All we need to know about 3D Printing flexible filament
The development of exotic flexible filaments has helped in shaping up new advancements in the 3D printing technology. The filaments have helped in printing a myriad of 3D designs and utilities. Flexible filaments enable rubber like creations and different kinds of variations. However, they require a certain kind of setup for successful implementation. It is advised that in order to reduce the pressure required to push the flexible filament, the extruder must run a little hot.
Printing should be done slowly as flexible prints easily bend out of the way when a rapidly moving extruder passes through them. In order to avoid filament jamming in the extruder, space between the cold end and the nozzle should be reduced by using a direct- drive extruder. Retraction settings must also be adjusted in accordance with theminimum amount of retraction necessary to reduce the extra stringiness in the print.
TYPES OF FLEXIBLE FILAMENTS
FlexSolid is a high strength flexible filament that is used for items that require high durability such as sporting equipment. FlexSolid is easy to print and is best for simple prints.
NinjaFlex is another flexible filament which is a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) and is a very strong material to print with. It requires low heat to stick to the print bed and has a low friction exterior.
FlexiFil is a flexible filament made of renewable carbon content and is resistant to high temperatures since it is very strong. However, the major challenge associated with it is that it can get clogged in the extruder.
Fila Flex is a soft flexible filament which is highlyadhesive making layers stick together. It is good for prints that need a lot of stretchand usually prints on a cold bed. However, it is one of the most difficult filaments toprint with as it has a tendency to clog the nozzle.
Makerbot has a polyester based filament which has an iridescent glossy finish and the print can be adjusted by running it under hot water to re-shape it. It has a lower melting point but is sometimes difficult to feed without tangling. Flexible resin is another filament which works with only SLA 3D printers and is good for printing tactile designs. Although flexible filament 3D printing can help you in printing some innovative designs, it has a few challenges associated with it. Flexible filament is softer than regular filament and therefore it can be difficult to feed through the extruder and can cause jams. Due to the nature of flexible filament, it sometimes causes the material to buckle when pushed through the hot end. Flexible filament finds it difficult to stick to the build plate and can sometimes cause messy or stringy prints.
However, if proper precautions are taken flexible filaments can definitely add more value to the designs and can serve as a powerful resource for the 3D printing technology users.
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