Skating on Water Bottles

This post is a follow-up to this one on the Gigabot X pellet printer. If you haven’t checked it out or watched the video, start there!

We know you’ve been dying to know what on Earth our Gigabot X pellet printer prototype was printing in the last update video, so we’re here to deliver!

Without further ado, the reveal.

The slick design was dreamt and drawn up by one of the students working on Gigabot X material validation at Michigan Tech University. Our team was really excited about the idea of printing the board using one of our favorite new materials we’ve been testing: recycled PET.

Giving water bottles a second lease on life as a fun, functional object? As Robert put it, “You know, we had to do it.”

We went through a few trials of the board, snapping a couple of the earlier prints due to the design being a little too thin or not printing it with enough infill. We thickened up the design and increased the infill percentage to make the board a little sturdier, leaving us with a roughly six and a half hour, five pound print.

After popping on some trucks and wheels, re:3D Engineer & Resident Skater Jeric Bautista took the board for a spin behind the Houston office.

Jeric gave the board his stamp of approval. “The skateboard was really fun to use,” he said. “It was smooth to ride and the PET made it nice and springy, which is similar to normal skateboards. Seeing firsthand the functionality of recycled plastic was definitely very cool.”
 
Keeping plastic bottles out of landfills by giving them a new life as functional objects? That’s something we can roll with.

From Rubble to Rebirth: #NEWPALMYRA

From Rubble to Rebirth

In addition to the tremendous human suffering and loss in Syria, there is another component to the war which has taken an entirely different toll on the country and its psyche: the destruction of its cultural heritage.

Part of ISIS’s path of destruction has been on the ancient cities’ architecture themselves – they are decimating not only the human population but also their history and culture.

The city of Palmyra is one such example.

Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was once a Silk Road oasis that stood as one of the best-preserved ruins of antiquity before it was targeted by the violent extremist group. UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova referenced Palmyra as an example of ISIS seeking to “destroy both human lives and historical monuments in order to deprive the Syrian people of its past and its future.”

But from the destruction and rubble came a glimmer of good. This is where the story of #NEWPALMYRA begins.

Forward-thinking Bassel Khartabil, the Creative Commons Syria leader, open source software developer, educator, and free culture advocate, began 3D modeling the endangered ruins of Palmyra back in 2005. In 2012 he was unlawfully imprisoned by the Syrian government for his work, and in 2015 was sentenced to death by the Assad regime. His current whereabouts are unknown.

After his arrest, his friends, family, and community rallied around his vision to create #NEWPALMYRA, a non-profit organization with the goal of “freeing Syrian culture digitally, providing agency and advancement for the Syrian people through cultural heritage and digital preservation.”

Creative Commons – a non-profit “devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share” – hatched a plan to debut #NEWPALMYRA “in the flesh” at their 2017 Summit in Toronto.

And this is where re:3D joined the story.

When our team heard about the possibility of helping out on such a project, we jumped at the opportunity. Mike Battaglia, Usability Engineer and Community Support Manager at re:3D, explained, “I had read about the destruction of Palmyra and was very inspired by Bassel Khartabil’s efforts. Helping preserve this landmark cost him his freedom; when I heard re:3D was supporting the project with a large-scale print I was excited at the thought of us helping continue where he left off.”

 

The Pylon Printing Process

The piece that Creative Commons decided to bring to life for the Summit was the impressive Tetrapylon, one of four massive quad-column structures which mark the route of a road or central place in the city. These large structures were destroyed by ISIS in January of this year, as reported by The New York Times.

Creative Commons was looking for a machine capable of producing a version of one Tetrapylon which did testament to its immense real-life scale, which is how Gigabot entered the equation. We reconstructed a scaled-down Tetrapylon standing seven and a half feet tall and weighing in at over 200 pounds (90+ kg).

