We are continuing our OpenRC F1 project trying to print our tires! For this, we make a first test of flexible filaments of ICE Filaments, a Belgian company (proudly) active for several years in 3D printing and offering a wide range of materials, from PLA to "WOOD", through ABS, nylon, PC, etc.
One of the big advantages of their filaments is that they are available on Amazon.
They sent me two small samples of FLEX and TPU that I could test to see if these materials are suitable for designing tires for the OpenRC F1.
Unfortunately, given the size of the samples (50g each), I could not test all the variants that I would have liked (filling rate, number of perimeters, rear tires etc ...) but it's already a good start :-)
The easiest way to use a sample is to wrap it around an empty filament spool. Pay attention to the knots, especially with the brittle filaments :-)
The first filament I tested is the TPU. I unpacked it and started the printing... 210°C, 0.2mm, heatbed at 60°C and 0.75mm of retraction (linear advance was tuned before printing it).
Here is the result :
If you have already had the case, you can see in the picture that the filament has absorbed moisture! No choice, I put it in my eBox (test coming soon) to dehydrate it and reprint it with the same parameters. Admire the difference (left before dehydration, right after):
I left the filament in the eBox (not completely airtight) and two days later, I repeated the test, and here is the result:
Visibly this TPU absorbs moisture enormously, so it must be dehydrated before use and stored as much as possible in an airtight container!
The flexible filament is composed of recycled materials, unfortunately no information is given on the origin or the nature of recycled materials but we can see two things using this filament:
- It does not absorb moisture like the TPU of the brand
- It feels a bit stronger when printing so be sure to use it in a ventilated place
The filament is also very slightly elastic and once printed, the tires grip a bit more than those printed in TPU. We are still far from the grip of a commercial tire rubber but we approach something usable!
The print settings are the following:
- 220°C, 0.2mm, heatbed at 60°C and 0.75mm retract
To compare the comparable, here is what gives the impression of the same gcode 3 days later in the same conditions of conservation as the TPU:
Of the two filaments, my preference goes clearly to flex for several reasons: first of all, knowing that it comes from recycled materials is a good point for the environment. Then its ability not to absorb moisture from the air unlike the TPU makes it a material of choice for beginners. Finally the relative flexibility it brings compared to the TPU is appreciable even if in our precise use (print tires for our F1 not to have to buy in the market), it is not yet the perfect material!
The flex is easily found as 500g reel on Amazon. I did not find the TPU...
The full ICE Filaments store on Amazon is available here: https://amzn.to/2UefAsp
Thanks to ICE Filaments for samples!