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  1. #1

    "flexible" 3D print filaments

    So I was out riding my motorcycle today and I noticed the left front turn signal indicator hanging loosely. I don't recall bumping it on anything but it is broken... and I believe there is a recall for my bike for defective materials on these. The mounts that attach to the plastic side panels are made of sort of a hard "rubber" or synthetic that has some flex. I designed and printed myself a new one in ABS, with a necked down section of thinner wall thickness to provide a safe breakaway in the event of impact. But I was wondering if there might be better materials to print one of these with? Don't need a lot of flex, just a little.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    polyflex - would be ideal for the job: http://www.polymaker.com/shop/polyflex/
    depending on how you print it can be really flexible or pretty rigid. Would be ideal - also damn near indestructible.

  3. #3
    Thanks, CA, the Polyflex looks interesting but $$. I visited the vendor and didn't see any discussion as to how to vary the flexibility of the printed part. Does that depend on print temp and speed? Or do you mean one could adjust wall thickness to get the desired flex? Also no discussion about UV resistance.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    wall thickness and infill density.

    As far as price goes - decent flexibles are not cheap. Just how it is.

    You can have a look around for flexible pla. I've got some cheap red stuff. Pretty stiff but would probably work for you.
    Basically the cheaper flexible pla is the stiffer and weaker it tends to be.
    But worth a shot as you can usually buy a smaller reel.

    Sunlu is the cheaper stuff I have. pretty cheap - ish. https://www.amazon.com/SUNLU-Filamen...ible+pla&psc=1
    one of the advantages of flexible pla is that you can print it on any surface and don't need to heat the bed. Sticks like a limpet, but is easy to peel off. I wouldn't print it on blue tape, probably tear the tape. Everything else should be fine.

    The sunlu stuff is pretty stiff but also very strong - so would probably suit your purpose a lot better. $22 for a 500g reel.
    Also stiff enough that it will print on any 3d printer.

  5. #5
    Staff Engineer Davo's Avatar
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    Flexibility and durability don't always go hand-in-hand.

  6. #6
    Engineer ralphzoontjens's Avatar
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    How about PCL aka Instamorph aka Polymorph aka Plastimake? Flexible, hand-malleable, UV resistant, biodegradable and quite durable.

  7. #7
    Staff Engineer Davo's Avatar
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    Great idea. We've printed with this for internal medical applications, but I hadn't thought about it for hardware use.

    Quote Originally Posted by ralphzoontjens View Post
    How about PCL aka Instamorph aka Polymorph aka Plastimake? Flexible, hand-malleable, UV resistant, biodegradable and quite durable.

  8. #8
    Thanks for the suggestions, guys. I'll have a look at these. I designed the part with Tinkercad and for now have printed it in ABS. It is a little flexible. I included a necked down section to create a preferable failure point to give way instead of transferring the force to the plastic side panel.

    https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2519402
    Last edited by raylo32; 09-13-2017 at 08:07 AM.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    just bear in mind if you do print it with a different type of plastic, it will be a bit bigger. ABS shrinks quite a lot.

  10. #10
    Engineer-in-Training iDig3Dprinting's Avatar
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    You could try Colorfabb nGen Flex. This is a semiflexible material. We have used it to 3d print a molex seal which was used on a bike as it happens. Printing a larger part should be a breeze in comparison. It's pretty tough.

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