Just like poor quality petrol will affect your car’s engine performance, poor quality 3D printer filament will ruin both the quality of your 3D prints and the ease with which your 3D printer functions.
While there are a wide variety of 3D printer filaments available, we here at Ink3D.ie have focused initially on perfecting the production of PLA 3D filament. We believe this is the highest quality material of those commonly available. Once we have recouped our initial investment we will apply the same level of focus and attention to detail to the production of ABS 3D filaments.
The Importance of Quality Raw Material
To create a high quality 3D filament you need to start with high quality raw materials.
Firstly you must ensure that the plastic polymer pellets, which are extruded to produce the 3D filament, are 100% virgin material. This means that they are not recycled and have never been used before.
If the plastic pellets are not 100% virgin they may contain impurities which cannot be removed from within the filament itself. Dust will cause blockages and diameter variances and air bubbles will explode when heated by your 3D printer.
We provide you 3D filaments manufactured with 100% virgin material. This greatly reduced the time you have to spend cleaning your printer nozzle, improves ring quality and eliminates waste caused by uneven prints.
It is of the upmost importance that the raw plastic pellets are dry and free from any moisture before they are extruded into 3D filament.
Any water molecules in or on the pellets can become embedded in the filament produced. These water molecules then boil when heated by the extrusion nozzle. This can cause the filament to warp and change roundness at the best or explode and damage your 3D printer and nozzle at the worst.
We at Ink3D.ie dry use pellets dried for between 3 to 5 hours before extrusion. This greatly reduced the risk of moisture contamination.
If our filaments are in storage for greater than 6 months we re-dry them.
All filaments are vacuum sealed with two pouches of desiccant and stored in containers also containing desiccant.
The Importance of Diameter Tolerance
The software that controls the extrusion rate of the 3D filament from your 3D printer is based on a combination of the filament diameter, the diameter of your extruder nozzle and the extrusion speed (or flow rate).
If the diameter varies significantly, the software will not be able to compensate the rate of extrusion and you will end up with too little or too much filament exiting the nozzle. This will lead to irregular shapes and rough surfaces.
A high standard of quality and will ensure our 3D filaments perform seamlessly with your 3D printer.
The Importance of 3D Filament Roundness Consistency
The roundness of the filament will be slightly altered by the extruder wheel as it grips the surface of the plastic. Seeing as the change is uniform across the entire spool, it will not affect performance as long as the extruder is properly calibrated.
If the roundness changes along the length of the spool for any other reason, in particular if it becomes elongated and oval shaped, this will cause low quality performance and prints.
We can proudly state that the roundness of our premium filaments is uniform. It varies so minutely that it will have no effect on the performance of your 3D printer or the quality of your prints.
The Importance of Professional Packaging
The problem many 3D printer filament suppliers make is they underestimate the importance of proper and professional packaging.
You can invest €10,000's in sourcing the best virgin material, perfecting colour consistency, minimising diameter tolerances and ensuring minimal roundness variation. This is all undone by improper and cheap packaging.
The polymers used to make 3D filaments, especially PLA, have a tendency to absorb moisture over time. This can lead to moisture bubbles forming in the body of the filament itself. This can be extremely problematic as once these bubbles of moisture in the filament hit the heated extruder nozzle they can reach 100°C. Because this is the boiling point of water they then explode, splattering plastic all over the machine and surrounding area, thus disrupting the extrusion process.
To combat this, we have vacuum sealed all our 3D filament spools with desiccant. Desiccant is a hydroscopic material that creates a dry and moisture free environment in the surrounding area.
We suggest that once opened, you store your spools in a re-sealable plastic container that contains either desiccant or a moderate quantity of rice. Rice also has hydroscopic properties.
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