Using digital 3D models of the Tetrapylon provided by the #NEWPALMYRA team, Mike created printable files from the models. As he explained, “3D printing requires error-free ‘watertight’ models to create clean prints.” To accomplish this, he “ran the columns through several repair algorithms until they were good to go, redesigned the base to be better fit for 3D printing, and chopped up the model into smaller pieces that would fit [Gigabot’s] build volume.”

We broke the Tetrapylon into 25 separate pieces, clocking in around 800 hours of print time total. The biggest challenge for re:3D – as many of our bot owners can likely relate to – was working with this massive number of print hours. “The parts were so large that the print time estimates were through the roof,” said Jeric Bautista, Product Engineer at re:3D. Mike added, “This was the largest print that re:3D has taken on to date.”

As for the sheer size of the print, Mike remarked that, “The fact that we had to design in safety measures because of the weight of the object was new to me. If one of those columns were pushed out, whoever was standing next to it could have had a very bad day.” For safety purposes, Mike designed channels into the print to run rods down each column, locked into place with 4×4 wooden blocks.

Coupled with the challenge of the overall size of the object was the detail variation within the print. While some parts of the structure are large and uniform – like the columns – other parts are so fine to the point that dual extrusion printing was required. The print resolution throughout the Tetrapylon ranges between ultra-detailed 200 microns and very large layers of 600 microns.

Jeric explained, “The completion of this project hinged on our R&D efforts to enable high-flow printing on Gigabot that drastically reduced printing times, as well as reliable dual extrusion printing to create highly detailed parts.”

Steve Johnson, lead Machinist and Programmer at re:3D, was in charge of creating a new hot end for the job. He explained his task of manufacturing one with a “longer heating area that would allow us to extrude faster because of the size of the print and the short time frame we had to complete it in.” He designed and machined four hot ends to be used for the project.

The tackling and subsequent success of this challenge reverberated throughout our engineering team.

Gigabot owners will be happy to hear Jeric’s take on things. “I want to go bigger and faster,” he said. “Going back to R&D – we were able to multiply our material output 5-10x for this project, but of course we won’t stop there.” He added, “I’d like to see how our ‘big printing’ R&D initiatives will put us in an even better place to tackle projects at larger scales.”

Crossing these technical challenges was one aspect of what made this project so rewarding. “Not only did we jump over multiple technical hurdles to get the printing done, but it was awesome to see everything literally come together before our eyes,” Jeric said. “And that was just on the 3D printing side, which was the last piece of an already long-running initiative.”

 

Lasting Impact

The initiative was over a decade in the making and required the cooperation of many different parties, making the success even sweeter. Working in conjunction with #NEWPALMYRA and Creative Commons on this project was an incredible honor for us.

“My favorite part of this project was how collaborative it was,” Jeric commented. “It required folks contributing from so many different spheres to make it all come together at Creative Commons Global Summit.” He went on, “There’s also something to be said about the power of open information and distributed manufacturing to preserve history and culture.”

The final reveal in Toronto was a culmination of countless hours of work by multiple different parties – the print’s completion hinged on a truly collaborative effort.

“It was so moving to see the New Palmyra unveiling at CC Summit and seeing everyone’s reactions, knowing the weight of what the project meant to all of them,” said Jeric. “It really brought things full circle, and was a great example of what is possible with open source projects.”

Of his experience, Mike said, “I was honored to have the opportunity to contribute to this project! I think this is one of the first of hopefully many preservation efforts for other cultural landmarks.”

The #NEWPALMYRA undertaking sets the stage – and the bar – for similar projects. As Mike remarked, “Museums like the MET and Smithsonian have already recognized the value of preserving their own collections of cultural artifacts via 3D scanning and 3D printing. Now let’s continue the same in large-scale.”

One can’t help but see the impact this project will have on future cultural preservation efforts from both intended destruction and natural degradation over time.

“My hope is that cultural heritage sites are preserved with 3D scanning as quickly as possible,” said Mike. “Having a digital back-up may even help to deter ISIS’ demolition in the future, since the symbolic value is lessened once a backup exists. We can even preserve the feeling of being at these sites with VR, and I hope this happens as well.”

