Plastic wishlist

Glow in the dark plastic.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of fluorescing red ABS.1  But, how sweet would glow in the dark plastic be?

It’s like making all of your printed plastic objects twice as useful, since they can be seen at night as well as day.

  1. Is it just me or was this a stealth launch?  I didn’t hear about it anywhere and just happened upon this new ABS plastic while checking on the availability of the new Heated Build Platform. []

What’s so special about printed business cards?

If you’re thinking of the normal run-of-the-mill business cards and you’re thinking too flatland.

This is a 3D printed business card printed using two extruder heads, clear PLA, black ABS, and some special GCode to essentially laminate black text within layers of clear PLA.

I’m not even sure what I would build with this kind of tech.  Although, I think it would be super awesome to build models using clear PLA to create a variation on those “bubbles in crystal created by laser” thingies you see in gift shops everywhere.  Or, a white or black plastic dinosaur skeleton printed in a block of PLA “ice.”

How about a woolly mammoth?  Or caveman or alien or an entire 3D scene of spaceships attacking the deathstar suspended in clear PLA?

PTFE versus PEEK thermal insulating barrier

How do you choose whether to use a PEEK or PTFE barrier?  Well, I asked the benefits of using PEEK over PTFE thermal insulating barriers in an extruder assembly and Nate True gave a fantastic summary:

PEEK is more rigid and won’t bow out and leak everywhere with ABS. It would be better for PLA except that PLA likes to stick to everything. So PTFE (being not sticky) is preferable for PLA. ABS is very slippery by comparison so PEEK is more than adequate for it.


I’m still rockin’ my black ABS coil, so I’ll probably have to add a PEEK barrier to my MakerBot wish list.1

  1. The bit about BBQ is a joke about the over-use of acronyms. []

What would you print with colored ABS?

I was trying to think about what I would print with new ABS colors from MakerBot.  Here’s my list:

  • Green: Little green army men, dinosaurs, a green lantern ring?
  • Yellow: Yellow safety whistles, a yellow ring to defeat the green lantern ring
  • Red: Red clown noses, red dice, replacement monopoly houses
  • Blue: Naked smurfs

Yeah, I suppose that last one was unnecessary…

A rainbow of colors!

Printing in red, green, yellow, and blue ABS?  Hells yeah.

Now, I haven’t even made a dent in my black ABS supply, so I can’t really justify dropping $320 + shipping on more plastic.  However, I’m certainly hoping someone asks me to print something up in color so I have an excuse to buy some…

Adventures with PLA temperatures

Kinda rhymes, no?

Given Rick Pollack’s PLA printing success and temperatures at barrel entry rather than nozzle, I should probably start delineating between temperatures at the barrel and nozzle.  If barrel entry temperature is truly a critical factor, then he’s totally right about how going by nozzle temperature is like driving a bus with just the rear view mirrors.

However, this gives me pause.  Everything I’ve read about ABS suggests it may be best to melt it right at the nozzle as quickly as possible.  I’ve found that ABS cools very rapidly too.  PLA on the other hand takes a while to cool (but, then again, I was running my extruder too hot) – with the parts being quite flexible for some time after printing.  If barrel entry temperature is that important, then it seems that PLA must need a longer time to melt.  If this is the case, should the nichrome be wrapped higher on the barrel?  If so, then Rick’s heater cores (which already seem very convenient) are downright brilliant – since you can probably easily adjust where the heat is being applied.

From Nophead’s comment I gather that I was, indeed, running my extruder too hot.  I found that at my ABS temperatures (220+) made the PLA just drip right out of the heater – and once that had basically stop it would then intermittently release little amber droplets of plastic.  I must have been really cooking it.

With the limited printing I managed with PLA I found that it printed well with my non-temperature ABS Skeinforge settings.  So, before I go back to PLA I think I’ll finish tuning my ‘bot using Nick Ames’ Skeinforge tutorial.

Tea cups

I designed and printed some tiny tea cups to go with my tiny teapot.  Unfortunately the two models I tried to print (one in PLA and the other in ABS) turned out very very badly due to the clogged extruder barrel.  However, I rather like the design and look forward to printing it properly.