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SandervG

Print Core CC | Red for Ruby

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Ultimaker has a long history of working closely with our users, and this has worked out really well for both sides. A particularly involved and knowledgeable user group can be found right here, in our community of 3D printing experts.

Someone who has been in the spotlight before because of his contributions is @Anders Olsson . If you think that name sounds familiar, you are probably thinking of the ‘Olsson Block’. The Olsson Block is a response to the hot end we developed for the Ultimaker 2 and was later officially integrated in the Ultimaker 2+. Anders didn't stop there and continued to develop a Ruby nozzle which is wear-resistant. Fast forward a few years later, and we have a Print Core CC Red. It was time I sat down with Anders again and talk about these ruby inserts.

 

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- Anders Olsson during the Olsson Block campaign. 

 

Q: Anders, who are you and how may people have heard about you?
A: I work as a Research Engineer at Uppsala University and I am the inventor of the Olsson Block for the Ultimaker 2+ series. Some people might also have heard of me printing boron carbide (link) composites for nuclear shielding. (Boron carbide is an extremely hard boron-carbon ceramic which falls just behind cubic boron nitride and diamond as one of the hardest known materials).  

 

Q: With the Olsson Block you could swap nozzles within a few seconds. Why did you continue your research and develop a more expensive wear-resistant nozzle, when replacing a worn down nozzle is so fast and easy?
A: For some materials that may have been sufficient, but Boron Carbide is so abrasive, a brass nozzle can easily be destroyed in less than one print. Secondly, we wanted to prevent brass-contamination in the printed material in case we wanted to recycle it. 
 

Q: How did a Ruby nozzle end up in a print core? 
A: There is a type of enriched boron carbide which has much better performance than natural Boron carbide but it’s also much more expensive. By using the expensive material only in areas where it is really needed one can make components which has much better performance without becoming extremely and unnecessarily expensive. 3D printing - dual extrusion gives us these options. We really liked the reliability of the print cores and the quickest way to bring that reliability and the wear-resistance we needed together, was to make a prototype of a print core with a modified block to fit an Olsson Ruby nozzle. 
 

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- Print core CC Red shown at TCT show. 

 

Q: Can you explain why you chose Ruby in the first place from all available options?
A: Ruby (Alumina/Corundum) is a great material. It is chemically stable, not toxic or dangerous if you somehow wear it down (which for example, Cemented Tungsten Carbide would be in our case). What you also have to look for is availability and consistency. Ruby was the hardest material that could reliably be sourced with the dimensions I wanted. A scale to quantify hardness is the ‘Knoop’ scale. To put Ruby in perspective of other materials with a Knoop value, Copper is 163, Ruby is 2100 and Diamond is 7000. There are not that many materials between Ruby and Diamond. Diamond was too expensive and not feasible as a solution. 

 

Q: While using a Print Core CC Red, have you experienced any downsides with printing non-abrasive materials? 
A: I personally haven’t seen any disadvantages using the Print Core CC Red for any materials. I’ve also tried other abrasive materials besides Boron Carbide which worked fine. 

 

Q: Why is the Print Core CC Red 0.6mm?
A: Abrasive materials often have fibers in them for reinforcement. A 0.6mm diameter gives a good balance between printing speed and detail, while being large enough so it won’t clog due to the fibers some materials contain.

 

Q: Can you quantify how long a Print Core CC Red should last while processing abrasive materials?
A: So far we have not been able to detect any wear with any commercially available materials. We recently cut open a nozzle that had printed about 25kg of carbon fiber and it showed no measurable wear inside or on the Ruby. 
To put things in perspective; 
Brass nozzles will typically last: 0,3kg, Stainless nozzles: 1kg, Hardened steel: 3kg of common carbon filled materials before print quality will suffer badly.


Nozzles.thumb.jpg.3ceee36a9d576309f39c7a0442152145.jpg
- On these photo’s you can see that abrasive material not only wears out the nozzle diameter, but also shaves the brass from the outside shoulders.

 

There is an important side note though, before you might consider Ruby as indestructible: although it’s wear-resistant Ruby can also be fragile. A user should avoid hitting it with hard objects and avoid using a flame cleaning the nozzle, because brass easily deforms when overheated and quick temperature changes stresses the ruby. 
 

Q: For some readers, abrasive materials may be a new subject matter. Can you explain what it is that makes a material abrasive when you are not sure which print core to use?
A: Materials which are hard in a solid piece (like metals, ceramics and carbon fibers) will generally also wear down the nozzle. In general one should assume that any filament with a filler will cause more wear on the nozzle, except if the filler is obviously much softer than brass (like wood). 
Example: Glow in the dark filament has a ceramic powder to make it glow. Which makes it abrasive. 

 

Q: What are you using the Print core CC Red for yourself at the moment?
A: Apart from printing with Boron carbide, we’re now exploring other fillers which stops different types of radiation, which are magnetic, which are electrically conductive or which can be fired into a ceramic object after being printed. Part of the goal is to combine several properties in the same object in three dimensions, which can only really be done with a dual material printer like Ultimaker 3 or Ultimaker S5. None of these materials can reliably be printed without a Print core CC Red. 

