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Flexible filaments

Discussion in 'Printing Filament' started by Kingbob, May 27, 2014.

  1. Kingbob

    Kingbob Active Member

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    OK so i'm jumping waaaaay ahead of myself here since my printer hasnt even arrived yet (in transit due next wednesday), and i obviously need to learn to use it first. But, one of the things on my list to try is printing with the flexible filaments.

    The main reason, is that i'm a model maker, and something i'm working on needs some rubber tires, in a size/scale/pattern that simply no-one makes. They'll have a diameter of about 50-60mm, with a fairly simple zigzag patterned tread (simpler than regular car tires).

    Most of what i've read about flexible filaments, have said they have quite a glossy finish when printed. Thats something i specifically dont want, I want something that looks like regular rubber. I guess i could use sandpaper to get rid of the gloss, but dont know if that will be effective.

    Does anyone have much experience with flexible filaments and can maybe point me in the right direction?

    Ninjaflex seems the most popular, but theres also Flex Eco-PLA, Flex PolyEster (available in different shores which is interesting). Any others?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Printed Solid

    Printed Solid Volunteer Admin
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    You might possibly be able to get a less glossy finish at a colder temp, but you might not get good enough layer bonding.

    I actually just ordered a bunch of ninjaflex to offer for resale. Their factory is about an hour from me, so it seemed silly not to.
    I am expecting that it will *not* work on the stock extruder. 1.75mm Flexible filaments need to be well supported from the pinchwheel all the way up to the melt zone. The wade has a pretty large gap in there, that many of us have managed to fill in with twisted up filament when we hit a clog.
    I'll be browsing around thingiverse for extruder mods that might work and will design my own if I can't find one.

    Will keep everybody posted.
     
  3. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    Glad you stock it now :)
    It works OK with the E3D at least with a small demo print; will be testing more when I get a chance.
     
  4. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    Here is a simple mod you need to make the NinjaFlex actually work with our Greg's Wade extruder. A small bit of tubing that allows the filament to be pushed by the hobb'ed bolt, but to stay in channel. The extruder hobbed section catches it right where the gap in the plastic tube is. The tube is just big enough for the filament and not small enough to insert past the cold-end of the top of the extruder. Some fiddling with extrusion rates is needed... this stuff is wierd in how it flows. The sizing of the hole/gap in the feeder tube is important. Too small, no feed. Too big and the hobb just wads it up around the bolt. Just right and it feeds it down the tube and it works. It is so compressible that it tends to keep extruding a bit after the feeding stops (hence the playing around with extrusion rates).

    20140601_154611.jpg
     
    #4 mark tomlinson, Jun 1, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2015
  5. Printed Solid

    Printed Solid Volunteer Admin
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    Thanks Mark, I was going to try something like that. It looks like you just made a small cutout for the hobbed bolt and let the bearing press against the tube. Is that correct?
     
  6. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    Yes, that is exactly what I did. The plastic tube then keeps the filament 'in channel' down to the hot end.
     
  7. Robb

    Robb Member

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    What plastic tube are you using? I'm going to order some Ninja Flex this week.
     
  8. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    Some I found laying around the shop :)
    Not to be a SmartAss (tm) but I really an not sure what the specific name/type.

    It is a stiff, clear-ish plastic tube with the following external size: 3.3 mm / .13 in

    The inside diameter is slightly larger than the NinjaFlex (which is 1.75 mm I hope) ...
    Looks like something I may have gotten originally at an auto parts store or hobby store.
    Not sure. It may have been gas line for a RC model or the like. Any similarly sized, fairly stiff tube would work, the part of the extruder that grabs/feeds the filament above and below the hobb is at least 3 mm clearance.
     
  9. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    I would suggest some test prints to get a handle on the flow-rate for this stuff. I ended up printing fairly slowly and reduced the feed rate somewhat (to account for the way it comes out).
     
  10. Robb

    Robb Member

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    Thanks Mark. Looks like a trip to the hobby store to see what i can find.

    Overall did you like the prints that came out? after you got the settings right.
     
  11. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    Yes I really did, but it needs a good bit of tweaking. Even on a different printer it would be hard, it is just a strange material to print with. The closer the tube inside diameter is to the size of the filament the better (because that gives it less room to squish out and forces it to move better). You have no control over this once it gets into the hot end of course...

    Expect some swearing and have a handful of patience getting it sorted :)
     
  12. Peter

    Peter Member

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    If anybody is still looking for plastic tube, raid your pen drawer, pen ink tubes come in many sizes around the dimensions required and I'm sure you'd find something that fits close enough. I'm always ripping apart pens for springs, sleeves, tubes etc.
     
  13. tesseract

    tesseract Moderator
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    Looks like I may have to do something similar on my bowden setup hopefully back to printing in a couple more days got the last parts for this latest upgrade
     
  14. tesseract

    tesseract Moderator
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    forgot lots of new filament to tryout and experiment with and report back to Printed LOL
     
  15. Ajm

    Ajm New Member

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  16. Robb

    Robb Member

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    I did. The tube wouldn't fit up. So I drilled it just a little and it was perfect.
     
  17. Ajm

    Ajm New Member

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    Thanks ill try that
     
  18. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    The new E3D (v6) on an R1, yes. I had to ream it out a small amount.

    The old v5 on a beta fit with no mods.
     
  19. adepino

    adepino Member

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    Ok I would like to try to use some sort of flexible filament, but I've only been printing for a couple months now with PLA/ABS, so I'm not sure what to expect. I just read through the comments on this post, can you elaborate a little more on the tube you had to use to modify the printer? Maybe in a little more detail, explain where exactly this piece sits, from the picture, the tube looks super long, but from the description sounds like it should be down inside the extruder assembly, between the hot end and the pincher wheels that push the filament...Also are there any other recommendations on filament brand? Ill be grabbing something off of Amazon.
     
  20. jtn7040

    jtn7040 Active Member

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    I just used a normal PTFE tube just snipped some off my Bowden set up and dremmeled out the hole for the hobbed bolt

    Sent from my SM-N915T using Tapatalk
     
    mark tomlinson likes this.

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