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Proto-pasta conductive PLA experience?

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Posted · Proto-pasta conductive PLA experience?


Someone asked about conductive filaments some time ago, but never had any answer on this. This time there was also a link to some producer with resistance examples, however they never gave the important physical parameters for their filament. So their resistance data was useless.

Your reference here is very interesting.  Actually, this was one of the reasons for me to have a double extruder head...  :)

At it is right now, the resistance is kind of high, as we can’t run much current here, but for data it may work well.

PS. You can off course decrease the resistance by having a high number of "strings" in parallel, but how good this will be is yet to see.



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    Posted (edited) · Proto-pasta conductive PLA experience?

    I am pretty close to getting a spool of this stuff. Yes the resistance is a bit high to jack a high amp current through but thats not what i am after. I just want to make some simple capacitively coupled buttons for data entry/selection - much more modern then an old throw or push switch.  Also good for perhaps powering up LEDs and then use Clear PLA to print a light pipe.   Should be fun :-)

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    Posted · Proto-pasta conductive PLA experience?

    To give you an idea on the resistance I just put a super cheap multi meter on the part:

    The results for the 3 lines;

    line 35mm x 2mm x 0,27mm : 12.7 K

    line 35mm x 2mm x 0,68mm : 4.2 K

    line 35mm x 2mm x 1,40mm : 2.3 K

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    Posted · Proto-pasta conductive PLA experience?

    Oh thanks for that reference - you state in there it was simple to print, which was the question I was after. Conductivity is less than what i expected/hoped for but workable.

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    Posted · Proto-pasta conductive PLA experience?

    So I have given this stuff some play time. Took me a while to get an actual print out, it seemed that 210C is not quite high enough; no PLA came out of the nozzle. However, at 230C the print stuck to the bed and printed out ok although I was a bit alarmed at first seeing the (very) squirelly blob that came out when priming. It seemed it was blowing bubbles in the first strand of PLA that showed up, I could hear it making little popping sounds. But the model came out quite nicely (a simple button) and showed 1.5 Ohm across its 1 inch surface - perfect.

    However, when I changed material to Taulman t-glase afterwards, not a single print worked. The primer turns into a big blob of stuff and is dragged around by the print head pretty much destroying the first layer - which means you're done. I also noticed that the material still seemed to have some blackish coloring even though I had given it quite a bit of material to squirt out during the change. I don't have many printing hours on the Utlimaker yet so I cannot think this was some carbonization but rather some of the proto pasta was still in the nozzle.

    I tried an atomic clean but this had no effect. I decided to heat up the nozzle, take it out the head and have a look. The entrance showed a mix of Taulman and Proto-pasta and it seemed some of the Proto-Pasta may have squirted out sideways. Perhaps the nozzle wasn't as tied as much as needed. So I fired up my hot air station (for soldering) set to 265C, a pair of tweezers to hold the nozzle and another pair to clean it. I was able to fish out a big blob of mixed material. Using a boro-scope to inspect the insides of the nozzle, i could see no more plugs of any kind.

    The head is now printing nicely again, the primer is a nice couple of loops, not a blob (though I still don't like how the printer deals with the primer, there always is a chance it drags it around the print).

    So the conductive proto pasta is neat but messy in my experience. Perhaps the results of my inexperience (entirely possible) and incorrect temp settings (which I find awkward to set on the Ultimaker) and may deserve its own nozzle.

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