We Are Learning 3D Printing Through Our Personal Experience…
Innofil3D, a company specialized in making 3D printer filaments has released a newly developed filament called ERP PET that promised better results and features than traditional PLA filaments and the new ERP PET should come at a similar or slightly higher price point. PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) is well known for its wide application in making plastic bottles and it has great characteristics to bring 3D-printing to the next level. Currently PLA and ABS are the most common used monofilaments for 3D-printing. PLA is nice for consumers, but printed objects have their limits. ABS gives great results but users can experience difficulties when using it on their printer and most people dislike the smell during printing and it is not healthy to breath the fumes.
So here comes EPR PET promising to be a a great alternative for both, a new PET-based filament specifically designed for 3D printing from Innofil3D. It is easy to use, doesn’t generate fumes, shows great detail and is recyclable. EPR PET has a larger operating window for printing (temperature vs. speed) so it can be used on every 3D-printer and there should be no need for a heated bed since EPR PET adheres very well on tape. According to Innofil3D their ERP PET filament should be as easy to print as PLA and the resulting print should be better in terms of Strength, Resolution and Appearance thus making it a great alternative to standard PLA and allowing users to use the new filament for things where PLA may not be good enough. The glass transition temperature of the ERP PET filament is listed at 62 degrees Celsius or with other words the thermal resistance is similar to that of standard PLA where normally that temperature is about 55-60 degrees Celsius. We have a spool of the new ERP PET filament from Innofil3D to try out the new material, so we are going to be sharing our feedback from using it and how it compares to PLA very soon.
Recommended printer settings for ERP PET:
– Nozzle temperature: 210-230 °C
– Heated bed temperature: 75-85 °C (when applicable)
– No heated bed: use tape for bed adhesion
– Printing speeds: 40-100 mm/s (depends on nozzle temperature)
– Layer height: 0.08-0.2 mm
– Layer thickness: 0.8-1.0 mm thickness makes it possible to print water tight objects
Time to try out another of ColorFabb’s PLA/PHA filaments, this time it is a Woodfill Fine filament that contains actual wood particles – about 70% ColorFabb PLA and 30% recycled wood fibers. The end result from printing with this filament is a 3D printed object that feels like it is made from wood and looks like one, it is also lighter than the same print using only plastic filaments. ColorFabb uses fine pinewood fibers for this filament that are mixed with their PLA/PHA filament acting as a binding agent and the combination does seem to work pretty well. The box of the filament says recommended printing temperatures are 190-210 degrees Celsius and the official website mentions 195-220, 40-100 mm/s printing speed and if a heated build platform is available to set it at 50-60 C, though it is not specifically required.
We have tested printing with ColorFabb WoodFill Fine filament with a temperature of 190, 210, 230 and 250 degrees Celsius – outside of the recommended values to see what we are going to get as a result. The MakerBot Repilicator 2 3D printer that we are using was set to print with 0.2 mm layer height and 90 mm/s extrusion speed. Last year we have tested the Orbi-Tech LayWoo-d3 3D Printer Filament that was similar to the WoodFill from ColorFabb, but there were distinct differences between the two. At 190 degrees Celsius the ColorFabb WoodFill was having some trouble printing properly and we were getting filament jams inside the nozzle, going for 210 to 230 degrees things were fine in terms of printing and even at 250 the results were acceptable though the quality was not so good. We should note that around 210 degrees Celsius is probably the best temperature as with higher temperatures the filament is oozing too much from the nozzle and that requires a lot of cleanup work for larger models as you can see on the photo above. Also, unlike with the Orbi-Tech LayWoo-d3 where extrusion temperature affects the color of the printed object, with the ColorFabb Woodfill there is very little variation in color of the print using different extrusion temperature. The good thing however is that you can use standard printing speeds and settings with this filament just as you would with a normal PLA/PHA plastic only filament from ColorFabb.
We’ve had a few rolls of ColorFabb PLA/PHA filament for a while already, but have not used them yet, so we’ve decided it is time to give them a try and see how well they will compare to other PLA filament we’ve tried already. More specifically we’ve started our tests with Shining Silver, a quite nice looking color for a filament, and on the box of the filament we’ve noted a recommended printing temperature of 190-210 degrees Celsius. On the ColorFabb website however the advised 3D printing temperature for their PLA/PHA filament is 195-220C. According to the manufacturer the filament should print well with speeds between 40 and 100 mm/s and if you have a heated build platform to set it to 50-60C, though no heated build platform is required for using this material. The Glass Transition Temperature is 55C, pretty much like with other PLA filament – the temperature after which the material starts to get softer.
So up to testing, we are using a MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer and are currently printing on BuildTak surface covering a glass build plate. We’ve had no issues with the material sticking well to the surface and minimal warping around some of the edges only when printing very large objects causing them to not stick well to the surface. You can see the results from printing with different temperatures at 90 mm/s extrusion speed (the standard one used by the Replicator 2) and with 0.2mm layer thickness. At 190 degrees Celsius we were not able to get a finished print as the filament was jamming the extruder, apparently not being able to melt well enough for the extrusion speed we are using, with slower extrusion speed it is possible that you may get good prints. For normal printing speed we’ve seen that at 230C, the temperature we normally use with PLA filament, we were getting the best results. Going up to 250 degrees Celsius we’ve seen degradation in the quality of the 3D printer part, though it was still printed. So it seems that the best printing quality we are getting is in the range of 210-230 degrees Celsius, though with different printers this value may vary a bit. In general we are quite happy with the quality and easy of use of the ColorFabb PLA/PHA filament and we are going to be getting more of it to test and use in our printing needs.