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I did it! I finally opened the latest Alien3D UFO subscription box. This was the March 2021 box. The package includes four sample filaments. Plus, it contains an excellent little tool and electronics project. This post will look at the contents of the box and the test results from printing the filament samples. I will do a post later today about the project.
To me, an essential part of this subscription box is the filament samples. I love testing filaments from various vendors to find new colors or find out if I can get good prints out of them. I will go through each of the four included filaments later in this post.
The project for this month is a Simon Says game featuring arcade buttons and a Nano. This was a fun little project. I will share a couple of steps I did differently from the tutorial and how the finished project looks in a separate post.
Finally, each month the UFO box includes a handy little tool. This month the box contained a 13 in 1 USB Tester. These are handy little devices when working with microcontroller projects. You can easily see just how much power is being used through the USB connection. An alligator clip dongle is also included, making it possibly handy for breadboard applications.
Below is an example of an Arduino UNO running code to light up a small RGB strip. In this case I can see that the project is drawing .225 watts of power.
Now on to the filament.
3D Printing Canada – Green Value PLA
- Extrusion Temp = 195 – 215 C
- Bed Temp = 0C – 60 C
- Speed = 40 – 100 mms
I printed a temp tower on my Ender 3 Pro between 195-215C. The whole thing printed very nicely. No stringing showed up at all. For further testing, I chose to print with a hotend temp of 205C, a bed temp of 60C, and a speed of 50mms.
I also printed most of the base for this month’s project. Unfortunately, I bumped the x-axis arm when changing filament, so I could not use the piece I printed. But the base piece I printed came out very nicely.
I also printed a hollow calibration cube with the bit of filament I had left. The cube printed nicely. I measured the walls, and it printed within my acceptable specs. I would have no problems using this filament if I found it for a good deal.
IC3D – Yellow PLA
- Extrusion Temp = 200 – 240 C
- Bed Temp = 0 -60 C
I printed a temp tower on my Ender 3 Pro between 210-230 C. The temp tower printed nicely. There was some very fine hair stringing on the back of the tower. But that rubbed right off.
For a test, I printed a C-3PO tiki head designed by Hex3D. I printed it with the hotend at 220C, the bed at 60C, and the speed at 50mms. I resized the model to 50% and printed it at .12mm. The print came out beautifully. The detailed cracks of the model showed up nicely.
This would be a suitable filament for novice printers. It can print at a wide range of temperatures and has pretty good final results.
Polymaker – Sapphire Blue PolyTerra PLA
Polymaker provided a sample of Sapphire Blue PolyTerra PLA. The recommended settings for this filament were:
- Extrusion Temp = 190 – 230 C.
- Bed Temperature = 25 -60 C.
- Print Speed = 30 – 70 mms.
I wasn’t sure what PolyTerra meant. According to Polymaker, the PolyTerra PLA filaments prints faster than regular PLA, has easy support removal, and allow for a smooth surface finish.
I printed the temp tower between 200 – 220 C on my Ender 3 V2. It printed nicely for the most part. There was some stringing at the bottom portion, which would have been where it printed 200C. Also, there was a weird layer shift halfway through, but there were kids in my basement at the time. It is possible kids bumped my printer at that time. Other than that, the print tower was quite nice.
I printed the top of this month’s project to test the filament out. It was printed with a hotend temp of 205C, bed temp of 60C, and speed of 50mms. The piece came out great. It was structurally sound. Plus, the lettering on top of the piece came out nicely and can be easily read.
I also printed out a little Arduino offset that came with the project and a hollow calibration cube. Both items printed nicely. This is another filament I would put on my list of worth using.
Sakata 3D – Red 850 PLA
- Extrusion Temp = 190 – 220 C.
- Bed Temp = Not Needed.
- Print Speed = Max 200mms.
850 PLA is another type of filament which I had no clue what it was. Sakata 3D has a long explanation of what makes 850 PLA special. But basically, it appears they are saying the filament will flow easier than standard PLA, which means it can be printed much faster. Plus, there is little or no shrinkage of parts.
I printed a temp tower on my Ender 3 Pro between 195 – 215 C. The tower printed very nicely from bottom to top. There was some very slight stringing at the 195C and 216C temp ranges. But the temp ranges in between them had no stringing at all.
I then proceeded to print the top from this month’s project. I used a hotend temp of 205C. I used no bed temp on the first try, but I couldn’t get the first layer to stay. After changing my bed to 60C, I was able to get a good first layer. But after a few layers, the extruder became clogged, and I had a failed print. Since I had done many prints on the 3 Pro without cleaning the nozzle, I decided to switch over to the Ender 3 V2. The 3 V2 had just gotten its nozzle cleaned.
On the V2, I printed another temp tower. This time there was no stringing at all. It was a perfect temp tower. I then proceeded once again to print the project top. This time it printed the whole way nicely through. The top of the print had significant problems, as the filament didn’t appear to stick where it should have and was drug into the middle of the buttonholes. Perhaps 60mms was too slow a speed for this high-speed filament.
If I run into this filament again, I will do testing with printing at different speeds. I suspect my problems with the filament arose from the fact I was treating this too much like standard PLA.
This month had another excellent round of filaments. I think my favorite of this group was probably the Sapphire Blue PolyTerra PLA from Polymaker. The stuff prints nicely and has a nice texture on the finished product. Up next will be my post about the Simon Says project included in this box.