Colorfabb are the market leaders in filament manufacturing. They provide filament to 3D printers all over the world and are innovators in 3D printing. From developing new materials to re-defining 3D printing with the Blackbelt 3D printer, Colorfabb are a driving the industry forward. Their latest development in materials ‘Colorfabb on demand‘, allows customers to colour match their filament to their requirements. In terms of customisation, this is a game changer, no longer will designers/customers have to settle with a best fit match. They can now get an exact fit to their needs.
As part of our ongoing work with companies, we were pleased to be able to have Colorfabb as one of learnbylayers sponsors for the International STEM conference. With teachers always asking us about the best brands to 3D print with, we have been working with leading manufacturers and re-sellers by 3D printing our whole curriculum in a variety of different filaments.
With PLA being the mainstay of classrooms the majority of the Colorfabb filaments we printed with were PLA based. With Colorfabb, we also printed with ngen flexible filament and ngen lux. The ngen flexible filament was used in the development of our Intermediate lesson pack through the developing CAD skills lesson.
Colorfabb Flexible filament
We printed a range of models out of the Colorfabb ngen flex and found it to have great mechanical properties. One of the reasons why we wanted to print with this filament was our new lesson we created as part of the intermediate lesson pack has a focus on properties of materials. The filament provided a great opportunity for students to compare how 3D printed flexible materials behave against standard more ‘rigid’ polymers such as PLA. As shown in the photo we printed the interior rim out of PLA and then the tyre from ngen flexible filament and pushed them both together to form a fully functioning RC car tyre. The filament is strong, has great flex and is relatively easy to 3D print with. In our first attempt we tried to print direct onto the print bed with Magigoo adhesive. This didn’t stick to the print surface, so we checked the recommended settings on the Colorfabb website (probably should have done this first) and printed it directly onto buildtak as advised. This worked perfectly and we didn’t have any warpage giving great outcomes. We printed a range of models e.g. chain mail from flexible filament, a flexible wallet and then the models from our intermediate lesson (the cable tidy), all with great success.
What we found out was that for models that have a relatively large contact surface area then buildtak was the best surface to print onto. However, the chain mail design was printed directly onto the print bed with Magigoo and due to each part haviing a very small surface area, this was a success. The bed temperature was set to 80 degrees with the printing temperature to 240 degrees. Colorfabb state between 240-260 degrees. We printed this on a creality ender 3. The results were fantastic and for 3D printing our lesson resources this is one of the best flexible filaments we have printed with.
The reason why PLA is used in classrooms around the world, is the general opinion it’s easier to print with than ABS/other materials and gives of less of a smell. The last thing that teachers need when delivering lessons is the smell of hot plastic. A smelly room can distract the learning and there are associated health risks that go alongside this as the plastic is oil based.
We 3D printed multiple items with Colorfabb PLA from our lessons at various scales. One of the main things we observed with colorfabb PLA was it’s consistency and ease of use. We printed the multiple copies of models from out curriculum, using a creality ender 3 and the outcomes were identical each time. Using a well calibrated printer along with the right slicing settings (we used CURA) the outcomes were outstanding. The models 3dprinted in this image were from the intermediate lesson plan and were printed at 0.2mm layer height at 60mm/s print speed again with great outcomes. With educational models being mostly concept models used in the classroom, getting the most detailed layer height isn’t the main focus for most teachers. It’s mainly the speed of printing to ensure that class sets of prints can be printed fast in between lessons and to a good quality. After printing multiple different models in their range of filaments we were extremely happy with Colorfabb filaments. They’ve been around since the start of the consumer 3D printing revolution and are here to stay having recently expanded their manufacturing facilities. We would like to thank colorfabb for their ongoing support in education and for their ongoing development of new materials. For 3D printing to keep expanding and advancing the development of high quality materials is essential. To find out more about their range of filaments click here.