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PCL printing of self-made filament

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Posted · PCL printing of self-made filament

Hello everybody!

I'm trying to print something (a simple cube) out of PCL (Polycaprolactone, Mw=80k) and I'm using an Ultimaker S5 to do so. 

Unfortunately, the print will not stick to the Glass bed but instead accumulates around the nozzle. Do you have any tips for me on how to print PCL?

Some specs:

Nozzle: AA0.4 130°C printing temperature

Bed: Glass, 40°C with glue at the spot where the print should be

Speed: 20 mm/s

Fan Speed: 100%


One further problem might be that I have to make the PCL filament myself, so the thickness of the filament is only approximately 2.85 and maybe not exactly 2.85mm. 

What I've already tried was to do manual leveling of the bed, because I thought that maybe there was a problem with the nozzle being too far away from the bed. Still no better result.

Any help is greatly appreciated!



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    Posted · PCL printing of self-made filament

    Hey @Till187,


    Welcome to the Ultimaker Community 🎉


    I don't have a lot of experience with PCL, so I had to ask our Material Experts.

    They mentioned to watch the following
    - The buildplate temperature can be 0
    - In doubt you can probably print even colder.
    - Make sure to clean your buildplate before applying the glue
    - Consider chanign your glue.

    They also mentioned that it's a pretty tricky material to print with. 

    You can also consider using the following plug-in to print a temperature tower to find the correc temperature you need. 

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    Posted · PCL printing of self-made filament

    Hey @MariMakes,

    thanks for your tips, I tried them but could not yield better results unfortunately. 


    Something else I now noticed, which might be a source of error, is that the extruder is forming a loop of material instead of a straight line. This is visible when I'm actually trying to print my design but it's better even better visible in the step of material loading when the material is extruding out of the nozzle to make sure to push out the formerly used material. 

    This was the case for my self-made PCL (see-thru) but also for commercially-bought ABS (green), which I also tried. 

    Do you have an idea where this problem comes from and possibly also on how to solve it? 





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    Posted · PCL printing of self-made filament

    Hey @Till187,


    Often there some material collected near the nozzle but it should start dropping down and become a straight line. 

    But if your material keeps curling, than often there is some residu left in your nozzle. 
    You can perform the print core cleaning procedure from your firmware to remove any residu from inside your nozzle. 

    It's a tricky material to 3D print with. 
    I hope some more community members jump in to help out. 

    Good luck! 💪

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