Sunday, 14 June 2020

AM3300 ColorFabb nGen filament

I have just done my first print with ColorFabb nGen filament.
The results are excellent.

Slightly slower to print with than PLA, I used the recommended 50mm/s for the nGen where I can reliably use 60mm/s with PLA. However, both are much faster than the 30mm/s I have to print with PETG.

I'm using nGen because I want the higher temperature tolerance, so I can use the finished article in a car. I normally use PETG for in car use but, as I've said, that is slow and troublesome.

I did not have any issues with a 25 hour print using nGen. It stuck to the bed without warping and negligible stringing and blobs. Both significant issues with PETG.

nGen is ColorFabb's brand name for "Eastman Amphora™ AM3300 3D polymer" filament.

If it survives the summer temperatures in the car, I think this will be my go to filament for things that need that little extra strength or temperature resistance.


Update 25 June 2020

Over the last week or so, I have done a lot of prints using nGen filament. These range from 3 hour to 25 hour prints. I have not had a single failure. Everything sticks to the glass bed, without any assistance. Good layer adhesion. No warping or noticeable shrinkage.
I've had a couple of the prints in a car for a few hot days and no sign of any distortion.

Just based on my feel, I would say that nGen has about the same layer adhesion as PLA but is overall stronger. With the grain, nGen can take quite a lot of flexing, much more than PLA.

The surface finish is good. It gets the odd tiny bobble, which I can usually scrape off with my fingernail. It can have a tiny bit of very fine stringing but that depends on the model being printed, some have none. Again, easy to clean up. I can rub it off between my fingers.

I plan to buy nGen filament as my primary material to print with, from now on.
I have lots of PLA left in stock and a little PETG. I will use that up over time but I'm unlikely to keep much of either going forward.


nGen, AM3300, Setting:

Nozzle temperature = 235C

Print speed = 50mm/s

Travel speed = 100mm/s

Cooling = 50%
Bed temperature = 85C


Compare Filaments

I have found it difficult to get reliable information about filaments.

The information I am particularly interested in is at what temperature does the material deform. More specifically, will it survive the temperatures inside a car during the summer.
The most appropriate measurement I can find for that is:
Heat Deflection Temperature (HDT). It is when the shape will start to change due to the heat under a given pressure. This is typically quoted at one of two pressures. Either 0.46MPa (66psi) or 1.8MPa (264psi) or both.
That is not the Glass Transition Temperature (GTT), which is always higher.

The following are my own conclusions from various sources.

Generic PLA
Material: Polylactic Acid (PLA)
HDT = 49C to 52C at 0.46MPa 
Reliable print speed: 60mm/s
Comment: Easy to print with.

ColorFabb nGen
Material: Eastman Amphora™ AM3300
HDT = 71C at 0.46MPa and 63C at 1.8MPa
Reliable print speed: 50mm/s
Comment: Easy to print with. Stronger than PLA but not as strong as PETG or ABS.

ColorFabb XT
Material: Eastman Amphora™ AM1800
HDT = 70C at 0.46MPa and 62C at 1.8MPa
Suggested print speed (mid range): 40mm/s
Comment: I have not tried this. Apparently, another one that is more difficult to print with.

ColorFabb HT
Material: Eastman Amphora™ HT5300
HDT = 
Suggested print speed (mid range): 40mm/s
Comment: I have not tried this. Although tough it is apparently more difficult to print with.

Generic PETG
Material: Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol (PETG)
HDT = 63C at 1.8Mpa
Reliable print speed: 30mm/s
Comment: Difficult to print with. Strings and blobs easily form and the nozzle gets covered in filament, requiring cleaning.

Generic ABS
Material: Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)
HDT = 88C to 100C (1.8MPa)
Suggested print speed (mid range): 60mm/s
Comment: I have not used this due to the well documented fumes. I am confident they will, at the very least, irritate me but more likely, cause me harm.




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