicular to the direction of the first layer (think crosshatching or a lattice). This will help reduce the chances of warping when printing with ABS. absbedprep When printing with PLA, only use one thin layer of glue. Like preparing the bed for ABS, start by applying glue to a cool bed in the same direction and try to minimize overlap. PLA tends to not warp like ABS so it only needs one layer of glue for good bed adhesion. plabedprep When printing with PETG and TPU filament, we do not recommend that you use any kind of additional bed preparation such as glue for layer adhesion. There are many factors when producing high-quality 3D prints. What we recommend may not work for every printer in every environment. Take our recommendations as a baseline and play around to figure out what will work best for your printer, material, design and environment.

What’s the deal with 3.0 mm filament?

MakeShaper is updating the way we label the diameter on our filament. Our 3.0 mm filament will now be labeled 2.85 mm. We’ve always manufactured our 3.0mm filament to a 2.85 mm specification, it’s just a change in the way we will label and refer to the product. measuring 2.85 filament So… why did we call it 3 mm if it was 2.85 and why change it now? Well, there are a lot of 3.0mm printers out there. That designation comes down to the size of their extruders and filament feeding tubes, which are exactly 3.0 mm (or the inner diameter is close to 3.0 mm). When using filament that is exactly 3.0 mm in a 3.0 mm printhead, expect some serious clogging issues, especially with a Bowden type extruder. In the industry, most filaments labeled 3.0 mm are actually just slightly less in diameter to prevent this issue. We are extremely proud of our tight tolerances and are now updating our labels to match the true diameter of 2.85 mm. There are no changes to the actual filament.

PLA Filament Review by Mike Learned

A while back we were contacted by Mike Learned (who runs a successful YouTube channel called NeoPortnoy 3D Printing) to do a review of our PLA filament for us. We sent him a sampling of our products and through a bit of back and forth conversation, we got his printer optimized and printing our filament with successful results. Check out his video for more information on his thoughts and opinions of our products.

PLA

Cubifyfan visits MakeShaper!

A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of meeting Tom Meeks and showing him around our facilities, Tom wears many hats but one of them is technology and blogging. Tom has been a fan of Cube® printers and runs the blog http://cubifyfans.blogspot.com/ , along with that Tom is heavily involved with The YouthQuest Foundation which supports the academic, vocational and life-enriching development of America's at-risk youth. If you want to read Tom's account you can find it below or on his blog http://cubifyfans.blogspot.com/2016/06/visiting-makeshaper-and-witnessing.html#comment-form

Visiting MakeShaper and Witnessing Resilience Firsthand

Last week, I was teaching in the Virginia Beach area and decided, since I was already more than halfway there, that I would make a visit to MakeShaper's headquarters in Sanford, NC.   I like to get to know the people behind the products that we use and talk about in this blog.  I expected a find evidence of a commitment to quality.  But, nothing could prepared me for the lengths to which MakeShaper is making to ensure THE highest quality is delivered to their filament customers.  A Tour to Remember
While I can't discuss all the steps that I saw being taken to produce the highest quality product, I can say that they even go so far as to build their own proprietary machinery if that is what it takes to better their peers. MakeShaper is a division of Static Control Components, which began in a garage about 30 years ago.  They sure have come a long way since then.  The facility, which creates 2D printer cartridges as well as the 3D filament that are of interest to us is absolutely massive!  Touring the facility is not only enlightening, it's exhausting for an old guy.  But, it was well worth it.Resilience and Perseverance on a Grand Scale And, speaking of old guys, one of the most impressive aspects of the tour came in the form of a piece of art and a photograph memorializing a day that could have been the end of Static Control Components (SCC).  In April of 2011 multiple tornadoes touched down in Sanford and decimated SCC's facilities.  The founder of SCC was 75 at the time and the damage was so severe that many thought he simply might walk away.  But, he did not. They were contacting customers and shipping product in days.   Please read this story and view the images of the devastation. Here is a link to a news video that is well worth visiting if you want to understand the company's character.MakeShaper for 1st and 2nd Gen Cube & CubePro - More to come The Makeshaper division is relatively young when compared to the age of parent organization.  So, their product line is still growing.  We saw 3D printers of virtually every make and model being used to develop and test new products.  The current filament choices available for the 1st and 2nd Cube and CubePro are limited to Red, Green, Blue, Black & White in PLA and ABS.  But, I expect that more choices will be forthcoming after extensive testing. More than Just Filament Joining me on this visit was Jeff Epps of the Richmond County school system just miles from MakeShaper's headquarters.  A good deal of the time of the visit was devoted to talking about how 3D design and printing can literally change lives of at-risk students.   Both of us came away impressed by what we heard from MakeShaper's management. They 'get it'. So, I don't expect that this meeting will be the last time we meet together to talk about our common goals in the communities in which we serve. Bottom Line for 1st and 2nd Gen Cube & CubePro Owners. The reason why I made the trip was to see if I could find evidence as to the steps MakeShaper was taking to ensure that we could trust their products in our printers.  I came away feeling that they are striving to be the manufacturer of THE most reliable filament available. The comprehensive testing is there.  In fact, the level of testing is so much higher than the industry norm that I cannot even write about it in detail. The construction is there.  Every cartridge contains a bag of moisture protection INSIDE the cartridge for continuous protection.  The moisture protection bags are much heavier for additional storage protection. The price is there.  Currently, a 2nd Gen Cartridge is just $25 with free shipping on orders over $50. So, I would urge you to consider trying MakeShaper.  And, let me know what you think.  After all, the real testing is in YOUR hands.  Only you can attest that the MakeShaper alternative is right for Cube owners.  But, I trust you will find my assessment to match your own. Let me know....

