The Owl and the Pussy Cat went to sea, with their friend the Rubber Duck

So next in my series of alternative 3D Printing filaments was going to be – not Flexifi.  Now don’t get me wrong I really like this stuff, but what I originally purchased to 3D Print, and got pretty excited about, was Carbon Fibre Filament. However upon receiving a sample (and not conducting much research on the stuff before ordering it) I came to realise printing Carbon Fibre on the Wanhao 6 was going to be a more difficult feat than I thought, mainly due to the high temperatures required, which goes beyond the recommended levels of the Wanhao Duplicator 6. I have been informed that its possible, but requires some upgrading first. So that will have to be a story for another day.

Like a few other flexible filaments on the market, Formfutura Flexifil is excellent for prototyping items that need some rubbery give, such as mobile phone cases or other covers that need to pop on and off. You can also do fun things like print your own real rubbery rubber duck! Because ya know, squashy is amazing.

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Formfutura Flexifil  is good fun and very easy to print with on the Wanhao Duplicator 6. The D6 copes easily with feeding the material into the print head and extrudes well on  the recommended slower setting of 30mm/s, and also prints just fine at 60mm/s (see the owl pic. Head only missing as I ran out of filament! But the quality is still fine) Some of the supports are hard to remove and leave a bit of mess, but along with a touch of stringing, this is my only real criticism of the print quality.

I did find however that the material curls/lift off the bed (heated at 50C.) A higher heating temp may help prevent this, but I found reverting back to the good old double sided tape solution helps this. Use quality stuff however, the cheap tape is not so good.

So, as with the nice little cat at I printed for my good friends birthday, if you want a squish toy print at 15% infill. Any higher makes it a bit too firm, so defying the purpose of this material.

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So that’ s it. Easy to use and fun. Get some here and give it a go.

Next post I hope to add some new upgrades finally to the Duplicator 6, including a better set up for cooling, prior to trying out some more demanding filaments.  Watch this space to see how i do this. Or failing that i my try PET see what happens.

Thanks again!

P.s Do you want a Wanhao Duplicator 6? Get one here!

 

 

Trying out Experimental Filaments – EasyWood

It’s been a busy summer alright. After getting my new Wanhao Duplicator 6 and getting it working just great, I’ve been working on a few private prototyping project for clients, but now I have a moment i’m keen to try out a collection of experimental filaments which, due to the old Duplicator 4’s just damn awfulness in terms of reliability, I never really got going with. Till now!

So… This blog post will be part of a series of posts wherein i going to test a bunch of experimental filaments and equipment. Let’s get going.

EasyWood is a filament made from a combination of grinded wood particles and binding polymers commonly used in PLA filament, and comes in a variety of wood types. There are 7 different one available, but the I went for was good old Pine. Here’s the technical info on the stuff.

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Upon opening the sample pack the first thing initially noticed was how brittle this filament is! This stuff be tricky to handle and so you need to be careful not to snap it when feeding into the extruder.  With a recommended printing temperature of 200-240 C I decided to first try the initial print on the lower end and print and 220 C. immediately i noticed how this stuff  smells great when printing! (It really does smell of real wood) Okay this is not an important printing factor, but a pleasing one non the less. Putting down the first layer and the brim could see that it does extrude a little clumpy. I guess this is to be expected, with only the plastic elements of the material become molten, and the wood particle just be carried along with it. Still this clumpiness is very minor.

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As you can see this fist print (a tree,) was going well with good creations of layers and infill, but then it suddenly stopped extruding! I realised the nozzle was clogged. To fix this I had to take remove the nozzle to clean it out, and what I found was curious. It seemed that the hot end was clogged up by tree sap! (While melting the filament the sap had been gradually collecting as a hard resin in the nozzle) I cleaned the blockage out and started a new smaller print of the tree, upping the temp to 230 C.

 

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This time it printed with no blockages. Printing on 0.1mm it came out okay apart from, as you can see, the fine details on the branch tips. This lack of detail was due to the clumping, and this was evident watch them print out. Some of those stringy bit was due to a bit of oozing, and could be picked off (i think further adjusting the temp setting may help this )I think if I was printing the original larger model this may have not been such an issue.

