Monthly Archives: March 2012

Coloured Filament

During the week, Jeremy from Lybina posted on the Australian Reprap forums that they’re now making some coloured filament. This is great news for Australia reprapers. We’ve been well-supported with very-high quality white filament from Lybina, but they haven’t had any colours available.

Even better, they were giving away some free samples. I came to the post over a day after it’d been posted, so I thought that I’d miss out for sure. I gave Lybina a call anyway, and they said that I was the first! This was pretty surprising, given that it’s free high-quality filament. I think that most people in Australia print with PLA, but it was still surprising. The only catch is that you have to pay for the postage, and report back to Lybina how the filament printed.

They were giving away samples of yellow, green and purple filament. I put my hand up for some yellow filament. All my printing so far has been with Lybina’s white filament, so I was pretty confident that they’re product would be good. The filament arrived by courier yesterday afternoon. Pulling it out of the bag, it looked great. Solid yellow colour.

A quick check with the micrometer showed that Lybina’s manufacturing was as good as always. First sample was 3.00mm on the long axis, 2.90mm on the short. A check on the other side of the roll had 2.95mm and 2.90mm.

For my first print, I thought that I would print out one of the ‘screwable jewellery boxes’ which I have done before. Being quite delicate, and requiring precision, I thought that they would be a good test to see how the filament performed.

When I was talking to Jeremy on the phone, he mentioned that the colours are only stable up to 220 degrees C. Since I usually do my first layer at 230 degrees C, this might have caused a problem. So I turned down the hot-end to 219 for the first layer. I made sure that the heated-bed was up to all the way up to 110 degrees (rather than my usual ‘anywhere between 100 and 110 is fine’) before I started printing. Adhesion was great, with no issues at all. For the remainder of the layers, I dropped back down to my usual 197 degrees.

As you can see from the photos, the filament printed just fine. However, the colour was quite pallid. I was expecting much more of a ‘lego technic beam’ colour, rather than ‘pale lemon’, which was a bit disappointing. It looks like they need to use more dye.

Overall, I’d give the plastic a 10/10, but the colour a 6/10. A big thanks to Lybina for providing the free sample!

New Printer

For a while, I’ve been thinking about building a new printer. I’m pretty happy with how the Prusa has worked out, but I’m becoming keenly aware of its limitations.

One of the main limitations that I see with the Prusa is that it looks like it’s made by amateurs. It doesn’t have that ‘Polished’ look that makes it look like it’s being designed by an industrial designer. That makes it hard to keep inside the house.

The other limitation is the print quality. Whilst you can get excellent prints with the Prusa, I think I’m definitely at the point of diminishing returns, where I’ll have to put in exponential levels of effort to get small improvements. A superior printer design should get to a higher level of printing quality with less effort.

I haven’t quite decided what printer I’m going to build yet. For a while, I was settled on building a MendelMax printer. The problem that I see with the MendelMax is that it’s inefficient with its use of the aluminium extrusions. While replicating the Prusa frame has its advantages, I think that its structural elements are overkill, and still don’t solve the Mendel’s issue of having little support along the X-axis.

But then I saw two new printers, namely the Quantum Ord, and the ‘Aluminum Mendel’. The Ord bot looks fantastic, looks also good enough to be a commercially-made device. It’s very minimalist, and uses the Makerslide as a structural element, not just as a sliding surface.

I love the design of the Quantum Ord, but MakerSlide at the moment is highly unobtainable. I’ve been signed up for the Makerslide shop for a few weeks, but every time he releases a batch (at about 12-1am in the morning here), it’s sold out by the time I wake up and check my emails. To make matters worse, I didn’t even receive the email when Barton announced he was selling some Ord bot kits, so I missed out on them as well. I’m also considering a merge-build. Use Makerslide for the axes movement on a MendelMax. However, this seems to be extremely wasteful usage of the Makerslide, since it’s strong enough to be used as a structural element by itself.

Since the Makerslide is so hard to obtain, I’m thinking of going for the ‘Aluminum Mendel’. I really like this design. It’s much simpler than any other design, with the exception of a Printrbot, but uses Aluminium extrusions for strength and rigidity. One feature that I particularly like is that all the components of the printer are inside the frame. Nothing hangs out, not even electronics or the power supply. Extremely clean. One thing that annoys me however is the ‘Mendel’ tag. It’s not a Mendel in any way, in my opinion. Mendel printers should have the ‘raised A-frame’ design. It does have a suspended X-axis, like the Mendel, but that’s about the only similarity.

I’m still deciding at the moment. I’ll post again when I’ve made my choice.

Visual Illusion

In Julian’s blog, he talked about one of his recent designs – a piece that was designed to answer a challenge on the Thingiverse blog.

He noted that he hadn’t printed it out yet, so I thought that I’d have a go this afternoon, see just how well it turned out. I downloaded the piece from Thingiverse, and printed it out.

The printing went quite well:

Trying to take a decent video showing the illusion was by far the hardest part of this mini-project. This was my best attempt, which I think did the trick. Unfortunately, these balls were a bit big for the job.


You know your grass is too long when your kids go out the back to play ‘Tigers in the Grass’.

If anybody needs me, I’ll be out mowing the lawn.