Monday, July 4, 2016

M3D Micro: Exploring Ways to Minimize Stringing (Part 3)

The more I test the M3D Micro, the more I like it.  In fact, based on my tests so far, I have purchased one for my grandchildren.  While I could have given them one of the other 3D rinters I have blogged about over the years, the Micro is the first one that met the low noise, small foot print and ease of use that I thought appropriate for them.  Cost had little to do with the choice.  Suitability was the decising factor.  They are going to love it.

As we continue our exploration of ways to minimize stringing, let's remember that after several iterations of testing, it was a setting of 250 microns and medium infill density that has risen to the top so far.  Here is the image of the print output with those settings.

250 Microns / Medium Density
We'll now move on to some tests at the resolution of 200 microns.  We have three samples:  Because an infill of Medium seemed to work the best at 250 microns, we'll begin with a setting of 200 micron / Medium infill.

200 Microns / Medium infill

There is some stringing between the top and adjacent petals.  But, for the most part, it's pretty clean.  Zooming in on the image some small blemishes can be seen, in the areas of greatest bulk, where the filament, while not creating a full string, pulled up a bit before cooling.  So, what of the Low Infill?

200 Microns / Low Infill
Oddly, the Low Infill version shows even more signs of stringing and the same level of artifacts!  The stringing is not limited to the top and adjacent petals.  But, can be seen in the lower left quadrant as well.  This is a bit confounding; but, it is what it is.

So, let's turn our attention to a setting of 200 Microns / High Infill density.

200 Micron / High Density
Well, at least this result conforms to my basic theory that higher density might cause more stringing due to greater heat retention.   The entire upper left quadrant has more than a few strings.  The artifacts, not resulting in full strings; but, leaving blemished seems more pronounced.

So far, the top candidate is still 250 Microns / Medium density.  

Perhaps it is because 200 Micron layers add more total density, and thus more heat retention, regardless of the infill setting.  Frankly, I'm finding these results quite counter-intuitive because in the past I have only focused on layer height with no regard for density or heat retention.  But, the software that runs the M3D Micro gives me much greater latitude over both layer and infill density than I have had with the clients of the other 3D printers I've used in the past.

I like that.  I like it a LOT!

In the next installment, of this series, we'll examine 150 Microns and finally in the last of these tests, 50 microns.

But, before then, I would like to share with you my tests of 'stickiness', as affected by gap height, using Antique Gold filament.  So, that will be my next article.  Very cool!

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