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Tiger91

Best conductive filament for UM3?

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I would like to get conductive filament to use for my UM3. I don't think there is "official" UM3 conductive filament, so I'm looking for a good, safe alternative. Does anyone have suggestions on the best place to get some? Also, is it possible to make simple printed circuits using regular PLA/ABS as an insulator? Could you make capacitors/inductors with this method?

Thanks

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Interesting question, I don't know. As far as I know, the conductive materials available now still have very high resistances. Although I may have heard of one which showed some potential, but it was very expensive.

I think you should be able to use PLA or ABS as an insulator. Are there also filaments with even higher resistance?

Anyway, my advice is probably not very helpful, but I am curious about the answer :D

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It is very long ago since I used electronics calculations, but I guess capacitors and inductors are not going to work. They will be way too resistive, and the spacing of conductive layers or lines will be too far apart to get any usable effect. I also think strings and blobs in the prints might cause short circuits. But - if you find a suitable filament - it may work for touch sensors, or for crude resistors to power a small LED lamp, for anti-static arm bands, or similar stuff. So, I guess in an HO-scale model train and scenery you might be able to use it to power the LED lamps?

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Interesting question, I don't know. As far as I know, the conductive materials available now still have very high resistances. Although I may have heard of one which showed some potential, but it was very expensive.

I think you should be able to use PLA or ABS as an insulator. Are there also filaments with even higher resistance?

Anyway, my advice is probably not very helpful, but I am curious about the answer :D

 

 

Interesting question, I don't know. As far as I know, the conductive materials available now still have very high resistances. Although I may have heard of one which showed some potential, but it was very expensive.

I think you should be able to use PLA or ABS as an insulator. Are there also filaments with even higher resistance?

Anyway, my advice is probably not very helpful, but I am curious about the answer :D

 

I found this: https://glutco.com/products/functionalize-f-electrica-2-85mm-highly-conductive-3d-printing-pla-filament-0-5-lbs-226-8-g

It has a reasonable resistivity of .75 ohm*cm. For small boards, this would be reasonable and shouldn't interfere too much with design. What I'm wondering is whether this filament is safe to print and can be used for simple electronic prototypes - I don't want to ruin a $100 nozzle!

I would also assume that the plastics would be resistive enough, but any "bleed" during print could cause shorts and ruin everything.

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I don't want to ruin a $100 nozzle!

Having printed carbon nanotube (not fiber) filled materials before, I'm scared that this material will destroy your nozzle in no-time. Carbon nanotubes are about as hard as diamonds, so they will wear away anything. I don't know how much CNTs are in the material, but for proper conductivity you need a significant amount. I managed to completely destroy the nozzle hole in ~ 1 m of filament with my own carbon nanotube filament... There is a Copper nanowire (because Copper nanotube made very bad abbreviations) filament available, which is more conductive but also much more expensive and harder to print.

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I don't want to ruin a $100 nozzle!

Having printed carbon nanotube (not fiber) filled materials before, I'm scared that this material will destroy your nozzle in no-time.  Carbon nanotubes are about as hard as diamonds, so they will wear away anything. I don't know how much CNTs are in the material, but for proper conductivity you need a significant amount.  I managed to completely destroy the nozzle hole in ~ 1 m of filament with my own carbon nanotube filament... There is a Copper nanowire (because Copper nanotube made very bad abbreviations) filament available, which is more conductive but also much more expensive and harder to print.

What do you mean by "harder to print"?  Are they more prone to clogs/jams/failure?  Will it destroy the nozzle?

How about this (https://www.multi3dllc.com/product/electrifi-3d-printing-filament/)

Would that be safer?

Edited by Guest

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I don't want to ruin a $100 nozzle!

Having printed carbon nanotube (not fiber) filled materials before, I'm scared that this material will destroy your nozzle in no-time.  Carbon nanotubes are about as hard as diamonds, so they will wear away anything. I don't know how much CNTs are in the material, but for proper conductivity you need a significant amount.  I managed to completely destroy the nozzle hole in ~ 1 m of filament with my own carbon nanotube filament... There is a Copper nanowire (because Copper nanotube made very bad abbreviations) filament available, which is more conductive but also much more expensive and harder to print.

What do you mean by "harder to print"?  Are they more prone to clogs/jams/failure?  Will it destroy the nozzle?

How about this (https://www.multi3dllc.com/product/electrifi-3d-printing-filament/)

Would that be safer?

It's a low temperature material. It prints between 130-160C, which is below the cold extrusion limit of the Ultimaker (this can be bypassed by g-code). The problem with those materials is the smaller temperature gap between melting temperature and room temperature. The material can go soft just above the nozzle or even in the feeder, jamming everything. Problems will be similar as with printing Polycaprolactone. But if you get your process tuned, I guess it should work.

I don't know how much a material like this would wear out the nozzle, I can hardly find any reviews/information about this material.

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It's a low temperature material. It prints between 130-160C, which is below the cold extrusion limit of the Ultimaker (this can be bypassed by g-code). The problem with those materials is the smaller temperature gap between melting temperature and room temperature. The material can go soft just above the nozzle or even in the feeder, jamming everything. Problems will be similar as with printing Polycaprolactone. But if you get your process tuned, I guess it should work.

I don't know how much a material like this would wear out the nozzle, I can hardly find any reviews/information about this material.

 

Do you know if it would be possible to print at the minimum UM3 temp? If that can't be done, how do you change the temp to 160C?

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I don't know if it would print at the minimum temperature (I think the UM3 has 170 as minimum, but I'm not completely sure).

The cold extrusion limit can be altered with gcode M302

(M302 S0 ; Allow extrusion at any temperature

M302 S170 ; Allow extrusion above 170)

With the UM3 I believe the cold extrusion limit is reset during each nozzle switch, you would have to add this code after each T0/T1 in the Gcode.

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I just stumbled across this thread, and wonder what the best conductive filament option is now in 2018.

 

I've been using Proto-pasta's Conductive PLA to embed capacitive touch sensors in a project of mine, and it does work well for that purpose. However, it also tends to leave a mess of black "splatter" over other parts of the model. Not sure what's causing this, but its not oozing. Perhaps graphite powder leaking out during rapid print head movement? Really no idea, but its annoying.

 

I'd love to find other options to try, but its hard to track down what the good ones even are. I've seen BlackMagic3D mentioned in some places, but their stuff is hard to find and I've only seen a few resellers even admit that they have a 3mm option.

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