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How To Become A Filament Extrusion Expert!

 

 

We have some exciting news today that a lot of our clients have been waiting to hear. Filament extrusion is about to get much, MUCH simpler. And not because there’s a new 3devo machine on the block. This time we’re making it possible for you to do more with your Filament Maker or SHR3D IT. We are presenting DevoTraining, a series of in-depth workshops designed for manufacturers, researchers, educators, or anyone with interest in 3D printing and material development.

See also: Why should you learn about filament extrusion

Your own hands-on filament extrusion workshop!

What makes DevoTraining unique, and why would you choose it over other filament extrusion courses? For years now, we’ve been working to make material development accessible for various industries and applications. Simplicity was the idea behind our newly upgraded, result-oriented filament makers, and it is the main idea behind our hands-on workshops as well. The DevoTraining programs are the first of their kind in the industry. They won’t just give you a broad overview of filament extrusion. They’re designed to address YOUR needs and to fill any gaps that may be preventing you from getting the results you want from your 3devo machine.

The demand for unique 3d printing materials is ever-growing, which requires new knowledge on how to process it. With DevoTraining, we offer the answers to those innovators who seek to take matters into their own hands.

At our hands-on workshops, you’ll deal with the actual, practical realities of making filament at your desk. You’ll also understand how to use your 3devo machine to develop or recycle the materials you want. And because we’ll train you at our Utrecht headquarters, you’ll have access to all the equipment, materials and resources you need.

Different courses for different requirements:

 

extrusion, filament maker, infographic, 3devo, polymer

 

You can choose a DevoTraining program based on your existing filament extrusion knowledge, material development needs, or the specific applications for which you’re hoping to use your 3devo machine. We are currently offering 3 options, ranging from half-day modules to two-day programs.

  1. DevoNovice – Your perfect introduction to making filament
    DevoNovice is a carefully structured 4-hour course that will get you started with desktop filament extrusion. This workshop is designed for beginners with little or no prior knowledge of material development. It’ll cover the basics of desktop filament extrusion and introduce you to the parts, features and basic material settings of your 3devo Precision or Composer filament maker.
  2. DevoProficient – Taking you a step closer to your material making goals
    Participants with some knowledge or experience in filament making and 3D printing can opt for DevoProficient. This is a full-day (8-hour) workshop that offers intermediate-level training. Want to learn how to mix or recycle plastics, and increase your existing knowledge of materials? If so, this is the perfect course for you. Not just that, DevoProficient will also bring you up to speed on maintaining and troubleshooting your 3devo machine.
  3. DevoMaster – Helping experts unlock new possibilities in filament making
    DevoMaster is a 2-day (16-hour) workshop designed for extrusion experts. If you’re already well-versed with filament making and want to take your knowledge a step further, choose this course. This advanced training program will help you work with new materials and innovate more with your 3devo machine. Plus, you’ll get to bounce your ideas off our material scientists. In terms of course content, DevoMaster has advanced modules on material mixing, plastic recycling, troubleshooting, and maintenance. And there’s a bonus: fully customized modules that you can have us tailor to your specific requirements!

See also: DevoTraining Course Comparision

How to Register for a DevoTraining program?

From extrusion experts to 3D printing enthusiasts, the DevoTraining workshops are open to all. Are you looking to understand your 3devo machine a bit better? Or would you like to learn more before you purchase a desktop filament maker? Come join us at Utrecht for an immersive, hands-on workshop led by our material scientists and engineers. To choose a program that best fits your needs, check out the course comparisons, details and FAQs on the DevoTraining webpage. Then get in touch with our sales team who’ll be happy to answer your questions and schedule your workshop. See you soon!

Do you still have any unanswered questions about filament extrusion? Contact us via email, and we will be happy to discuss it in further detail or visit our blog if you’d like to know more.

 

 

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Why You Should Learn About Filament Extrusion

Quite often, filament is seen as a simple material used in 3D printing. However, learning filament extrusion and understanding its ways can lead to greater knowledge of 3D printing as a whole. By taking your knowledge one step further, you’ll learn the importance of filament extrusion and the many benefits that come along with it.

As 3D printing technology advances, so does the additives involved. We’re here to help you understand why learning filament extrusion can benefit you and your company. But first, we need to start off with the basics.

What is Filament Extrusion?

extrusion, infographic, 3devo,

As you may or may not know, 3D printers use filament, or thermoplastic feedstock, as the raw material for 3D prints. Filament comes in all different shapes and forms depending on its application. But before the filament is loaded into a 3D printer, it needs to be extruded.