As Jeric put it – “Full scale New Palmyra exhibits, anyone?”

  

 

   

 

Sources:

http://www.newpalmyra.org/

https://creativecommons.org/2017/04/28/new-palmyra/

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/20/isis-destroys-tetrapylon-monument-palmyra-syria

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/01/satellite-images-reveal-isis-destruction-of-palmyras-temple-of-bel

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/20/world/middleeast/palmyra-syria-isis-amphitheater.html?_r=0

 

 

Pitching for a Circular Economy Part 1: Why We Went to Aruba

Musings From Our Amazing Experience at the ATECH* Conference

arubabeach

As I sit on a plane flying in the opposite direction of Aruba I feel there is nothing more important than finding a way back. You see, Samantha & I spent the past three days as co-founders immersed in a new culture with new people and pitching an idea that is new and maybe just ahead of it’s time. The event that brought us all together is Atech2016. There exist in the paradise of an island nation of Aruba a group of inspiring founders who for the second year now have decided to put their money on the table. These visionaries invite tech savvy entrepreneurs and guest speakers to discuss thoughts and ideas on topics ranging from mobile banking & blockchain technology. I’m just glad we did research into sites like https://beincrypto.com/tag/coinbase/, as this meant that we were kept up to date with all things relating to the blockchain industry. We even looked into wearable tech & social inclusion from the perspective of Burning Man to inspire each other as well as the local Arubans how we as a society maintain relevance in the age of acceleration that we are living.logo_atech_conference-300x212Gatherings like Atech2016 are really the nexus, bringing together in one place a group of young individuals with passion, focus, and hunger for change. With connections made, and new ideas formed we are all contemplating our next steps as we fly in the opposite direction of Aruba. We feel honored to have been part of such an event and encouraged by many Arubans who resonated with re:3D’s vision and our pitch for the Atech and Aruban communities. We were stoked to be named finalists in the pitch competition, and, while we didn’t win left more determined than when we arrived.

sampitchingaruba

Several things became clear to us in the few short days we spent on the island:

  • 1) Arubans are ready, in fact hungry, for greater technology. Meeting and talking to the young men and women volunteering at the conference we felt their excitement for 3D printing as well as other technology on display.
  • 2) The island nation of Aruba is resource constrained and imports the vast majority of all their physical goods. There is very limited manufacturing on the island.
  • 3) With an economy largely based on tourism and very little to nonexistent recycling program there is a growing problem with trash and landfill space.

benchies

Our goal and dream, that which we pitched to Aruba, was that re:3D would engineer and manufacture the prototype hardware needed to take the first step in 3D printing useful objects from plastic trash. During our few short days at the conference, we reached out to community leaders, local entrepreneurs, Aruban schools and universities and well as hotels to partner in the effort of recycling, re-using and re: imagining the possibilities to own their our factory as well as the supply chain. The response was super positive and affirmed for us first – hand there was a HUGE opportunity to leverage trash for a more circular economy.

Why is this important?

Where do we go next?

While we left Aruba affirmed that 3D printing from waste is inherently right, we unfortunately did not secure the resources we needed to complete a prototype to leverage reclaimed plastic using Gigabot. Stayed tuned to upcoming blogs in our series as we continue to share our vision in future competitions and pursue partners to donate post-manufacturing waste streams to test. With a little luck, we will raise enough support to partner with Aruba on a pilot!

aruba-future

~Happy Printing!

Matthew aka @chief_hacker

Material Testing & Heat Treating Natureworks PLA 3D850

The notes below reflect our new open-source filament testing protocol. After evaluating the printability of Coex PLA Prime/PLA 3D850 on Gigabot, I decided to experiment with a heat treatment process.  

