Thursday, June 16, 2016

M3D Micro: Why I will only recommend and use M3D Filament reels

M3D offers a fairly comprehensive range of filaments for the Micro 3D printer.  But, the printer can work with most other brands of filament.  This leads some users to take that concept to ridiculous levels by running the Micro with very large and heavy spools of filament on some DIY spool holders.

Will it work.  Probably.  Is it wise? Probably not.

There are two reason why I do not plan to use anything other than M3D filament reels.

Would you pull a fifth-wheel RV with a Miata?

 Fifth wheel RVs are great.  But, it takes the proper vehicle to pull them.  Trucks are perfect for that purpose.

Truck pulling Fith Wheel RV
Miata's are perfect for the purpose for which they were designed, too.

But, would you REALLY want to pull one of those massive RV beasts down the road with a tiny Miata?  I sure wouldn't.  That would not only end up with the tail wagging the dog; but, it could probably be considered suicidal!

Those hefty reels of filament were designed to be used with even heftier large 3D printers.  To ask the Micro to pull filament from a reel that weighs more than the printer comes close to being abusive.

The Micro is designed for certain stress loads that are in line with the design goals of providing us with a wonderful small footprint printer.  If we want the best prints and the longest life from our Micro printers, then we need to consider its design goals and respect them.

Just because something CAN be done, does not make it a wise choice.

 PLA Filament Slurps Up Moisture from the Air.

Anyone with long experience with PLA filament that lives in the southeastern part of the USA knows that the enemy of PLA filament is high humidity.  It simply destroys PLA.

The RapMan 3.2 was a relatively large 3D printer.  It could easily deal with large, heavy reels of filament.  Yet, it didn't take me long to realize that I never seemed to be able to use all the filament on a reel before the printer started clogging.  While I didn't know it at the time, the culprit was moisture in the air.

The best defense against the issue of moisture contamination is to use up all the filament in a reel as quickly as possible after it is opened.  Obviously, a small reel of filament is more likely to be able to be finished before being made unusable by moisture than a large reel.  I expect to get a very high percentage of use out of my M3D reels of filament, with little waste.

M3D Filament is easier to store and protect

In addition to the filament that came with the Micro, I ordered 10 more reels. with no two alike.  It would be wrong to think that I am disciplined enough to use each reel in turn.  No, I am sure that I will open and test every single one of them leaving me with 10 open reels of filament.

But, fortunately, I don't need to leave those reels out and subject to the damage that moisture would inflict one them.  The small diameter of these M3D reels affords us LOTS of options for protecting them once the package is opened.

Let's consider just a couple.that can be found at your local Container Store. The first candidate is 6" in diameter and up to 9" tall.

Clear Acrylic Containers - Air Tight

While these are air tight containers, I suggest including a bag or two of desiccant just to be on the safe side.

But, there are even better choices from that very same store.  The Good Grips 6" square POP containers are an excellent choice for storing M3D filament.

Good Grip POP Containers

Here is a vidoe that describes their system for removing air from the canister to enhance storage.

So, think of the M3D filament reel as not only the perfect size and weight to complement the Micro; but, actually a good investment as well, since they are easily protected, over a long period of time, with convenient storage options.

This is certainly the way we plan to store our filament for the M3D Micro.  It's a whole lot more compact than the huge 5 gallon buckets we use for our other 3D printers.  And, I'm betting it will look pretty cool to visitors as well.

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