Filament extrusion is the process whereby a machine converts raw plastic pellets into filament wires. Failed 3D prints can also be shredded and reused as a substitute for these raw plastic pellets. Below is a brief desktop demonstration:

Usually, large-scale extrusion machines are used for this mass-produced process. However, there has been a rise in demand of small-scale desktop machines. The setup process is fairly simple in just 5 steps:

    1. Insert the pellets (granulates) into a “feed bin” or hopper.
    2. Select the desired settings for the outcome of the filament.
    3. Start the machine’s extrusion process, which includes heating and extruding the granulate.
    4. Wait a few hours until the process is completed.
    5. Once cooled the filament is wound onto a spool and ready for printing.

This process can change depending on the requirements of the filament (large scale or small scale), but it’s still the best method to create clean and accurate results. The mass-produced spools of filament you buy at the store or online have already gone through all of this. With desktop extrusion, there is now a way to understand how filament works, how to modify the materials involved and quite often – how to improve the filament to meet your specific needs.

What Are the Benefits of Filament Extrusion?

 

extrusion, filament maker, infographic, 3devo, polymer

It might seem like an unusual skill to learn. There are hundreds of variants of filament available out now on the market. From PETG to Bio PE, all types of filament can be easily purchased for your 3D printing needs. But then you could say the same thing about buying a plastic part over  3D printing it yourself.

People use 3D printers because they want quickly build a new part, or perhaps the part they want doesn’t exist yet. Extrusion plays the same role for filament.

Learning filament extrusion gives one the ability to understand how polymers react under certain conditions, and how their physical and chemical properties play a fundamental role in your 3D prints.

Individuals or educational facilities who focus on polymer studies and experiments would find filament extrusion extremely useful because of these benefits:

  • Rapidly validate the properties and capabilities of your filament and make changes if needed
  • Combine different types of granulate and additives to create your optimal filament within a few hours
  • Reducing the costs of testing new forms of filament each time

Quite often you might find using off-the-shelf filament can do a similar job for your 3D printing needs. However, learning how to do it in your own environment opens more possibilities for yourself, your company and/or your educational facility.

Why Should You Learn Filament Extrusion?

3devo, extruder, learnAs you can see, a process like this within your company can be quite useful. However, having to rely on a third party to set-up, maintain and produce the filament for you does have its drawbacks. Why not take the matter into your own hands, and learn about the process yourself?

 

Receiving filament extrusion training also comes with its own benefits:

  • Create higher quality filament suited for your needs. Sometimes it’s hard to explain exactly how your filament should turn out, now you’re able to do it all on your own.
  • Improved setup and processing time when using the machine. Once you’ve mastered your skills, setting up, cleaning and overall processing times become a lot quicker.
  • Easily experiment with challenging granulate compositions. Once you’re proficient in extrusion, understanding how different polymers work experiments become a lot easier.
  • More confidence in using the machine. Often people might get nervous about using an extrusion device, but once you understand all the steps involved, extrusion becomes a breeze.
  • Quickly and easily find the settings you need. You don’t need to rely on a business’s schedule and priorities.
  • Your machine will last much longer as you will understand correct maintenance procedures.
  • Quickly troubleshoot issues with the process instead of relying on external assistance. No more downtime due to waiting for someone else to fix the issue, which can range from hours to days.

It makes a lot of sense. Outsourcing, while useful at times, can get costly and often takes a lot longer to fulfill your needs. If you are still unsure about receiving training, look into your current working environment. The questions below should be able to help you.

Are You the Right Person to Learn Filament Extrusion?

Filament extrusion and 3D printing almost go hand-in-hand. However, you can live without any knowledge of filament extrusion and still be proficient in the latter. It comes down to what industry you are in, and if you’d need this knowledge on a regular basis.

Some questions below might aid you in knowing whether or not learning filament extrusion is right for you:

  • Are you a lecturer/professor at a university or any other educational institution that focuses on polymer studies?
  • Are you an individual/team in a research and development department that often experiments with varieties of filament?
  • Is large-scale extrusion too expensive and inflexible for your current needs?
  • Do you want to educate people on recycling using failed 3D prints or recyclable materials?
  • Do you work in the automotive, manufacturing, education, or materials industry where 3D printing is used as an on-going process?

The questions above might be relevant to your company as well. Both large and small companies can greatly benefit from having someone skilled in filament extrusion.

