p3d-new-nozzles

Last year we have tried the Low Friction MK8 Extruder Nozzles from Performance 3-d as an upgrade to our MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer. These were among the first, if not the first, 3D printer nozzles that were available with a low friction coating to help prevent filament jams and extend the life of the nozzle. Since then we’ve seen more options getting released on the market in the form of nozzles with various material and coatings, and since we’ve also seen a lot of new exotic filaments released on the market these more durable 3D printer nozzles have become a hot topic. We have already tried some other alternatives to and now Performance 3-d has also upgraded their product line with improved nozzles and new models from different materials.

p3d-new-thermal-barrier-tubes

Performance 3-d now also offers improved thermal barrier tubes to go along with your new improved nozzle upgrades with both being Swiss CNC machined and plated with our Duraplat3-d low-friction, wear resistant coating making them great for all around printing as well as when using abrasive filaments like carbon fiber or metallic. They are now offering not only Brass, but also high-heat transfer Aluminum and tough-as-nails Tool Steel 3D printer nozzles that are all completely coated with the Duraplat3-d coating. The direct replacement and upgrade for Makerbot Replicator 2 thermal barrier tubes can also improve the experience by reducing problems as they are also plated with the electroless nickel based Duraplat3-d coating. The high lubricity plating, along with the stepped internal bore, will prevent clogging in the liquid zone of the hot end meaning that when combined with a plated nozzle filament jams should become a thing of the past.

Duraplat3-d coating benefits:
– Specially engineered for improved lubricity and low friction
– Entirely coated inside and outside
– Reduce extrusion stress and help prevent hang-ups
– High hardness (68Rc) for a lifetime of printing
– Eliminate plastic globs stuck to nozzle
– Reduce plastic curl during extrusion
– Wear resistant for abrasive filaments (carbon fiber, metallic, etc…)
– Corrosion resistant
– Used in aerospace and injection molds and dies

We already have got some nozzles from the new and improved Elite series (coated brass nozzles) as well as from the Hercules series (coated steel nozzles) and the new coated thermal barriers to try out, so we’ll be posting our feedback from using them shortly. Meanwhile you can check the specifications of the new specially coated nozzles as well as the new thermal barrier tubes from Performance 3-D for full specifications and additional details.

uv-lamp-curing-3d-prints

SLA (Stereolitography) 3D printers rely on liquid resin that is being solidified with the help of UV light (Laser, LED or DLP light source), however when the finished print is ready to be removed from the build plate it still needs some more work. The first step is to clean it up with the help of stong alcohol that will remove any liquid residues from the resin, then you might need to remove some support material if you needed it. You would notice however that the 3D printed part has a bit of rubbery feel and is not yet like a strong plastic, so it needs to be cured with additional UV light to become strong. One of the most common and easy ways to do it is to bring out the 3D printed part outside so the sun can shine on it and cure it in a few minutes, however this is not the best way to do it and the sun is not always available when you need it to provide enough UV light.

We have experimented with different sources of UV light to see if we can easily cure 3D printed parts on our new XYZprinting Nobel 1.0 SLA 3D printer. We’ve started with a 3W UV LED lamp from a flashlight, but that was simply not powerful enough an even after an hour the test parts were still not cured well enough. Then we have moved to UV lamps for checking for counterfeit money, these are usually available with a 4-8W UV lamps and are pretty easy to find, but unfortunately they were still not powerful enough. So the next step was a string of UV LED lights where we got about 8W of power per meter and this meant that we needed quite a long strip to get more power out of them and we have moved to looking for alternatives. The next thing we have tried was a 36W nail polish curing UV lamp – these are available in different forms from about 9W to about 48W, but the 36W model seems to be quite common and cheap to get. It uses four 9W CCFL UV lamps and apparently provides enough UV light in order to cure most 3D printer parts in just a few minutes. It has worked really well with the clear resin prints from the Nobel 1.0 SLA 3D printer and there is enough space to fit inside relatively large objects. If you need more space you should be able to pretty easily modify the standard plastic box and make a larger size box with some aluminum foil.

xyzprinting-nobel-1-0-3d-printer

The XYZprinting Nobel 1.0 SLA 3D printer is currently one of the most affordable that uses the more detailed Stereolitography technology for curing liquid resin with an UV laser, producing higher quality prints as compared to the more common FDM/FFF 3D printers using thermoplastics. Earlier this year, when the Nobel 1.0 was announced it looked like a really good alternative to some other more expensive SLA 3D printers and although we like FormLab’s 3D printers they are still quite more expensive. So recently we have decided to go for the Nobel 1.0 as an expansion of our 3D printers lab in order for us to start using SLA 3D printing as well and dig deeper into the technology. Now it is time to share our initial impressions after using the XYZprinting Nobel 1.0 3D printer for a while, so if you are interested in SLA 3D printers and are on a more limited budget you will most likely be interested in this device as well.

first-sla-3d-printed-models

The Nobel 1.0 3D printer, like most other SLA 3D printers, comes with a smaller build volume than you might’ve gotten used to from FDM/FFF devices, but offers higher printing resolution that comes with slower build times unfortunately. The device itself is affordable and you might end up getting it for less than you might need to pay for an FDM/FFF 3D printer, however the UV resin that the device uses as a material for printing is the expensive part along with the resin reservoir that also needs to be replaced from time to time. The result is that you get better quality prints, but the material that SLA 3D printers can be multiple times more expensive and there are other consumables like the resin tank that make printing even more expensive. Furthermore the Nobel 1.0 3D printer can be used officially only with the official XYZprinting resin as the bottles with the material come with an RFID tag that the printer uses for keeping track of the remaining liquid in order for the resin tank auto refill functionality to work. So far the choice of resins that are made to work with the Nobel 1.0 is quite limited and there is no official support for other more affordable or different type of resins from third parties, so this is a bit of a problem.

xyzware-nobel-software

The Nobel 1.0 is relatively easy to get started up with and produces good results. As with other SLA 3D printers when the printed part is ready you need to take some extra steps such as cleaning the part with alcohol in order to remove any remaining liquid from the solid part. Also, like with many other printers using the same technology when you remove the 3D printed part from the build platform it is still not fully cured – the object is still softer to to the touch and you need to be careful. This makes it easy to remove any support materials for example or do some post-processing before you finalize it by further curing the part with some UV light at which point the part will become very strong and fully cured. As for the printing time, well, you need to be ready to wait more, especially if you decide to increase the printing quality more than the standard level of 0.1mm – usually the highest quality on FDM/FFF 3D printers. Do note that unlike some other 3D printing software with the XYZware that the Nobel 1.0 uses if you have a problem with your 3D model file it will most likely end up with a broken sliced part that will not print at all, so make sure that you have no issues with the 3D file that you import for printing. So, in general we are happy with the results we are getting from the Nobel 1.0 3D printer so far, we haven’t had any issues with it yet resulting in failed prints, but there are some limitations such as the need to use only official materials that we are don’t like that much.

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