Intentional Filament Stringing Helps Santa Soar

Stringing is when a 3D printer’s hot end moves through open air and drags a wisp of melted plastic along with it. This is normally undesirable, but has in the past been done intentionally to create some unconventional prints. Moonlight Santa from [3dprintbunny]¬†shows considerable refinement in the technique, complete with color changes that really make the result pop.

Using a 3D printer’s stringing in a constructive way is something that has been leveraged really well. We remember seeing a lion with a fantastic mane by combining this method with a little post-processing and a blast from a heat gun. The technique has also been applied to make brush bristles (the printer strings filament across two handles, and after printing it is cut in half to make two brushes.)

This isn’t [3dprintbunny]’s first rodeo, either. We loved seeing her show what kind of objects were possible by using clever design, with no reliance on custom G-code or weird slicer tricks. The color changes by filament swaps really make this new one stand out.

3D Printed String Vase Shows What’s Possible

Overhangs are the bane of the melty-plastic 3D printing world. Often, we try to avoid them with creative print alignments, or we compensate with supports. However, [3DPrintBunny] decided to embrace overhangs in the extreme in the design of her creative 3D-printed string vase.

The design is intended to be printed with a larger nozzle, on the order of 0.8 mm or so, at a layer height of 0.6 mm. Under these conditions, the printer nozzle bridges the gap between the vase’s pillars with a single string of molten filament. With the settings just so, the molten filament stays attached during the bridging operation, and creates a fine plastic string between the pillars. Repeat this across the whole design, and you get an attractive string vase.

Amazingly, [3DPrintBunny] didn’t have to do any fancy slicer tricks to achieve this. Stock slicer settings got the job done just fine, and she reports that the model should print on most FDM printers. For her own examples, she printed in a special silver/bronze dual color PLA filament.

It recalls us of efforts to create synthetic hair-like fibers by taking advantage of stringing in 3D printers. Video after the break. Continue reading “3D Printed String Vase Shows What’s Possible”

Do You Really Need To Dry Filament?

There’s a lot of opinions and theories around the storing and drying of 3D printing materials. Some people are absolutely convinced you must bake filament if it been stored outside an airtight bag, even for a few days. Some others have ‘never had a problem.’ So it’s about time someone in the know has done some testing to try to pin down the answer to the question we’re all asking; How bad is wet filament really?

[Thomas Sanladerer] setup a simple experiment, using samples of three common types of filament, specifically PLA, PET-G and ASA. He stored the samples in three environments, on his desk, outside in the garden, and finally submerged in water for a full week. What followed was a whole lot of printing, but they all did print.

Different filaments will absorb water at different rates, depending upon their chemical composition and the environment, nylon being apparently particularly fond of a good soaking. It would seem that the most obvious print defect that occurs with increased water absorption is that of stringing, and other than being annoying and reducing surface quality somewhat, it’s not all that serious in the grand scheme of things. It was interesting to note that water absorption doesn’t seem to affect the strength of the final part.
Continue reading “Do You Really Need To Dry Filament?”