Monday 11 December 2017

Christmas Advent 3D Printing advice #Day 10 ColorFabb Woodfill

December advent calendar - modular Christmas tree
3D Printing advice #Day 10

For the background and introduction - Day #1 Post click here

Christmas Advent 2017 Download on Thingiverse here - designed by Tom Van den Bon  With some help for each day by the South African Makers team.

It's time for Day #10, and today the gift is designed by Michael Scholtz -  It's a Manger.

Manger in Colorfabb Woodfill.

Day 10 is a Manger (A structure to hold animal feed - Wikipedia). It's traditionally going to be made out of a wooden material. I did think about using Bamboo or maybe even Cork for this one, but it's unlikely Mangers would have come in those options. Back in the day in Nazareth you probably had a choice of 'light wood' or chopping down a tree to make your own.

I often use Colorfabb Woodfill, It's light coloured and as I only had a small amount remaining, so it's just about perfect for a small Manger.

Colorfabb Woodfill. One of the lighter wood filaments available, low smell and a real woody feel.

I was slightly unsure what orientation to print this model, but then realised it just needed to be printed upside down. No bridging or support required.

That was simple. it's an easy material to use and can have some really neat uses.

*Just a small detour to explain about some other material testing*

Also, there is a story about the tree sections for Days 10 &11 - If you remember I was wondering what material to do them in - lacking in greens at the moment...
Tridea 100% recycled PET - nice looking green, really complex material properties (interesting).

I was testing out a new 100% Recycled PET filament from Tridea - It's proving to be very challenging to print with. But an interesting material because of the way the plastic can transform (I'll explain more on this soon). I had some failures, and success, but there is a lot more work to do in testing this material. I'm paused testing for now, but will do a separate blog post, now I have worked out what's going on and how to print with it. (Shout out to Greg at E3D for confirming my findings - and being the only other person I could find who had any Tridea filament) - Thanks Greg.

First problem - the filament has a lot of moisture, but that's easily fixed by drying.

(But it's so much more complex than this... It'll just have to wait for it's own blog post.)

One of the reasons I persisted was the fact it was a really nice shade of green. But in the end I had to go to my fallback option of using a 'special roll' of custom 'LulzBot - Lime Green' nGen that ColorFabb kindly sent me for TAZ6 based projects earlier this year.

nGen saved the day (literally Days 10 and 11).

Not wanting to use up such an exclusive roll of nGen, I used it just for the top filled part of tree 10 and 11 and used Black nGen for the bulk of the print. It'll be hidden inside the tree, and it actually gives it a dark (inside the middle of a tree) kind of look to it.

Because this ColorFabb nGen saved the day on the tree sections, it made me think of using up the last of my Woodfill material. Otherwise you may have got Laywood in this blog post. I'll try to find another object for Laywood advice soon.

Print advice - (Colorfabb woodfill)

What settings did you use? - You can use normal PLA temperatures , I use 195 Degrees C for Woodfill. Don't go over 210 Degrees C. The hotter you go, and the slower you go the darket woodfill will apprear on the finished print.

If you find that the tops of your print are darker (especially if they are small features, where the nozzle flow has slowed doen) Set a minimum speed and also set normal print speed to be somewhere similar, so the overall speed is about the same.

I often use 0.2mm layer height (It helps the wood-grain look) and a 0.4mm nozzle or larger - don't use really tiny nozzles under 0.4mm, they will clog.

Use a higher number of top/bottom solid layers (I use 5 @ 0.2mm) to give a good finish.
Print speed - it's good as 20-120mm/sec - Set minimum speed to be 10mm/sec because like many wood filaments it likes to expand and ooze out of the nozzle. You can combat some ooze by lowering temperature, but watch out for lower layer bond strength or weak extruders jamming (use a good extruder, geared preferably).
16% infill and two perimeters for this model.

Why use it? - It's the easiest to use wood filament (in my opinion), looks good and can be sanded, drilled, tapped, even stained after printing. It has a very light wood finish, unlike most other types that are often darker or showing less grain finish.

Is it strong? - When printed it has good layer bonding strength, it's slightly weaker to handle than normal PLA and be careful with the filament - especially in 1.75mm it can snap if not handled carefully and spooled nicely into the machine.

Is it easy to use/print - Yes, it's about the easiest to use wood filament.You will mostly have to combat stringing on most machines, do this with extruder retraction, lower nozzle temperatures and high speed travel moves.

You will also need to increase your extruder feed rate by around 15-20% I use 20% extra - (120% in total).

This is one of the very few filaments I do not use Z-hop to print with. It's enabled for almost every other filament I use. (Top-Tip - always use Z-hop / Z-lift at 1 x your print Z height setting)

Do you have to dry it before/after use? - No - Keep it dry and sealed in the bag, it will take on moisture and that will affect print quality, fine angel-hair like stringing, gaps and generally more ooze if it's not dry. I have not dried any woodfill filament before.

Do i need a 'special' nozzle? - No, it's not abrasive, just remember to use a 0.4mm or bigger nozzle. It will work fine with Stainless, Hardened steel, Copper, Ruby or Brass nozzles. Many filled filaments can tend to collect debris and runny material around the nozzle, so clean before and after use.

Does it smell when printing? - No,  it has a very light odour, but it's not like most woof filaments that smell like burnt MFD (wood fibre board) It's one of the few wood filaments I can stand to be in the same room as when printing.

Does it come on a eco friendly spool? - No :( it's using the normal Polycarbonate Colorfabb filament spool.

Conclusion for Colorfabb woodfill - Excellent, wood finish, no problems or failures. Just work on tuning so you get limited stringing, that's the key and it'll print really after that.
I always clean the nozzle after using filled filaments (especially wood), inside and out with a section of Nylon at a higher temperature. It will have some resin-like sticky residue after printing, so get it cleaned ASAP.

Day #10 Is Completed. That was a bit of a close one, didn't think I would get it done in time.

The story for today is that there is more than one type of wood filled filament available, experiment with them, and see what works best for you. Do try Bamboo and Cork - they are really fun and look fantastic - Corkfill from Colorfabb is one of my all time favourites. (Yes, cork is a sustainable product).

Join me next time for Day #11

Thanks for reading.


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