In order to push the 3D printing industry forward, filament producers have been working tirelessly to develop materials with industrial-level properties. Though the market is expanding day by day, some of these enhanced filaments are engineered for use with professional-grade 3D printers (or so they say…).
We recently got our hands on Formfutura’s ABSpro - Flame Retardant Black, a new halogen free self-extinguishing filament that meets the UL 94 V-0 flammability standards. The material is designed for 3D printed electronic housings, making it extremely valuable for various home improvement projects.
But, the material has to meet rigorous requirements for printing, including a nozzle temperature of 240-270°C, a heated bed temperature of 110°C, and in a closed chamber printer.
Although most consumer printers doesn’t meet these prerequisites on its own, we set out to make this specialized ABSpro work on an Ultimaker 2 3D printer. we also had to flash the firmware of the Ultimaker with TinkerGnome in order to heat the bed above 100°C. All in all, we pushed the Ultimaker 2 to the limits for the heated bed and nozzle (PTFE insulator will be destroy with upper temperature).
First, we added a makeshift fume extraction system to the enclosed chamber. The heated bed was set to 110°C with Buildtak adhesive solution, and the fan was turned off. A camera was added to monitor the experiment. After three attempts, the ideal setting were found, proving that with a little maker spirit, this flame retardant filament could be printable on your desktop machine.
The final result was a high gloss print with a good strength and exceptional layer adhesion. One issue we encountered was removing the print from the Buildtak-coated surface. We overcame this by increasing the distance between the print bed and the nozzle tip from 0.1mm to 0.2mm by step of 0.05mm. A raft is also recommended to ensure that the print is broken upon removal.
What our experiment shows is that the average 3D printer might be more capable than you’d suspect. With a little patience and makeshift innovation, you could be printing highly functional parts right at home.