The K8200: my favorite open-source 3d printer

Hi there! It’s been a long time since I posted new entry on this 3d printing related blog, I really have to apologize because the last couple of months have been really busy with Gigamax 3D Printing Technology and parametric | art 3d print studio. The two projects did some huge things this summer, you can read about the great 3d printing events in Budapest organized by Design Terminal and Varinex on another blog about 3d printing.

3d print quality of the k8200 3d printer

3d printed on the Velleman 3d printer

Today I’m going to introduce you my favorite affordable 3d printer machine, the Velleman K8200 open-source 3d printer kit which I got from GigamaX3D for testing. The original design of the 3d printer has been developed by Open Electronics under the ‘3Drag’ project name, and they have organized the mass production together with the Belgian DIY giant Velleman company and gave it the name K8200. This is a truly massive and affordable 3d printer with a quite huge build volume of 20 x 20 x 20 cm.

The K8200 3D printer is the best choice for educational use

the k8200 3d printer at the reception of Velleman

Comparing to the well-known RepRap open-source 3d printer kits, these machines are easy to assemble, thanks to the detailed multi-language building instructions and maintenance manual. The machine is completely open-source, which means you can download the design files and modify them, and you also can hack the firmware of the machine to turn your 3d printer into a CNC milling machine or a chocolate or pasta printer making a few changes on the tool head.

My favorite 3d printing machine

One of the most poplar 3d printers of the world: the Velleman K8200 3d printer

Since its debut at the Maker Faire in New York last year, the Velleman K8200 3d printer is nowadays one of the most popular 3d printer on the market. Its affordable price, stable build and flexible construction design made this machine a great choice for hackers, makers, hobbyists and designers to entry the 3d printing world. It isn’t a plug&play device, the user has to build the 3d printer kit from scratch, but after building your very first 3d printer, you will be able to tune it to get the best 3d prints from it. It works with the open-source Slc3r software, and you can use any 3d printer host program like Pronterface, Printrun or Repetier. A lot of people use this 3d printer for different stuff, I’ve just a found a blog about a girl and her 3d printer who crates some unique 3d printed jewelry pieces with her affordable open-source machine. The controller of the 3d printer is based on the Arduino AT2560 Mega, which architecture is really similar to the well-known RAMPS controller. You can easily upgrade your 3d printer using the machine, there are some really useful downloadable parts which can be 3d printed and added to the machine. These useful hacks like the fan duct or the motherboard housing will make your cheap 3d printer run like a professional machine, you can easily 3d print things in large scale with a layer height of 200 microns.

cheap and precise 3d printer: the 3Drag machine

3d printed models made by the K8200 (3Drag) 3d printer

The Velleman K8200 3d printer can be ordered at the Gigamax 3d print webshop from stock, with all the necessary upgrade kits and 3d printing materials to set up your very first 3d printing studio at home or in your workshop. If you want to go for a better accuracy, you can purchase the Velleman 1.75 mm extruder upgrade kit, which contains a smaller nozzle (0.35 mm instead the standard 0.5 mm nozzle) and you can use 1.75 mm 3d printer filaments instead of the usual 3 mm plastic which allows you a more precise control over extrusion and retraction to print chiseled details of your beautiful models. The K8200 3d printer is a great choice for educational use as well, it is easy to build together in the studio, there aren’t any expensive parts which can damaged during the work, and it is a great tool for experimenting and pushing the boundaries of affordable desktop 3d printing and its integration into the modern digital craftsmanship.

Velleman K8200 affordable open-source 3d printer for everyone

just finished a 3d printing job

GigamaX3D has sold about 60 3d printers from this type, they also offer assembly services and technical support for the machines. If you buy a 3d printer KIT, you can get phone or mail support for a month in case you won’t be able to complete the 3d printer building process. There are some tool necessary for building the 3d printer, which also can be purchased from the company. They also organize workshops for building a 3d printer, where you can build your own 3d printer kit with others lead by the experienced engineers of the company. The workshops are usually in the Gigamax 3D Printing Studio in Budapest, but they often do free-to-attend workshops according to 3d printing events in Budapest, for example they did a generative 3d modeling for 3d printing workshop last months at Innotrends 2014 in Budapest, and they also did an open-source 3d printing workshop at the Budapest 3D Printing Days at Design Terminal.

