This is 'Iolani School

This is 'Iolani School

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

3D Printing with NinjaFlex Filament

Not all 3D printing filament is created the same. We all know about PLA and ABS...both create rigid plastic pieces. But in October of 2013, a company called Fenner Drives launched NinjaFlex. It's very flexible and works on 3D printers with direct-drive extruders.  


To use NinjaFlex you have to play around with the settings a bit but, so after a little online research and a few changes in various settings, I think we are almost where we need to be. It took a few hours of adjusting and printing, the results were pretty good.

The first thing we had to do was print a "filament guide" piece for our Printrbot Simple Metal. Without it, the softer filament would bunch up before it even got to the extruder.




The first problem was that the design must be for an older version or our printer because the bottom "bridge" piece would not go over the "hump" where the filament enters the extruder.



So I had to brake it off and see if that would work. It fit and then it was time to adjust the tension. Getting the right about of pressure took a little time. Too loose and the filament wouldn't be pushed through the extruder, too tight and it would start to bunch up around the wheels.



Finally the pressure was correct and we started to print. I started out with the suggested settings from the NinjaFlex website (http://www.ninjaflex3d.com/). It worked OK but as I did more research, I realized that different people used different settings...sometimes for the same machines.



Five different settings and 5 different caps. The best one (the one on the far right) was the most consistent print with the least amount of "whiskers" (it had a travel speed of 100mm). I realized that lower the "travel" time the more "whiskers" you got. I have a few more test to run, but it seems like it's going to be somewhere between 100mm and 130mm. At the end of this post, I'll have all the settings I am using.


Printing the caps was fairly simple, so I tried printing a castle next. The next 3 pictures are of the castle with the slow travel speed of 45mm. As you can see, lots of "whiskers".




The next printing was with a travel speed of 130mm. I still got whiskers but not as many.



The castle with the slow travel time is on the left and the faster travel time is on the right. You can even see the door on the right one...the left castle's is filled in.


The next step is to reduce the speed back to 100, print the castle again and see if that improves things. Depending on the outcome of that print, I might try 115mm...split the difference and see what that does.

I figured I would try a different print so I did this one...as you can see, it could use a little support material at the bottom (on both sides) but it didn't turn out too bad.



Here are screen shots of the settings I am using. If you fine tune them, please let me know...I'd love to hear what you did.
















7 comments:

  1. I have the same printer and every time I try to switch from PLA or ABS to Ninjaflex, it ends up getting jammed up and cloggs the tip.

    So I end up having to remove the nozzle and clean it out. Is there some trick for easily switching to Ninjaflex without issue?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Every time I switch any filament, I clean out the extruder with an electric guitar string. I am on Spring Break now but when I get back next week, I find the exact size of the string and get back to you. I think it's .022 gauge

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    2. That's a fantastic idea... i never even though of that. Right now I've got the stock .4mm nozzle, i've been debating the .3 but am not sure if it makes better prints or not, I haven't seen anything saying so one way or the other.

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    3. Hadn't thought about changing the nozzle but it can't hurt to try. The guitar string is a great option...you can put it in from the top (like you do the filament) but it also works great going in through the nozzle. Have a wire cutter (or a pliers with a cutting edge) handy...after it goes through and has the "clog" on it, I cut it off before pulling the wire back through. More next week...

      Delete
    4. Hadn't thought about changing the nozzle but it can't hurt to try. The guitar string is a great option...you can put it in from the top (like you do the filament) but it also works great going in through the nozzle. Have a wire cutter (or a pliers with a cutting edge) handy...after it goes through and has the "clog" on it, I cut it off before pulling the wire back through. More next week...

      Delete
  2. We are having the same problems. Would love to have anyone having these issues to post their results at www.fergusontested.com because we are trying to standardize these problems and their results in one spot so that people can troubleshoot these things in one spot. Please help, we have a client waiting on this!

    ReplyDelete