Tuesday, May 15, 2012

PLA, ABS

Most home Fused deposition modeling (FDM) printers are using Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) or Polylactic acid(PLA).

ABS prints at around 225-250C, and requires a heated build platform for larger prints to avoid warping.

PLA prints at around 170-180C. Originally I thought I was going to be able to print straight onto an unheated glass bed, but found the prints coming off after a few mm had printed. Turns out that PLA sticks well to a layer blue painters tape over glass.

 One downside to PLA is that due to the lower melting point, for best results the prints have to be cooled between layers, otherwise the top surfaces of small objects can overheat and distort. With that in mind, I added a modified Ducted cooling fan that blows air over the printed surface. I tried a duct that surrounded the extruder, but wasn't happy with loosing visibility.

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