Hands on with Carbon Fiber ABS
Hi, yawls! Zheng3 back again with a first look at Filabot's Carbon Fiber ABS. If you want to play along at home and print these models yourself, watch for the linky-linkies in the blog post and, of course, grab a roll of this filament from our trusted pals at Filabot.
Filabot's Carbon Fiber ABS is a deep charcoal gray, almost black, and ever so slightly rough to the touch before it goes through a printer. Prints tend to be a little lighter than the pre-printed color.
I had a little trouble getting the filament to feed properly into the extruder so I lopped off a couple of meters at the start if the spool and started over. Since then the filament has fed though the extruder with no problems for hours, hours! of print time. It seems robust and fairly flexible, so let's chalk that initial minor issue up to typical 3D printing problems.
I'm doing all the test prints for this post using a MakerBot Replicator1 on Kapton tape. Unless otherwise specified I'm printing with a heated bed at 110° and 200-210° for the filament. (Filabot recommends a range between 200° and 230°.)
Details are clear, no problems with adhesion to the bed. Odors are minimal. So far, Carbon Fiber works like regular high quality ABS. Moving on. How does this filament handle fine details? No problems printing your basic squirrel. SQUIRREL!
Any filament that can handle a squirrel really should be tested against a squirrel mage, so we rouse Quercus Leafreader and load his gCode into the Replicator. The filament handled his skinny acorn-topped staff with no problems.
It's passed the squirrel tests, so we go to the Beast Token, my gold standard for almost-impossible overhangs.
The Beast gave this filament some trouble. I got one good print out of the bunch, but this filament failed at the same point every time afterwards; at the point where the beast's right front hoof attaches to the base. This seems to be a post-printing failure caused by the leg wiggling as the nozzle pulls it around a bit. Over time the attachment point flexes and weakens until it finally snaps at the junction. This happened four times before I gave up.
How strong is it? That's the question we're all asking, right? Zheng Labs isn't set up to do qualitative stress or ballistics tests on materials, but my admittedly anecdotal experience tells me that Carbon Fiber ABS feels stronger than other ABS's I've tried. I've been wiggling squirrel arms trying to get them to break but they're giving me far more resistance than I've come to expect from ABS.
I've been told that this filament is particularly strong against the grain of the print, so I'll model a loop and hang something heavy from it. Behold! A loop.
It's about 1cm thick and printed at 100% infill for maximum durability. Download it here, if you like.
One print later I shoo the spiders out of my steel-toed work boots, grab a pair of safety goggles and my hard hat (no, really!) and it's off to the garage for a strength test.
*** OBLIGATORY WARNING ***
Neither Zheng3, Filabot, nor the Bay City Rollers assume responsibility for loss of life, limb, property, or dignity resulting from an attempt to replicate this experiment at home. Do not use this material for any purpose requiring strength without doing your own due diligence and testing first.
So, can the printed hanger support the weight of a cinderblock?
Why, yes. Yes it can.
Can it support the weight of two cinderblocks?
Oh heck yes.
I'd have kept going but I ran out of cinderblocks and the next heaviest thing in reach was the snowblower. Not going to hang the snowblower from the garage joists, not even for my friends at Filabot.
Still, this plastic is easily supporting roughly 80 pounds with no visible damage afterwards. Very cool.
So, amigos, I'll keep printing with this filament until I run out. #staytuned and watch this space for new photos of prints. Zheng3 out.