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Thoughts on NinjaFlex filament

Experimenting with NinjaFlex which as the name implies is a flexible 3D printing filament. So far my impression is that it’s a great product if not a little difficult to work with. I’m guessing a Bowden would be even more difficult as this stuff is really, really bendable. I found my standard “Go To” setting for my printer just did not work. So to save anyone some time who might read this here is my quick list.

  • This material seems to melt slower than normal PLA or ABS so I really had to slow my extruding down. I set all slicer settings to 15 mm per second and that seemed to get things going. Funny as it sounds even my manual extruding using “PrintRun” to get my printer set up extruded too fast.
  • If you extrude too fast the extruder will bend the material so if you do start to see slippage in the extruder just give it up, pull out what is in there cut off the 2 inches and re-thread and try again. Once there is slippage the material deforms and the extruder can’t grip it anymore.
  • This stuff needs to run hot. I found 250 was a good number with 50 for the bed
  • Give up using Kapton tape or some type of hair spray to cause it to stick to the bed. The only way I got things to work was Blue carpenters tape.

If it sounds like a pain to work with then, yea maybe just a little but the results are great. To print something with a little give and bounce is really a trip compared to standard hard plastic and by controlling the infill you can create objects that can go all the way from almost soft to hard as normal plastic.

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3D printer Conductive Plastic

Over the last year I’ve spent a lot of time trying to find conductive plastic that has resistance properties even close to wire. What I’ve found is currently there is nothing on the market that comes even close. Although a plastic “Described” as conducting is offered by quite a few venders the conductivity it pretty bad. If you are making an anti-static pad or a Faraday cage your OK but for most circuits it’s not practical, basically it just plastic with infused Carbon Black.

I did spend some time trying to make my own and I did get some good batches but I had a real hard time with getting consistent batches. If you interested I used Multi Walled Carbon Nanotubes and infused them is standard PLA. believe it or not nanotubes are pretty cheap now. I got mine from “CheapTubes.com“. Yes, believe it or not that’s the name of the company. I tried a bunch of combinations but my greatest success was with MWNT’s around the 30-50nm range. Basic method is to take existing 3D printing plastic and mix it with “Dichloromethane” this liquefies it and after a time just remove to stopper off your mixing bottle and the dichloromethane will evaporate leaving just the plastic infused with the nanotubes. Now all you have to do is get it back in 3D printer plastic form. To do that I just built a 3D printing extruder.

If someone comes up with a better way to do it let me know but the best I was able to get was about 200 ohms per inch, still not what I was looking for but way better then stuff available on the market now.

 

 

OpenSCad and integration with notepad++ text editor

OpenSCad is a great open source 3D modeling tool for 3D printable models but it’s weak point is the code editor and since everything is code based with no GUI tool set you have to look elsewhere for a good editor. I’ve found for myself that Notepad++ has some great plug-ins. It’s a windows tool but Ubuntu has “Wine” a windows compatibility emulator that works great with it and is available in the Ubuntu Software Center.   After installing OpenSCad and Notepad++ go to Thingiverse to pick up the XML Config files  for OpenSCad and follow the directions provided along with them. Remember to configure OpenScad for Automatic Reload and Compile and also in the view tab you can hide the default OpenSCad editor which you won’t be using anymore. I’ve found the whole experience of using OpenSCad to be much better since I moved on from the default editor.

Musings ON 3D Modeling and CAD software on Ubuntu

Since I’m fundamentally cheap and have an unreasonable phobia regarding Microsoft products over the years I’ve been attempting to find the best tool for my 3D modeling restricted  to the open source community. So, here is what I’ve found, as far as machine operating systems go I finally settled Ubuntu, its simple to use and more then covers my needs. CAD software is a lot more challenging, I’ve started to become convinced that software companies are using the Microsoft platform as a way to enhance there licensing enforcement. Lets face it, if the software only runs on Windows then it much more likely the end user will pay for it since they already payed for the operating system and if it was pirated they can ride right along with the Microsoft’s legal team. So anyway my final tool box ends up being OpenSCad for most models. I thought I’d hate the command line driven tool but with a plug-in from Notepad++ it ends up being easy to use and very strait forward, it’s no wonder it’s the top file type format you see when going to Thingiverse. If I’m looking to really build something complex with a lot of moving parts I use FreeCad and yes, I know it use to suck but the last few releases have really cleaned things up. Last but not least for “Art” I use Blender and honestly it’s not all that often I feel the need to go down the Blender path. Blender is great but for 3D printing models it clunky and time consuming. Last but not least I have two favorite slicers. Number one for single extruder prints and dual extruder prints for support I’ve found KISSlicer is the way to go, I know the web site doesn’t look like much, but the slicer is free and trust me you will not be disappointed. Things get a little more complicated for dual extruder printing when your not using one of the extruders for support, If thats the model type I’m working with I use Slic3r.

OK, thats all my rambling for the moment, if you have any other solutions that are Linux based and free of cost let me know.