If you get used to work with ABS and PLA materials and want to take a step ahead, this is your post! There are plenty of materials in 3D printing world, some are great for decorative projects and others work perfectly in case of industrial applications. Obviously, the right material can take your next project from ordinary to remarkable.

For sure each special filament needs its own settings and in this post you will find all the requirements, tips and tricks to get the best performance.

special-filament

 

Here are our favorite special filaments:

GLACE: Glace filament produced by SmartMaterials is a material with glace effect with high transparency. In order to make fully transparent pieces, you should print the object with only one layer, this way the alcohol can penetrate homogeneously in the material.

Left side after alcohol bath

 

Tips & Tricks:

  • If you want to get good mechanical resistance we recommend to use noozles of 0,8mm or bigger.
  • Apply treatment with alcohol (ethyl or isopropyl) with a concentration higher than 70°. The higher the alcohol level, the faster the process, although it is also more difficult to control.
  • You can directly apply the object into alcohol or use the evaporation method by introducing a paper impregnated with alcohol around the piece in a container.
  • Both application may cause soften the piece due to the alcohol absorbation. However,  when the alcohol has evaporated completely the piece will return to its normal state.

WOOD: Wood-based filaments are typically a composite that combines a PLA base material with wood dust, cork, and other powdered wood derivatives. Typically, the filament consists of around 30% wood particles, but the exact number may vary depending on the brand. The presence of these particles gives the 3D printed parts the aesthetics of real wood. This material provides a great esthetical look thats why it is great for decorative projects.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Due to the high amount of wood particles it is recommended to use nozzles with diameter 0.6 or higher.
  • The recommanded printing layer is higher than 0.2 mm.
  • It is important to avoid the filament to heat with the extruder in standby as this can produce blocks.
  • Many wood-based filaments can be easily post-processed using standard wood sand paper. This can further smooth and refine the surface finish of your prints.

STEELFILL: Steelfill is similar to Wood filament, which contains steel derivatives instead of Wood. For your first test prints with SteelFill we recommend using layer heights of 0.2mm up to 0.27mm when using 0.4mm nozzles. Generally this will create a good amount of flow with most standard speed settings which will prevent heat from the hotend migrating through the filament into the cold end of the extruder. As with these other filaments, the key is post-processing.

Tips & Tricks:

  • This material performs well on both heated and non-heated build platforms. For those users printing on a cold build platform we advise applying masking tape to the build area.
  • Take your time leveling the bed and adjusting the the gap between 3d printer nozzle and build plate. A perfect first layer will is very important, especially for 3d prints with a large bottom layer.
  • This material has very minimal warping tendencies, however if it’s very important that your part is perfectly flat than we suggest to turn down the fan that is cooling your part.

FLEXIBLE: SmartMaterials Flex Filament is one of the best flexible filament in the market. This material is perfect to print pieces that require flexibility and elasticity.

Tips & Tricks:

  • FLEX do not work as well as PLA or ABS with high printing speeds, that’s why it is recommended slowing down the printing speed. The material works well at a value of 35 mm / s. It is advisable to print your complete piece with the same speed. In this way the irregularity in the printed piece can be avoided.
  • The optimum printing temperature recommended by the manufacturers is 215ºC. Using higher values can cause a jam or defects in the material.
  • Once you have controlled the temperature and speed set a layer height of 0.2 mm
  • If possible, deactivate retractions in order to avoid obstructions in the extruder.

NYLSTRONG: Filament NYLSTRONG is reinforced Nylon (PA6) which has great mechanical, thermal and abrasion resistance. It is really hard so it is perfect for industrial applications. It is also Ideal for pieces that work at really high temperatures.

 

Tips & Tricks:

  • At the end of the printing of the piece, if it takes off very quickly from the base, contractions may occur at the base of the piece due to the abrupt change in temperature. Lower the temperature of the warm bed 5ºC and be at that temperature for 5 minutes. After this period, carry out the same operation again until the temperature of the base is approximately 50 ° C, so that the final piece can be detached without deformation.
  • It should not be printed with a layer height of less than 0.1mm since, due to material loads, it is possible for the extruder to seal if it is very small in diameter.

INNOVATE TPU HARDNESS+:  Innovate TPU Hardness + Filament is a thermoplastic polyurethane that combines hardness, elasticity and mechanical strength, that´s why it is the perfect material to create highly rigid parts with elasticity. It has high resistance against abrasion, fats, oils, oxygen, ozone, microorganisms, hydrolysis and stabilized in UV light. It is one of the best improved material for the applications in aerospace, industrial, medical and automative sectors.

Innovatefil TPU HARDNESS+ is delivered in a vacuum bag with a great barrier against moisture so that the filament cannot absorb humidity.


Tips & Tricks:

  • Once the product is unpacked it is recommended to keep it in a dry and dark environment. If not maintained in a suitable environment the material can absorb up to 0.5% atmospheric moisture, this can create water vapour in the extrusion that can end up in a bad surface finish.
  • Once printing is finished it is recommendable to clean the nozzle eliminating the excess of material to avoid seals and defects unwanted, if several materials are used it is advisable to have a nozzle for each material to avoid being mixed.
6 Special Filament that You Should Try with Your 3D Printer