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SteveCox3D

Printing with colorFabb PA-CF Low Warp

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I've been printing with colorFabb's new PA-CF Low Warp material recently to understand it's potential for strong, end-use parts, and to understand the settings required to get the best result.  These two prints are produced using it, the lever is a direct copy of one of the "showcase" prints used by MarkForged to show what their printers are capable of (I believe it's a Ducati brake lever) which I produced so that I could compare a UM-produced "composite" print vs the MarkForged version.

 

The connecting pipe is my own design with a few elements of Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) added in to eliminate any overhangs, and hence need for support.

 

Both parts were printed at 0.15mm layer height, using a 0.4mm Olsson Ruby nozzle on a UM2+ at 260 degC, which is at the limit of the hot end on this machine but is at the bottom end of the recommended print temperature window of 260-280deg C.  For that reason I ran at 75% of my normal print speed to keep the temperature maintained, together with a 35% fan speed and 105% material flow setting.  My first attempts with this material had issues with interlayer adhesion, these settings appear to have fixed that.

 

The material is supposed to print on a cold bed, but I have found that using a 40deg C bed temperature works well (after spending working for 4 years 3D printing with a heated bed suddenly printing with it turned it off seems hard to come to terms with!).  The material lives up to it's name because even over a 6 hour print there is no warping evident, and the material prints without any hissing, popping or spitting that you often get with PA/Nylon materials - the material has only been stored in a sealed bag with dessicant since I first opened it around five weeks ago - no drybox has been used.

 

I'm really pleased with the results, both parts are very, very strong and I chose to use multiple shells (20 on the lever and 10 on the pipe) rather than use an infill, which seems to have been successful.  The appearance of the pipe is especially good, the black matt surface really does disguise the layer lines, and gives the part a more "moulded" rather than 3D printed look to it.

 

So how did the lever compare to the MarkForged?  The MF part was exceptionally stiff and did have an advantage over this part in that respect, but then how often do you really need something with that kind of ultimate stiffness?  I have to say that the MarkForged printers are very well made, easy to use and produce exceptional parts, but they do have a narrow area of focus and specialism.  These latest prints have bought it home to me how versatile a UM printer can be - it can be producing artistic prints one day, and the next exceptionally strong, engineering-grade, end-use parts.

 

Big respect to Ultimaker printers for their ability to cope with so many different materials and print reliably using them, and to companies like colorFabb for producing some exceptional filaments to keep on extending their capabilities even further!   

Lever PACF.jpg

Pipe1.jpg

Pipe2.jpg

Pipe4.jpg

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