--

 

And that concludes my interview with Anders Olsson. I hope this has been an interesting read and you have discovered something new about the Print core CC Red. Since Ultimaker products were never compatible with highly abrasive materials, how to work with them may be a new subject for some of you. If you have any further questions, please feel free to post them below! 

 

More questions about abrasive materials?

We'll host an AMA (Ask Me Anything) soon with 2 experts of Owens Corning (the manufacturer of XSTRAND) on 31st of October. Mark it in your agenda ?

 

And finally, in just a few weeks the print cores will be available at your local reseller. If you want to be kept up to date and receive an email when it becomes available, please follow the link below and be the first to get one! 

 

Keep me updated about the Print Core CC Red
 

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That was quite interesting and informative, both in an historical perspective (now I know why 'Olsson block') and a more practical perspective (wear-resistant printhead that can print radiation shielding material ? ).

 

What will be the price range of the new CC Ruby printhead?

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22 minutes ago, SandervG said:

What would you want to use the print core CC for?

 

Mostly everything that would wear down a standard nozzle. I bought a handful of abrasive materials some time ago, then bought a 3DSolex Everlast after I wore down one of my AA cores.

 

I'm currently testing laywood, also got some glow, some reflective material and bronzefill.

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I make LOTS of end use parts with Carbon Fiber PLA. I had to buy the Hardcore upgrades from 3D Solex. But even then you have to mess about in order to print with them. Lying to the machine and what not. This would be an amazing addition for me!

I am very interested in these. The only question I have so far is if they will come in the range of nozzle sizes? .25 to .8 or so maybe?

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5 hours ago, 9thoracle said:

I make LOTS of end use parts with Carbon Fiber PLA. I had to buy the Hardcore upgrades from 3D Solex. But even then you have to mess about in order to print with them. Lying to the machine and what not. This would be an amazing addition for me!

I am very interested in these. The only question I have so far is if they will come in the range of nozzle sizes? .25 to .8 or so maybe?

 

It will be launched with a 0.6mm nozzle, because of the fibers that are in most abrasive materials you don't want to go smaller. It will significantly increase the chances of clogging. 

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I asked some weeks ago when I first heard of it. But my distributor could not answer: is this supposed to fit a U3, or is it only S5?
I print carbon fiber with a 0.8 that I expect will wear out (and to be regularly replaced).

 

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We only recommend to use it on an Ultimaker S5. Technically it fits on an Ultimaker 3, but the feeder is not designed to withstand abrasive materials, so eventhough your print core will survive, your feeder won't. Hope this helps!

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2 minutes ago, SandervG said:

We only recommend to use it on an Ultimaker S5. Technically it fits on an Ultimaker 3, but the feeder is not designed to withstand abrasive materials, so eventhough your print core will survive, your feeder won't. Hope this helps!

 

... Time to invest in spare parts then...

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Good thing is that the Swedish have a solution for (almost) anything. ?

UM3 users can e.g. get a @bondtech DDG Feeder set for the UM3 which is a drop-in replacement with a hardened and coated steel gear that grabs the filament from both sides and is designed for regular usage of abrasive materials.

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On 11/1/2018 at 2:49 AM, Dim3nsioneer said:

Good thing is that the Swedish have a solution for (almost) anything. ?

UM3 users can e.g. get a @bondtech DDG Feeder set for the UM3 which is a drop-in replacement with a hardened and coated steel gear that grabs the filament from both sides and is designed for regular usage of abrasive materials.

is there a feeder replacement like this for the s5 or would it need one?

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On 11/1/2018 at 8:49 AM, Dim3nsioneer said:

Good thing is that the Swedish have a solution for (almost) anything. ?

UM3 users can e.g. get a @bondtech DDG Feeder set for the UM3 which is a drop-in replacement with a hardened and coated steel gear that grabs the filament from both sides and is designed for regular usage of abrasive materials.

 

Those extruders: https://www.bondtech.se/en/product/ddg-extruder/   ?

They work for UM3 and UM3E, unless I am mistaken?

Edited by Brulti

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32 minutes ago, EVRC said:

You do have to change some settings via ssh but that’s not hard either.

And do it again after a firmware update, but thats not so often. Just remember to do it after an upgrade.

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I see the announcement that the CC Red is now shipping.  This was my first chance to see the price.

 

With great respect for all of the work your team has put into this product, I have to say I can't afford a $385 (CDN) print core.  That's more than double the price of the other AA cores. 

 

I may feel differently after some longer term experience with the hardcore/everlast combinations, we'll see,

 

John

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I'm always amazed by the pricing disparity between countries for the exact same product, not counting taxes.

 

385 CAN is 258,6€, which is already a steep price, and one I cannot really justify at the moment. But the retail price in Europe is 295€, which translates as 439,2 CAN. This is without taxes, as we Europeans have to add 20% on top for VAT.

 

So, don't complain too much @JohnInOttawa, you can get it for significantly cheaper than us poor souls in the EU! ??

 

Joke aside, the price itself will make this CC Red core a niche product.

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