The Velleman k8200 3d printer has got a really fine 3d print quality

dine details and amazing bridging capabilities of the Velleman 3d printer

If you have been at the Maker Faire in Rome last month, you must have met the K8200 3d printer modded to a truly affordable chocolate 3d printer. It was quite a big hype for the new hack, because usually chocolate 3d printers are quite expensive nowadays. With some simple hacks, you can slide your plastic extruder tool to the side of the machine, and you can mount a chocolate or pasta extruder in place. You just need to make some mods in the firmware, and you can start 3d printing with chocolate. The project is under development, but the files are available for download so you can build your won chocolate 3d printer from scratch and you can get technical support for your build. If you already have an open.source cheap 3d printer, why not to try some new things?

If you are not into sweeties – you girlfriends surely does – you also can turn your Velleman 3d printer into a CNC milling machine, which can mill PCBs or soft materials like foam or some woods like balsa. You can download the design files for some necessary plastic parts which can be 3d printed, and after that, you can mount a Dremel or a Proxon milling machine in the place of the plastic extruder tool. You have to download and flash a new firmware on the board using the Arduino software, and after that you can use the same software for generating the milling tool paths and the g-code for the machine. That sounds great, doesn’t it? Check out this amazing video while the Velleman K8200 3d printer is printing a chocolate mug in a couple of minutes. Would you like to have your morning coffee in a cup like this? I definitely would!

upgraded 0.35 mm extruder for the 3Drag 3d printer

0.35 mm extruder upgrade with 1.75 mm filament diameter for the Velleman K8200 3d printer

Upgrade the Z axis threaded rods for the Velleman 3d printer

Threaded rod upgrade for the Velleman K8200 3d printer to print up to .100 mm layer height

The best thing in the K8200 3d printer is, that its design allows you to modify it for special printing jobs. For example, if you want to have a stand-alone 3d printer, which can work without any USB connection, you can purchase and SD module, which is a stand-alone controller for your Velleman K8200 3d printer with an integrated LCD display and an SD card slot. You can control and override your 3d print settings during the 3d printing process, you can browse and load your gcode files from the insert SD card and it is easier to load and reload 3d printer filaments in your machine than ever. With this affordable standalone controller for your 3d printer, you’ll have a perfect machine for production of small series. If you want to 3d print with special materials like flexible 3d printer filament or conductive 3d printing material, you can do all these things with this machine for about 550 €.

This 3d printer can work as a CNC mill

Velleman 3d printer as a CNC mill

The Velleman K8200 3d printer is a perfect xmas gift as well, because it is not only a 3d printer, it is a multifunctional DIY personal fabrication station, which can help students, designers and engineers to turn their ideas into physical object using affordable and easy-to-use digital fabrication techniques like CNC milling or 3d printing. You also can mount a CO-laser on the machine to build your very own laser cutter on engraver, which will be a useful tool in your 3d lab. If you want to decorate your 3d printed artworks, you can use the 3d printing pen or 3d pen from GigamaX, which works with the same 3d printer material, so you can draw and sketch in the 3d space or on the surface of your 3d printed objects.

3d printed sculptures anyone?

beautiful 3d printed model made by the Velleman 3d printer

3d pen for drawing in 3dThe 3d pen is a nice and creative toy for kids from the age of 12, you also can create some unique 3d printed christmas ornaments using you 3d pen and some 3d printer filament sticks. And you also should stay tuned, because in a couple of weeks, the brand new 3d printer of Velleman, the K8400 Vertex 3d printer is going to arrive to the GigamaX 3D Printing store, which will set the line for affordable opensource 3d printers. It will work with dual extrusion mechanism and bowden extruders, which allows you 3d print quick and precise using different materials or colors in the same model.

the new 3d printer with the new dual extruder head

new and improved extruder mechanism of the forthcoming Vertex 3d printer

You also can 3d print your models with PVA 3d printer filament which is a water-soluble support material, so you don’t need to remove your support structures manually, you just have to put your 3d printed model into hot water and wait until the support will dissolve.

this brand new Vertex 3d printer will be available for pre-order in a couple of weeks!

