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mark-hale

Switching material mid print

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Well I figured it would happen at some point, just glad I was around when it did.

Over the weekend I was running a rather long print 15 hours with 100% fill so a fair bit of material.

My estimate was slightly under so in the last 30 minutes I realised I would run out of PLA.

I managed to feed in a new section just as the other one was running out.

The reason I am posting this was more from a Lessons learnt on my point but hopefully it will help others.

trying to get the other section of PLA in without interrupting the extrusion of the original was not as easy as I thought, I realised after that I should have slowed down the print to allow me more time as there was a point where the material stopped flowing albeit very brief. Due to the new material not catching in time.

I should have also been a little more careful with cutting the end of the new material to ensure that it met the old material flush and therefore made a better contact.

So whilst I do have a part that has a very slight gap however the print did continue and apart from a small line gap and then the obvious change in material type all worked well.

On the whole I am quite happy with the results, the print is nothing special, just a repair to a small sack trolley.

The experience has got me thinking - I am using an UM2 and so at present whilst I do not have dual extrusion, I might be able to use this method to at least get some alternate coloured prints. I might try this at some point with the various short ends I now have in the workshop. Saves it going to waste. :)

 

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There are a few methods for connecting material available (e.g.on Thingiverse) but as a KISS solution I used a torch/lighter for melt/conduct and a knife for making the connection point as 3mm and round as possible.

Worked for me, but I only I connected some short samples with this method...

 

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Somewhat relevant to the issue at hand... I've no idea if this stuff is any good, but these people keep emailing me trying to get me to be a reseller...

http://www.stickfilament.com

Apparently it's half-meter lengths of filament that snap together to make whatever length you need for a print. Supposedly because the filament is moulded as discrete pieces rather than extruded continuously, it's easier to manufacture material with different properties, and of course combining multiple materials/colors in one print becomes easier (albeit only on predefined boundaries).

 

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certainly looks interesting, I could be tempted to give it a go. Although I guess it is only for small runs or where you are going to be close at hand as think that would be an issue trying to put on a spool

have just put in a pre order for a pack so will let you know. They are up to 76 orders, need 100 so could be while?

 

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