Manufacturer:  Coex    

Filament Name:  PLA Prime

Color Tested:  Natural

Date Received: 6/10/2016

Date Tested: 6/16/2016

Ease of use:   Excellent

Appearance:  Clearer than regular PLA

Size consistency: Great

Color consistency: Great

Odor: None

Manufacturer’s recommendations

  • Speed: none given mm/s
  • Temperature: has a higher MFI so should be able to print slightly cooler than regular PLA C
  • Infill %: any
  • Layer Height: tested at 0.3175mm
  • Printer Used: GB # 004
  • Print temperature used: 200 C (nozzle) /55C (bed)
  • Speed used: 60 mm/s
  • Layer Height:0.3175 mm
  • Infill: 15%
  • Odor: none
  • Type(s) of print surface used: Print n Z

FINDINGS

Bed adhesion (1: terrible-5: fabulous!)

  •    5

Stringing (1: lots -5: none!)

  •    4

Shrinkage (1: lots-5: none!)

  •    4- None!

Interlayer adhesion (1: terrible-5: fabulous!)

  •    4 Perfect!

The technical datasheet for the pellets that the filament is derived from can be found here: http://www.natureworksllc.com/~/media/Technical_Resources/Technical_Data_Sheets/TechnicalDataSheet_3D850_Monofilament_pdf.pdf?la=en 

I suspect that most, if not all the temperature resistant PLA uses the 3D850 as its base. There is very little information out there for recommended heat treat methods.

Here are a couple pictures from a recent experiment I did with Natureworks PLA 3D850 that claims increased crystallization with heat treat. I used a wall oven to heat treat the parts at 200F but please note that I did not verify with a second thermometer.

heattreat

The three parts on the top row are not heat treated and the three on the bottom row are heat treated at 200F for 15 minutes. I placed the parts into a cold oven and let the oven heat to temp and maintained temp for 15 minutes then removed the parts to air cool. The color change and warping happened while the parts were in the oven not after they were removed.The top two parts were made with one perimeter (0.48mm width). The center two are two perimeters and the bottom two have three perimeters. Interestingly enough the part with two perimeters warped the least. I also heat treated a couple objects with more structural integrity and found little to no warping (small 5″ Moai statue and the re3D logo placard).

I think the next steps are to control the rate of heating to see if the amount of warping can be reduced. Would love to hear other’s experience with heat treating the PLA 3D850.

Further information about annealing PLA is here: http://www.4spepro.org/view.php?article=005392-2014-03-28
Quesions or Comments?
  • Share your thoughts on the materials section of our forum:
    • https://re3d.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/206087383-Natureworks-3D850
Happy Printing!
~Matthew

Made in America: 3D Printing Prototypes for Stump Armour Molds

Meet Travis: A Texan, father, entrepreneur, warrior, and inventor.

re:3D first met Travis in Austin last winter as he was prototyping his second version of Stump Armour: an affordable, accessible device he pioneered in order to expand mobility options for bilateral amputees.

As a combat-wounded Marine, Travis is uniquely qualified to inspire solutions to increase maneuverability for other double amputees while reducing back strain that traditional prosthetics can create. By using himself as the test subject and leveraging business insights he acquired in the 100 Entrepreneurs Project and the Entrepreneurial Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV), Travis launched Stump Armour on indiegogo this week.

stumparmourdurty
Stump Armour Mod 1


About Stump Armour

Stump Armour is a round design that connects to traditional sockets to allow for constant surface contact from any angle. Pressure can be directly applied to a terrain without changing position, allowing amputees to roll themselves up independently when preforming activities close to the ground.  Since the round shape can grab from nearly any position, it works great on uneven/irregular surfaces, so the amputee doesn’t need to focus as much concentration on limb placement when compared to other devices.  Travis doesn’t feel Stump Armour is intended to replace full leg or knee prosthetics. Rather, it’s meant to increase functionality with specific tasks.

IMG_1546

Keeping Costs Low 

A key tenant of the Stump Armor’s mission is to make devices as affordable as possible worldwide. For this reason, Travis contracted Mike Battaglia & I last January to see if we could 3D print his vision for a Stump Armour’s Modification. Using Simplify3D we were able to generate a raft & support that could easily break off. The completed PLA prototypes printed great and we were excited to give them to Travis, who planned to use the prints to create a mold to scale Stump Armor globally.

