With the crowdfunded extruder up and now running at close to full speed I’m able to produce enough filament to develop the product with a rigour that it deserves.

The spooler still hasn’t arrived but I’m cracking on with blend testing that doesn’t require the ultimate quality that it would provide.

The aim here is to produce an optimum product in terms of colour consistency, printability, economic return and waste reduction. A colourant would just make the development process more complex at this point, so the body colour is ‘as it comes’. Luckily its actually quite an attractive and distinctive transluscent blue-green-grey when printed, but the actual tint depends on the specific blend of material going into the process.

Not quite finished with that process but here’s a shot of the kind of colour I’m getting.

Blend colour

When its printed it looks like the propeller below. Its not a perfect print but thats the point of these tests. You’ll notice there is still a bit of colour variability. This is a function of batch size more than anything. Simply scaling up the process will provide a more homogenised colour. There is also a small defect on one of the blades due to how I printed the form, but I hope you’ll agree that from a materials point of view this ain’t looking at all bad.

Of course there is a downside. With this recycled nylon that downside is printing temperature. Its quite high and out of the range that most of the current crop of cheap desktop printers are designed for.

I did use a super-cheap Wanhao Duplicator i3, but it is modified with the MicroSwiss all metal hot-end and I’ve wrapped it in a cabinet to keep out drafts, so its now a far more complete package and suited to the nylon product being developed.

However the newer, higher-end desktop printers (e.g. the Ultimaker 3 & the BCN3D Sigma) are being produced with nylon in mind and extruders that are certified to 280°C and higher. In 3D printing higher temperatures open the door to a far wider range of materials, and more materials means more functional end products, so this trend for more temperature tolerant hardware is definitely going the right way for Fishy Filaments.

For my fellow geeks;

The propeller was printed at 275°C with a bed temp of 110°C, a chamber temp of 35°C and humidity down at under 30%. It was printed in just under 3 hours, at 0.1mm layer thickness with no support and a 5mm brim at 50mm/s. The design is by poggia10 and available as http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:194773 under Creative Commons license.