Saturday, 16 December 2017

Christmas Advent 3D Printing #Day 15 Advice using 3DFilaprint PLA and selecting material samples

December advent calendar - modular Christmas tree
3D Printing advice #Day 15

For the background and introduction - Day #1 Post click here

Last time - Day #14 Post (LEGO brick) was printed with a generic no-brand PLA and I discussed some of the factors to consider, when selecting no-brand 3D printing materials.

Christmas Advent 2017 Download on Thingiverse here - designed by Tom Van den Bon  With some help for each day by the South African Makers team.

It's time for Day 15 and I was expecting maybe an elf shoe? mouse in a boot?, because the tree shape was of a 'boot' but...

Day 15 gift is designed by Thomas Torr -  It's a Christmas? severed foot! - Okay then... that's cool.

I was involved in an interesting chat over on Twitter about sample filaments a few days back. That got me thinking about the suppliers of 3D Printing materials that stock a lot of different manufacturers, and also some of them that are happy to sell samples of materials for testing before you invest in a full roll of material.

One such company that I use here in the UK is 3DFilaprint, they also run a filament sample company called globalFSD.

Suppliers like 3DFilaprint (and there are many others around the world - PrintedSolid in the US for example) are great because they tend to stock a very wide range of materials, from many different manufacturers. When you only want to place one order, for just one or two rolls of a type/make/material it can be the perfect way to get everything you want in one go.

Back to the severed foot...

Because I'm British, and of an age when Monty Python was the best thing on television, I just take one look at the severed foot, and think of the iconic TV show, cult films (it's just a flesh wound / beware of the rabbit / bag of otters noses / dead parrot) Magic!

So for that reason I found some pink PLA filament from 3DFilaprint (Manufactured by RepRapper Tech). to print out the 'Severed foot' (Monty Python Foot).

This is the right way for suppliers to sell - partnerships and by listing the actual manufacturer.

Support material enabled for this one.

This was one that needed support material, rather than trying to cut up the model, I just enabled basic supports and printed it out in Pink PLA.

Excuse the 'green wart' on the heal of the foot, this was a blob from the previous green print.

The supports are simple to remove, just ease them off with needle-nose pliers.

A quick flame, and the support marks vanish.

You will usually get some bruise marks, but as I have shown before, just use a lighter flame over them (quickly) and they will vanish.

You should end up with a very nice print. (This was only 0.2mm layers, quick print and good finish).

Print advice - (sample filaments)

Here are few tips for using samples of filament - 

Should you buy samples? - Yes, samples can not always be given out for free by manufacturers, so it's a good idea to buy them if you can find any - one big problem is that samples are not usually made, manufacturers often prefer you to just buy a full roll. Samples allow you to test out the material on your machine, and play with some settings before you buy a full roll.

How much do you need as a sample? - This is a good discussion point, but in general I always want 20m of a filament material as a sample if I am going to invest time and effort in making a profile and perform a few small print tests.

I have been handed coils of ~5m lengths at shows, I tend to give them back. I have also been sent 6 inch 'samples' they are totally useless.

Should samples be loose, or on a small roll? - I actually prefer all sample filaments to be loose coils. And that's mostly how they usually come.

I do have a few 250g rolls of filament, that's fine, but if the reel is a silly size and I have no way to mount it, it tends to sit on a shelf rather than being tested.

Ideally they should be vacuum packed. I generally get loose / bagged samples, but some manufacturers (Polymaker, Proto-Pasta and Rigid Ink for example) supply samples in vacuum sealed bags with desiccant.
3DFilaprint sample

Polymaker mini 250g spool (with a true 50mm spool mount, great job)

Proto-Pasta vacuum packed sample :) Samples - also vacuum packed

Also look out fro samples that have a reasonable diameter. I try to get coils with a minimum 120mm diameter. Tighter coils often seem to cause all sorts of problems when testing a loose coil.

One of my all time favourite sample packs is still  the Faberdashery 10 x 10m colour packs - very large and easy to use coils, perfect for injecting a little colour - Like I did for the Day 4 lollipop!

ColorFabb also do great samples when you want to experiment.

How much should you pay - That probably depends on you. How much time it will save you? Do you want to try out something new? Do you already know what settings to use? Will you / would you probably buy a roll anyway?

I often buy 2 or three of the same sample, just to have a spare in case you need to use that material in the future.