First working prototype of the Velleman K8400 Vertex 3d printer

3d printer at the research and development of the Velleman company

one of the first prototypes of the forthcoming Velleman K8400 Vertex 3d printer

the prototype of the new 3d printer by Velleman

3d printer prototype at the Velleman HQ

Vertex 3d printer with dual extrusion 3d printing mechanism

The dual extruder of the K8400 Vertex 3D printer

When I visited the Velleman HQ in Belgium in September, I also spent some time in their R&D department and made some shots from the working prototypes, here are some sneak-peaks of the forthcoming brand new Velleman K8400 Vertex 3d printer! How do you like it? It will available for a pre-order in a couple of weeks at the GigamaX 3D Print webshop!

Generative 3d modeling for 3d printing workshop by parametric | art at Budapest 3D Printing Days

A brand new generation of architects and designers started using mathematical algorithms to articulate new aesthetic artifacts, be it generative visuals, data-driven visualizations or parametric models for digital fabrication like 3 printing, in most cases, all roads will lead back to computational geometry. Computational geometry describes complex 3-dimensional forms and aesthetic processes in the form of mathematical algorithms as executable code.

 

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© parametric | art

If you are interested in generative geometries and digital fabrication methods, come and join us from June 5-7 at the Budapest 3D Printing Days organized by Design Terminal in Budapest. It’s going to be the most prominent 3d printing event in Central Eastern Europe, the 3-day-long event provides talks, workshops, roundtable discussions by industry experts, a pitch event and exhibition of 30 Central-Eastern Europe-based 3D printing related companies

 

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© parametric | art

The goal of the event is to build bridges between the  emerging  Central Eastern European 3D printing communities. With the wide variety of topics the organizers try to touch various applications of 3D printing from industrial to desktop usage, opportunities in education and health and more. The team of Design Terminal has developed a special program for professionals who want to learn and/or want to start with 3D printing, but don’t know where to start,  as the applications for this technology are so broad. The conferences will cover the past, present, and future of the Central Eastern European 3D printing scene presented in text, image, and video. The best way to understand 3D printing is to see it in action, so the lectures and workshops will showcase the countless possibilities of 3D printing technology and try to explain beyond the hype and illustrate exactly where 3D printing is in 2014 in Central Eastern Europe – and where it’s headed in the near future.

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© parametric | art

 

© Design Terminal

© Design Terminal

The event provides 30 regional exhibitors, 6 workshops,  +20 speakers and  3 locations in the heart of Budapest. Beside the local players, most of the exhibitors are coming from various countries of the CEE region, such as the Poland-based Zmorph. Vendors will showcase their creations, ranging from art and human body part reproductions, to life-size industrial prototypes, wearable art and fashion.
Budapest 3D Printing Days will also stand as a great place to network, connect and engage with other businesses that are exploring 3D printing. It’s the perfect opportunity to meet investors, discover opportunities, promote your brand and learn all about this incredible technology in the heart of the Hungary’s capital. Our education sessions will allow companies to interact with the next generation of designers and technologists as they begin their journey to adulthood.
Also, there will be some high profile speakers like David Lakatos from Formlabs, who sold his previous company to Dropbox or Marcelo  Coelho, a research affilate at MIT Media Labs, who was earlier involved in the Hyperform 4D Printing project.

© Design Terminal

© Design Terminal

The workshop will be concerned with the development and optimization of a 3d printed generative sculpture using Rhino and Grasshopper combined with Meshlab, and iterative and or evolutionary methods are to be used for system optimization. Participants will get a bigger view about the methodology of parametric design and algorithmic modeling and its usage in architecture, design, landscape, jewelry, fashion and urban scale. It is intended for professionals and students with a minimum experience in 3D modeling.

 

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The workshop is to introduce candidates to the new field of generative design and parametric 3d modeling. It is intended for Architects, Engineers, Interior Designers and all CAD specialists, who want to experiment with forms and realize them on a desktop 3d printer. They will experiment with digital 3d modeling and 3D printing technologies, resulting in the creation of some 3D printed generative jewelry or sculptures.

 

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We will start with introduce the participants with the basics of 3D modeling with NURBS and meshes, then it will shift rapidly into the algorithmic design technics and its potential in design and digital fabrication, like 3d printing. Finally the workshop will try to give a hints about the area of scripting  and programming for designers.

 

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The 3d tools which will be taught in this course are Rhino + Grasshopper and Meshlab; and we will optimize our 3d models for 3d printing using Netfabb Basic, Meshmixer and Repetier/Slic3r.