How Can You Learn Filament Extrusion?

Luckily here at 3devo, filament extrusion is not only our expertise but also our passion. We provide everything you need to learn filament extrusion. Based in Utrecht, Netherlands, we’re able to provide assistance in multiple ways. Currently, we offer:

  • International live demos at additive manufacturing events.
  • Private training days for professionals/lecturers at our HQ in Utrecht, NL.
  • Support Platform with helpful articles and videos on filament extrusion.

Unfortunately, we don’t offer online courses. As we’re focused on providing hands-on training to our workshop participants at our headquarters in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Do you still have any unanswered questions about filament extrusion? Simply, contact us via email and we will be happy to discuss it in further detail or visit our blog if you’d like to know more.

Year and a Half Later – Setting the standard with PEEK

Year and a Half Later – Setting the standard with PEEK
A year and a half ago, we began testing the prototype of what is today referred to as the Next 1.0 Advanced Level desktop filament extruder.
Taking forward the same commitment to quality and innovation, we focused on our next experiment – working with a semi-crystalline thermoplastic with mechanical and chemical properties ideal for sustaining high temperatures. This thermoplastic is known as PEEK (Polyether Ether Ketone).
Working with PEEK has presented interesting challenges, chief among which involved extruding it in the correct temperature range, while factoring in internal pressure, and without affecting the material’s crystallinity. It has been a good start, and our first trials turned out to be easier than expected.
But first, a bit about PEEK. And its key applications.

PEEK test result 1.75mm 3devo filament
PEEK test result 1.75mm 3devo filament – done by Apium Additive Technologies GmbH http://apiumtec.com/en/3d-printer/

PEEK finds its main uses in the Aerospace, Automotive and Medical industries.

Aerospace industry: Being strong, lightweight, and durable in a wide range of temperatures, PEEK is evolving into a popular choice of material in the aerospace industry. Its low price point does not hurt either.

Aerospace part
Aerospace part
Source: www.roboze.com

Automotive industry: Besides the primary advantages of its high strength (safety), low weight, and durability in a wide range of temperatures, PEEK is also energy efficient and has the intrinsic ability to reduce vibrations. This makes it a perfect fit for the fast developing automotive industry.

Gear Pump Source: www.Apiumtec.com
Gear Pump
Source: http://apiumtec.com/en/3d-printer/

Medical industry: 3D printing has already established itself as an invaluable asset to the medical and dental industries, bringing a whole new level of freedom and accuracy to the process of printing unique parts and components. PEEK (or PEKK for dental industry) extends the scope of 3D printing, having similar properties as the human bone, and thus being one of the few materials that the body does not resist.

Implants Source: www.pkm.kit.edu
Implants
Source: www.pkm.kit.edu

Recent PEEK tests with the Next 1.0 Advanced Level desktop filament extruder
Switching from PLA to PEEK presented an unique challenge: building up the temperature inside the Advanced Level extruder to PEEK’s high melting point of 343 degrees.
We went about it in phases, using 2 cleaning compounds as transition materials. First, we slowly raised the temperature from 170 to 300 degrees with the first transition material. Once temperatures had crossed 300 degrees, we switched to the second transition material, and worked on reaching 390 degrees. This was the final stage in our trial, where we could proceed to extrude PEEK.
Because of PEEK’s steady flow and relatively quick cooling properties, extruding it to the desired thickness (2.85mm or 1.75mm) was easier than expected. Winding it on a spool was a different ballgame, though. Due to the strength of the material we had to tape the first part of the filament on the spool, so as to wind it correctly and prevent it from popping out of the spool.

3devo PEEK Filament 2.85mm
3devo PEEK Filament 2.85mm

Transition materials and PEEK
The transition material played a key role throughout our PEEK extrusion process. We first mixed the PEEK with the transition material, and then gradually lowered the temperature range while increasing the amount of transition material in the mix.

PEEK and purging compound @3devo
PEEK and purging compound @3devo

Phase 1

Image: 3devo BV - phase 1 extruding PEEK
Image: 3devo BV – phase 1 extruding PEEK

Phase 2

Image: 3devo BV - phase 2 extruding PEEK
Image: 3devo BV – phase 2 extruding PEEK

Extruding your own PEEK – The main advantages
Buying PEEK granulate will only set you back by around 100 Euros per kg, as opposed to a filament spool that will cost you to the tune of 1000 Euros per spool.
In addition to this, you can try creating custom composites with PEEK granules, by adding in different materials such as carbon fiber.