IMG_1549
3D printed Stump Armour Mods 3 (left) and Mod 4 (right) cast at SureCast

Prints in hand, Travis partnered with local foundries who guided him through the process of making his own custom mold to cast multiple sets of Stump Armour.  This week we interviewed Travis to learn more about the process he used to create a mold from a print by working with Stevens Art. Below are the steps that he described:

stumparmourmold

  • From a 3d printed prototype made on Gigabot, a silicone rubber mold was created.
  • The print was covered in an releasing agent that was then covered in silicone, leaving an inlet for wax to be poured in later.
  • After the silicone cured, a 2 piece plaster shell was made.
  • Once completed, the silicone was carefully cut with a razor along where the plaster shells come together so it would come apart into 2 pieces.

stumparmourpour

  • The shells were clamped together and hot wax was then poured into the inlet.
  • When the wax hardened, the wax casting of the original print was removed.

stumparmourwaxdone

  • The wax cast was then dipped in a a ceramic slurry and power coat until a hard shell formed.
  • This shell was fired in an oven to harden the cast melt the wax out.
  • Metal was poured in and the ceramic shell was broken off after it cooled.
  • A metal replica of the original 3d print was then ready for finishing!
Stump Armour Mod 2

Using lost wax casting, Travis was able to do his first production run of Stump Armour, which is now available to other amputees on the Stump Armour indiegogo campaign. You can support Stump Armour’s next production run and Stump Armour donations at: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/stump-armour#/  until July 1st.

stumparmournewlogo
Want to learn more?
  • Email: info@stumparmour.com
  • Web: http://www.stumparmour.com/
  • YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsObkfi6W6x2B6dpZ89_CGg/videos?sort=dd&view=0&shelf_id=0
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Greens-Machines-LLC-716439551739895/
  • Google: https://plus.google.com/u/2/b/106145756742784523319/106145756742784523319/posts
  • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/10602419trk=tyah&trkInfo=clickedVertical%3Acompany%2CclickedEntityId%3A10602419%2Cidx%3A2-1-2%2CtarId%3A1464716547152%2Ctas%3Agreens%20machines

 

Drones & Open Source: Partnering with Local Motors

Below is a re-post of content MicheleAbbate hosted on the Local Motors Blog at: https://localmotors.com/MicheleAbbate/lmdrones-re3d-gigabot/

LMDRONES: re:3D Gigabot 

As part of the LMDRONES projects that you can find on Local Motors, we want to welcome re:3D and their Gigabot 3D printer as they join our LM Drone efforts!

lmre3dunite

May 7th was International Drone Day and the Local Motors Teams, from both Vegas and Chandler, paired up with Matthew Fiedler, Co-Founder and Chief Engineer at re:3D, to bring their Gigabot 3D printer to the world’s first drone port, the Eldorado Droneport, in Boulder City, NV.

mfdronedemo

The all day event included open tuning, demonstrations, races, and freestyle flying.  Matt Jackson, Alaric Egli, and Alex Palmer of Local Motors brought a variety of different drones to take part  in the event.  Matthew began printing with the re:3D Gigabot as soon as it arrived, showing it’s potential and usability for creating parts, wings, and even a full size Wing FPV.

fpvdemo

re:3D Gigabot can now be found at the Local Motors’ headquarters in Chandler AZ!

Filament Testing – Scorpion Flexible Nylon by Black Magic 3D

Below are our notes that respect our new open source filament testing. ASTM test samples are being created and in the upcoming months you can anticipate a summary on our website that reflects our adventures in 3D printing material science. 

MATERIAL TESTED: Scorpion Flexible Nylon

Manufacturer: Black Magic 3D

Filament Diameter: – 2.85mm

Color Tested: Natural

Date Tested: 4/06/2016

IMG_2511

OBSERVATIONS

Ease of use: Those new to 3D printing may want to budget extra time when printing with Scorpion as it takes a little manipulation to perfect the temperature & retraction settings.