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All software is available for a free download as a trial or is completely free/open-source.

 

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Rhinoceros is a powerful 3D modeling software frequently used in 3D fabrication, because of its easy-to-use NURBS 3d modeling interface and useful CAM support.
(download link)

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© parametric | art

 

Grasshopper is a useful plug-in, a powerful Rhino add-on to create elaborate parametric forms. It’s an increasingly popular tool among architects and designers, as an easy tool for creating shapes based on complicated math. (download link)

 

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“For designers who are exploring new shapes using generative algorithms, Grasshopper® is a graphical algorithm editor tightly integrated with Rhino’s 3-D modeling tools. Unlike RhinoScript, Grasshopper requires no knowledge of programming or scripting, but still allows designers to build form generators from the simple to the awe-inspiring.”(grasshopper3d.com)

 

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© parametric | art

 

Meshlab

MeshLab is an open source, portable, and extensible system for the processing and editing of unstructured 3D triangular meshes. 
The system is aimed to help the processing of the typical not-so-small unstructured models arising in 3D scanning, providing a set of tools for editing, cleaning, healing, inspecting, rendering and converting this kind of meshes.
(download link)

 

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© parametric | art

Meshmixer

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Autodesk Meshmixer is a free tool for making crazy-ass 3D stuff without too much hassle. Or boring stuff too. You decide. It is an effective tool for generating custom tree-like support structures. Download it and give it a whirl!

Netfabb

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Netfabb Basic is a freeware for handling of files on stl-format. The freeware includes Advanced Model Browsing, STL Fixing and Part Analysis, Measurement and Quality Management. The freeware also include a Basic Slicing module and give you first steps into the 3D printing and data preparation.
(download link)

Slic3r

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Slic3r is the tool you need to convert a digital 3D model into printing instructions for your 3D printer. It cuts the model into horizontal slices (layers), generates toolpaths to fill them and calculates the amount of material to be extruded.
(download link)

Pronterface/Repetier

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Pronterface and Repetier are free 3D printer controller software for RepRap 3D printers. Pronterface (and Printrun) are pure python 3d printing host software and this way they’re completely open-source. If you have a 3d printer, you need to feed it with data. Slice the  the models into thin slices and compute a path for printer head. This is done by a slicing software, which converts the model into g-code, the language your printer speaks. The 3d printer host software sends the g-code to your 3d printer. (download link)

 

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© parametric | art

Participants need their own laptop with the suggested tools installed. The attend is free, but you need to register here. See you at the Budapest 3D Printing Days next week!

If you missed it, there is a 3D modelling for 3d print competition connected to the event, called ‘What to print in 3D?’. I’ve already submitted a project of mine, you can vote for it by clicking on the image here and hit the ‘Like’ button under the photo in the Facebook gallery. Thanks;)

© parametric | art

© parametric | art

3D Print at Personalize TCT Show Birmingham

The UK’s definitive and leading additive manufacturing, 3D printing, rapid prototyping and product development technology has been an awesome experience for visitors of every level of interest from hackerspace to aerospace. The eighteenth edition of this exciting free event has been such a big deal, I had registered my ticket months ago.

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The TCT Show + Personalize took place at the NEC in Birmingham UK from 25-26 September 2013, Hall 3a. Unfortunately I was only able to make it to Day 1 on Wednesday, but I wanted to make the most if it. I bet that thousands of attendees came through the doors of the event over the few days with the quality of the visitors particularly high. A lot of exhibitors have reported that they have already reserved their space for 2014.

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The event was totally awesome, and not just for us who have been for the first time there: such a great combination of exciting technology on show with no admission charges, free seminar sessions, free car parking and free visitor Wi-Fi proved a winning formula for all the visitors and the stage is now set for continued growth in 2014.

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This nice event might have been the shop window for the UK industry. Unlike the other great show in London, TCT has focused on the emerging technologies and developements of the scene: there haven’t been too much fancy little plastic toys or entry-level FDM technology 3d printers, but we have seen a lot of metal 3d printers and full-color 3d printing solutions for the rapid prototyping industry. The variety and interesting developments have increased year by year, and TCT is the only UK event to find it all under one roof.