Why don't more manufacturers make sample packs / multi-packs etc. - It takes a lot of effort and does not seem to be a thing manufacturers really want to do. - I hope that changes in the future.

Make sure you tell 3D Printing filament manufacturers that you want samples (20m+) and that it's worth paying for them. Maybe then if we all let them know, it'll start to happen more often.

More multi-colour / multi-material selection packs, are also something I'm sure more people would buy. It can cost hundreds of $£e to get every colour of a filament range, but a sample multi-pack could be the cost of one single reel.

There must be a market for sample packs / monthly boxes etc? - Yes, some suppliers offer a sample service, like GlobalFSD, supply samples of many types. Ridig.Ink offer a sample filament club (for £10 per month) and you may want to check out Makerbox, but I have not yet used their service.

And now for something completely different (Python)...

Sorry now for an update on Day 11 -rusting of the Potjie (cooking pot)

Superglue together before rusting (see below).

After rusting - looks like it's 100 years old.

Ready to cook up a warm winter stew.

It was dipped in vinegar, sale and oxi-action solution, damp paper towel in a glass ramekin.

Leave to rust for a few days.

Day #15 is completed. I now have my very own severed foot :) 

The story of the severed foot... yea, that's going to be an odd one to explain on a Christmas tree, but it's totally Python like and an interesting talking point... I'm off to join the Judean People's Front. Or is it the People's Front of Judea?

Join me next time for Day #16 - When I finally get to use some flexible filaments :)

Thanks for reading.


Please join me on Twitter @RichRap3D

My profile and posts over on Google+

Files and designs shared on YouMagine

Files and designs shared on GitHub

Files and designs shared on Repables 

My Youtube channel is here, all 3D Printing and Hi-Def video content.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Christmas Advent 3D Printing #Day 14 Advice for using and selecting generic no-brand filaments

December advent calendar - modular Christmas tree
3D Printing advice #Day 14

For the background and introduction - Day #1 Post click here

Last time - Days #12 & 13 were printed in a variety of Proto-Pasta filament, including matte fiber HTPLA, cinnamon, pine, and the almost religious experience of *glitterflake*

Christmas Advent 2017 Download on Thingiverse here - designed by Tom Van den Bon  With some help for each day by the South African Makers team.

It's Day #14 already, wow, this month is going so fast.

Day 14 gift is designed by Tom Van den Bon - It's a Lego block.

 Day 14 LEGO block - printed in generic-unknown 'no-brand' PLA.

The point of today is to talk about generic 'no-brand' 3D printing materials (filaments). Some are good, some are bad, some totally waste your time, your money and can even damage your printer.

It was the LEGO brick (LEGO's for USA) that made me think about generic materials. This is because in the early days of desktop 3D printing, many manufacturers stated 'it uses the same type of plastic found in LEGO bricks (ABS)'. But in reality the ABS used in LEGO is drastically different (and superior) to what's being used for most 3D printing filaments.

I also decided to print it in generic PLA, just to make the point that you can't really tell what plastic is being used, by looking.

I'll try to describe some of the things I have worked out about no-brand filaments over the years. Hopefully it may just help you, if you decide to buy from a supplier that offers no actual information or evidence, about where the filament is from or who has manufactured it.

General advice - 

One of the most important factors of any 3D printing material is a correct and consistent dimension of the filament. Look for a round (not oval) shape, consistent +/-0.1mm diameter and a smooth surface.

Note:- Some filaments do have a 'snake-skin' finish, that may be intentional or a sign that it may have been extruded at a very high temperature, fast. That does not necessarily indicate a negative, but it's worth being aware of.

Next, do try to find out what it's made of. Resin types, blend and any additives that may be used. Any good manufacturer will provide this information, most will point to a datasheet and have links to resin suppliers like Natureworks.

Get a sample, and if possible get a sample in 'natural' and also black material.

Most natural (not coloured) filament is usually the most straightforward to test and evaluate.

Black is a good test of quality. It has been known for some manufacturers to take old or incorrect batches of materials and mix them back into black plastic materials (to hide them). So if I really want to test out a filament supplier, I always ask for a black sample or buy a black roll of filament first.

I have had black filament 'shatter' and also have a blue or other colour tint in some rolls and not others from the same supplier.

Also if it smells bad when you print with it, decide if you really want to continue using it.