So for a final experiment print I thought I would go for something fun, and so printed out Grute! Well who better to print out of wood than this famous tree-man? Again, like the former, print Grute printed well par some of the finer details. Also for some reason the supports and the infill just did not print out (which is strange at they did no the former prints) but i’m pretty happy how he came out at 0.2mm. I bit bumpy and with visible lines but still pretty good over all.

 

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One more thing to note. I did try doing a print on the higher setting of 240 C and found that after around 15 mins the printer would stop with the error message ”ERROR – STOPPED Temp sensor .” This did not seem to happen when i drop thew printing temp back down to 235 C, or it could have been a loose connection with the temp sensor, and fixed by wiggling it a bit on the extruder. Has anyone else experienced this problem? Please comment on the forum here or on the Facebook page!

Summery of EasyWood

Although this first experimental filament I have tried since getting the Wanhao Duplicator 6, I think that this may turn out to be one of the more challenging experimental materials to print with. Being made of the wood particles/PLA mix it would be hubris to expect it to print as cleanly and easily as a material like PLA, which after all the machine is designed to utilise. Although EasyWood presents a challenge when attempting highest of desired standards, especially with highly detailed items, it on the whole performs well. You may need to tweak the setting and find out what best work for you. I am confident that with decent experimentation and persistence great things can be printed with this material.

Please see this link plus my shop page to purchase both sample and full reels of the various types of EasyWood. I get a little commission so we all win!

Formfutura 175EWOOD-PINE-0500 3D Printer Filament, EasyWood, 1.75 mm, Pine

EasyWood looks, feels and smells like real wood
Low tendency to warp, EasyWood can be printed without a heated print bed
Excellent roundness and very tight diameter and roundness tolerances

Additional images:

Product Thumbnail

Price: £24.15

Buy Now

 

 

Wanhao Duplicator 6 Supasses all my Expectations

This new 3D printer has not been letting me down. After all the headaches I had with the duplicator 4, I have to say I had become rather untrusting of 3D printers. It sometimes felt like the machine would just wait for me to leave the room before going wrong! The Wanhao Duplicator 6, although not totally infallible, has restored my trust.

After completing an important prototyping job for a client (for reasons of intellectual property I can’t show you those prints at this time) I decided  to go back and reprint some old models that for the reasons I shall explain never came out right, and some new ones that before would just not have worked out:

Swing Dancers Cookie Cutter

This was the first thing I ever designed for 3D printing! The original very nearly came out perfect, but there was a big problem that affected the function of the item. The plastic cutting blade would separate at points on the old D4, so making the item difficult to clean.  On the Duplicator 6 this problem resolved, with a perfectly clean edge all round, printed at 0.2mm.

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Gears and Mechanical Parts

On my old 3D Printer the machine would never print with enough accuracy, even on the highest settings to allow for ‘straight off the machine moving parts’. With the Duplicator 6 this workes just fine! See the video I uploaded of this Thingiverse file I printed at 0.06mm. Worked the moment I took it off the print bed!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAqku-h_TXY

Werewolf Figurine

A character I recently drew on Blender as a base to make a number of figurines in different positions, with clothes, armor, weapons etc. for a clients boardgame. I printed this creature to test the quality at the high setting of 60 microns. Although I did have to make a small adjustment on the CAD image to strengthen the ankles, which were so thin they snapped on the first print, after said adjustment I was very pleased with the printing result. Removing the supports left the hands a touch messy. However, the fingers are 1mm wide each with less that a 0.5 gapmm between them. Frankly I was amazed removing the supports did not bust them. So, I give the print a 95%!

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Button

This button, designed for a customer (that’s about all I am permitted to say about it) was something I wanted to print to test for two reasons. One, to see how well logo’s come out at 100 microns, and two, how easily and cleanly a wide mesh of supports is to remove. As you can see the supports pulled away from the item easily in one piece. On the old D4 this would have taken considerable time, effort and mess.  The large part of the logo came out fine, but the smaller writing did not. This may have been better on a higher setting.

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In conclusion, I’m really happy with all these results. I know I can confidently leave the Duplicator 6 printing while I attend to other things, and the quality is a defined step up from the D4.

On a final note, all this quality means I can now resume experiments for a business idea I once had. Want to know what it is?  Well  for now I would be crazy to tell you. But rest assured I shall post something cool for you all again soon!

