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April 25th, 2015 - Colours, Finishing, Mosaic, and Survey reminder [ARCHIVE]

Hey everyone,

Just a quick update this week, but with some important news for those wishing to use PayPal for BackerKit at the end.


We've been doing tons of extruding in the past few weeks...



...Which means we've been printing tons of stuff as well! In addition to last week's glow in the dark stuff, we've done a whole fleet of different coloured filament, just to make sure Intelligent Extrusion doesn't act weird with varying levels or types of pigments (or types of plastic, see below).

Everything there was printed with ProtoCycled filament, of course. We're going to try and print a very slowly varying rainbow spool at some point and print the same model over and over again, just to show all the different variations you can accomplish.

Materials / Finishing

One the coolest things about being able to make your own filament is the abiliety to make whatever kind you can think of (assuming your printer can print with it, of course). We're re-testing ABS and PLA with Intelligent Extrusion first to make sure it's cleared our current standards before we let it loose on other filaments. However, it's made switching plastics *much* easier - in some cases, you don't even notice. We're actually fairly sure we can create co-polymers like ABS/PLA hybrids...but we need to examine these with an electron microscope to see their structure before we can determine if these "hybrid plastics" will remain stable and durable through time. In the meantime, we extruded some beautiful purple ABS and decided immediately to try vapour smoothing it:

We havn't printed ABS in quite a while as we personally have much better luck with PLA (and it's a bio polymer - yay!), and hadn't actually ever tried acetone smoothing a print. I'm personally on the fence on wether I prefer the gloss with this particular shade of purple, but I think you'll agree that both the original and smoothed versions look great!

But what about those of us who print in PLA, and still want a smooth finish? For an upcoming project and update, I wanted a smooth celtic skull (see glow in the dark update for thingiverse file), but explicitly in PLA. Some patience and practice with hot air ended up doing the trick - using the Sparkfun unit we have, I found 450 C and an air speed of 5 with no nozzle, or 2 with the nozzle for the small nooks, worked great. Quick passes and constant movement and cooling is key!


The print looks absoloutely awesome like this, and is even starting to look like metal already (hint hint ;) )! If there's enough interest let us know and - time permitting - we'll put up a video or two detailing the method. It's fairly easy, but quite time consuming, and doesn't perfectly clean the print like ABS does.


(Shameless promotion alert, but we've never seen a cooler peice of 3D printing gear (except for ProtoCycler, of course), and we wanted to let you know about it! We're not affiliated with them in any way, other than having met once or twice and a shared love for 3D printing innovation)

Photo Credit: Mosaic Mfg.

While we're talking about all the different materials and colours you can make with ProtoCycler, wouldn't it be great if you could print with multiple materials and the same time???

Well, now you can! Thanks to some friends of ours over at Mosaic Manufacturing, you can now buy the Palette - an awesome little machine that splices up to 4 different types of filament together into one continuous line, ready for nearly any single extruder printer on the market today. All this with no mods, and no ooze. We've seen it in action a few times and as I said it's awesome! Check out their kickstarter campaign - they're already succesful less than 6 hours in!

BackerKit Surveys

We've now had about 70% of you fill out your surveys, which is amazing! But, we need to as always, we're asking you to PLEASE fill out those surveys.

Some of you have brought up issues with paying BackerKit with PayPal - apparently it's an issue they're still working on, but the current workaround is to go to the following link:

Once at that link, follow these instructions, but from a backers perspective, if you need help:

Please let us know if there's any issues with confirmation or the like. Once adding PayPal credit, you may need to re login to backerkit yourself (the site will not auto-return you to backerkit) - as I said, let us know if there are any issues whatsoever, and we can sort it out. Alternatively, you can pay us personally and we'll credit you through BackerKit - just e-mail us and let us know.

That's it for now everyone - thanks!

-The ReDeTec team