This may be more of a tip,

(Tim Jacobsen) #1

This may be more of a tip, but has anyone noticed how well PLA prints when it’s really cold? Is it my imagination or not?

In my climate (Wanaka, NZ) It’s often 5-8 C overnight in the uninsulated container where I print from - mainly at night (although now I have another one inside as it’s just too cold for me!!) And there is practically 0 humidity which makes for great storage of PLA. I am experiencing really high adhesion and the prints seem to just be better, good bridging etc, I don’t use a fan on the print. In Summer however the complete opposite happens, it’s 30-45 C inside the container, I’m sweating and I have many failed prints during the day. Do you think I’m dreaming or what’s your experiences?

(Andreas Hölldorfer) #2

That is one reason I switched to ABS printing with an enclosure. PLA printing is too weather depending on day you get nice prints in the morning and terrible in the evening. On some summer days I had really trouble to get good PLA prints.

With ABS it gets better with heat, my bed heats the print chamber to about 45-55°C witch is pretty perfect for printing.

(Tim Jacobsen) #3

Hmm, so I should print in a fridge when it’s hot… I can live with that :stuck_out_tongue:

I know ABS may be a superior product in some ways however I’m a green hippy from way back and prefer the lesser of 2 evils (PLA) which I know can be made from fermentation rather than Oil from drilling. But yea, enclosed build chambers with those coolers from 12 volt fridges for PLA and then invert the polarity for ABS if you need it hot hmmm, anyone tried that then?

(Igor Larine) #4

@Tim_Jacobsen I would try storing PLA in a fridge then. Maybe even organizing a feed from fridge directly to printer. Low humidity, low temp - all is there :slight_smile:

(Tim Jacobsen) #5

@Igor_Larine that’s an interesting idea! Although for the time it takes to pull 500mm of filament from a fridge (or whatever cool space) into the hotend will it be worth it? ie it will have come up to temp well before it reaches the hotend. I wonder if it’s the temp of the filament or the temp of the air around the hotend causing the issues? How about a cooling fan (using those 12volt fridge things) blowing nice cold air onto the plastic coming out of the hotend and the filament at the extruder. Sounds like some experimentation is needed to work this out? but this is just the sorts of thinking I am trying to get to, cheers :slight_smile:

(Igor Larine) #6

@Tim_Jacobsen well, it has to melt and at a certain temperature, so the difference there is should present itself either before or after. Could be after, you are right - more cooling of print, maybe even radical cooling blowing cold air, indeed. If you have a portable air conditioner handy you can test the latter hypothesis easily. But then, in my experience more cooling = better bridging but worse layer adhesion… Still, thanks for the idea. I will have to test - got three rolls of PLA I consider crap because of poor print quality, maybe cooling things down will help…

(Tim Jacobsen) #7

@Igor_Larine cool, well I think I can find a cooling device to test however I don’t think I’ll be able to as winter is fast approaching and there’ll be no more hot days until summer! So happy printing for me all winter long hehar

(Will Dent) #8

I don’t think cooling the filament before the hot end would make much of a difference. The only difference that it might make is the humidity would be less when it’s cold in the container, in the summer the container is sweating and the filament would probably be wet causing print problems.

On the other end of the extruder you probably notice a difference because of the ambient temperature around the print. It is almost a necessity to have a cooling shroud and fan around the just extruded PLA. A fan makes a huge difference in print quality.

(Ben Jackson) #9

Yeah I agree as well. Temperature has a lot less to do with it than the humidity.