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blackomega

ColorFabb 3mm PLA/PHA Filament and the UM2

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I was wondering if anyone has any experience/advise on whether or not 3mm filament from ColorFabb can safely used in the UM2?

Is there more or a risk of the feeder grinding or some other jam/blockage occurring?

Also has anyone tried this PLA/PHA filament type in general. It is apparently PLA but with an additive to it that gives it more ABS like properties.

 

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It works without problems. The difference is subtle vs regular PLA. It is a bit more bendy and if you have one piece printed with regular and one printed with ColorFabb filament in your hand you can feel a slight difference. It's really hard to describe, it's kind of like the difference between a cheap plastic and a plastic that feels more expensive if that makes any sense. But again, it's very subtle as far as feel goes.

 

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3mm PLA/PHA from Colorfabb works excellent in the UM2, we print with it daily (we're Swedish Colorfabb resellers).

Colorfabb XT works really great as well, however as I recently wrote in another post - I think that to have really low maintenance and get consistent printing, you should not mix different types of plastic in the same hotend as it is hard to clean out the other type of plastic.

I think it's fine to mix pure PLA with PLA/PHA (same base plastic). But do not use ABS, or Colorfabb XT in the same hotend unless you are prepared to do more maintenance/cleaning. Use another extruder or another printer for other materials if possible.

 

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It works without problems. The difference is subtle vs regular PLA. It is a bit more bendy and if you have one piece printed with regular and one printed with ColorFabb filament in your hand you can feel a slight difference. It's really hard to describe, it's kind of like the difference between a cheap plastic and a plastic that feels more expensive if that makes any sense. But again, it's very subtle as far as feel goes.

 

I think I do understand what you are getting at. The better plastic feels nicer to the touch but in ways you can't quite put your finger on.

 

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...

I think it's fine to mix pure PLA with PLA/PHA (same base plastic). But do not use ABS, or Colorfabb XT in the same hotend unless you are prepared to do more maintenance/cleaning. Use another extruder or another printer for other materials if possible.

 

Could you please explain what you mean by 'more maintenance/cleaning'? I'm going to print XT soon with a printer/hotend that has been used for PLA and PLA/PHA so far... I just would have swapped the filament as changing from one color to the other.... something wrong with that?

 

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Could you please explain what you mean by 'more maintenance/cleaning'? I'm going to print XT soon with a printer/hotend that has been used for PLA and PLA/PHA so far... I just would have swapped the filament as changing from one color to the other.... something wrong with that?

 

Will you be able to print fine with XT?

Sure, just you a little hotter temperature (230-240 degrees is usually fine, of course higher with higher print speed). We use 75C when we use the heated bed in UM2.

Will you be able to just swap filament back to PLA or PLA/PHA and start printing?

Yes, but you would want to make sure that as much as possible of the XT (it's a type of PET plastic) has been removed from the hotend/nozzle.

By just using the "XT" temperature when swapping, you will be able to get most of it out and then start printing with PLA or PLA/PHA again. However, see below...

Will you be able to make beautiful prints with PLA or PLA/PHA after having used XT (or ABS for that matter)?

I think so, however see below...

Will the hotend work as good as before running the XT/ABS in the same hotend?

I highly doubt this. I think it's pretty hard to get all the residue out from the "other/hotter" plastic type.

You might experience a slower "flow" and the occasional underextrusion that might come at an odd layer. Or a blockage.

I think that most of the previous plastic type could be removed by some special purging routine, like disassembling the hotend and cleaning it out like described in other threads. But that is very time consuming.

I think that if you stick to the same plastic base type you will have far better consistency in prints.

(This is from our own experience, we just switch to a completely new nozzle after experiencing the above and now the flow is a lot easier than before)

If we compare to plastic injection industry they have routines to clean out the barrel and screw when switching plastics, which also include different detergents and such.

It would be very interesting so know how the Stratasys and other "high end" machines handle this. Does anyone know?

I would expect they either limit the type of plastics used in an extruder or that they do have a switching/cleaning routine.

 

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I'm always printing with PLA from Faberdashery, PLA/PHA and XT from ColorFabb on my UM1, unfortunately no experience with the UM2 yet :-| .

Like gadgetfreak already said, it's a little bit tricky to switch from XT to PLA.

When I switch from XT to normal PLA or PLA/PHA, I always use the same procedure:

Set the hot-end to 240, extrude a little bit of XT by hand or UM controller, change the XT with the other filament, extrude the filament only by hand (carefully !) until a tiny bit of XT is coming out of the hot-end.

At that moment you can notice that the XT is already coming out more slowly then before the filament was changed.

Then I print a 2 wall thick 80mm diameter circle with the speed of 50 and a hot-end temp of 240.

(That circle a gcode file I always use to change filament, instead of extruding buy hand or UM controller until the other filament comes out of the hot-end, I'ts easier, quicker and more safe.)

When I see (while printing) the other filament is coming out of the hot-end, I reduce the hot-end temp to 230.

After a few layers (7 to 10) I reduce the temp again, now to 220.

I keep that running for a minute of 3 to 4.

Since XT came out I print one spool a month with that great stuff, and about 2 spools of PLA - PLA/PHA.

I change from XT to PLA 2-3 times a week, always followed the above procedure and never had any clogs.

I'm not saying this is "the way" of changing from XT to regular PLA, I'ts only my personal experience I'd like to share.

 

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XT is one more reason to love dual extrusion. Keep both materials loaded all the time and just switch extruders when you want to change materials.

I've used the ColorFabb PLA blend and I liked it better than anything else I've used. It's the only PLA filament I plan to buy from now on. Then again, I haven't used FabberDashery, which I understand is also really good. I just prefer spools. I used Ultimachine for a while, but a few of their rolls have had wide variations in both the shape (oval) and the size. Also, I can get ColorFabb from printedsolid.com in the U.S.

 

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Honestly, I don’t have any experience yet with PLA filament printing. The last time I purchased PLA filaments was from 3D2PRINT. If I'm not mistaken, the printing temperature guideline for printing with the one ordered (Grey 1.75mm) is approximately 185°C to 210°C. As each desktop 3D printer has its own unique characteristics, you might need to tweak around with your temperature settings to get optimal results.

 

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