A few days ago, my December Alien 3D UFO subscription box finally appeared out of USPS limbo. Since this is the December box, it has an excellent little Christmas project inside. There were also four very generous amounts of filament samples in Christmas colors. In this post, I’ll look at how those four samples printed. Plus, I will briefly mention the electronics project.
Contents of the box
A nice little touch this month was a hand-written Christmas card from Josh at Alien3D. The included sucker is currently helping me write this post.
This month’s filaments come from four different sources, which I will go through later in this post. An exciting inclusion is TPU. This is an excellent chance for people who haven’t printed with TPU to see if they can print it with their current setup. Or, in my case, if they see massive improvements printing with TPU after setting up direct drive.
The project is a hover sleigh. Alien3D has given notice that the drone motors seem to be underpowered for the project to work correctly. I’m taking that as a challenge to see if I can get it working successfully!
The accessory for this month is 3D Gloop for PLA. I have to admit I hate gluing up my projects. I have various problems with many types of glue I’ve tried. Some dry too fast, some too slow, some discolor the plastic, some don’t work if the plastic isn’t properly sanded, etc… Supposedly Glue Gloop makes the process of gluing projects together go much smoother. I have my reservations about the product, but I am willing to try anything. After trying it on some projects, I’ll write a post here letting people know how it went.
COEX – White PLA
Up first is a sample of white PLA from COEX. I’m not sure if I mentioned it on this blog, but I have a hate/hate relationship with white filament. It seems that nine out of ten times, when I have problems with a filament, it is a white filament. I don’t know if it’s due to whatever additive is used for white colors or a weird coincidence. No matter what, I get nervous printing white.
This particular white PLA had a recommended printing range of 215-235C, with the bed at 0-60C. I printed a temp tower in that same range. It printed all the way beautifully throughout the tower. Maybe not all white filaments are evil.
I printed the directional fin and four fan holders for this month’s electronics projects (four because I’m building two different versions). They all printed quite nicely.
Filaments.ca – Christmas Red Eurekatec PLA
The recommended temp range for this filament was between 180-210C, with the bed temp recommended 50-60C. I printed my temp tower between 185-205C. It printed the whole way nicely. I like the deep red color this particular filament has.
I printed one minimal base for the sleigh project. Then I printed one hover pad for the same project. Both printed quite nicely at a temp of 195C, with the bed at 60C. Again, the most remarkable thing about this particular filament is how nice the deep red looks.
I see Filaments.ca has a bundle of Eurekatec Christmas Red and Christmas Green in their store. That might be the way to go if this color is appealing to anyone.
FilamentOne – Glint Green
Now we have a filament I have a lot of experience using. That is Glint Green from FilamentOne. It is part of their PLA Pro Select line of filaments. I happen to get the FilamentOne Profi Box subscription and have printed quite a bit of their filament. The glint series is my favorite from them. This filament has a cool texture, and the glint tends to cover up any layer lines.
The good news for those of us that get the Profi box is that FilamentOne now has a PETG subscription available. Up until now, I’ve been getting two rolls of PLA per month. Now I have upgraded to the new XL box with two full rolls of PLA and two full rolls of PETG. I hope their PETG is of the same quality as the PLA.
Another side note: Remember earlier in this post when I mentioned white filament is my enemy? Well, all but one roll of filament I have gotten from FilamentOne has been the best filament for quality prints. The one roll that was not great to work with was Matte White. No matter what I tried, I could not get good prints out of it. It always seemed to under extrude, and changing the flow rate, dehydrating, or a multitude of setting changes didn’t help much. But one lousy roll out of many isn’t that bad. Their Traffic White PLA printed beautifully, though.
Since I’ve printed Glint Green previously, I didn’t bother printing a temp tower. I just printed the full sleigh body to use with the project. The included picture of the print is a bit dark, but If you look at the base, you can see the cool texture of the filament in the light.
Zyltech – Blue TPU
Last but not least, we have a Blue TPU sample from Zyltech. I’ve been looking forward to trying some TPU since I recently upgraded my Ender 3 V2 to direct drive. Previously on my Ender 3 Pro, I’ve been able to print TPU. It has been usable prints, but not of the quality I would like. I hoped having a direct drive printer would make printing filaments like TPU go much smoother.
This particular filament has a recommended print range of 200-240C. The bed is recommended to be from 50-90C. And the print speeds are recommended from 20-60mms. I printed a series of temp and retractions towers. The main body for each of these was great, no matter what temp layer. Also, the speed didn’t seem to be a quality factor. The retraction settings, however, took a while for me to hone in. In the end, I found that a retraction of 1.25mm works best with my setup. I never ultimately got rid of stringing in my temp towers, but it went away on regular prints.
I then printed two hover pads for this month’s project. One was printed at 228C (Cura default) and the other at 235C. Both printed beautifully. My speed was at 40mms for both. I had my retraction set to 1.25mm. This was the first time I’ve printed TPU, and I have been satisfied with the results. Yes, I could print TPU on a Bowden setup, but it is nowhere near the quality as I can print with direct drive.
I also printed a couple of little tires with the remainder of this filament. The quality was just superb. After this test, I am seriously considering upgrading my Ender 5 Plus to direct drive as well.
This month’s project is a bit of a work in progress. The project is a hover sleigh. But, as I noted earlier, the intended design is not quite powerful enough to hover the sleigh. So I have the components breadboarded, and I am playing around with various options to see what I can do. I have other projects going on right now, so it might take me a while before deciding what to do. But I do have a few ideas.
I thought this was another cool Alien3D UFO box. It was an excellent selection of Christmas colors. It may have been nice to have this before Christmas, but I think everyone knows how shipping is these days. Plus, I see the underpowered project as a challenge to find a way to make the project work as intended.
Song of the Day: Ride On
I’ve been on a huge AC/DC kick lately. So when I was printing the sleigh parts, I couldn’t help but get this song in my head.
Bonus Song: Who Made Who
We watched Maximum Overdrive last night. So I think it is required to play this classic track, especially since I’m a maker… but who makes who…
Bonus Bonus Song: It’s A Long Way LIVE
I love some of the things you can find on YouTube. How can I pass on getting to see Bon Scott play bagpipes!