NinjaFlex, a flexible filament for 3D printers, is specially formulated thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) that produces flexible prints with elastic properties. According to its provider Fenner Drives, NinjaFlex has high elasticity and excellent abrasion resistance as well as excellent build platform adhesion and bonding between layers.
Talpadk from Denmark decided to try out NinjaFlex filament. He ordered a spool of the "sapphire" version of NinjaFlex, 1.75mm, which, according to Talpadk, has "a nice (mat) blue color which turns glossy when printed. It is also slightly translucent when printed thinly."
Talpadk started with test-printing some rubber feet for his tabletop CNC mill using NinjaFlex filament and a RepRapPro Huxley 3D printer.
In the first test Talpadk used his regular PLA/ABS profile in the setting with increased extruder and heated bed temperature. The rubber foot was printed OK but it was "sticking so hard to the "Kapton" tape that removing it actually pulled the tape off the print bed!" Notes Talpadk.
For the second test Talpadk created a specific profile. The print speed was reduced, the Kapton tape was removed and it was printed without heated bed. The result was still not satisfactory. "It printed with roughly the same quality at the first print but was very very easy to remove." says Talpadk.
Talpadk's next try turns out looking good. This time all print speeds were set to 15 mm/s, "Skirt loops" was increased to 4 to give the hot end more time to build up a constant pressure, and the heat bed was set to 40 deg C. Infill was reduced from 50% to 0% but then Talpadk realized that it may cause some parts to be printed in mid air without support underneath. In his next test he changed the infill back to 50% again. The result? - "I'm pleased to report that the surface finish seems to be just as good as before."
See the image below showing 3D prints from Talpadk's test 1 to test 4.
Read the full reviews here on Talpadk's blog and check out what Talpadk thinks probably the most important settings are for the NinjaFlex filament.
Posted in 3D Printing Materials
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Steve wrote at 10/25/2013 6:11:50 PM:
Hey there, I'm an engineer with Fenner Drives (we make NinjaFlex). I just wanted to add a few comments given that his review has been linked to by so many sources. First off, thanks for the thorough consideration of the product and the detail that you provide on printer settings. The comment "...my printer is a RepRapPro Huxly which has a bowden extruder which might actually not be ideal for extruding a soft and springy filament." is key. I don't have experience with bowden extruders, but given the concept, I was actually very surprised that you were able to get moderate quality prints with this setup. From all the testing we've done on flexible materials, the 2 key factors for getting high quality prints seem to be...fully supporting the filament b/w the drive gear exit and entrance to the cold end....and reducing the drag due to the tacky surface of flexible filaments. And maybe a close 3rd would be...high retraction settings to improve stop/start. None of these match up well with a Bowden. So...If you have access to a non-Bowden printer and are interested in making this a more comprehensive review, please give it a try. If you search on thingiverse for FD_Engineer, you can see some parts I posted that show typical print quality. Let me know if you want more info. Thanks, Steve
Eva wrote at 10/17/2013 6:14:58 AM:
You can download setting for the Airwolf 3D printer here: http://airwolf3d.com/blog/2013/10/16/3d-printer-video-tp/ This material is amazing! Can't wait to get started on all new projects with TPE.
Julia wrote at 10/12/2013 10:03:30 PM:
There are photos of a spectacularly good print of a fairly tricky part made with Ninjaflex here: http://www.pp3dp.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=23329#p27990 A Fennerdrives engineer took a model I was having difficulty printing well on my Afinia and ran it on a Rep 2 with optimized settings. I was actually not too displeased with the result I got, but his makes mine look like doo-doo.
Ben wrote at 10/11/2013 5:10:45 PM:
Nice Find. I could see a site becoming popular on just recommended settings for a given filament from different vendors.... beyond the basic vendor hot end and bed temp provided.