The new MattFlex 40D from Fiberlogy is positioned as a strong incentive to get even more people interested in flexible filaments, promising high-quality prints. It features a matte finish that hides the bonding of the layers and its surface reflects light to a minimum.
Rubber-like filaments are still a novelty for many 3D printing users. For some, it’s a true challenge where any satisfactory result is hard-won with many hours of trial-and-error. Meanwhile, users who have already tried and mastered this material are able to complete projects on their printers which are impossible to achieve with traditional materials such as PLA, ABS or Nylon.
How do you print with “rubber”?
The general idea is that ideal results with flexible filaments can be achieved only on printers equipped with the direct system. Meanwhile, the Fiberlogy Flex family of filaments works just as well on Bowden-type printers such as the popular Enders.
The key to success is in parameters selection, but also in the proper preparation of the machine. It starts by reducing the pressure on the extruder. Too much pressure can cause “escaping” of the filament or its blocking. Reducing the retraction will also be a good idea. Excessive or too fast retraction of the filament can quickly lead to nozzle clogging.
What is most important, however, is the printing speed. Typically, flexible filaments are recommended to print at around 20mm/sec. However, with Fiberlogy MattFlex 40D, as was the case with FiberFlex 40D, excellent results can be achieved at 45 mm/s. Even 60 mm/s with a direct extruder should not adversely affect the result.
The last step will be the proper preparation of the substrate. The Flex family of filaments adhere very well to both PEI and glass substrates. If you bump into any problems, you can try using blue masking tape. In this case, however, the tape residue will remain on the bottom of the model, which will then have to be removed with water or a sharp tool.
After printing, the model can be easily removed by heating the bed and gently levering it with a spatula. Tugging at a model held firmly to the table will only lead to tearing off the bottom layers of the print.
Flexible filaments – new possibilities
But does all this “fight” for rubber printing make sense? Absolutely! Flexible filaments open up new possibilities.
Their strength and resistance to harsh conditions make this material suitable for a host of practical applications. From model and robot tyres, gaskets and vibration damping pads to clothing components and wristbands for watches and smartwatches – the list of areas where MattFlex 40D will prove its worth can go forever.
Compared to popular filaments such as PLA or ABS, we have much more influence on the properties of the model itself when preparing it for printing. The number of contours, the density of the filling and its structure will affect the hardness of the end result, which means that a model made from 40D Shore hardness filament may be ultimately softer than a model made from its counterpart with a hardness of even 20D (about 90A). At the same, time it will be easier to print. In the case of materials from the Flex family, such as MattFlex or FiberFlex, it is mainly up to the user to decide how the final model being the result of their efforts will behave.
Rubber-like materials are very rewarding in the field of 3D printing, and the wide range of their uses is a strong argument for adding them to the list of frequently used filaments.
MattFlex 40D will go on sale in early October 2021. It will be available through Fiberlogy’s network of brand distributors.
Printing specs for MattFlex 40D:
- Nozzle Temperature: 210-230°C
- Bed Temperature: 50-70°C
- Closed chamber: not required
- Fan: 50-75%
- Flowrate: 105-110%
- Printing Speed: < 60 mm/s
- Surface: glass, masking tape
- Retraction: 1-2 mm
- Retraction Speed: 10-30 mm/s
To remove the print more easiky, it is recommended to heat the bed to 110°C