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Weed wacker line as 3D printing filament
| By Michigan Tech's Open Sustainability Technology Lab.
Wanted: Students to make a distributed future with solar-powered open-source 3-D printing.
Weed wacker string available
5lb spool is 2.27 kg so $30/5lbs ~ $13/kg; most commercial 3-D printer filament runs $18-50+/kg for comparison.
How to Modify MOST Delta to Use it
Printing with nylon
The website above (a blog by Jeremie Francois) has good tips on printing with nylon and a bit about trimmer line as well. The main points are summarized below:
- For solid prints, use 238 degrees C at 50 mm/s maximum.
- Reducing the print temperature can work if the speed is also reduced.
- To keep objects from warping, add a raft or a brim around the object.
- Drying the nylon can increase the quality of prints, and this can be done by storing the spool and packets of silica gel in a transparent sealed plastic box and leaving it in the sunlight.
- Glue the bed to avoid the prints popping off during printing.
Printing with weed wacker trimmer line
Using the Maxpower trimmer line and a TAZ Lulzbot printer, the following settings work to make decent quality prints:
Printing temperature: 235 degrees C
- Bed temperature: 70 degrees C
- Gluing the bed (using something as simple as an Elmer's glue stick) makes the prints stick better as well
- Print speed: 40 mm/s
- Fan: An outside fan was used to cool the object printing, which sometimes would lower the temperature of the nozzle/extruder to temperatures as low as 215 degrees C. Because of this, the fan had to be turned on and off periodically so the extrusion temperature wasn't too low.
The quality of the prints using these settings isn't great. After the first couple of layers, the material starts to "bubble" out of its defined layers.
For taller, skinny objects
To make one cylinder 60 mm tall with a 2.5 mm radius, two of these objects were printed side by side. When both objects were about 0.5 cm tall, one was forced to fail. While the other printed normally, all the extra material extruded for the failed cylinder was taken away manually. This made for a relatively high quality print with the weed wacker line.