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X carriage made of PLA?

Posted by witor 
X carriage made of PLA?
May 14, 2020 07:02PM
How hot is the air coming from E3d V6 heat sink? If it does not blow directly at the x carriage can the carriage be made of PLA?

PLA is stiff, so i would prefer to use it I am just worried about it's temperature resistance. If you printed pieces of your printer in PLA I would love to hear about your experience.
Re: X carriage made of PLA?
May 14, 2020 07:24PM
I've been using the same x carriage made of PLA for two years without issue. If you are going to use a heated chamber, either figure out how to anneal it or use a different material like carbon fiber PETG.

EDIT: Also, always keep a spare set of printed parts for your printer on-hand in case of any unexpected failures.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/14/2020 07:28PM by obelisk79.
Re: X carriage made of PLA?
May 14, 2020 09:26PM
And don't transport your printer and leave it in a hot car - the PLA will melt.

PETG would be better, but ABS would be much better. Best would be metal- aluminum is easy to work.


Son of MegaMax 3D printer: [www.instructables.com]
Ultra MegaMax Dominator 3D printer: [drmrehorst.blogspot.com]
Re: X carriage made of PLA?
May 15, 2020 12:16AM
Why do you say ABS is MUCH better than PETG? Tensile strength is similar between the two materials. Carbon fiber PETG regains most of the tensile strength difference compared to PLA. ABS has better impact resistance, but 3d printers shouldn't experience a lot of impacts. Is the recommendation based on melting temps regarding operation inside a heated enclosure?
Re: X carriage made of PLA?
May 15, 2020 05:39AM
I think stiffness is the most important property of the material used to make x carriage. Temperature resistance might be next IF x carriage is exposed to higher temperatures (that's why I asked about temperature coming from V6 heat sink) .
I am not going to use enclosure and I am not going to keep my printer in a hot car, so considering what everyone said so far in this thread I conclude that PLA should be OK.

PLA also is easier to print without deformation and as a result gives results with accurate enough dimensions.

Metal would be even better but machining of the complicated shape parts is not as easy as just printing them. I totally get that all metal 3d printers are awesome, but for a prusa I3 style printer I am not sure if marginal improvement of print quality is worth extra cost and effort to produce metal parts.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/15/2020 05:41AM by witor.
Re: X carriage made of PLA?
May 15, 2020 08:23AM
The main reason why ABS is better is the thermal properties. You don't have to worry about your printer melting. I've seen more than one post on reddit by someone who was taking their printer somewhere in their car and left it parked for a while and came back to find a twisted frame and all the PLA parts melted. A self-built printer represents a big investment of time and effort. Why would anyone ever take a chance on all that time and effort going to waste when it is so easily avoided? Save your PLA for printing Yoda heads and tugboats- you know, stuff that's going to get thrown or given away after printing. Parts for a 3D printer are usually pretty small, and can be printed in ABS without a heated chamber- just put a bag or box over the printer to protect from drafts while printing.

PETG is OK (not sure if it survives the hot car test), but prints hairy/stringy, and tends to leave charred blobs of filament on the prints- both primarily cosmetic issues, but bothersome anyway.

Metal parts don't have to be complex and difficult to fabricate, especially if you use linear guides instead of round guide rails. All you need to mount something on a linear guide is 2 or 4 holes and a flat plate (or tube). Even if you're using round guide rails, you can make the extruder carriage from a flat metal plate and add some printed bearing mounts/clamps. The less plastic you use, especially PLA, the more reliable your printer will be. Think in terms of the types of operations you can do and then design around those limits. I have access to CNC mills, but I'm too lazy to do the CNC set up, so I used an absolute minimum amount of manual milling to make metal parts for my printer. I used a lot of aluminum tubing and plate to make the parts so I wouldn't have to come up with complex designs that would be difficult to mill. The two main things I did on the mill were squaring the ends of the t-slot so it could be bolted directly together (you can order t-slot cut squarely), and drilling holes accurately. The rest was just cleaning up ragged edges that were cut with a saw, which was entirely cosmetic. The most complex shape is the extruder carriage belt clamp, and that's printed ABS. If I could figure out an easy way to make it using metal I'd replace it, but it's been working fine for years so I haven't bothered.

Designing and building a printer is a lot of work. It's only a little more work to build it so it can print ABS reliably. The main things ABS needs are an enclosure ( as simple as a box made from foam insulation) and putting electronics outside the enclosure (i.e. longer cables between the controller and the mechanism). Adding a chamber heater is nice, but not entirely necessary unless the chamber is large. A lot of people think printing ABS is difficult. It can be, on a printer that's not built to print ABS. Once your printer is set up to print ABS reliably you'll find there's almost no reason to print PLA, and little reason to print PETG (though some of the glassy transparent filaments are very nice for some prints).


Son of MegaMax 3D printer: [www.instructables.com]
Ultra MegaMax Dominator 3D printer: [drmrehorst.blogspot.com]
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