Appearance: The natural filament was clean and consistent. Prints matched filament color & opacity.

Size consistency: Awesome, less than 0.1mm within the roll.

Color consistency: Great, consistent throughout the coil.

IMG_2507

SETTINGS

Print temperature: 230-235 C (suggested): nozzle / 60C : bed

Printer Used: Gigabot

Speed: 50 mm/s

Layer Height: 0.3mm

Infill: 15%

Type(s) of print surface used: PRINTnZ with 3M Blue Painter’s Tape and 2 coats of Elmer’s Glue Stick

List of test files printed: re:3D’s test files 1, 2, and 3 (logo, vase, and Benchy Torture Test)

You view watch a video summarizing our testing below:

FINDINGS

Odor: None

Bed adhesion (1: terrible – 5: fabulous!)

  • 4- Great adhesion could be achieved, but required two coats of PVA glue stick, painter’s tape, and the highest heat setting suggested for the bed and nozzle.

Stringing (1: lots – 5: none!)

  • 4 -Stringing was observed across lettering, however doubling the retraction settings eliminated the problem.

Shrinkage (1: lots – 5: none!)

  • 4- Some curling was observed on corners of logo after removal. It is suggested that the print be allowed to cool down on the bed before taking it off.

Interlayer adhesion (1: terrible – 5: fabulous!)

  • 5- Perfect!

IMG_2508
 

NOTES:

  • A flexible nylon offers a lot of possibility to the 3D printing community
    • This filament appears to overcome concerns that both flexible and nylon materials are difficult to use.
    • With the right settings and adhesion hygiene, this material appears to yield consistent, quality prints.
  • NOTE: this filament required 2 coats of Elmer glue stick on Blue Painter’s tape applied over a heated bed, using the max range of bed and nozzle heat settings
  • Filament size consistency was excellent.
  • Curling was observed with only 1 coat of glue stick and was also seen after print removal when the bed was still warm.
    • It is recommended that the bed be allowed to cool before removal to mitigate curling after print completion.
  • The best testing outcomes were observed at the highest temperatures settings (235C -nozzle, 60C- bed) and using the speed (50mm/s) that the manufacture provided. No guidance was given for retraction, which we found we needed to double or standard setting in order to eliminate stringing across lettering.
  • The unboxing experience was well done and the recommendation sheet was very useful. 
    • No date stamp for production was listed, however a batch number was provided for traceability.
    • Manufacturer recommended settings were easily referenced on the enclosed documentation.

IMG_2510

RECCOMENDATIONS:

  • This filament is extremely impressive and more than exceeded expectations due to past expereinces working with nylons and flexible materials.
  • Upon review, we would highly recommend that larger, more complex prints be created to further investigate the potential this exotic, and much needed material provides.IMG_2368

 

Want to chat? Join our forum where we have initiated a thread about our experience!

https://re3d.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/206375086-Testing-Scorpion-Flexible-Nylon-on-Gigabot

~Happy Printing!

Samantha

Filament Testing – 3D Fuel Advanced PLA

Below are our notes that respect our new open source filament testing. ASTM test samples are being created and in the upcoming months you can anticipate a summary on our website that reflects our adventures in 3D printing material science. 

MATERIAL TESTED: 3D FUEL/APLA

Manufacturer: 3D Fuel

Filament Diameter: – 2.85mm

Color Tested: Bright green

Date Tested: 2/29/2016

IMG_2143

OBSERVATIONS

Ease of use:  Extremely printable with excellent adhesion.

Appearance:  The green filament was vibrant with a smooth texture. Prints yielded a slightly “shiny” surface.

Size consistency:  Average, within .1mm within roll.

Color consistency: Great, consistent throughout roll.