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In addition to the industrial technology providers this year also saw the debut of the Personalize hub and a RepRap corner as well, focused on the emerging maker and consumer markets for 3d printing. This zone proved to be one of the most popular and busy sections of the show, the open-source 3d printers like the Prusa, Mendel and Huxley have played an important role in the big game of the representation of the additive manufacturing technology.

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And in addition to the interesting exhibitions and booths, C-Level executives from 3D Systems, Stratasys, ExOne, Mcor Technologies, Shapeways and MakieLab have been all on stage to share their wealth of experience across the full spectrum of the newest 3d printing technologies. The TCT Show auditorium has been filled with designers, developers, engineers, investors, business owners, makers and the media. Actually, this is the first time that so many people of the industry’s executives have been brought together to present their experiences with 3D printing.

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Experienced 3d printing experts like Joris Peels from Voxelfab have discussed cutting edge technology for concept, design, and manufacturing functions across all sectors. Mr Peels presented his ideas on where the industry should be going. The famous engineer talked about how to tidy up technology in a more practical way, focusing on sorting out the waste produced by machines when builds do not work. “There is a lot of hype on the desktop, ” he explained, adding that the media and advertisements for desktop 3d printers “overstate capabilities of these affordable entry-level machines and underplay problematic things such as build quality and reliability.”

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“It’s great having machines but they are all worthless without users having the ability to make exactly what they want. We need millions of people to be able to design, iterate, modify, custumise, individualise and create”. My opinion: absolutely indeed, most people who can afford to buy an affordable desktop 3d printer won’t take the time to learn a professional 3d modeling for 3d printing tools like Rhinoceros, Solidworks or 3D Max, and although there are plenty of sites offering downloadable objects for 3d printing, the magic of creating your own stuff can be quite difficult to reach for an average user without some hacking enthusiasm.

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“There’s a lot of hype on the desktop,” he explained, adding that the media and advertisements for desktop 3D printers “overstate capabilities of the machines and underplay problematic things such as build quality and reliability.”

“It’s great having machines but they are worthless without [users] having the ability to make exactly what they want. We need millions of people to be able to design, iterate, modify, customise, individualise and create,” he added.

– See more at: http://www.engineeringcapacity.com/news101/business-news/joris-peels-at-tct-show-2013#sthash.RZjANnDj.dpuf

discuss cutting edge technology for concept, design and manufacturing functions across all sectors. – See more at: http://www.engineeringcapacity.com/news101/business-news/joris-peels-at-tct-show-2013#sthash.RZjANnDj.dpuf

discuss cutting edge technology for concept, design and manufacturing functions across all sectors. – See more at: http://www.engineeringcapacity.com/news101/business-news/joris-peels-at-tct-show-2013#sthash.RZjANnDj.dpuf

discuss cutting edge technology for concept, design and manufacturing functions across all sectors. – See more at: http://www.engineeringcapacity.com/news101/business-news/joris-peels-at-tct-show-2013#sthash.RZjANnDj.dpuf
discuss cutting edge technology for concept, design and manufacturing functions across all sectors. – See more at: http://www.engineeringcapacity.com/news101/business-news/joris-peels-at-tct-show-2013#sthash.RZjANnDj.dpuf

This year the event has boasted a first, as it has welcomed the RepRap community to set up camp in a dedicated space on the show floor. The RepRap project is one of my favorites these days: the open-source affordable 3d printers which can replicate themselves while 3d printing their own plastic parts already play a key role in the new industrial revolution and is a real milestone on the way from mass production to mass customization. Richard Horne, RepRap stalwart spoke at TCT for the first time this year, where he championed the maker community in his presentation 3D Printing for Business and Pleasure.

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Horne’s reputation among makers is borne out of his keen involvement in the RepRap community. RepRap – which is short for replicating rapid prototyper – is a self-copying 3d printer that uses a plastic filament and is much cheaper than buying a desktop 3d printer, as RepRap develops and gives away its designs for a much cheaper machine with a self-copying capability. The technology is giving communities in the developing world access to 3d printing, as well as hobbyists keen to 3d  print their own 3d designs at home.

