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Da Clumsy Noob begins to print with Metal Fills

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A while back, I posted a question about metal fills and asked for advice. Either nobody had any experience to share with us or did not care to.


I am here to start this off with my initial experiences. So far, I have only used the ColorFabb Copperfill. And, man is this stuff weird.

I really feel like I am starting all over again. Clogged nozzles, difficult hot and cold pulls to undo the clog.

Nozzle used right now is a 0.4 3D Solex with a Ruby nozzle.....maybe sapphire...... I lose track, but it is the super hard one provided by gr5.

I am learning about heat creep and other things I have not had to worry about. And, so far, I have not pulled one successful print. Playing with temps, speeds and other things. I'll probably burn through an entire roll just to get something decent started.


Will keep this updated as I get things done. But one of the reasons I am using this now is that I want to create a counter weight as this stuff has a nice heft to it. And, some things just feel better when they are not light and fluffy feeling......

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OK...been printing cubes and cubes and cubes and.......

I am on my last test before I actually print an object; provided it works this time. So, here is what I have so far.

Basically followed this guide for the UM2:

Settling on 200°C for temp

Slowed print speed down to 35mm/s

Pushed flow to 120%.

Retractions have followed the guidelines directly and seem to be ok at this time. But, cubes do not have retractions, so we will see.

I am getting a nice feel from what I have gotten so far. Nice weight, actually not as brittle as I thought it would be. Still looks like red clay LOL

As soon as I print my counterweight, I will try a Batman Bust I found online.

My only deficit at this time is the solidity of the walls. They are underextruding at 50 mm/s so that is why I slowed it down.

The good thing is that I am not cooking this filament and causing to clog anymore. So, lower temps and slower print speed.

I found that 195°C was a tad too low, but will experiment a bit more to try and get a better idea of that. But first, to scale up the prints into something beyond a basic cube.

Of course, the counterweights are just a slight bit fancier than the cube, but it will test the interactions between PVA and this stuff as well as retractions and whether I can get a clean print.

These days I do not use the prime tower or, rarely, the ooze shield.

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And, it keeps kicking my heiny all over the printing landscape. It is like I can get real close, but not get it just right.

The copperfill seems to want to clog very easily and now, when I do cold pulls, I am getting a forked end instead of a pointed/bullet shape. That is odd.

The material seems to be very hygroscopic too. It seems to pop and crackle a lot like PVA as well as want to grind a lot on the feeder area.

So, I keep playing with simple shapes and objects. Right now, I am just one level above a cube and it starts out good, but does not last. This object also uses PLA for supports.

Although it does seem to work well with the PVA, it is during the use of the PVA that the copperfill seems to want to clog.

I shall endeavor to persevere.......

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I am experimenting with several metal fills. Copperfill is just the first. Until you polish them, and bring out the metal particles' shine, it does not look like metal.

It also has a nice weight to it that is missing in basic plastics.

And, I like to be as well rounded as possible.

But, I had to put the experiment on hold at the moment as I do have to get other prints out in different materials. So, while I get other things out, I ponder how to make my experience better.

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I have no experience with metalfills, so this is all guessing.

Copper being one of the best conductors, I could imagine that the heat travels up into the filament really fast, and it gets through the teflon piece designed to act as a heat barrier. So it might weaken the filament before it enters the nozzle, and thus making it expand due to the pressure of the feeder? Like when you try to push a rubber band in a keyhole?

Try heating a piece of filament with a soldering iron, or with one end in hot water, to feel how the heat travels? Or remove the bowden tube at the head, and feed a piece of filament manually, at different temps and pressures? Maybe you can get a feel of what happens?

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The heat expansion as you mentioned is really a problem. That is why I have been printing colder. Colorfabb evens mentioning it.

It is a matter of finding the balance. And, I have to take the everlast nozzle off the core and inspect it. I think something got seriously jammed in it. When I do cold pulls, I get a bifurcated point instead of a rounded bullet point now. That will really mess things up methinks....

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