Earlier this week, I received my December 2020 Makerbox Everything subscription box. As usual, this box contained four easy PLA filaments and four more advanced filaments to try out. This box came at just the perfect time, as I just got my new Ender 3 V2 setup with the PrinterMods.com direct drive system. This post will share my experience with the filaments included in this month’s Makerbox.
Hardware and software used.
I used Cura 4.8.0 to slice everything printed out of this box. I recently moved back from Simplify3D to Cura, and it seems to work much better for me than it had in the past. At this point, I am almost treating Simplify3D as abandonware.
I used all three of my printers to print samples. Here are the printers and their notable mods:
- Creality Ender 3 Pro – My original printer and still my workhorse. The only real modifications to this printer are the 32-bit motherboard and the use of the Capricorn PFTE tube.
- Creality Ender 5 Plus – I have added the 32-bit motherboard to this printer as well. The hotend has been replaced with a MicroSwiss all-metal hotend. It also has a Capricorn tube.
- Creality Ender 3 V2 – This is my newest addition. It is enclosed in a Creality tent and has the PrinterMods.com direct drive kit installed. These are actually my first prints with the new direct drive setup (aside from basic calibration prints).
Makerbox Easy prints
This month’s Makerbox Easy filament samples all come from eSun. The filament samples are all PLA+. I’ve printed eSun’s PLA+ in the past, and it has performed exceptionally well for me. The four colors included in the box were: green, pink, purple, and dark blue.
I printed temp towers for each filament between 205C – 225C, and they printed beautifully. The bed temp was at 60 degrees for each. I made sure to use all three printers to see if there was any difference between the different setups, and it performed the same on each printer.
eSun Dark Blue PLA+
I printed the Dark Blue PLA+ on the Ender 3 Pro. This blue is definitely very dark! It is hard to see the details of the print jobs in my low lighting. But it printed very well. I printed the buddha and coaster at a temp of 215/60.
eSun Purple PLA+
The purple PLA+ was printed on the Ender 3 V2. It printed very well. I happened to drop the Thanos Buddha, and it went bouncing across my basement floor. It didn’t break at all, not even a scratch (well, maybe a little scratch on the tree support). The purple color is just slightly darker than shown in this picture.
eSun Pink PLA+
The pink PLA+ was printed using the Ender 5 Plus. Again, I had the same excellent quality as I did printing with the other two printers.
eSun Green PLA+
The green PLA+ samples were also printed on the Ender 5+. The color in the picture doesn’t show how green this filament is (I am working on better lighting!)
Final thoughts on the eSun PLA+
I’ve printed the eSun PLA+ previously. I had no problems then, and no issues now. It prints quite nicely. The main thing I like about their PLA+ is it does seem much more rigid than standard PLA. I’ve used their filament in the past and will likely do so again if they have the color I happen to need at the time.
Makerbox Explorer Prints
All four of these filaments are types I’ve wanted to test. This is especially true since I now have a printer set up with a direct drive, and I wanted to see how it printed with flexible filaments. All of the Makerbox Explorer filaments this month were printed using the Ender 3 V2. I wanted to see how well the Printermods.com direct drive setup performed.
PC+ Black Amethyst
SnoLabs provided a sample of PC+ Black Amethyst. Loubie3D designed the color. PC+ is solid plastic. Apparently, the plus part of the PC+ means SnoLabs has added something to make it easier to print. I will say this printed quite nicely. I did dry the filament out in my dehydrator before using it, which was suggested.
I printed the temp tower between 235C – 255C with the bed at 90C. I kept the enclosure closed anytime this filament was printed. It printed nicely the whole way through. I was expecting the little antennae on top of the Toy Story alien to have problems since it is thin, but it is printed with no issues.
Due to its strength and heat resistance, I could see using this filament for prop making.
Taulman3D provided a sample of PCTPE. This is a cool filament that allows flexible yet strong parts to be created. The temperature range for this filament is relatively small, with a recommended range of 235C – 242C. The recommended bed temp is only 45C with PVA. In my case, I used good old purple Elmer’s glue stick.
I did struggle with this filament at first. The first temp tower I attempted to print had rough bridging and came off the bed partway through. I recleaned my bed and releveled my bed, and it came out much nicer the second time. The level of the temp tower I had set to 241C was the clear winner. It printed nicely and bridged with no issues.
The tire skin printed is Thing 4634747 by IS300Canuk. This was a perfect test print for PCTPE. There was some slight stringing inside the wheel, but nothing extreme. I think with more experience that I could get rid of those strings. PCTPE’s flexibility and strength may be useful for wheel skins used in robotics and RC race cars.
Push Plastic provided a sample of PMMA filament, or as the rest of us call it: acrylic filament. The idea of being able to print with acrylic is just unreal. Acrylic would make great covers for project cases, allowing the electronics (especially LEDs) to be shown off.
My original temp tower came out pretty good. You can see the purple from some of the Black Amethyst that must have been in my nozzle at the bottom of the right temp tower pictured. After that original print, I had a series of failures. I could not for the life of me get a good print. Every time I would either be too close or too far from the bed. Finally, I let it go overnight and then once again cleaned/leveled my bed. I was then able to print an even better temp tower.
I was then able to print a test VanHalen print I had designed some time back. I am currently out of acetone, so I can’t test at this time how well it cleans up and how clear it is. If it cleans up nicely, I’ll do another post and show off the VanHalen LED light I have planned.
ReFuel – Pro PLA
3D-Fuel provided what they call ReFuel Pro PLA. This filament is made of scraps of their PLA and recycled into pellets that can be used to make filament rolls. I love the idea of recycled filament. I’ve printed samples of their PLA previously, and this didn’t seem any different from those previous print jobs. I noticed that it prints better at a higher temp than the previous PLA samples I’ve used from 3D-Fuel. The whole temp tower was good, though. I ended up choosing the midpoint of 225C to do the test prints.
One thing about this particular filament is that the color can’t be chosen. The color will end up being set by whatever other filaments are being recycled. In this case, it was a nice grey color, but it is possible another run of this filament could be pure black. That isn’t a massive issue for print jobs that will be painted.
Yet again, I found the Makerbox to be worth the subscription price. Not only that, I think printing these various types of filaments was perfect for testing out my new direct drive setup. I found that the flexible filaments printed much better than previous attempts I had tried using a pure Bowden setup. Now I can’t wait to try printing some previous filaments from Makerboxes that I kept around just in case I got an enclosed printer with a direct drive.
Song of the Day: I can see clearly now
After printing the acrylic, I couldn’t help but get this classic Johnny Nash song in my head.
Bonus Song: 5150
I included a Van Halen print, so I think I’m obligated to include a track from them. 3D printing is a great hobby, but it can sometimes drive you crazy (5150)…