Posts Tagged ‘3D filament

universal-spool-holder-ready-to-assemble

When you already own a 3D printer you can start buying products that come in two halves – one that is 3D printable and you need to make the parts yourself and another one that is with components that you cannot print. We have purchased the RoboSavvy Universal Spool Holder kit that essentially comes just like we described above as we wanted to have a separate filament spool support that is not directly attached to the 3D printer. The kit itself comes with all the metal parts that you need in the form of rods, nuts and bearings and the other plastic parts you need to print yourself – the STL files are provided (the parts in black on the photo above we have printed ourselves). The parts you cannot print are actually common items that you might be able to easily find in a hardware store near you, but you need to buy them separately and they are sold as a complete kit, so it is easier to acquire all that you need.

universal-spool-holder-makerbot-filament

The Universal Spool Holder is designed to support two medium sized spools of varying lengths at once, and can be adjusted to support spools up to 21 cm wide, so pretty large ones. On the photo above you can see our fully assembled spool holder with a single MakerBot large 0.9 kg (2lb) spool of PLA material mounted on top of it, this leaves quite a lot of space for more than one more spool even if larger, and even though the spool is small in one end the holder remains stable and works well. It would’ve been nicer if we’ve had another 4 bearings and wing nuts in the kit, so that we could add the option for a third spool, but we can get them additionally anyway, so not much of a problem. The idea is that the spool holder is designed for medium and large size spools and you are most likely going to be using a lot of smaller size ones as well, so you are most likely going to need to add the option for a third spool to make it more useful anyway.

The RoboSavvy Universal Spool Holder is a nice and useful product that we liked very much and the fact that we needed to print some parts and assemble the unit ourselves is a nice addition for people who like us like this kind of stuff. While assembling the spool holder we have found out that there was a pair of hex nuts missing from the package, but we had some spare M4 nuts lying around, so we have quickly fixed that. Now what we only need to do is find some more 20x27x4mm bearings and print two more plastic middle parts on the 3D printer and we’ll have the option to extend the holder to three spools.

3d-printer-filament-samples

We have just received our order of 3D filament wraps (samples) from 3DFilaPrint. The company is based in UK and carries many different types of 3D printer filaments and the best thing they have is the ability to order smaller 10 and 5 meter samples from pretty much the whole range of 3D filaments they carry. The so called wraps or samples give you to opportunity to try out various different materials at much lower cost and then actually decided to order or not a full spool of the material. With some more specific and exotic filaments a whole spool of filament could turn out to be quite expensive purchase just to find out that it is not what you have expected from the material. We have ordered many different samples to play with, so you can expect more details about materials such as Orbi-Tech’s Laybrck and Laywood D3, or the Taluman’s Nylon and T-Glasse filaments along many others including UV reactive and glow in the dark materials and so on. So we would recommend to anyone interested to find a local 3D filament supplier that also carries short samples that you can also purchase in order to test various new materials and see if your 3D printer will be capable of using them as well as to see how good they may fit your specific needs.

makerbot-3d-printer-filament-spools

There are two main types of 3D printer filament that are widely spread and used by Fused deposition modeling (FDM) based 3D printers such as the MakerBot Replicator series for example – these are ABS and PLA, though there are various other alternatives also available. Both ABS and PLA are thermoplastic materials that start to melt when they are heated up, so that they can be used to form another object and solidify when they cool down.

ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is a common thermoplastic often used in 3D printing, but it also has many more applications. 3D printing using ABS has some additional requirements from the printer such as a heated bed, so not all devices are capable of supporting ABS printing. The objects printed from ABS are generally harder and more durable, can be used with higher temperature before starting to soften (about 100 degrees Celsius or more), but are also harder to print and generally provide less detail to the printed parts. If printing with ABS you must be careful and have good ventilation as the fumes produced when ABS is melted for printing are not totally safe.

PLA (Polylactide) is a biodegradable thermoplastic aliphatic polyester derived from renewable resources, such as corn starch for example. PLA is probably the most widely used material for 3D printing as it is easy to handle and offers very good detail level. The only drawback that it has is the relatively low temperature that the material starts to soften – above about 65 degrees Celsius. It does not require the printer to have a heated bed like ABS for example, so it is more 3D printer friendly, especially to the lower cost models.

In general both ABS and PLA have their advantages and disadvantages compared to each other, so you should choose the material based on what you are planning to be using the 3D printed parts for. If you need to print in ABS you should be careful when choosing a 3D printer supporting ABS prints as not all do and it such cases it is better to go for a model that has support for both ABS and PLA. If you are new to 3D printing and are getting your first 3D printer to play with it at home, then it is better to go for a model supporting PLA as you probably will not need ABS printing capabilities. Both ABS and PLA filaments come in the form of thin round lines with specific diameter (1.75mm or 3mm are the most common) that are wrapped around a spool. The 3D printer filament is being sold in spools with the material calculated and priced based on its weight and not length of the line for example, there are already many available colors for both materials that you can find available from various manufacturers.

There are of course many other materials that can be used for 3D printing, though they are mostly experimental and you should be prepared to have some issues and tinker with your 3D printer’s settings should you decide to try them out. There are multiple alternatives for a flexible rubber type of filament available for 3D printers that will allow you to print rubber like flexible models on your device. You can also find filaments that contain carbon, wood and even small stone particles that when printed will create an effect making it like if the 3D printed object is made from carbon, wood or stone or at least looking a lot like that. There are also other kinds of interesting 3D filaments available, but again most of these are experimental and using them can cause some problems on your 3D printer such as jamming of the print head etc., so be careful when you decide to try these out.


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