We Are Learning 3D Printing Through Our Personal Experience…
The Orbi-Tech LayBrick is another interesting 3D filament that allows you to print models that look and feel like they are made from stone and not from plastic. This 3D printer filament is very similar to the Orbi-Tech LayWoo-d3 that we’ve recently also tested, however instead of wood we have a stone-like effect of the printed models. To be more precise the LayBrick 3D printer filament creates prints that look more like ceramic material when smoother or more like sandstone when the print is rougher, depending on the temperature you use for printing. The filament is apparently made from thermoplastic polymer combined with very fine milled chalk powder. It is apparently designed to be printed with extruder temperatures ranging from about 165°C to above 210°C, but we are going to be testing to see how the different temperature affects the result. The LayBrick filament doe snot require a heated build platform, so it should work on pretty much any standard printer made to work with PLA filament. The thermoplastic used as binding material for the chalk powder should be stable up to about 70 degrees Celsius temperature according to the specifications for the LayBrick, so pretty much the same as for most PLA filaments. Other manufacturer recommendations are to use a layer-thickness from 0.1 mm to 0.5 mm, max infill of 25%, and to wait some time for the material to harden before you remove it from the build platform after the printing is finished.
The LayBrick, similar to the LayWoo-d3 3D printer filament, should also be handled carefully when you load it and unload it to the printing head as it is easier to break than standard PLA,, but unlike the wooden-like material the stone-like one LayBrick did not cause us any jams of the extruder. The fact that we did not have trouble with the filament jamming the extruder is because it seems that the chalk powder is finer than the wood particles and higher temperature does not affect chalk like the wood. When printing our test simple house with LayBrick the temperature range and results turned out to be pretty similar to what we got when using LayWoo-d3, you can see the results from our test prints on the photo above. We have used our MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer using the Standard setting for 0.2 mm layer height and 60 mm/s speed while extruding with temperatures of 160, 180, 200, 230 and 250 degrees Celsius. As you can see on the photo with the printed examples using lower temperatures such as 160 and 180 degrees Celsius the surface looks smoother and the layers are harder to distinguish, going up to 200 degrees produces good results in terms of the look and feel of the printed model. Going for higher temperatures such as 230 (the standard we use for PLA) or even higher up to 250 degrees Celsius results in not so even layers, but that can be used as an advantage and effect should you need to have this kind of effect on purpose.
The Orbi-Tech LayBrick, much like the LayWoo-d3 3D printer filament is an interesting experimental product that when handled properly can help you make some really nice prints should you need a wood-like or stone-like look and feel. These filaments need a little more care when handling and when the print is finished you may want to wait a few minutes for them to harden before you remove them from the print bed. The ability to achieve different look of the printed part when using different temperature when printing can also be quite useful for people that want to play with these, especially for artists that want to make more original and attractive 3D printed materials. We definitely like the results we got and after testing these materials for a bit and now know how to handle then and with what settings to print. LayBrick and LayWoo-d3 filaments however do remain a more niche products that may be great to have if you need the kind of look and feel they provide, but that probably won’t be very often for most people. The price of these filaments is also a bit steep compared to more traditional and widely used materials, so doing large 3D prints may turn out to be pretty expensive, never the less if this is the kind of effect you need for a project there is not much you can do.