Saturday, July 19, 2014

Printing NinjaFlex

I've had a roll of red NinjaFlex for an embarisingly long time now (a few months). It's just been waiting until I sorted out my extruder issues. This weekend, finally I decided to make it happen and try this stuff out.

Short version, NinjaFlex is flexable, but not stretchy. It is the most inaccurate and crumby filament I've used, so don't expect fine details or anything smooth enough to be wearable, which dashes my 3D printed shoes plan.

I wanted something that I could wear that would show off my love of 3D printing, so I made a "stretchy" bracelet that says "I'd rather be 3D Printing." Of course being me, and having time while I fixed my extruders, I had to make it all detailed and textured.

When the time came to print the bracelet I thought the wanhao extruder I installed had the sort of guide necessary to print a flexable filament, but it turns out the guide left enough room that the ninjaflex could worm its way out. Fortunately this is a solved problem and I was able to print the replacement part to fix it.
Am I still allowed to be impressed that this thing can print it's own replacement parts?

The new part ended up being a little too tight. At first the drive wheel was rubbing against it. So I pulled out a razor blade and sand paper and fixed that. Then the bearing wheel couldn't put enough pressure on the filament to keep it against the drive wheel. So a little more sanding and scraping later and that was fixed. Finally it was time to print.
Unfortunately the result was not as expected. I wish I could blame the quality of these pictures on the lighting or the choice of colors (red never photographs well), but this print is really bad. It's patchy, parts of it clearly extruded too much, parts didn't extrude enough, the ridges behind the letters make them hard to read on if the print weren't spotty. And the bracelet wasn't as stretchy as I expected so getting the scratchy thing over my wrist was a challenge.

At this point I don't know what to do with the rest of this expenisve filament I have. Not sure when I'm ever going to need something to be flexable, but not care about texture. Maybe there's some way I can fix the texture? I don't know.

If you want, the bracelet can be downloaded on YouMagine.

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