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  1. #1

    Filament that Lasts Long and can be Polished

    Hey guys, just joined the site... I don't have a 3D printer yet, but am researching now so come December when they start going on sale I can grab one.I'm looking at something in the price range of the Ender 3 Pro.... within budget, lots of help on YouTube and lots of help online... all of which is almost as important to me as the print quality.I've had ideas over the years of stuff I'd like to print, nothing specific though and for most I'm sure the PLA is fine. However, one thing specifically I want the printer for is for guitar parts. I like to restore/rebuild old Teisco/Kawai imports from the '60/70s and many times they had some oddball shaped pickup rings, or need logo badges remade. Pickup rings especially, I'd like to sand out the lines and wetsand it down and hand polish them to a relatively glossy black finish without resorting to paint.From my understanding after 15yrs that PLA starts breaking down, and probably faster with someone hitting it with guitar picks and sweaty forearms.Is there a filament that I can get that will do what I'm after? Would it be ABS?Figured best ask now so I can see what printers are an option. Again most stuff is just random stuff... but stuff like pickup rings for guitars, I don't want crumbling in a few years.

  2. #2
    Sorry it's all 1 block of text... even hitting enter 2x between paragraphs reverted back to a single clump of text when saved. Weird.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    ABS tends to break down faster than pla.
    Pla is also a lot harder and more durable.
    When 3d printed :-)

    There are several filaments that can be 'smoothed' rather than polished.
    To 'polish' you'd just paint it with a clear lacquer - which would probably help make it last longer.

    As far as pla breaking down in 15 years.
    I'm not even sure if there were any 3d printer pla filament around 15 years ago - so doubt there are any cases to look at :-)

    polymaker do a pla based filament that can be smoothed and made shiny.

    And you can do the same thing with abs and a box filled with acetone fumes.

    If you want to invest in a decent machine - then some of the really hi-end plastics like PEEK - which are often used instead of metals - would become a possibility so I'm guessing their useage lifespan is pretty long.

    Polycarbonate is printable with a decent hotend and some experimentation - that's about the toughest material a 'standard' fdm machine can handle.
    And then there's always nylon - again you should be able to make it shiny with the right coating.

    But for things like polycarbonate, nylon and abs - you will need a heated enclosure.
    Of the creality machines - Pretty much only the ender 5 is easy to enclose.

    I'm not a fan of the creality price over practicality approach.

    What I'd say is have a look at some of the new corexy printers.
    Easy to enclose, great quality and speed and very easy to put together - and there are a few around the $300 mark as well.

  4. #4
    Shoulda mentioned, $300 Canadian.

    Though I see a Sapphire Pro on Banggood for around $390 on sale. Looks like around 9"x9"x9" print which is probably more than enough.

    Any thoughts on that over the Creality 3 Pro?

  5. #5
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    it's a hundred times better.
    Maybe more lol

    Seriously I have yet to find anything mine will not do.
    I've been throwing things at it that none of other printers I have, will reliable print - and it just powers through them all.
    The more I use it the more I can't figure out why everyone isn't making them.
    I guess the sheer build quality means companies get a lot less profit out of one than they do out of somthing like an ender3.

    I noticed that the company twotrees latest printer is a creality style design i3 and a lot of people are having problems with it.
    They do make a better machine - the sapphire plus. The printbed is more solidly mounted and the build volume is a good bit bigger and it comes already configured as a direct drive extruder.
    But their newest machine - the blue - isn't half as good as the sapphire pro, let alone the plus.

    Like I said - nothing needs upgrading or should in the future.
    The electronics are top notch, the hardware is super solid, the actual operation is silent. The only sound is the retractions of the extruder.

    I've done a few pretty simple modifications and changed to a different firmware as the one it came with was corrupted.
    And I can't think of anything else the needs doing.

    Pretty much the only slightly tricky part of the build is getting the belts as tight as possible. They still don't 'feel' tight - but the printer's performance proves they clearly are tight enough.
    The way the printhead moves around with both stepper motors always working together, just seems to keep the head exactly where it should be without needing really tight belts.

    Yeah the build volume is 235x235x220. Not the largest around but plenty big enough for 99% of everything most people would want to print.
    Last edited by curious aardvark; 09-13-2020 at 11:49 AM.

  6. #6

    Banggood = Nogood

    Quote Originally Posted by THRobinson View Post
    Shoulda mentioned, $300 Canadian.

    Though I see a Sapphire Pro on Banggood for around $390 on sale. Looks like around 9"x9"x9" print which is probably more than enough.

    Any thoughts on that over the Creality 3 Pro?
    If you deal with Banggood you run the risk of needing to use their meaningless faulty goods return policy and could end up out of pocket with a machine that is only fit to sell on as a project for someone.

