Flexible Filament Review


Flexible filament is not as frequently used in 3D printing as PLA or ABS for example. The reason may be that it is still an experimental material. Printing with it requires certain skills and good knowledge of your machine. Also slicer settings, like in Cura or Simplify3D, have to be adjusted individually. Not all objects can be printed in flexible material. For example, joint parts designs that work well in PLA or ABS may require adjustment for flexible filament.

Flexible Filament Review - 3D Printing Material - Support Flexible Filament - SainSmart - Customized Phone Case

SainSmart TPU flexible filament comes in a number amazing colours. It doesn’t need high temperature to flow well. This filament works well with multiple objects. This material is great for making mobile phone cases. There is a wide range of printable files on STL sharing websites. We printed one case upside down with support, to see what it would look like. Support was hard to detach but it produced interesting result, like in the picture below. We could not immediately think of any use for the thin membrane that support created. However it might be useful in some designs.

Flexible Filament - 3D Printing Material - Samsung Phone Case Flexible Filament - Warping - Green Octopus

We tested NinjaFlex green semi-flexible material. There was a problem with the flow. First we had too much material then not enough, see mobile case pictures below. We had to change extrusion multiplayer setting twice to get it right. 0.93 gave us desired result. But this setting may vary on other 3D printers.
Green octopus came out well, though cooling the top part is much recommended. Otherwise melting may cause damage to object. The finished item felt like hard rubber. Please mind the warping when printing delicate details. Some materials, not just flexible filament, shrink more than others. Octopus legs are thin and they cool down quicker. That’s why they got detached from the printing bed. Stronger adhesive and higher bed temperature helps in this situation.


STL files

Very slim iPhone 6 case: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:558626
Anniversary Roses: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:152642
Flexible Octopus: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:159217
Samsung Galaxy s5 Soft Case: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:371170
Slither.io: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1752977

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