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Polymaker's PC-Max (Polycarbonate)

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I've been trying out Polymakers PC-Max and I am getting some good results on my 'unpimped' UM2 extended.

I have to say that nothing else works other than the Buildtak sheet which came with it regarding bed adhesion... the Buildtak still wants to detach from the glass after a couple of prints but it's still going after 4 medium/small prints and some hard work taking off the residue. I used a very sharp Stanley blade keeping it at a strict 45 degree angle to the surface scraping it back and forth very quickly to remove any left over material... which also seems to help the Buildtak sheet stick back down onto the glass.

I also use a cheap filler spreader for careful removal from the bed after it has cooled sufficiently... seems to make the process easier.

 

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The mechanical strength really is peerless... I only bought my printers to build complete functional speargun prototypes and after a good deal of success with XT-CF20 I thought I'd give polycarb a try for even further strength and this PC-Max is actually proving even better suited to the job.

It's also nice to sand down when finished so layer height is not that important... I will also be sealing my prints (above) with a final coat of polyurethane spray but a finer layer height means less time sanding down and cleaner/smoother surfaces of course.

Main settings/observations so far include: nozzle temp 260C and Buildplate 80C... Raft is absolutely critical, when I tried Brim It warped like mad. The material flow also seems very important for layer adhesion... the best result so far has been a setting of 135% which gives a clean flat surface to each layer... whereas a lower % seems to produce a more ''stippled' or stringy layer effect.  I'm still experimenting with speed but once the print is away about 40-45mms seems optimum so far.

Having tried a carbon/nylon mix previously Polymaker's PC-Max really puts it to shame and at £34.00 delivered from 3D FilaPrint it's an absolute bargain as far as I'm concerned... couldn't recommend it more highly.

This for me would appear to be a genuine functional/mechanical filament which is sensibly priced and reasonably easy to print with at last... easily comparable to manufactured plastics... possibly even better than most perhaps...

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Following on from my previous post as I progressed onto my larger prints I experienced big problems with BuildTak. Seems OK for smaller prints but doesn't last very long either way which makes it kind of useless and it's far too expensive to use it per large print. I am currently trying Wolfbite MEGA with Polymaker's PC-Max and initially it did not perform well.

However after putting up the bed temp to 100C and putting at least 3 layers on it seems to be working at last. I also tried a couple of failed prints without a raft and that definitely does not work well. It is still extremely expensive for the amount you get (£20 for 60ml-delivered UK)... particularly regarding the amount you have to use to get it to work.

Having said that as you can see from the images below there is clearly no lift or warping of the Raft or indeed regarding this very large print itself... impressive so far but the real acid test will be the removal from the glass build plate after I have annealed the print. The precision of the build plate surface is obviously critical regarding my 2 piece handle when bonding both sides together... any serious warping will put my prints in the recycling bin.

 

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Absolutely no problems with it coming off the glass... although I did make the mistake of allowing it to cool before sticking it in the oven for an hour at 100C... it warped very slightly as it cooled and detached itself from the glass/hot plate but not enough thankfully to affect the print. Easy enough to just remove the glass and the print together but make sure it goes into the oven straight away... as soon as the print is finished. The annealing process just relaxes the print so that any further/future warping is checked. After an hour just turn the oven off but leave it inside to cool slowly (20-30mins) after which the print has virtually detached itself.

You can just wash off the WolfBite residue from the glass too so no scraping or scratching... big bonus.

I am currently printing the other half of my handle and will put up some images when done.

The finished prints seem to have a very slight flexibility which just adds to this material's strength and durability... this stuff can really take the knocks, bashes and drops... ideal for my mechanical/functional purposes that's for sure.

Only negative is the Raft hasn't come off easily so I may need to do quite a bit of sanding down to get the measurements absolutely correct when bonding my 2 parts together.

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Lots of good information in here. I see a fair amount of stringing, do you think this is just the nature of the material or something that can be tuned out?

 

I didn't use any retraction at all and printed both these handle components at 0.17 layer height so I'm sure most will get much better 'precision' results than me... these took about 11 hours each by using an 0.8 nozzle to get them out nice and quick (at 50mms)... I am also very much into my post print work so waiting 30-35 hours each print doesn't make much sense for me and my large prototypes. I reckon these 'quick' prints above are much more of a 'baseline' than anything else with the stringing probably part of my settings although it may also be an aspect of the material.

The top image is an extension to my handles and I printed that at much finer settings (can't remember them now) and the difference is very clear.

Lastly, I only used a 2.8mm wall and 2.0mm Top/Bottom and 20% infill setting and yet the strength is still uncanny... as I said above... this material is literally peerless!

Thanks for your comment by the way.

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Never having worked with PC, I have read this and the other post about the Polymaker PC-MAX with great interest, and decided to start my first tests using your findings about temps, raft, flow% etc. I would like to share my findings with others because my sweet spot has some settings that are a bit "differnet" ;).

First prints were a big disappointment: blobs, stringing and what more. On the positive side I have to mention that I have not seen any warping, I use the Buildtak in combination with 3DLac, this combo made taking the print of the plate quite easy too.