Look at the spool, you can tell a lot from a spool. For example, Dutch filaments make a lot of materials, and also private-label (white-label) many filaments for companies and manufacturers all around the world. Dutch filaments make some really fantastic materials, so when I see a no-brand / re-brand / white-label material being sold, I try to check the filament spool. I have discovered quite a few that have probably been made by Dutch filaments because of the spool. That alone makes me happy to buy them and try them out. I know it's going to be good quality.

Other manufacturers do this too, but they often also change spool type at the request of the end customer.

If you want to look at one of my blog posts here from way back in 2012, it shows one of the most odd and frustrating experiences I have ever had with filament.

You don't always get what you pay for, but you should at least make some effort to find out exactly what you are buying...

PLA advice - 

Like most plastic materials, many different grades and formulations exist. PLA is no different. and it's  worth knowing a little more about the grades. Just saying PLA, is almost as bad as saying 'ABS' (see ABS advice below).

PLA can be made from corn starch, or other starches, potato for example. Biome3D has a potato based PLA. 

Common older PLA types are often still used for manufacturing 3D printing filament - often 4032D, 4043D, 4044D, 4060D.

You may find that these are world specific, for example it's common for 4032D to be used in China.

Natureworks have now designed 3D850 and 3D870 formulations that are specifically made for 3D printing. You will see come manufacturers using these Resin's but they often have their own names for these rather than state 3D850 etc.

Lots more PLA types exist, PHA and PLLA are also from a similar family / process.

ABS advice - 

ABS, yea. That's a tricky one. ABS is one of those materials that can be mixed in so many different ways and have a lot of quality grades. I have had a few good experiences with 'generic' ABS, but mostly a lot of really bad ones.

As I have said before, I don't like using ABS, and some spools I have had in the past only strengthen that view. Some ABS materials can become very brittle over time, especially in sunlight. Some printed parts have almost crumbled when touched into fragments after 18 months in a window. They can tend to fade in sunlight, and become yellowed.

I have seen 1Kg spools of generic ABS for around £4.50 with free UK delivery. Raw ABS resin pellets can be around $3-4 per Kg so that's an amazing deal... if it's any good. Some are okay, many are not.

The only ABS I really buy now is Easy ABS from Prusa and various types of PCABS (Proto-Pasta / E3D and other quality suppliers).

Buyer beware! when selecting 'ABS'

Nylon advice -

I don't buy 'generic' Nylon it's usually not worth doing. It can be very hit and miss. Honestly stick to branded and well controlled materials from manufacturers like Taulman3D.

PET advice - 

PET, PETG and PETT can be amazingly strong and useful 3D printing materials. Often they can print well and give some unique optical properties. They can also warp like mad, take chunks out of your build plate and be hell to tune or have 'odd' print setting requirements.

I really like using ReForm rPET by Formfutura, and I have tried many, many other PET based materials over the years. Here I'm saying to experiment, but don't expect 'PET' to be the same, it's a good material to have as an option for use.

On a related note, we are starting to see many more polyester and co-polymer materials coming onto the market. Prices are lowering making it more accessible for everyone to use strong and reasonably easy to print PET type materials.

Day 14 'generic' LEGO brick in an emerald Polyalchemy Elixir Emerald City Green tree section.

I can cover other generic materials if this sort of advice is useful? if not, let me know.

I'll carry on with all the other great manufacturers, I use on a regular basis anyway.

Join me next time for Day #15 - (The Christmas party was very good indeed, time for bed.)

Thanks for reading.


Please join me on Twitter @RichRap3D

My profile and posts over on Google+

Files and designs shared on YouMagine

Files and designs shared on GitHub

Files and designs shared on Repables 

My Youtube channel is here, all 3D Printing and Hi-Def video content.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Christmas Advent 3D Printing #Days 12 & 13 Advice using Proto-Pasta Matte Fiber HTPLA Cinnamon Pine and Glitterflake

December advent calendar - modular Christmas tree
3D Printing advice #Days 12 & 13

For the background and introduction - Day #1 Post click here

Last time - Day #11 Post (Potjie - cooking pot) was printed in Proto-Pasta Magnetic Iron and also Conductive Graphite HTPLA. It's still rusting nicely.

Christmas Advent 2017 Download on Thingiverse here - designed by Tom Van den Bon  With some help for each day by the South African Makers team.

