The solution for dry 3D printed objects

Three-dimensional (3D) printing has proved to have the potential to revolutionize the manufacturing process while lowering the time frame, cost and risks of production. It has been an important method to build objects since Hideo Kodama found out the process in May 1980 in Japan [1]. Researches and tests have been developed in the early 21st century, which made 3D printing machines affordable. Nowadays people can create anything simple or complex to 3D printed objects based on their design, without causing any noise or paying a large electrical bill. 3D printing is one of the new technologies that can assist you in starting a global company with the least funding. However, there are some problems that can be faced while or after creating the design. One of the main issues, is the type of bed used to print and its impact on the object. This research will cover the bed surface impact and the method of solving the problem of dry and white coloring on the object after printing.


Bed surface types


There are wide choices of bed service types and to find the best fit for you it requires some testing. Thus, three bed types were tested to find out how they would impact the object during the printing and after it’s done. The popular ones are buildtak flexplate, anycubic ultrabs, glass, and flexible steel sheets, which is provided in three types smooth, textured and satin sheets [2]. The common thing between these three surfaces is the cleaning method. The cleaning is with alcohol after each print and acetone, at least once a month. However, there is a difference between them and their impact on the printed object and the filament type.


For the buildtak flexplate it comes as magnet to stick into the bed or it requires clips to stay at the specified location. Flexplate is considered one of the easiest beds to print on since the filament sticks to it without the need of any additional material. However, it’s hard to be cleaned and the filament can stay on the surface without the ability to remove it. When more force applied to remove the filament, the surface bends and can’t come back to the original shape. Also, different colors from previous prints might reflect on the new printed part even when it is cleaned as shown in Figure 1. Thus, flexplate is the least favorite one to be used unless the designer doesn’t mind replacing it often.

Figure 1. Buildtak Flexplate Previous Prints Influence


The better surface can be the anycubic ultrabase, which gives good impact on the printed object overall. However, it requires glue even when using PLA. Glass has a smoother surface, which means more carful printing is required. To reach good results hair spray or glue can be used. However, the most efficient bed is the flexible steel sheet although it costs more than the others, yet the bed is worth it since it requires no cleaning after the print.


Bed type testing results


As shown in Figure 2, the printing on the flexible metal sheet resulted great outcomes without the need for cleaning.


Figure 2. Flexible Metal Sheet


The anycubic ultrabase, also had a good result. However, there was glue left on the object which requires cleaning. Cleaning the glue will require a piece of tissue and water. The results from front and back of the objects using anycubic ultrabase and flexible metal sheet are shown in Figure 3.


Figure 3. Difference between the Anycubic and Flexible Metal Sheet


In Figure 4 it shows the buildtak flexblate that can obviously represent how the surface is impacted from the previous prints and how it affected the new printed object in terms of damaging the back side of the sample and reflecting the dry white color into it. Each bed had its own pros and cons as described, but the flexible metal sheet can clearly prove itself by how it resulted.


Another most common issue 3D printer users face is the dry filament after printing. If the designer is planning to paint the printed object it can’t be considered as an issue comparing to the designers who want the filament color itself. Different suggestions were provided such as using a heat gun or washing it with water, but the good results are yet to be achieved.


Solution


After trying different materials such as cloth cleaners, clore, toothpaste, water, heat gun, and more, none have assisted in solving the issue of dry filament after printing. The best method to do so can be divided into three steps, which requires water, acetone, and olive oil. The water is used first to wash the object or wipe it up to clean any sticking parts from the previous prints and solve the drying issue. However, as soon as the water is removed the dry marks will come back. Thus, adding acetone is needed as it will help flattering the surface and cleaning the stuck colors on the printed object.


After adding the acetone, wiping the object with tissue is useful to ensure that the other colors are being removed. On the other hand, the object will become drier even after washing the acetone from it, which gives it larger drying marks. Also, the damage from the unstable buildtak flexplate becomes more obvious.


To get the marks on printed object removed and solve this issue the last step is required, to also provide a shiny color. The result stayed for more than six months, which is the period of testing this procedure.


The period could last longer, but what is mentioned is the guaranteed outcome and the period of testing.


The last step that was to add olive oil and start wiping it over the object. After adding the olive oil and wiping the object it can be washed with water again to clean the oily touch from the object. Figure 4. shows the final outcome, the object was found to be more clear and shiny. The damage on the object is due to the surface as mentioned before.


Figure 4. Final Result of the Object Before and After Following the Three Steps


In conclusion, the research tested three bed types and how they impact the printed parts. Each bed surface varied in terms of ease and additional materials required. From the previous tests, the flexible metal sheet is considered to have the best results and impact, but it can be considered costly comparing to the other two. Also, the dry marks on a printed object have been solved using the three steps of adding water, acetone, and olive oil. The used material is PLA from the same brand to ensure the efficiency of the results. Following the described procedure will solve the issue to many designers and printers that have been trying to find a clear guaranteed method.



References:

1. https://www.sculpteo.com/blog/2017/03/01/whos-behind-the-three-main-3d-printing- technologies/ 2. https://help.prusa3d.com/en/article/flexible-steel-sheets_2195

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