CREAT3D 3D printing tips: printing in colorFabb ngen on CEL Robox

Thursday, 20 April 2017  |  Jon Brydges

Printing with colorFabb nGen on CEL Robox

A whole variety of 3D printing materials have been released over the last couple of years, so we thought we’d take some time to experiment.

 

Our first test is 3D printing using colorFabb’s co-polyester, nGen on the CEL Robox 3D printers. We wanted to test the capabilities of nGen as an everyday 3D printing material.

 

What is colorFabb nGen?

colorFabb nGen filament is made with Eastman Amphora AM3300 3D polymer. It is a low-odour, styrene-free high quality 3D printing material. The chemical make-up of AM3300 also makes the material less sensitive to moisture, than PLA.

 

colorFabb nGen has good flow properties, a low processing temperature, good bridging capabilities and a high glass transition temperature of 85°C making it an ideal material for engineering applications in form, fit and function testing of parts and prototypes.

 

So why did we select nGen for the Robox?

The CEL Robox & RoboxDual are capable of printing in a range of materials. With Automaker (the Robox software), there is more control available over print settings which is required when printing with filaments with differing properties. What’s more, Robox have been developing their pre-set print profiles to fine-tune the print performance of nGen.

 

The properties and chemical make-up of nGen filament make it more reliable for loading and unloading, and reducing filament slip errors on the Robox. As colorFabb nGen is less sensitive to moisture, it also means a more consistent material, combined with the good flow rate and higher glass transition temperature, makes it less likely to swell in Bowden tube or create “strings” when processing through the print head, so in theory it should be a more consistent performing material to print with.

 

Our results: nGen 3D printing on the Robox

We experimented with a selection of different prints on different print quality settings. Here’s what we found…

 

Part: Impeller

We chose this part because of shallow gradients towards the bottom which emphasise layer thickness. The part also has vertical walls towards the top and a complex geometry, with thin walls and lots of retraction between the individual blades.

 

Print settings: Normal settings in nGen

  • “Normal” settings (0.2mm layer height. 15% infill).
  • Pre-set print profile “colorFabb nGen [colour] co-pet” created by Robox in the Automaker software (Bed 80°C, Nozzle 225°C)

 

Result on normal settings:

A great print! Clean and crisp, with a good finish. Overall a very neat print.

 

colorFabb nGen print on Robox image

We then printed the same part, but on different settings:

 

Print settings: Fine quality settings

  • “Fine Quality” settings (0.1mm layer height, 15% infill).
  • Pre-set print profile “colorFabb nGen [colour] co-pet” created by Robox in the Automaker software (Bed 80°C, Nozzle 225°C)

 

Result on fine settings:

Again, we had an excellent overall print finish, although it was a little “hairier” with some stringing between blades. However, these were easy to remove, using an old toothbrush.  We also tried removing them using a sponge scourer and fine sandpaper. The toothbrush took longer but created a better final surface finish on the end part, and it was a lot easier than sandpaper to get in between the blades!

 

nGen comparison to PLA

We repeated the same prints using standard PLA, and found that nGen performed much better. The PLA print was rougher, with a less smooth surface finish and more visible layers.

 

More 3D printing with nGen

We also did a couple of additional prints to test bridging and dual printing capabilities. Here’s what we found…

 

Bridging:

nGen bridging print on RoboxDual image

nGen performs really pretty well at bridging! We put it through a rather harsh test of bridging using below print, without any support material.

 

In reality, we wouldn’t really recommend printing this part without support, but we wanted to put the material through its paces.  We found nGen did particularly well on spans up to 40mm.

 

Dual colour printing

We found nGen to be very clean and crisp. With PLA (the red and white cone in the below image), the print is messier, with some of the red bleeding into the white.

 

We also did a dual colour print which required both nozzles to operate on a single layer.  Again, the result with using colorFabb nGen was nice and neat, with the printer and material coping really well producing a very smooth finish, and a clean print.

Dual colour nGen printing on RoboxDual image

 

Overall: nGen is a great material for printing on the Robox

We have found colorFabb nGen a great material for everyday printing. The material itself has excellent properties, and is easy to print with. You don’t need to be an advanced user to work with nGen.

 

We’d recommend using the Robox standard settings in Automaker for nGen, which have been fine-tuned to generate the best all-round print output. The material itself is more reliable when unloading and we have seen a reduction in filament slip errors on the Robox when using this material, compared with PLA.

 

Overall, nGen is an excellent material for printing on the Robox. It is easy to handle, less volatile than PLA and produces more durable parts, reliably.

 

It gets the thumbs up from us!

 

colorFabb nGen is available as individual spools within the colorFabb range, or specifically adapted for the Robox on Robox SmartReels.

 

If you are looking for advice on which printer is going to deliver the best results for your needs, then contact the CREAT3D team and we can talk you through the options.

 

If you'd like to cover off any of the above, or other aspects of 3D printing in more detail, take a look at our training options, including our 1 hour phone / video training, great for a top-up or refresh for £115 plus VAT.

 

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