    Just look at any independent reviews of them, sometimes as much as 50% are negative reviews because of this very problem.

    Ask me how I know this.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    he sold me my printer :-)
    He also has absolutely no patience with things that don't appear to work as they should lol

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by curious aardvark View Post
    he sold me my printer :-)
    He also has absolutely no patience with things that don't appear to work as they should lol
    It isn't that it didn't "appear" to work, but more because it wouldn't work, but hey I've managed to get through six reels of PLA since you got my printer that didn't appear to work.

  9. #9
    It's a weird mix of reviews on that Ender 3 Pro... good price and a tonne of great reviews and helpful videos... found a lot more vids on the Ender than Sapphire...


    Then you get to a group (like here in the forum) that absolutely detests it.

    I've never purchased from Banggood, the site always looked like a lot of cheap junk to me and I don't know anyone who has bought from there to know how the return policy is. Although probably costing more, I'd probably stick with, because a good return policy, and if something sold turns out to be a knock-off, Amazon is usually on your side to help for that stuff.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    lol - the problem with the ender series is that they were deliberately engineered to 'just work'.
    The cheapest prusa standard i3 will happily chug along at 150mm/s (and mine is even made of plywood).
    A standard ender 3 will chug along at 50mm/s.
    And it's purely down to how creality changed the design.

    Now you CAN fix the built in problems.
    Although while I have seen plenty of dual z screw fixes - and once you've done that moving to a direct drive extruder is a doddle. I have yet to see any easy fixes for the bed mount system.

    Prusa use two side rails to give equal support to both sides of the print bed with cylindrical bearings on steel rods.
    Creality decided to go for a central piece of alumoinium extrusion with the bed riding on horizontal wheels that sit in the extrusion slots.

    The thing to bear in mind is that the difference between a succesful 3d print and a failed print can be non-level bed with a few hundredths of a millimetre difference.
    A bed sliding on cheap wheels along a slot in cheap aluminium extrusion - is never ever going to be really level through it's entire travel. And if you print to one side or have an asymmetric print with most of the weight on one side - it can only be unlevel.

    So that's why the crreality machines are not as good as many other designs around.

    They deliberately set out to make the cheapest 'functional' printer they could.
    They also decided to give a lot of them away to youtubers, who generally give positive reviews in the hopes of receiving future free hardware.
    Their marketing dept should win some kind of business and industry award.
    They have managed to sell people glass and make them believe it's diamonds.

    Now, many people don't care if a print takes 3x longer than it should. Or that they spend more time fiddling around than printing.
    I like my printers - once setup and tuned - to just work. And they all do.
    I have not changed any hardware in 5 of my printers. because you should not need to.

    All the sapphire needed was a non-corrupt firmware a totally non-technical 5 minute job.
    The few other changes I made - still use the original hardware - but it's now all optimised to print to the machine's full potential.
    And they were pretty straight forward to.A nd as I'll stick them on thingiverse - eevrybody else can just print 4 objects and do the same.

    they are Not strictly necessary for the printer to work really well.
    BUt why race a ferrari at 50mph when you know it's actually capable of 200mph ?

    Now lets talk about auto-bed level, while I'm on a roll (lol).
    What auto level ACTUALLY does is to make a topographical map of the print bed surface. taking note of where it's not flat.
    If you have a flat print surface and if the bed stays flat during the printing process - there is absolutely no need for auto levelling. A simple manual level is all that's needed and if you use nylock locking nuts on your levelling bolts - it's a once a year job - if that.
    Honestly can't remember the last time I levelled my delta.

    Auto level is mainly of any real use if you have either a non-flat build surface or a method of moving the bed around that does not keep it totally flat.

    Why is auto level a bad thing ?
    Because it relies on either the print head or bed moving in the z axis to match the non-flat areas on the bed. And those extra movements have to be done for every single layer of the print.
    That slows things down, introduces extra vibration and potentially adds errors into the print.

    The only setup where bed levelling is a viable alternative to a flat bed is the delta print system
    Where the print head naturally moves effortlessly in three dimensions and conforming to a topographical map makes almost no difference to speed or quality.

    For all other machines where you are either moving the bed up and down or with i3's the x print gantry - it's a really poor substitute for a properly flat print bed.

    None of this is opinion or conjecture - it's all common sense, fact and bloody obvious to anyone - whether you have a engineering background or not.

    But creality have managed to convince a large part of the 3d printing community that up is down and orange really is the new purple.

    Even whiole condemming their policy of deliberately selling poorly designed machines - you HAVE to admire their sheer nerve and the ability to do sell these machines :-)
    Last edited by curious aardvark; 09-16-2020 at 12:13 PM.

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