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  • 101Hero 3D Printer: Glow-in-the-Dark Filament

    Posted on December 28th, 2016 admin No comments

     A couple of nice companies have provided free sample filaments for me to play with.    Now that I have at least a vague idea how to set up my 101Hero 3D printer so I get mostly decent results, it's time to look at some of the more exotic and interesting of these samples.  First up: a phosphorescent filament.

    Testing RepRap Glow-in-the-Dark Green Filament

    Typical projects for glow-in-the-dark prints include stars and other galactic subjects; these filaments are also popular for Hallowe'en decorations.  The more dense the print, the brighter the glow, it seems, so thick walls and heavy infill are recommended.  I had a  three metre sample of RepRap's glow-in-the-dark green PLA so I wanted a small project.

    Sun ornament by MicrosoftStore

    Sun ornament by MicrosoftStore

    For several reasons, I chose the Planet Ornament series by Microsoftstore from Thingiverse.

    1. First, they're a suitable subject.

    2. Second, they appear to have enough mass to give a bright glow.

    3. Third, I could print two of them from the sample filament supplied by RepRap Warehouse.

    4. They'll be a good little gift item for grand-children (problem:  I have three grandkids and can make only two ornaments).

      Sun ornament by MicrosoftStore

      Sun ornament by MicrosoftStore

    The filament measured at five different spots with a digital caliper:   1.71mm, 1.72 mm, 1.73 mm, 1.71 mm, 1.74 mm.  Using the "throw away the extremes and average the remaining three" method gives an average of about 1.725.  Is that really important?   In Cura 15.02.1 I left the filament set to 1.75 and the flow at 100% because changing those settings seems to have NO effect on the 101Hero.

    Sun ornament on the 101Hero print platform

    Sun ornament on the 101Hero print platform

    The filament printed just fine with standard settings (layer height 0.2; shell/top/bottom thickness 1.2; fill 20% (but could be solid); print/retraction/travel speed 12 mm/s @ 200C.

    Ah, But Does it Glow?

    A few seconds in the sunlight to charge it up, then into the main bathroom (only room in the house without a window!) to test it out.

    Left: Charging in the winter sun; Center: Normal exposure; Right: Low-light exposure

    Left: Charging in the winter sun; Center: Normal exposure; Right: Low-light exposure

    That was about 30 seconds in the sun, not even tipped up perpendicular to the sunlight, and enough glow to see and photograph.   The glow lasted for quite a while, and the medallion seems to have recharged under the incandescent lighting above the bathroom vanity.

    Conclusions

    The RepRap glow-in-the-dark PLA printed easily, needed no special twiddling of settings,  and did indeed glow in the dark.  Is it worth paying $30 CAD plus shipping for a kilogram of this filament?  Not entirely sure yet.  Probably my grandkids will twist my arm a bit and persuade me to buy some.

    Further Reading

     

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