Saturday 16 December 2017

Christmas Advent 3D Printing #Day 15 Advice using 3DFilaprint PLA and selecting material samples

December advent calendar - modular Christmas tree
3D Printing advice #Day 15

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

Last time - Day #14 Post (LEGO brick) was printed with a generic no-brand PLA and I discussed some of the factors to consider, when selecting no-brand 3D printing materials.

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 15 and I was expecting maybe an elf shoe? mouse in a boot?, because the tree shape was of a 'boot' but...

Day 15 gift is designed by Thomas Torr -  It's a Christmas? severed foot! - Okay then... that's cool.

I was involved in an interesting chat over on Twitter about sample filaments a few days back. That got me thinking about the suppliers of 3D Printing materials that stock a lot of different manufacturers, and also some of them that are happy to sell samples of materials for testing before you invest in a full roll of material.

One such company that I use here in the UK is 3DFilaprint, they also run a filament sample company called globalFSD.

Suppliers like 3DFilaprint (and there are many others around the world - PrintedSolid in the US for example) are great because they tend to stock a very wide range of materials, from many different manufacturers. When you only want to place one order, for just one or two rolls of a type/make/material it can be the perfect way to get everything you want in one go.

Back to the severed foot...

Because I'm British, and of an age when Monty Python was the best thing on television, I just take one look at the severed foot, and think of the iconic TV show, cult films (it's just a flesh wound / beware of the rabbit / bag of otters noses / dead parrot) Magic!

So for that reason I found some pink PLA filament from 3DFilaprint (Manufactured by RepRapper Tech). to print out the 'Severed foot' (Monty Python Foot).

This is the right way for suppliers to sell - partnerships and by listing the actual manufacturer.

Support material enabled for this one.

This was one that needed support material, rather than trying to cut up the model, I just enabled basic supports and printed it out in Pink PLA.

Excuse the 'green wart' on the heal of the foot, this was a blob from the previous green print.

The supports are simple to remove, just ease them off with needle-nose pliers.

A quick flame, and the support marks vanish.

You will usually get some bruise marks, but as I have shown before, just use a lighter flame over them (quickly) and they will vanish.

You should end up with a very nice print. (This was only 0.2mm layers, quick print and good finish).

Print advice - (sample filaments)

Here are few tips for using samples of filament - 

Should you buy samples? - Yes, samples can not always be given out for free by manufacturers, so it's a good idea to buy them if you can find any - one big problem is that samples are not usually made, manufacturers often prefer you to just buy a full roll. Samples allow you to test out the material on your machine, and play with some settings before you buy a full roll.

How much do you need as a sample? - This is a good discussion point, but in general I always want 20m of a filament material as a sample if I am going to invest time and effort in making a profile and perform a few small print tests.

I have been handed coils of ~5m lengths at shows, I tend to give them back. I have also been sent 6 inch 'samples' they are totally useless.

Should samples be loose, or on a small roll? - I actually prefer all sample filaments to be loose coils. And that's mostly how they usually come.

I do have a few 250g rolls of filament, that's fine, but if the reel is a silly size and I have no way to mount it, it tends to sit on a shelf rather than being tested.

Ideally they should be vacuum packed. I generally get loose / bagged samples, but some manufacturers (Polymaker, Proto-Pasta and Rigid Ink for example) supply samples in vacuum sealed bags with desiccant.
3DFilaprint sample

Polymaker mini 250g spool (with a true 50mm spool mount, great job)

Proto-Pasta vacuum packed sample :) Samples - also vacuum packed

Also look out fro samples that have a reasonable diameter. I try to get coils with a minimum 120mm diameter. Tighter coils often seem to cause all sorts of problems when testing a loose coil.

One of my all time favourite sample packs is still  the Faberdashery 10 x 10m colour packs - very large and easy to use coils, perfect for injecting a little colour - Like I did for the Day 4 lollipop!

ColorFabb also do great samples when you want to experiment.

How much should you pay - That probably depends on you. How much time it will save you? Do you want to try out something new? Do you already know what settings to use? Will you / would you probably buy a roll anyway?

I often buy 2 or three of the same sample, just to have a spare in case you need to use that material in the future.

Why don't more manufacturers make sample packs / multi-packs etc. - It takes a lot of effort and does not seem to be a thing manufacturers really want to do. - I hope that changes in the future.

Make sure you tell 3D Printing filament manufacturers that you want samples (20m+) and that it's worth paying for them. Maybe then if we all let them know, it'll start to happen more often.

More multi-colour / multi-material selection packs, are also something I'm sure more people would buy. It can cost hundreds of $£e to get every colour of a filament range, but a sample multi-pack could be the cost of one single reel.

There must be a market for sample packs / monthly boxes etc? - Yes, some suppliers offer a sample service, like GlobalFSD, supply samples of many types. Ridig.Ink offer a sample filament club (for £10 per month) and you may want to check out Makerbox, but I have not yet used their service.

And now for something completely different (Python)...

Sorry now for an update on Day 11 -rusting of the Potjie (cooking pot)

Superglue together before rusting (see below).

After rusting - looks like it's 100 years old.

Ready to cook up a warm winter stew.

It was dipped in vinegar, sale and oxi-action solution, damp paper towel in a glass ramekin.

Leave to rust for a few days.

Day #15 is completed. I now have my very own severed foot :) 

The story of the severed foot... yea, that's going to be an odd one to explain on a Christmas tree, but it's totally Python like and an interesting talking point... I'm off to join the Judean People's Front. Or is it the People's Front of Judea?

Join me next time for Day #16 - When I finally get to use some flexible filaments :)

Thanks for reading.


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