IMG_2140

SETTINGS

Print temperature: 210 C (nozzle) / 55C (bed)

Printer Used: Gigabot

Speed: 45 mm/s

Layer Height: 0.3mm

Infill: 30%

Type(s) of print surface used: PRINTnZ

List of test files printed: re:3D’s test files 1, 2, and 3 (logo, vase, airplane gear piece)

 You can watch a video  summarizing our testing:

FINDINGS

Odor: None

Bed adhesion (1: terrible – 5: fabulous!)

  • 5 (only the settings listed above were tested, but the manufacturer’s recommendations seemed to be accurate)

Stringing (1: lots -5: none!)

  • 5 – None!

Shrinkage (1:lots-5: none!)

  • 5-None!

Interlayer adhesion (1:terrible-5:fabulous!)

  • 5- Perfect!

IMG_2154 

NOTES:

  • The promise of a more heat resistant PLA is super enticing to the 3D printing community.
    • After testing, the landing gear was exposed to high temperature heat via a hair dryer and showed little warping.
      • Further controlled testing would need to be implemented to investigate this claim, but it does initially appear to be stronger and more heat resistant than traditional PLA.
  • NOTE: this filament was tested 4 months after receipt, however, for many users a 4 month shelf life is necessary.
    • Testing fresh filament is expected to yield similar or even better results.
  • Filament size consistency was about on par with most filament.
  • No delamination or curling was observed.
  • All testing was conducted at the midpoint of the temperature and speed range that the manufacture provided. It’s likely that the outcome would have been even better had the ranges had been explored in more detail.
  • The unboxing experience was well done and the recommendation sheet was highly professional.
  • We appreciated the Made in America reference, and date stamp of quality control on the box & insert.
  • Manufacturer recommended settings were easily referenced on the enclosed documentation.

RECCOMENDATIONS:

  • This filament is extremely impressive and more than exceeded it’s claims.
  • Upon review, we would highly recommend that this filament be submitted to ASTM testing by evaluating coupons at multiple temperature and infill settings.

Want to chat? Join our forum where we have initiated a thread about our experience!

https://re3d.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/205198503-TESTING3D-FUEL-APLA

~Happy Printing!

Samantha

Filament Testing: Printing with Algae!

Below are our notes that respect our new open source filament testing. ASTM test samples are being created and in the upcoming months you can anticipate a summary on our website that reflects our adventures in 3D printing material science. 

MATERIAL TESTED: 3D FUEL/ALGAE-FUEL

Manufacturer: Algix3D

Diameter : – 2.86mm

Color Tested: Slightly green/brownish

Date Tested: 2/28/2016

IMG_2133

OBSERVATIONS

Ease of use: A little tricky due to the brittle nature of the filament, however, once you get started you are good to go!

Appearance: Aesthetic, reflects sustainability, “rough texture”, definitely not smooth!

Size consistency:  Average, within .1mm within roll.

Color consistency: Great, consistent throughout roll.

IMG_2134

SETTINGS

Print temperature: 175 C (nozzle) /55C (bed)

Printer Used: Gigabot

Speed: 30mm/s

Layer Height: 0.3mm

Infill: 35%

Odor: Earthy, smells like algae

Type(s) of print surface used: Print n Z

List of test files printed: re:3D’s test files 1, 2, and 3 (logo, vase, airplane gear piece)

 You can watch a video  summarizing our testing:

 

FINDINGS

Bed adhesion (1:terrible-5:fabulous!)

  • 4 (could have been optimized by adjusting cooling/ temperature)

Stringing (1: lots -5: none!)

  • 4 (could have been optimized by adjusting speed/ temperature)
    • Only noticed slight stringing in vase

Shrinkage (1:lots-5: none!)

  • 5-None!

interlayer adhesion (1:terrible-5:fabulous!)

  • 5- Perfect!