Do you have one of our Advanced Level extruders?
Contact sales@3devo.com for the profile settings to start extruding PEEK.

Developing PA 12 FDM Filament with the 3devo Filament Extruder

A spool of PA 12 FDM filament.
A spool of PA 12 FDM filament.

At 3devo our NEXT 1.0 Advanced (Industrial) Desktop Filament extruders can be used to make all manner of grades of plastics and filaments. Many customers of ours want to use the machine to develop lots of different types of plastics. Some are interested specifically in one polymer in particular. One thermoplastic that our customer’s were specifically interested in was PA 12. We tested the material and made spools of PA 12 FDM filament for our customers.

Polyamide 12 is a widely used polymer especially in the packaging industry but it is also used in things such as concealer and medicine. The material is biocompatible, flexible and has good chemical resistance and high impact strength.

PA 12 polyamide surgical guide 3D printed
A 3D printed polyamide surgical guide made from PA 12. The guide is patient specific and made so that the surgeon knows where she can cut. By Orthaxy.

In 3D printing PA 12 is used extensively in selective laser sintering (SLS or LS) as a powder. This powder material is the most popular SLS material in the world. Surgical guides, orthotics, prototypes, short run parts and many of the 3D printed parts that you have seen have been PA 12. Materialise’s design brand .MGX was the first 3D printing design brand. Pioneering design by Jeanne Kyttannen featured the Lilly lamp which was made in both Stereolithography materials and in PA 12. As an SLS 3D printing material it has a powdery feel and is porous.

Lilly.MGX Lamp by Jeanne Kytannen and Materialise made in PA 12.
Lilly.MGX Lamp by Jeanne Kytannen and Materialise made in PA 12.

Due to high customer interest in the material we’ve decided to test and make Polyamide PA 12 FDM filament. PA 12’s versatility and high degree of use in 3D printing and beyond made it a very worthwhile material to extrude as well. We extruded the material on our 3devo Next to see if it could then be tested to see if it could confirm to customer specifications. We dialed in the material over the course of less than a day and it conformed to spec. We then 3D printed test parts on an Ultimaker 2+ to see the results as a printed part. We’re very happy with the filament and the print. Our customers are also happy that thanks to our data it will now be easier for them to dial in their specific PA 12’s. We will be adding the PA 12 Material Preset to a future software update on our machines.

A PA 12 part 3D printed on an Ultimaker. Filament made on a 3devo Next.
A PA 12 part 3D printed on an Ultimaker. Filament made on a 3devo NEXT 1.0 extruder.

3devo launches the first Industrial Desktop Filament Extruders

3devo recycler next to four filament colors in 1.75mm and 2.85 and also orange and green granulate.
The 3devo Industrial Desktop Filament Extruder

3devo has just launched not one but two Industrial Desktop Filament Extruders, the 3devo NEXT 1.0 and 3devo Advanced. Whereas there have been several notable maker made filament extrusion devices and there are many different types of large industrial extruders available, the 3devo machines are the first of their kind. The NEXT and Advanced put high reliability, repeatability and tolerances in a small form factor. For the first time a robust and reliable industry grade filament extruder device is available for your desktop. The NEXT Level and Advanced are the world’s first Industrial Desktop Filament Extruders.

On the left we have the blank anodized filament recycler and on the right the black powder coated model.
The Blank Anodized and Black powder coated 3devo NEXT and 3devo Advanced, front and side view respectively.

The 3devo NEXT 1.0 Next Level is targeted at makers, 3D printing shops and universities that wish to:

  • Lower the cost of 3D printing by a factor of 7 by using regrind or virgin pellets to make filament.
  • Wish to lower the environmental cost of 3D printing by recycling materials such as ABS or PET to make 3D printing filament.
  • Simultaneously lower the financial and environmental cost of 3D printing to approximately $1.25 per Kilo of material by using readily available recycled materials in house.
  • Have significant amounts of old 3D prints, unused 3D prints, missprints or old filaments that they wish to recycle.
  • Wish to experiment with creating their own filaments or making new 3D Printing materials.
3dprint, 3devo, filament extruder
The 3devo Industrial Filament Extruder, side view.