It's time for Days #12 & 13.

Day 12 gift is designed by Gerhardt Breedt -  It's a Christmas Raptor complete with Santa hat! 

Day 13 gift is designed by Andries Smuts -  It's a crate of Christmas Beer.

I'm going on my second advent double day(te) with Proto-Pasta for both the day 12 and 13 gifts.

I'm catching up with this post and including two gifts that use a number of amazing Proto-Pasta filaments.

Lets start with Day 12 - Raptor...

As a child, I often woke up to plastic dinosaurs on Christmas morning, I had many of them. Ah, the memories, Mr Stegosaurus, T-Rex and Bronty were simply amazing to a ~7 year old.

I also have the most perfect 'dinosaur' filament. It's Proto-Pasta Matte fiber  HTPLA Green

Matte fiber is also very strong and rigid. The natural plant fibers add both strength and the rough matte finish.

I'm also using matte fiber Red for the dinosaur's hat.

I would have made it out of the new Proto-Pasta Candy Apple Red, but it's nowhere to be found in the UK and an exclusive colour batch (do take a look at the link, it's jaw dropping).

The surface finish is perfect for a dinosaur.

Day 12 - Done.

Now onto Day 13 - Crate of Christmas beer - 

First the beer crate. I could make it out of yet another wood filament, but that's a little obvious, so how about pine?

I still have a small amount of 2016 vintage Aromatic Pine to use for Day 13. It releases a wonderful smell of pine as it prints - really getting you in the mood for the holidays. (also do read the story at the end on how Proto-Pasta make it).

It's simple to use, just normal PLA settings and it's done.

Now the beer...

Beer filament is actually available (Buzzed from 3DFuel), but I don't have any, so the bottles for Day 13 are going to be non-alcoholic 'Cinnamon flavoured'.

Cinnamon HTPLA is another material that's all about enjoying the 3D Printing process. It smells like cinnamon as you print. The smell does not last after printing, but it's a really nice experience.
I have made the wooden crate out of Proto-Pasta High temperature PLA - (HTPLA) Aromatic Pine

The six pack of bottles have a black PLA base, it's not seen and will help save on exotic filament. And cinnamon PLA for the body. At the top I'm using some Proto-Pasta Glitterflake to look like bubbles. Finally they have red caps in matte fiber HTPLA.

Glitter flake is the most glittery packed filament I have found. It contains more glitter per inch than any other and the results look spectacular.

'Beer' Cinnamon bottles printed with a frosty top and red matte fiber bottle caps.

Day 13 tree is printed in Polyalchemy Elixir Emerald City Green

Print advice - (Proto-Pasta matte fiber HTPLA)

What settings did you use? - Matte fiber HTPLA's are really easy to use. You can start with normal PLA settings, but back off the temperature a little. 195 Degrees C is perfect. 
It's a good idea to increase extruder retraction distance by +20% this will help reduce angel-hair on the finished print.

The filament, it's not very brittle, and it produces surprisingly strong finished parts. I would say overall a lot stronger than normal PLA, and layer bonding is excellent.

Why use it? - It has a unique look after printing, like a slightly rough even sanded finish (almost sand-blast) in appearance. You can control the finish a little with layer heights and temperature, but it's never going to be silky smooth, that's not the point of this filament.

Is it strong? - It's surprisingly strong as a finished part, but small features are a little brittle. If you have ever used Carbon fiber materials, it's a little like that, but feels 'softer' to the touch.

Is it easy to use/print - Yes, super easy. Don't go too high in temperature (210 max) and use z-hop so you don't get any nozzle marks on the final top layers.

Do you have to dry it before/after use? - No - it's good as it is.

Do i need a 'special' nozzle? - No it's not abrasive at all. You also do not require a special nozzle to print, it does not wear nozzles.

You can think of matte-fiber like coloured wood filament, but it's even stronger than current wood-filled materials available.
Does it smell when printing? - No, not at all (matte fiber HTPLA). - Obviously the pine and cinnamon smell lovely. I'm still looking out for a good vanilla scented filament... maybe next year.

Does it come on a eco friendly spool? - Yes! :-) The Proto-Pasta spools are about the best cardboard spools you can get at the moment. They look great, and feed material well, and are 100% paper / card.