Cartridges

PLA Filament Review by Norbert Davis

I'm not a big review person but I did promise to the MakeShaper guys that I would do one when I purchased my PLA from them a while back and well, here it is.

The Review

I had made a purchase on the MakeShaper site with the 10% discount on the first order special that they have advertised on this site and while there was a problem with the coupon at first, a quick message the MakeShaper team soon remedied that. I am new to 3D printing with only just under 4 months of designing and printing on my Monoprice Maker Select (Wanhao Duplicator i3 clone). I love my machine and have had little problems with it up until recently where I was getting a lot of clogs and jams in the extruder and nozzle. I had from the start ordered Hatchbox PLA filament and have been quite satisfied with the quality of the material and the prints with them. I suspect that I became spoiled by Hatchbox because I noticed that their filament was always smooth. I had ordered some PLA samples and found them to be rough and they did not seem to have the high tolerance for the diameter that I got with Hatchbox. So when the shipment from MakeShaper arrived I immediately broke into it to check it out. There was Grey, Blue, and Neon Green. Colors that I had not have from Hatchbox. I was excited to use the filament. I did a few runs with them and found that I was having some difficulty with printing correctly as it did not want to stick to the bed and was just printing, well, crappy. But again, a quick email to the MakeShaper team and they came back with some printer settings that made things print quite decently. The one thing that I thought was presenting a problem before I wrote to MakeShaper was the fact that the filament was fairly rough compared to the Hatchbox filament. I was hoping that it really didn't matter when it went into the hot end and melted then extruded from the nozzle but in the back of my mind I could see where perhaps the roughness was contributing to any imperfections that I saw in the print. The prints came out decent after the printer setting adjustments and I was fairly impressed with the filament. I did see some things but not every spool of filament is 100% perfect so I will see an issue every now and then but nothing terrible. Then things started getting bad. The printer was sputtering filament whenever I chose the MakeShaper filament and the only thing that seemed to print well was the Hatchbox filament. So naturally, I thought, "Yep, that MakeShaper rough filament is affecting the hot end and making all these problems." And you probably would have thought the same too if when you switched back to a trusted filament that things went back to normal and you got good prints. You blame the new filament. Well, a couple of weeks later even the trusted filament could not print worth a darn to save its life. I started getting clogs, jams, crappy output (if any) and I had to shut things down for a couple of days while I contemplated the right move; replace the nozzle and PTFE tube with the same stuff or go for the Micro-Swiss All Metal Hot End Upgrade for the Mk-10. Well, the total upgrade it was! It was going to happen eventually and so better now than later. So after a few days, the new equipment arrived and I installed it... twice. It seemed that while most everyone else in the world with the MK-10 would not need to use thermal paste to make the new hot end work, I would. OK, new Hot End is in and working fine. So, was my earlier issues with MakeShaper filament because of the filament itself or was it really the hot end's fault (or inability)? Well, as it seems, it was the hot end being temperamental and failing to properly heat the incoming filament and give a good smooth extrusion. So after a few test runs to make sure the hot end was 100% I decided to retry the MakeShaper filament (and because my son chose the neon green for his can holder) to see what it could do. Well after a few prints I was really impressed with how the filament was able to lay down some really consistent layers. They were perfect (from an extrusion sense) and the only real imperfections that happened were due to the machine itself (X & Y) anomalies showing up due to wear and tear on the machine. The filament despite the roughness, or being less smooth than Hatchbox, performed really well. With the new hot end and the updated settings for printing PLA with the new hot end really eliminated stringing and even the overhangs that should have had some real problems did really well. On searching on the internet, the information available calls PLA filament as one of the best filaments to print 3D parts. It is perfect for printing mechanical and computer parts as they are very strong, and durable material. PLA filament is made from natural resources, which is one of the reasons why they are considered as safe and efficient. They are quite different than other plastics. Its reliable as its readily available as compered to other types of thermoplastic. One of the things that make PLA filament guilt-free for many of us is that they are capable of breaking down after they are discarded. This ensure that you are not guilty about using it. Many of us use the filaments for better prints and we also need to consider the pros and cons of using it. Plus, when I print, I don’t really have to worry about the harmful smoke or toxic fumes. One thing I liked about the PLA filament was that it was easy to print. Yes, it’s mentioned that PLA filament can be printed at low temperature without the loss of quality. Right temperature is essential for printing with the PLA filament and its very forgiving filament unlike others that can affect the quality of the prints. My experience with the PLA filament from MakeShaper is excellent. It has helped me print some good quality prints and the results have been satisfactory. I would definitely recommend it and like to buy some more in the future.

The Results

Overall the MakeShaper PLA filament did excellent in the overhang department as well as basic layer to layer adhesion. It extruded really smooth and gave me some really consistent prints. Would I recommend this PLA filament to anyone, a resounding "YES". IT delivers what you expect from a good PLA and the price was good too. I am including some photos of the puzzle and the can holder that I printed with the MakeShaper Blue and Neon Green PLA. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to let me know. Thanks, MakeShaper and I will be back for more. Once the CFO allows me some more filament budget. lol Norbert Davis Elk Grove, Ca Monoprice Maker Select w/ Micro-Swiss All Metal Hot End 0.5mm nozzle can_holder_02, pla filament reviews blue_grip_inside, pla filament reviews blue_grip_macro, pla filament reviews blue_grips, pla filament reviews can_holder_01, pla filament reviews can_holder, pla filament reviews https://www.3dprintingforum.org/forum/hardware/materials/99126-makeshaper-pla-filament-review