After quite a bit of testing, I have come up with settings that work for me (quite interesting to notice that most is close to what Polymaker recommends).

In summary:

- like others I found that it is critical to keep speeds low (I like 40mm/s even better than 45mm/s)

- unlike @Artiz I kept flow at 100% - the 135% mentioned caused excessive blobs in my testing

- l found that playing with the different line widths had a huge effect, mostly the line width for top/bottom (with my .4 nozzle 50 gave a very nice and smooth surface (I still have to find out how to best minimize the stitches from shell infill to wall though)

- I found that lowering the line width for infill can quickly lead to under-extrusion

- In my case the best remedy against oozing and stringing was using retraction (6.25mm @ 25 mm/sec); 2mm Z-hopping also helped a lot.

- Surface of walls was much smoother when printing outer walls first, and doing the infill after the walls; this also eliminated signs of the infill on the outside, and the result was identical to the design dimension-wise when insetting the outer wall 0.025mm (half the difference between nozzle size and wall line-width)

- I found that the size of the air-gap between raft and first layer makes a HUGE difference in getting the raft from the print nicely. I found that using 1.5 times layer-height works very well.

I have just published my first PC-MAX print on Youmagine, if you find the little thingie usefull, feel free to print for yourself ;) On the pictures you see the result as it came straight of the bed (so without cleaning up, sanding and finishing).

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Update: I have successfully printed 5 low prints without any warping or curling and just using a 10mm inside and outside brim.

Model was appr. 17cms x 12cms square and 7.5mm high having not much more than a 2.5mm walls and 6 appr. 1.5cm2 insets of irregular shape. No fillets of cambers anywhere in the model.

I thought this a good suspect to get warping, especially on the one long end where there was no inset at all and the wall made a a sharp 90 degree turn), but to my surprise it sticked to the bed really good.

Bed: buildtak @ 85C (lightly sprayed with 3DLac) / Nozzle 255C / Speed 35mm/sec / 0.1mm layer height (also first layer and brim!) / Print jerk 15 / Travel jerk 20 (man.... those were long prints considering...!)

Prints came out really nice and very accurate dimension-wise.

After annealing and cooling down I put them in the freezer for 15 minutes, this made getting it of the bed easy (admitted: the low brim took some work to get rid of completely)

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Update: I have successfully printed 5 low prints without any warping or curling and just using a 10mm inside and outside brim.

Model was appr. 17cms x 12cms square and 7.5mm high having not much more than a 2.5mm walls and 6 appr. 1.5cm2 insets of irregular shape. No fillets of cambers anywhere in the model.

I thought this a good suspect to get warping, especially on the one long end where there was no inset at all and the wall made a a sharp 90 degree turn), but to my surprise it sticked to the bed really good.

Bed: buildtak @ 85C (lightly sprayed with 3DLac) / Nozzle 255C / Speed 35mm/sec / 0.1mm layer height (also first layer and brim!) / Print jerk 15 / Travel jerk 20 (man.... those were long prints considering...!)

Prints came out really nice and very accurate dimension-wise.

After annealing and cooling down I put them in the freezer for 15 minutes, this made getting it of the bed easy (admitted: the low brim took some work to get rid of completely)

 

Two excellent posts with loads more detailed info and settings Zwakie... thumbs up!

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Update: I have successfully printed 5 low prints without any warping or curling and just using a 10mm inside and outside brim.

Model was appr. 17cms x 12cms square and 7.5mm high having not much more than a 2.5mm walls and 6 appr. 1.5cm2 insets of irregular shape. No fillets of cambers anywhere in the model.

I thought this a good suspect to get warping, especially on the one long end where there was no inset at all and the wall made a a sharp 90 degree turn), but to my surprise it sticked to the bed really good.

Bed: buildtak @ 85C (lightly sprayed with 3DLac) / Nozzle 255C / Speed 35mm/sec / 0.1mm layer height (also first layer and brim!) / Print jerk 15 / Travel jerk 20 (man.... those were long prints considering...!)

Prints came out really nice and very accurate dimension-wise.

After annealing and cooling down I put them in the freezer for 15 minutes, this made getting it of the bed easy (admitted: the low brim took some work to get rid of completely)

 

Two excellent posts with loads more detailed info and settings Zwakie... thumbs up!

 

Thanks @Artiz, to learn and share, that's the spirit we all need hu? ;)

I'll be sharing future test experiences as they come along, PolyFlex is next on the list (don't know when I will start with that, will definitely be shortly - for sure it will be fun tinkering with that stuff)

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I was looking for for a filament which was at the same time 'high-temp' and with good mechanical strength.

So I bought a spool of PC-Max!

I haven't seen this post before, so I went with quite standard settings: Cura defaults, 0.2 mm layers, 260°C, bed 80°C, no fan and a brim (on BuildTak as recommended)

I am quite happy with the result, no particular issue, it bridges better than expected and the top layer is very nice.

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(Always difficult to get good pictures from black prints...)

The only problem I had was to remove the print from the BuildTak, maybe a raft would make it easier.

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