Conclusion for Proto-Pasta Matte fiber HTPLA - I really love this filament range, the colours are strong, the parts feel nice to the touch and layer lines vanish in the sand-blasted effect. Always have some on hand, as it's the only matte material with a non-smooth finish available.

Days 1 to 13 of the Advent Christmas Tree.

Day #12 and 13 are completed. I have also just about caught up, and i'm also ahead with tree sections for the next few days.

I think the story here needs to be about the special Aromatic Pine filament Proto-Pasta make every year. This is now a tradition for the Proto-Pasta family team - Every year Proto-Pasta uses last year's Christmas tree to make one very special and seasonal batch of 3D printing filament. It's a bonkers process or stripping pine needles, drying and pulverising them into a powder. This is added to their HTPLA to produce a very special and exclusive batch of Aromatic Pine filament to enjoy.

They do this for the fun, not the money, and they have just made this year's batch here.

Images by Proto-Pasta - source - website

Join me next time for Day #14 - (maybe a bit late to post, I have a Christmas party to attend...)

Thanks for reading.


Please join me on Twitter @RichRap3D

My profile and posts over on Google+

Files and designs shared on YouMagine

Files and designs shared on GitHub

Files and designs shared on Repables 

My Youtube channel is here, all 3D Printing and Hi-Def video content.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Christmas Advent 3D Printing #Day 11 Advice using Proto-Pasta Magnetic Iron PLA and Conductive Graphite

December advent calendar - modular Christmas tree
3D Printing advice #Day 11

For the background and introduction - Day #1 Post click here

Christmas Advent 2017 Download on Thingiverse here - designed by Tom Van den Bon  With some help for each day by the South African Makers team.

It's time for Day #10, and today the gift is designed by Megesh Govender -  It's a Potjie (cooking pot)

Potjie - cooking pot - printed in three parts, and because it's Christmas, filled with sweets!

There is a material for every project. Today we have a Potjie (cooking pot) and that's usually going to be made of metal. Iron maybe. Perfect! Let's use Proto-Pasta Magnetic Iron PLA.

This 3D Printing filament if one of the most fun to use that's in existence today. I have had a lot of joy using this for all sorts of objects and art / sculptural projects. It's probably the material people ask me most questions about - usually after seeing the finished models.

The reason why this material often catches the eye, it that you can make it rust. It actually does not shine up like other metal filaments (you can get a little shine if you almost kill yourself polishing it).

It's also magnetic, I have found some geeky uses for that, but mostly it's all about the rusting.

I'm not going to be able to show you the rusting straight away (it takes a little while), but I will make it rust and show you when it's looking great.

If you want to know more about my adventures with Proto-Pasta Magnetic Iron printing, do take a look at this blog post and video here.

Do take a look at my previous blog post on Proto-Pasta Magnetic Iron for lots of info and prints.

The above blog and video link also explains more about the rusting process - (it's really easy).
Also it may help to read the blog if you are finding it tricky to use with a bowden setup, I had to tweak some of the retraction and flow rate settings to get perfect results.

Base of the Potjie is printed in conductive Graphite PLA

Because I don't have all that much Magnetic Iron PLA remaining, I'm going to slightly modify the model, and also make the bottom section from Proto-Pasta electrically conductive Graphite PLA.

Graphite PLA has a really nice shine-shimmer. It'll actually look more like an old blackened cooking pot than the Iron will after it's rusted.

To print with Graphite PLA, just use normal PLA settings, I get great  results from the material. It seems to produce tighter and more defined print features than many other PLA's on the market.

All printed (it really looks like an iron pot) - they will be rusting as you read this...

Print advice - (Proto-Pasta Magnetic IRON PLA)

What settings did you use? - You can use normal PLA temperatures , I use 190 Degrees C for Magnetic Iron. It conducts heat, so the hotter you go, the more likely you will have a runny flow, oozing and stringing / blobs.

You should not need to go over 210 Degrees C. If you start to see a blob forming on the end of your nozzle, then you are printing too hot and the flow rate may be slightly too high. Lower flow by 5% and try to use a 190 / 195 Degrees C temp range.

Apart from that, it's really easy to use.

Be gentle with the filament, it's not very brittle, but more fragile in filament form than normal PLA.

Why use it? - Because it's Iron, and you can rust it. Seriously if you don't want to use some immediately after reading this and looking at my previous blog post about it, I don't know what else to tell you.