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Luckily the father of RepRap, Dr Adrian Bowyer, has joined Horne et al for the show along with RepRapPro Ltd. (link) on the stand, who had many RepRaps printing RepRaps and has been on hand to answer frequently asked questions and discuss the future of home 3D printing and how personal manufacturing could evolve in the near future. It has been really interesting to me, especially because I’ve just bought a RepRap Huxley 3d printer hardware kit and have just started to built my very first open-source desktop 3d printer. I’ll write a post about it, I promise! And at the end, let me show you a photo of a 3d printed jazz trio, which played at the TCT hall: these guys seem to play on traditional instruments like the electric guitar, drum kit and a keyboard; but in this case, all of the instruments have some weird 3d printed parts, just check out the fantastic details! I wish Giger had designed some 3d printed guitars
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3D printing with flexible materials – FlexPLA tests

FlexPLA, this new experimental stuff for your FDM 3D printer is a revolutionary new rubber-like 3D printer filament which allows you to 3D print flexible objects, such as rubber machine parts, soft toys, flip-flops, and other rubbery items like silicone parts. PLA is an organic plastic extracted from corn and it is 100% biodegradable so it has less of an impact on the environment. At this time, FlexPLA is only manufactured in the Netherlands. I’ve ordered a spool from the dutch manufacturer to be able to test the 1.75 mm diameter version on my desktop 3D printer.

© parametric | art

© parametric | art

I really like PLA because it is really environmental-friendly, and if there will be a new industrial revolution as told, I won’t be happy if we would fulfill our planet with 3D printed ABS junk. I’ve already written about the sustainability of 3D printing with biodegradable materials like PLA or 3D printing with wood, but there is a huge amount of articles based on the eco-friendly 3D printing materials researches. This type of 3D printing material has a much lesser carbon footprint than typical co-polyester 3D printer filaments. This flexible PLA filament offers up to 50% lower carbon footprint than traditional co-polyester materials. Next to this, the complete process from sourcing the chemical recipe to the actual extruding of the filament is being done in the Netherlands. This reduces the “travel distance” of this material significantly, meaning that less fossil fuels are being used to get this material into my studio.

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PLA is Poly-Lactic-Acid, a biodegradable polymer that has a lower melting point compared to ABS, you have to mind this when adjusting the temperature of the hot end. The manufacturer suggests to 3D print with flexible PLA at 230 C for the best results. At this point, I have to clear something. It is really important which type of thermometer you use. Some 3D printers have a built-in laser thermometer, and most desktop FDM printers have an infrared sensor for measuring the temperature. IR thermometers measure heater temp, the laser versions are capable to measure the nuzzle temp. Thus the 30 C difference between what is recommended and what laser users can 3D print at.

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Experimenting with new materials while 3D printing is a dangerous business. I’ve already destroyed a nozzle while experimenting with 3D printing with wood, and I had to replace my complete hot end a couple of weeks ago because of some filament diameter issues. One thing you should do is keep your faith alive, and keep trying. Don’t put deadlines; deadlines will eventually kill your creativity. Be patient.  Exploring new ways of additive fabrication techniques does take a little time to perfect it. I’m not a pro, but I keep learning every day. One thing you should do is keep your faith alive, and keep trying.

So, when I finally got my spool of FlexPLA 1.75 filament for my Makerbot Replicator 2 desktop 3D printer I was so excited, this type of material has been only available for professional DLP 3D printers and some types of SLS 3D printers with elastic polyamide powder. I’ve put the spool on the spool holder and wanted to load the filament into the plunger and set out to print my first sex toy (kidding) but ran into problems. So I had to tweak around with my desktop 3D printer settings and I decided to share my experiences with you.

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It is highly recommended to lower your printing speed (compared to 3D printing with normal PLA) when 3D printing with FlexPLA flexible experimental 3D printing filament. My advice for an optimal 3D printing temperature in the extruder is to print at approximately 220° C. Please do keep in mind that above are only guidelines and that every desktop 3D printer requires different settings for getting the wanted optimal 3D printing results and fine surface finishes of the 3D printed objects.

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Well, let’s see the results of my experiments. I’ve started with some simple models to calibrate my desktop 3D printer and test it how it 3D prints with this new type of material. I’ve adjusted the extruder head’s temperature, the extrusion and traveling speeds of the tool and the retraction values as well. I’ve chosen a nozzle with .4 mm diameter for the first test, I’m going to give it a try with the .3 mm and .5 mm nozzles as well. If you don’t have nozzles in several sizes, you can drill your original, but be careful, you can easily destroy the nozzle (like I did a couple of weeks before) and with a damaged tip, your nozzle will be useless.

