Wednesday, 7 August 2013

T-Glase Tiki

I am lucky enough to have a small amount of the new Taulman3D T-Glase (pronounced Glass) which I have been trialling on the UP Plus.
PLA settings are too cool for good adhesion, but with the use of the temperature reducing patch lead (250C) I got great results. This materail prints really easy, with no stringing and almost no warp. It is super clear and when the light catches it it gives an almost mirror like reflection. It also has great strength.

Here are a couple examples.

I really do love shiny things!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

I'm all for PC!

I'm working on my own hot end design and today I got around to testing some polycarbonate. I had tried printing this previously at 260C and although it would extrude the layers just didn't bond very well. With the all metal hot end, I tried again at 290C. I was very happy to see this time the layers stuck together, in fact it is quite strong given it is only one layer. Although I think, surprisingly, the best attribute to PC is the amazing silver like shine it has, unfortunately somewhat lost in this photo. It is also very transparent, even more so than clear ABS or PLA.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Enclosure Vs no enclosure.

I recently did a print for a potential customer on my new UP Plus which doesn't have an enclosure. There is quite a striking difference, which I thought I would show.

The ambient temperature on the first print was around 16 C. The enclosure temperature was approximately 40C. Other than that both prints were identical in setup.

I think it is pretty evident which one is which!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Soft PLA

Over the months I have been searching for a rubber filament, without much luck. I had tried a couple but they proved very difficult to extrude due to being too soft.

I recently got some soft PLA to try, and to my delight it printed quite well on the UP and Deltasine R3dback printer. The trick I found on the UP was to bump up the temperature to about 250C. At normal PLA temps the filament would buckle and stop extruding within minutes.

I didn't hold much hope of extruding it on the bowden system of the delta either, but found with the same temps and extruding nice and slow ( ~15mm/s) I could get consistent extrusion. Although the retracts need to be dialled back too.

Once extruded the end result is quite flexible, but not overly stretchy like rubber would be, but more like really flexible plastic. Its quite like the material my iphone cover is made from. I will hopefully post some pictures of an iphone case printed in soft PLA soon.

So, without further ado here are a few pictures of the Pink panther women ( , printed in black soft PLA on the UP at .2mm. Printed as shell to maintain flexibility.

Soft PLA is available for sale in black and white in both 3mm and 1.75mm at

Monday, 28 January 2013

Smooth as a babies.....

I'd taken a scan of my partner when she was pregnant, but only just got around to cleaning it up ready for printing on the weekend. She was 38 weeks at the time of scanning. Unfortunately the head didn't work very well at all, so had to settle for just the torso.

Here is the original piece straight off the printer.

And here after 2 hours in an acetone vapour bath.

Saturday, 5 January 2013


In an attempt to improve the finish of my models I have started experimenting with acetone vapour smoothing.

Stratasys offer a smoothing station for around $40,000 but I wanted something a little cheaper....

There are a few others on the net getting very good results with putting models in a cheap deep fryer or cooker and heating a small amount of acetone for a short period to vaporise the acetone and smooth the model.

Another option is to place the model in a sealed container with some acetone, and leave for a few hours. This method is the cheapest, but also the slowest.

A few things about acetone vapour. Firstly its rather toxic, so breathing it in is definitely not recommended. Its also explosive and evaporates at around 50C. And lastly it is around twice as heavy as air. This last point is somewhat of an issue with the passive smoothing method, as a part will smooth from the bottom up and so won't be even. On smaller models this doesn't really cause a problem, but when dealing with taller models I notice the bottom of the part looses more detail and can sometimes cause the part to warp or completely fall over, whilst layers are still visible at the top.

Ideally the vapour needs to be circulated around the part so as to get a good even covering. Something I'll work on in the future.

Another thing I noticed is that the part continues to smooth even after it has been removed from the container. I was quite happy with the result I had on a small figurine,so removed it from the container and left it on a bench to dry over night. In the morning I was shocked to find the part was far smoother than when I left it, and had lost much of the detail it showed the night before.

Now when a part is removed I put it into the freezer to halt any further smoothing.

Parts can vary on how long they need to stay in the vapour. depending on the size of the object and also the ABS. The dragon below for instance was left in for about 12 hours. Its relatively "soft" ABS, but the part was quite large. The terracotta warrior on the other hand was left in for just over 2 hours.

 Here you can clearly see the layers.

 This is the dragon after the smoothing vapour bath! The surface is as smooth as glass.
You can still just make out some layers, but these seem to be "underneath" and cannot be felt.

Another before ...
 And after

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Blatent macro shot

My macro lens arrived to day! So here is a close up of the Sapphos sculpture printed at .2 mm.  Even close up its not easy to make out the layers.