Is it strong? - It's heavy, really surprisingly heavy. And yes it is reasonably strong in printed form. I would not recommend dropping the printed parts, they may crack.

Doing any rusting process will also weaken the parts. Not greatly, but they do get weaker and are more likely to de-laminate if dropped, knocked etc.

Is it easy to use/print - Yes, just watch out for dribble collection on the nozzle (you are too high temp).

You will also need to adjust your extruder feed rate by around. Do experiment, depending on the feeder type, grip and pressure I have founf anything from -5% to +15%

Use Z-hop it makes your nozzle last a bit longer!

Do you have to dry it before/after use? - No - it's good as it is.

Do i need a 'special' nozzle? - Yes! - it's abrasive. Use a 0.4mm or bigger nozzle. It will work fine with Stainless, Hardened steel, or as I'm using here a Olsson Ruby.

You can use a brass/copper nozzles, but they will wear out (and down). Quite quickly if you use more than about 500g of it.

Does it smell when printing? - No,  none at all.

Does it come on a eco friendly spool? - Yes! :-) The Proto-Pasta spools are about the best cardboard spools you can get at the moment. They look great, and feed well, and are 100% compressed paper.

Conclusion for Proto-Pasta Magnetic Iron PLA - I would happily spend much more of my spare 3D printing time using Proto-Pasta Magnetic Iron for further experimentation. It produces such interesting finished results after rusting. I'm sure there are neat and interesting ways to age parts with different rusting formulations. I will be doing more experimentation next year with this material.

For me it's just more fun than Proto-Pasta Stainless steel, but that's really cool too.

Day #11 Is Completed. With a bit of model adjustment, and good judgement on filament usage, I just managed to do another rusted Iron 3D Print.

Today's story, for people who ask is going to be about the Potjie - "In South Africa, a potjiekos, is a dish prepared outdoors. It is traditionally cooked in a round, cast iron, three-legged pot, the potjie, " - Tom Van Den Bon - via Twitter.

I also very much expect to be talking about why it's so heavy and if it's supposed to be rusting...

I'm really delighted with the Potjie printed in Magnetic Iron.

Join me next time for Day #12 - I'm slipping slightly further behind schedule every day, so I'm going to try and catch up.

Thanks for reading.


Please join me on Twitter @RichRap3D

My profile and posts over on Google+

Files and designs shared on YouMagine

Files and designs shared on GitHub

Files and designs shared on Repables 

My Youtube channel is here, all 3D Printing and Hi-Def video content.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Christmas Advent 3D Printing advice #Day 10 ColorFabb Woodfill

December advent calendar - modular Christmas tree
3D Printing advice #Day 10

For the background and introduction - Day #1 Post click here

Christmas Advent 2017 Download on Thingiverse here - designed by Tom Van den Bon  With some help for each day by the South African Makers team.

It's time for Day #10, and today the gift is designed by Michael Scholtz -  It's a Manger.

Manger in Colorfabb Woodfill.

Day 10 is a Manger (A structure to hold animal feed - Wikipedia). It's traditionally going to be made out of a wooden material. I did think about using Bamboo or maybe even Cork for this one, but it's unlikely Mangers would have come in those options. Back in the day in Nazareth you probably had a choice of 'light wood' or chopping down a tree to make your own.

I often use Colorfabb Woodfill, It's light coloured and as I only had a small amount remaining, so it's just about perfect for a small Manger.

Colorfabb Woodfill. One of the lighter wood filaments available, low smell and a real woody feel.

I was slightly unsure what orientation to print this model, but then realised it just needed to be printed upside down. No bridging or support required.

That was simple. it's an easy material to use and can have some really neat uses.

*Just a small detour to explain about some other material testing*

Also, there is a story about the tree sections for Days 10 &11 - If you remember I was wondering what material to do them in - lacking in greens at the moment...
Tridea 100% recycled PET - nice looking green, really complex material properties (interesting).

I was testing out a new 100% Recycled PET filament from Tridea - It's proving to be very challenging to print with. But an interesting material because of the way the plastic can transform (I'll explain more on this soon). I had some failures, and success, but there is a lot more work to do in testing this material. I'm paused testing for now, but will do a separate blog post, now I have worked out what's going on and how to print with it. (Shout out to Greg at E3D for confirming my findings - and being the only other person I could find who had any Tridea filament) - Thanks Greg.