 IMG_2155

NOTES:

  • A renewable filament that reduces the environmental footprint of production is highly appealing to the 3D printing community.
  • The biggest limitation is the brittle nature of the filament, making initial setup a little tricky. NOTE: this filament was tested 4 months after receipt, however, for many users a 4 month shelf life is ideal.
  • Filament size consistency was about on par with most filament.
  • Little delamination and no curling was observed.
  • All testing was conducted at the lowest temperature and speed range that the manufacture provided. It’s likely that the outcome would have been even better had the mid to high range temperature ranges had been explored.
  • The unboxing experience was well done and the recommendation sheet was professional.
  • We appreciated the made in America reference, and date stamp of quality control on the box and insert.
  • Manufacturer recommended settings were easily referenced on the enclosed insert

RECCOMENDATIONS:

Not all users may appreciate the aroma, however if you are looking for a more sustainable 3D printing alternative and doesn’t require a smooth surface, this materials may be for you!

Want to chat? Join our forum where we have initiated a thread about our experience!

https://re3d.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/206091996-TESTING-3D-FUEL-ALGAE-FUEL

~Happy Printing!

Samantha

 

Materials Testing: PLA++, PLA, & n-vent

 

With some new filament in the office, I took the opportunity on a recent visit to Houston to do some materials testing, also known as breaking things, which happens to be my specialty.

My main goal was to test out a new filament called PLA++ by Breathe-3DP and compare it to the regular PLA we use. As they describe it, the second “+” is for functionality – where normal PLA snaps, their PLA++ stays strong. I wanted to see that for myself.

To spice things up a bit, I threw some n-vent into the mix, which ended up adding a nice third dimension to the spectrum of strength we saw.

I printed out a handful of the ASTM Tensile Test Specimen, dubbed the “dogbone” in the office, and got to breaking things. The PLA++ was first on the chopping block.

You can see in the video that I’m able to get the dogbone flexed into a nice St. Louis Gateway Arch shape – it had a good amount of give to it. I could feel the material bend under my fingers; in the video you see the edges in the center start to turn a slight white color as the print flexes. Only once I move my thumbs to the outside of each end and force the two together does the center finally give.

Even once it does finally break, only the top of the print has actually split – the bottom is still attached. It takes me ripping the two apart to separate the two halves. You can see in the video how much the print has curved due to my bending it, and it retains that bend even after it is broken.

The flexible nature of the PLA++ becomes more apparent when compared to the standard PLA test. PLA, our choice filament around the office, is known for its ease of printing, but also its brittleness.

I’m able to flex the PLA dogbone a fair amount – further than I expected, but not as far as the PLA++ – but its reaction to this flexion is explosive and violent. You can see pieces rocket off once the print reaches its breaking point, loud enough to make one of our engineers in the room jump and whip around to see what new trouble I was getting myself into.

Last up was the wild card, Taulman’s n-vent. What seemed promising to me was its ease of printing yet also its toughness and resistance to high temperatures.

The n-vent wouldn’t quit. I bent it one way, then the other way, then back the first way, flexing it beyond where the PLA++ made it. When it finally gives up the fight, it’s a slow, unceremonious break. With the outer edge finally split, I’m able to flex the two ends until they touch, and even then the dogbone wouldn’t break in two.

You may notice a hand model swap at different points throughout the video – our lead engineer jumped in for a piece of the action – and the n-vent put up just as much of a fight for him. He bent the two halves back and forth several times before forcefully ripping them apart.

In the close-ups at the end of the video you can see the stringy infill of the n-vent print, the internal structure which kept the two ends hanging onto each other so well. In contrast, the standard black PLA shows a clean break – unsurprisingly – after the gunshot-like force by which it broke. The PLA++ shows an edge somewhere between the two – not stringy like the n-vent, but with a rougher edge than the standard PLA, due to the slower, bendy break it experienced.

In the end, the n-vent won out in overall toughness, with the PLA++ a close runner-up; though the PLA++ has a leg up in the “ease of printing” category. The standard PLA continues to be a favorite around the office and strong recommendation from our engineers to our users due to the fact that it prints so well and easily. For design and prototyping it does the trick – it’s only once you venture into working prototypes that require some strength or temperature resistance that you may run into issues with it.

In conclusion, each filament has different strengths that lend it well to different applications – it’s all about choosing the right one for your particular project.