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© parametric | art

My first object which I’ve 3D printed with FlexPLA was the bracelet called ‘strechlet’, a free .stl which you can download from Thingiverse (and it was included on the SD card delivered with the MakerBot Replicator2 as well). It is already a flexible structure which is stretchy even if 3D printed with rigid PLA. It came out in 10 minutes with FlexPLA, and I also printed it from normal PLA just for the comparison. The normal PLA has a different color, it’s more ‘frosty’ and honestly, I prefer this kind of white instead of the glossy/shiny/jelly finish of the flexible version.

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After that, I wanted to see how holes and horizontal bridges can 3D print with this material. I’ve hosen the diagrid bracelet, which I already made from normal PLA (white) and with wood as well. In this case, there isn’t any huge difference in the color, because of the thickness of the structure. So, if you want to 3D print really white objects with that new FlexPLA filament, you have to choose a fat wall-thickness for your model, in other case, your walls would be some kind of translucent. The holes came out pretty fine, the filament acts very similar to the rigid version. I was afraid, because Laywood cannot function for holes or bridges because of the stickiness of the polymer used as bound material for the saw dust.

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And what about tiny, thick structures or columns? Do they stand the 3D printing process? Let’s see my next test for that. I’ve 3D printed a bracelet, which has some really skinny bended rods. Of course, I made it from normal PLA as well, I wanted to see the difference. It came out really nice, as you can see it on this video I’ve made (sorry for the quality, I only had my phone), on the macro shot, you can see some differences in the finish, but I feel satisfied at all with the results. And it is really flexible! It will fit for any size of hands, you don’t have to be afraid of breaking it, just stretch it!

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© parametric | art

© parametric | art

My last key point was the 3D printing of support structures, and how to remove them from the 3D printed model. I’ve selected a beautiful model with some chiseled details, so I already can check the resolution as well. The model is designed by Jessice from Nervous System, and it is a bracelet again. I’ve printed it with 100 microns layer height and 100 mm/s extrusion speed at 240 C. The rigid PLA version on the left has been 3D printed with 270 micron layer height without supports, the FlexPLA version has been 3D printed with rafts and supports. It took about 7 hours until it came out, on the free surfaces, it has got a really smooth and fine finish. But those supports, err… It has been a nightmare to remove them. All the fibred act like rubber, and they still stick to the model. If I want to remove them, the whole objects stretches and I was afraid that I broke the swag. It took about 3 hrs to remove the most of the support structures, but the surface turned into a greasy something after removing the support structures. You can see it on your pics, it looks ok, but it would be much better without supports. The next time, I’m going to do some tests without support structures to see how far I can push the technical boundaries of this cool material!

© parametric | art

© parametric | art

© parametric | art

© parametric | art

I hope you liked this post and want to try this new experimental material as well! In the future, I want to 3D print some wearables (shoes for example!) with flexible material, so stay tuned, some new design concept are coming;) peace

3D printing with various materials

Dear Visitor, welcome on my blog! It is the first post on this new blog of mine, it will be about my newest 3D printing experiences and experiments with new materials. Technically, we could 3D print with an material which melts and can be extruded through a nozzle. I mean, just think about sugar. Or chocolate. Or a dozen of other usual stuff. Cheese for an example.

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The fused deposition modeling – which is applied in the common desktop 3D printers for home and office use – allows you to 3D print with wood or flexible and bio-degradable materials as well. I know, the big companies only offer the standard ABS and PLA filaments for 3D printing, but if you are a real hacker und want to push the boundaries of your desktop 3D printer, you can get some really special stuff from Europe.

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Have you ever pictured yourself to 3D print with wood? Yes, it is real wood! Technically it is like liquid wood used in building industry but finer. It is a very smooth birch saw dust which is bonded with plastic polymers and is extruded to a filament. You can feed your extruder with this filament, hack the default setting of your 3D printer and 3D print some really weird wooden geometries!

Just check out the photos I’ve attached, these forms and shapes couldn’t have been produced with traditional wood milling techniques. And these 3D printed wooden objects act like natural wood, you can paint, screw, glue, sand ‘em, by the way the texture finish of the 3D printed surface doesn’t need any cleaning of stuff like that, it looks just beautiful.

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So, that’s all for today, check back soon for some new 3D print stories from my kitchen;)