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TPE TPU elastomers etc

Posted by gsport 
TPE TPU elastomers etc
March 20, 2012 05:13PM
Has anyone made any attempts at printing with a thermpolastic elastomer etc?

Would really like to make some slightly squidgy things. Thermoplastic polyurethane would be ideal?

Re: TPE TPU elastomers etc
March 21, 2012 04:20AM
... Wolfgang (Stoffel15) made some prints with 'elastic PLA' - if it's not too elastic, it works ... but you'll receive problems with the elasticity of the filament feeding through the extruder - it will be compressed and will occasionally block the entry.

Another big issue is the massive 'hysteresis' when compressing and releasing the pressure, what's normal while printing.

Maybe you should think about sintering powdered material ...

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/21/2012 04:23AM by VDX.

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Re: TPE TPU elastomers etc
March 21, 2012 04:25AM
Many years ago (20+) I worked on a system that used glue sticks, the setup was basicly an air cylinder mounted above a heated tube with nozzle all on a cnc miller, I sourced about 8 different types of glue stick, from flexible to ridgid in different shades from white to grey.
I made a boot for a gearshift out of the rubbery material, worked well for prototype stuff but had a limited life.

maybe there are more choices of gluestick now???.

Random Precision
Re: TPE TPU elastomers etc
March 21, 2012 09:35AM
Thanks for the responses.

I hadn't considered the pressure inside the hot end and the hysteresis that is likely to result on the feed rate... Maybe with a relatively stiff TPU and a slow build rate it would be OK. I am not looking for anything super soft but just something that could be used as a spring or as "bumpers". I am forever banging my knees on my mtb gear shift levers and would like to make new ends that will be more forgiving than the aluminium there now. Phone cases etc would be a cool one too.

I think PU welding rods may be the only option for filament for now. Anyone tried these?

Re: TPE TPU elastomers etc
March 21, 2012 09:50AM
... an even better alternative could be printing normal rigid parts from PLA and mould the rubbery/foamy parts from ... or print casting moulds directly ...

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Re: TPE TPU elastomers etc
March 21, 2012 10:51AM
Or deposit silicone rubber with a syringe like [email protected] do.

Re: TPE TPU elastomers etc
March 22, 2012 04:23PM
I considered moulding from PLA patterns and thought direct printing in PU would be less work, may come back to it.

I have ordered some 3mm PU welding rod (9m long coil is all I could find) and will keep this thread updated on progress..
Re: TPE TPU elastomers etc
March 26, 2012 07:28AM
I just got a roll of 3mm TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) from Orbi-Tech, but haven't had time to test it yet. Someone on the bitsfrombytes forum has tried that and confirmed that it is possible print at least some actual objects from it.

It's quite flexible, hardness of Shore A 50 if I had to guess (it didn't come with specs). I'll post an update after I get some results (successful or otherwise). I could also send a couple of meters as a sample for the price of postage if someone wants to try it out (I probably won't be needing the whole 2.5 kg roll anytime soon).
Re: TPE TPU elastomers etc
March 27, 2012 02:32PM
My supposedly 1/8" Polyurethane arrived today and turned out to be around 2.2mm so pretty useless and also therefore twice the price..

ttsalo I would love to try experimenting with some of your TPE, can I buy half a kilo or something off you? You obviously took a bit of a punt buying so much so happy to help share the risk.. Are you in the UK (I am, Sheffield more specifically). My email is g at gsport.co.uk if you want to give me a price.

Re: TPE TPU elastomers etc
May 31, 2012 11:02AM
Hey there,

I'm trying to find a suitable material to print shoe soles. I read the blogposts on bitsfrombytes to so I guess some people have managed to print a TPE/TPU. I also found the TPE filament at orbi-tech.de but there's no data (and they won't answer my e-mails...) Do you know of any other suppliers that give more information? I'm from Holland and I found a thermal welding specialist that sells like 2 ft of rods for 20 euro. Which is a bit steep :/\

Re: TPE TPU elastomers etc
June 06, 2012 12:53PM
How about just printing the mold negative and casting the soles in whatever material you want?

Re: TPE TPU elastomers etc
June 12, 2012 07:41AM
I just did some more testing with Orbi-Tech's TPE. I managed to print a whole Mendel foot at 70% size at 20 mm/s. The bridging didn't work at the settings I was using so the top has some holes, but otherwise the quality looks quite good. It's (naturally) a bit tricky to extrude, but with a slotted drive bolt (12 regular slots with sharp edges cut with 1mm dremel cut-off wheel) and a modified Greg's extruder (less space for the filament to kink into after the bolt) it works at least semi-reliably.

Printing characteristics are somewhat different from plastics. There doesn't seem to be any warping and it fuses to itself well. Main problem is that sometimes it won't stay where it's laid and the resulting blobbing may get either amplified or cleanly overlaid by next layers depending on the place and luck.

The material itself would probably work fine for making shoe soles. It's quite firm in larger blocks, but still springy and flexible, which you can also control with the print density settings.
Re: TPE TPU elastomers etc
August 13, 2013 03:06PM
I wanted to just add to this topic, I have been printing with the Fenner Drives Eagle polyurethane round belt, 1/8 inch, clear. Not sure which shore hardness it is. Prints well for me at 15 mm/s, 210 degrees. Using blue tape for bed surface. The one problem is that ooze on the nozzle slowly 'burns off' and browns, occasionally blocking the orifice and causing it to back up below the hobbed bolt. I am still working out optimal extrusion width but I am making some pretty nice stuff with spiral vase settings.

Here's a mini vase I made with it: [youtu.be]

Credit goes to [www.thingiverse.com] for product info.

Attached is a picture of a mold I made using spiral settings in slic3r. A little mold release and some urethane resin.....and voila!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/14/2013 05:00PM by grumpenstein.
open | download - photo (5) copy.jpg (402.1 KB)
Re: TPE vulcanized elastomers
March 05, 2014 03:23AM

I have recently purchased TPE (the diameter is about 2,85mm, strength 90A) from Orbi-Tech and I would like to start doing my first prints. I have some questions for the start and I would be grateful if you could answer me. Do I have to heat the bed? What temperature would you recommend me for the hot end? 210ºC would be enough?
Re: TPE vulcanized elastomers
March 05, 2014 03:24AM
BTW, from your point of view. What critical parameters should I take into account for this material? Thanks a lot.
Re: TPE TPU elastomers etc
June 08, 2014 11:28PM

We have tested some hardless of TPE filament,below is the info for your reference.

print temp:210-220ºC
prin speed:30mm per/sec
no retraction.


offer PLA/ABS/HIPS/TPE/PETG filament
Re: TPE TPU elastomers etc
November 19, 2014 05:02PM
TPU Filament( Thermal Polyurethane ) had announced in the market by AirWolf- AirWolfbend 87A, I had great experience with it, Which maker/model of printer you work with?

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