The 3devo NEXT 1.0 Advanced has been specifically created for compounders, extrusion companies, researchers, plastics companies, universities and 3D printing companies who wish to:

  • Accelerate the pace of plastics innovation by allowing for cost effective small batch production of new grades, new materials or variants.
  • Increase the rate of plastics innovation by allowing for more experimentation at higher rates by placing a filament extruder tableside to the individual researcher.
  • Create their own grades or types of 3D printing filament.
  • Create their own grades or types of plastic or new plastics.
  • Produce up to 0.7 Kg of 3D printing filament per hour.
Spool of material and virgin granulate plastic.
Spool of material and virgin granulate plastic with some 3D printed parts.

Both the 3devo NEXT 1.0 Next Level and the NEXT 1.0 Advanced:

  • Are manufactured in the Netherlands.
  • Have independent heating zones with independently set temperatures (3 heating zones for the NEXT and 4 for the Advanced).
  • Are built to last.
  • Have a Self-regulating filament diameter control system. (This lets you set the desired diameter and ensures for consistent output of the extruded filament).
  • A capacity of up to 0.7 Kg of material per hour.
  • A diameter sensor with 43 Micron accuracy.
  • Use high end materials and parts.
  • Have a hardened Nitrite steel extruder screw with compression zone.
  • Have been designed to supply variable torque at consistent RPM.
  • Have high precision RPM encoder feedback.
  • Have automated motor control.
  • An Extrusion diameter that can be set between: 0,5 – 3,0 MM
  • Have Hoppers with Built-in material level sensor (this lowers the risk of ‘dry running’).
  • A powerful cooling system for high speed extrusions.
  • Automatic spool winding.
  • An easy to use spool mount that can variably set for different spools.
  • Have an easy to use interface.
  • Have material presets for ABS and PLA.
  • Let you set and define your own preset materials settings as well.
  • Let you manually adjust temperatures and speeds on the fly.
  • Are stand alone devices that do not need a dedicated PC or separate control unit.
  • Have USB connection for data logging.
  • Have been designed to fit into laminar flow cabinets or under fume hoods.
  • Both systems measure: 506 L X 216 W X 540 H MM [19.9 X 8.5 X 21.3 IN]

The main differences between the Next Level and the Advanced is that the Next Level has 3 controlled independent heating zones and a maximum temperature of 350° C. The Advanced can go up to 450° C and has four controlled independent heating zones. The Advanced also has a mixing section built into the extruder screw. The Advanced has been designed for the extrusion of high temperature materials such as PEEK and other engineering plastics.

3devo OLED display and central controls.
3devo OLED display and central controls.

The 3devo Next Level costs €3,450. The 3devo Advanced costs €4,050 for the black powder coated variant and €4,200 for anodized variant (Prices exclude VAT). You can buy both filament extruders online from our shop or contact us should you need more information.

We believe that complex challenges demand elegant solutions. The 3devo family of Advanced Level (Industrial) Desktop Filament Extruders has been created because we believe that researchers, universities, makers, 3D printing companies and compounders should have access to highly reliable industrial grade desktop filament extrusion so that they can innovate faster.

By developing and manufacturing a filament extruder with high tolerances we can help academics and commercial businesses create new unique high performance engineering plastics.

A 3D printed object made with filament from the 3devo extruder.
A 3D printed object made with filament from the 3devo extruder.
3d_printed_object_3devo_filament
Nervous System’s Cellular Lamp made with PLA filament made on a 3devo extruder.

Additionally, by letting manufacturers, 3D printer operators and 3D printing services use lower cost regrind and virgin plastic granulate we can lower the costs for 3D printing filament. By letting people develop and manufacture recycled 3D printing filament we help our industry reduce the ecological and financial cost of 3D printing in lockstep. We hope that this will push our industry forward by making more end use parts, more applications and more business cases possible with 3D printing. We see ourselves as an engineering company first and a start up second. We are a force multiplier for the 3D printing industry and aspire to be the engineers behind some of the most well regarded tools in your lab, manufacturing floor or workshop. We’re 3devo, Pleased to meet you!

3devo Next with two spools.
3devo NEXT Industrial Filament Extruder with two spools.

What is a Filament Extruder?

What are we building?

3devo is developing a filament extruder. This is a machine that processes plastic pellets into a plastic wire. This plastic wire (filament) is mainly used as printing material for 3D printers, in a manner similar to an ink cartridge being used by a regular printer.

Overall, filament is extruded on an industrial scale. We developed a product that makes the quality of industrial extrusion setups within everyone’s reach. Taking the systems and knowledge of industrial machinery and reducing the size to fit a consumer desktop model in such a way that each user can have his own professional filament extruder. This means scaling down, simplifying, automating and making the extrusion process more consumer-friendly.

For more information check our product page!