Printing PLA with Da Vinci

A quick update. Following on from the ongoing progress with using Ninjaflex (TPE) with a Da Vinci printer, I’ve managed to successfully print some generic clear PLA filament.

PLA on the left. ABS on the right.

An advantage of PLA compared to ABS is PLA is available in transparent colours. The smell of heated PLA is not as strong as ABS. However, the mechanical strength of the material is lower than ABS.

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Ninjaflex Progress Update

Some degree of success has been achieved with printing Ninjaflex with a Da Vinci 1.0 printer. Today, three test prints were made; one is of marginal quality but it was the first. The second for the day, turned out very well and the final print was OK. Each of the prints had differing infill settings so there is still some refining to do.

Successful Ninjaflex prints
Left to right: 1st “successful” print – 22mins. 2nd with very good surface finish – 9mins. 3rd with degraded surface finish – 34mins.

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Using Ninjaflex with your Da Vinci

Can flexible filaments such as Ninjaflex or TPE be used with a stock Da Vinci 3D printer? Probably.

Preliminary testing and multiple trials indicate that it is possible to use a stock Da Vinci extruder with minimal modifications to print this unique material. Additionally, it may be possible to use a stock firmware (1.1.J) and XYZware to make objects printed from Ninjaflex.

Successful progress and encountered pitfalls are being documented as this journey unfolds.

Da Vinci Extruder Power Connector Fail

The small quick release connector for the extruder heater recently failed. This was discovered half way through a print when the extruder stopped heating.

New Da Vinci heater connection

Initial thoughts were that there was a software bug due to the extruder failing to extrude filament after 12 hours of continuous operation. However, some fiddling with connections revealed that the plug and socket connection was the culprit.

Replacing the stock connector with something more robust is straightforward but the process is a little fiddly.