If you wish to purchase a Wanhao D6 3D printer, please follow this link and see my shop for a all other 3D Printing accessories!

I hope you can appreciate the time and effort that goes into writing this blog, and of course the cost for my hosting, the materials, and parts for these experiments. So with this in mind, I would like to do a small plug for ‘Toptal’. They are a website who can supply you with a choice of the top 3% collection of professional freelancers for any kind of Software Engineering, Design, and Development you may need, big or small. If you then wish to hire one of their great people please follow the link or click the banner at the top of the page. Not only do you get your perfect freelancer, but I am also happy to give 50% of my own commission back to you. This may be up to $1000! Everyone wins! – https://www.toptal.com/#hire-skillful-software-developers-now

 

Wanhao Duplicator 6 – My First Week of Use

New 3D printer. New page theme. Aren’t you lucky!

I’m loving this new machine. When I unboxed the Duplicator 6, I could immediately see the increased quality over the Duplicator 4. With a metal frame, solid print bed and sturdy runners and extruder block, I could tell this was going to be a vast improvement.  Still, there were a couple of issues that needed to be addressed.

Duplicator 6 un-boxing with all bit included!

Upon unboxing all the bits supplied I was disappointed how small the spool holder for the filament is, as it is too short to hold any of my collection of larger filament rolls. So I tried instead attaching the Longer spool holder from the Duplicator 4 and was pleased to find it fits just fine! I would suggest you go online and buy a replacement one if you don’t have one spare so to allow you to utilise the wider selection of filaments out there.

Comparative Spool Holder sizes

The machine, powered by a Wanhao calibrated version of Cura (supplied on and SD card) comes with no preset test files to print.  So I got onto Thingiverse and selected a good test model to print out at the medium setting of 100 microns (and yes this machine prints in a far higher level of detail than the D4!) Who else should I print than our delightful eater of souls little Cthulhu!

Off the bat, printing onto blue builders tape with a raft, the print was coming on totally fine. I was struck by how clean the print was rolling out. Until it got half way through and stopped. Can’t be right?

After a bit of investigation on the Wanhao 6 Facebook group I was informed that this was a firmware issue and a patch has been realised to fix this –  D6_wanhao_V2.5.hex. (http://www.wanhao3dprinter.com/Down/ShowArticle.asp?ArticleID=75) This can be installed very easily by connecting the USB cable to your computer and updating using Cura. I was pleased to find this fixed the problem.

So on printing our little bringer of doom one more time I got a delightful result. The quality is superb.

Deep one

The only other failed print I have had, and this is an annoying one, was 5 hours in, when one of the screws fell out of the fan onto the print, ruining it! This is an easy fix with the Alan key provided, but I would recommend to you to tighten them all up when you unbox! I have also heard that people have had an issue with the Z-stepper motor being disconnected. So check under the machine. I was lucky enough to not have this problem.

In former posts back in the days of the dual extruding Duplicator 4, I was investigating dual extruding with soluble support structures, as I found that removing supports would create mess and/or damage the item.  As you know I never got this going well. But with the Duplicator 6 this is no longer an issue. Cura’s way of adding support is great. They remove so easily.  Rafts peels off with ease, and all the results are clean. I no longer see the need to have a dual extruding 3D printer, beyond the wants of artistry.

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I have to say that  over all I am most satisfied with this machine! And for the low price tag it is selling for right now I think it’s a great buy.  I would suspect after futher positive reviews this price may go up!

If you wish to purchase a Wanhao D6 3D printer, please follow this link and see my shop for a all other 3D Printing accessories!

I hope you can appreciate the time and effort that goes into writing this blog, and of course the cost for my hosting, the materials, and parts for these experiments. So with this in mind, I would like to do a small plug for ‘Toptal’. They are a website who can supply you with a choice of the top 3% collection of professional freelancers for any kind of Software Engineering, Design, and Development you may need, big or small. If you then wish to hire one of their great people please follow the link or click the banner at the top of the page. Not only do you get your perfect freelancer, but I am also happy to give 50% of my own commission back to you. This may be up to $1000! Everyone wins! – https://www.toptal.com/#hire-skillful-software-developers-now