Printing with flexible filament is sometimes difficult, especially if the filament is too flexible. However, Hatchbox is now making a TPU filament (flexible) which is much stiffer and works especially well. Also, TPU filament lays flat and does not curl after printing much better than it’s brethren, TPC.
Although Hatchbox TPU is easily printed, some major changes must be made to the printing speeds. I recommend dropping all of the speeds to 35mm/sec or less on the Imaginator 3D printer. The slower speeds will help prevent the filament from wrapping around the motor gears within the extruder assembly.
Different slicing programs have different interfaces for controlling speeds, however, most will have a page or tab for adjusting printer speeds. As an example, Makerbot Desktop has the simple interface (below) which can be accessed by clicking the “Settings” button.
Makerbot Desktop offer these option for printer speeds. The ones below are the specific settings I use for my Imaginator 3D.
- Bridges 35 mm/sec
- First Layer 20 mm/sec
- First Layer Raft 20 mm/sec
- Floor Surface Fills 35 mm/sec
- Infill 30 mm/sec
- Inset 30 mm/sec
- Outlines 30 mm/sec
- Raft 20 mm/sec
- Raft Base 10 mm/sec
- Roof Surface Fills 30 mm/sec
- Sparse Roof Surface Fills 30 mm/sec
So, you may be wondering why print with flexible filament… There are many uses, but one of my favorite’s is for printing rubber stamps. Thingiverse has a huge selection of rubber stamps to print, below are a few from which to choose.
These two examples are great for getting you started, and I hope you enjoy them. If you find more fun stamps on Thingiverse, make sure to comment below. Until next time, Happy Printing!