First problem - the filament has a lot of moisture, but that's easily fixed by drying.

(But it's so much more complex than this... It'll just have to wait for it's own blog post.)

One of the reasons I persisted was the fact it was a really nice shade of green. But in the end I had to go to my fallback option of using a 'special roll' of custom 'LulzBot - Lime Green' nGen that ColorFabb kindly sent me for TAZ6 based projects earlier this year.

nGen saved the day (literally Days 10 and 11).

Not wanting to use up such an exclusive roll of nGen, I used it just for the top filled part of tree 10 and 11 and used Black nGen for the bulk of the print. It'll be hidden inside the tree, and it actually gives it a dark (inside the middle of a tree) kind of look to it.

Because this ColorFabb nGen saved the day on the tree sections, it made me think of using up the last of my Woodfill material. Otherwise you may have got Laywood in this blog post. I'll try to find another object for Laywood advice soon.

Print advice - (Colorfabb woodfill)

What settings did you use? - You can use normal PLA temperatures , I use 195 Degrees C for Woodfill. Don't go over 210 Degrees C. The hotter you go, and the slower you go the darket woodfill will apprear on the finished print.

If you find that the tops of your print are darker (especially if they are small features, where the nozzle flow has slowed doen) Set a minimum speed and also set normal print speed to be somewhere similar, so the overall speed is about the same.

I often use 0.2mm layer height (It helps the wood-grain look) and a 0.4mm nozzle or larger - don't use really tiny nozzles under 0.4mm, they will clog.

Use a higher number of top/bottom solid layers (I use 5 @ 0.2mm) to give a good finish.
Print speed - it's good as 20-120mm/sec - Set minimum speed to be 10mm/sec because like many wood filaments it likes to expand and ooze out of the nozzle. You can combat some ooze by lowering temperature, but watch out for lower layer bond strength or weak extruders jamming (use a good extruder, geared preferably).
16% infill and two perimeters for this model.

Why use it? - It's the easiest to use wood filament (in my opinion), looks good and can be sanded, drilled, tapped, even stained after printing. It has a very light wood finish, unlike most other types that are often darker or showing less grain finish.

Is it strong? - When printed it has good layer bonding strength, it's slightly weaker to handle than normal PLA and be careful with the filament - especially in 1.75mm it can snap if not handled carefully and spooled nicely into the machine.

Is it easy to use/print - Yes, it's about the easiest to use wood filament.You will mostly have to combat stringing on most machines, do this with extruder retraction, lower nozzle temperatures and high speed travel moves.

You will also need to increase your extruder feed rate by around 15-20% I use 20% extra - (120% in total).

This is one of the very few filaments I do not use Z-hop to print with. It's enabled for almost every other filament I use. (Top-Tip - always use Z-hop / Z-lift at 1 x your print Z height setting)

Do you have to dry it before/after use? - No - Keep it dry and sealed in the bag, it will take on moisture and that will affect print quality, fine angel-hair like stringing, gaps and generally more ooze if it's not dry. I have not dried any woodfill filament before.

Do i need a 'special' nozzle? - No, it's not abrasive, just remember to use a 0.4mm or bigger nozzle. It will work fine with Stainless, Hardened steel, Copper, Ruby or Brass nozzles. Many filled filaments can tend to collect debris and runny material around the nozzle, so clean before and after use.

Does it smell when printing? - No,  it has a very light odour, but it's not like most woof filaments that smell like burnt MFD (wood fibre board) It's one of the few wood filaments I can stand to be in the same room as when printing.

Does it come on a eco friendly spool? - No :( it's using the normal Polycarbonate Colorfabb filament spool.

Conclusion for Colorfabb woodfill - Excellent, wood finish, no problems or failures. Just work on tuning so you get limited stringing, that's the key and it'll print really after that.
I always clean the nozzle after using filled filaments (especially wood), inside and out with a section of Nylon at a higher temperature. It will have some resin-like sticky residue after printing, so get it cleaned ASAP.

Day #10 Is Completed. That was a bit of a close one, didn't think I would get it done in time.

The story for today is that there is more than one type of wood filled filament available, experiment with them, and see what works best for you. Do try Bamboo and Cork - they are really fun and look fantastic - Corkfill from Colorfabb is one of my all time favourites. (Yes, cork is a sustainable product).

Join me next time for Day #11

Thanks for reading.


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