3D Printing PLA and Rockets

Discussion in '3-D Printing and Related topics' started by Arsenal78, Sep 6, 2019.

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  1. Sep 6, 2019 #1

    Arsenal78

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    Will normal PLA hold up to normal rocket use? I’m going to print a new Whirl n Hurl spinner after my last one gave out but all I have is PLA. I thought about PETG but I’ve heard it has a lot of issues when printing with it.
     
  2. Sep 6, 2019 #2

    jlabrasca

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    Black PLA on a sunny day

    [​IMG]

    I will leave it to more experienced 3D printing jocks and wizards to question you on what you've heard about PETG. I have not, so far, had any more difficulty printing with PETG than I have had with PLA.
     
  3. Sep 7, 2019 #3

    RKeller

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    I have had good luck with pla plus.
     
  4. Sep 7, 2019 #4

    Arsenal78

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    I’m trying to get a roll of PLA+ to print properly. I print fine with Hatchbox regular PLA but not Inland/esun PLA+
     
  5. Sep 7, 2019 #5

    memcbride

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    I have good luck with MeltInk, https://www.meltink3d.com/# , pla/pha. Also, in your designs, plan to include a cardboard motor tube. For LPR I’ve found it reduces/eliminates any heat related issues from the motor casing being in direct contact with the pla.
     
  6. Sep 7, 2019 #6

    Arsenal78

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    My previous versions have been slightly upscaled to use a motor tube and it works well.
     
  7. Sep 7, 2019 #7

    jbr

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    pla is for indoors use, it deforms in hot cars and launches
     
  8. Sep 7, 2019 #8

    swatkat

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    I have printed and flown over 10 whirl and hurls from eSun PLA.. no issues on D12's. 215C print head, 60C bed. A friend left his on his dashboard in the sun, and it melted.
     
  9. Sep 7, 2019 #9

    cwbullet

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    It depends on where you are flying. If the temps are over 90 and your vehicle heats up, PLA will warp.
     
  10. Sep 8, 2019 #10

    swatkat

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    We are in CA... temps easily cross 100F in the summer. No issues so far, except on the dashboarddent. eSUN PLA+/Pro.
     
  11. Sep 8, 2019 #11

    Arsenal78

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    I did a test in PLA+ and I’m seeing a few issues that need fixing. Deposits, layer separation, and some sort of bubble seam. Printed a container to hold 18mm Estes motors. 205C hotend, 65C bed
     

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  12. Oct 9, 2019 #12

    Yukon@K-9 Rocket Tech

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    If you design it right, I guess PLA is fine. All my 3d printed rocket parts have always been PLA although I'm starting to use PETG now. This TVC Static test was a TVC gimbal I printed in PLA.

    Of course in the case of a TVC gimbal, the PLA is only subject for a short period, this thing would structurally fail on long burn motors. Where i live the sun is hot, so if my rocket is sitting on a field in the sun it'll also experience issues.
     
  13. Oct 9, 2019 #13

    cwbullet

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    PLA is fine. HTPLA is better. PETG is even better. I use PLA, but it sits in the AC when the temps are over 90 F.
     
  14. Oct 9, 2019 #14

    swatkat

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    Agreed on the PLA, eSun PLA Pro + seems to hold up much better to heat and a coat of pottery glaze helps even more...

    BTW, Dogs DROOL, Cats Rule.
    Down these mean skies....
     
  15. Oct 10, 2019 #15

    Yukon@K-9 Rocket Tech

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    Yes I heard eSun PLA is good stuff. I want to try a roll soon.

    Pet Politics 2019. Cat's Vs Dogs. Hey at least we agree on PLA ;)
     
  16. Oct 10, 2019 #16

    Wallace

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    While I do have some PLA+ that's actually pretty tough and way more flexible than PLA, it's temp rating still sucks. Save the PLA(s) for vases and cat toys...
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2019
  17. Oct 10, 2019 #17

    swatkat

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    Cat toys are pretty sweet to print. Dogs just have...fleas.
    But yeah, I've not had any issues with PLA+, now called PLA Pro. eSun seems to be the best, I've tried Hatchbox, etc. Their PLA and even PLA+ melt at much lower temps. I've got a few rockets with retaining rings that have done 10+ I and J class motor launches are just fine. Would not use it for any motor mount/tube items, but the retaining rings seems to do just fine. If anything does get charred a bit, it is usually just the cap, and you print another. Threads never have had issues.

    Now I'll let the dog get back to his old home on the mange...
     
  18. Oct 11, 2019 #18

    Wallace

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    At least (most of it anyhow) it's non toxic when Fluffy or Fido eats it..
     
  19. Oct 11, 2019 #19

    Wallace

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    imagejpeg_0.jpg So there...
     
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  20. Oct 11, 2019 #20

    Wallace

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    If you want real parts, use real filament. ABS, for the money is tough to beat..
     
  21. Oct 11, 2019 #21

    Yukon@K-9 Rocket Tech

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    Canines or Felines, they have their ups and downs. Don't get me wrong, I still like cats, but still like dogs better lol. Anyway as long as it's non toxic for Cats or Dogs, that's all that matters at the end of the day. plain PLA with no additives are best though, for the coloring sometimes makes it toxic. and united
     
  22. Oct 11, 2019 #22

    Wallace

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    Not that I don't love dogs, they just require alot more of your time. Cats are about as close to maintenance free as you'll find in a pet.
     
  23. Oct 11, 2019 #23

    swatkat

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    And they don't eat their own poop! :)
    But back to the OP topic, I've printed literally 12 Whirl and Hurls, 18mm to 29mm and all have been perfect on PLA. Big Red Daddy on the forum left his on the dashboard in a California Summer and it warped, but that's the extent. I've launched them on B (18mm) up to F (29mm) no issues, just remember to put tape on the estes motors as a thrust ring and you'll be fine. I read on the thingiverse link that some folks had issues with the higher impulse motors, but so far up to F27R has been fine!
     
  24. Oct 11, 2019 #24

    gwh

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    I live in a desert and avoid PLA for rocketry stuff. Not worth the risk.

    The crystalline structure is a major PITA to work with if you aren't 100% at the right fit. It really doesn't sand easily, making for a lot of finishing work to achieve a nice fit.
    PLA is somewhat brittle, and layer to layer adhesion isn't great. Its also dense - meaning more weight for a given build.

    ABS was my go to, but you need a good printer enclosure or it will warp on you, plus it smells bad.

    I recently printed out some PETG wings - and wowee I am impressed. No smell, slightly flexible, and really good layer adhesion. It was also easy and I had good success the first try. These wings were single shell (less than 1mm thick) and very resilient. PLA usually has the tendency to break between the layers on thin prints.
    Part of that good layer adhesion is due to disabling the cooling fan during prints so the layers adhere to each other better - this helps with PLA as well.
    Light, strong, compliant (aka flexy). The flex is comparable to thin polystyrene parts, if you print it with any reinforcement that flex disappears and you are left with a very strong part.

    Only word of caution with PETG is that it sticks to the print bed too well. If your bed is anything other than glass or bare metal I'd recommend applying painters tape to the bed so you don't damage the print bed coating when removing your parts.

    I'd avoid PLA for rocketry - there are better filaments there that aren't any more hassle.
     
  25. Oct 12, 2019 #25

    JohnCoker

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    ABS does seem like a good alternative, which I am planning to try first. (Need an enclosed printer and a fume hood first though.)

    It also appears that PETG/CPE is higher-temperature as well. One description (Ultimaker CPE+) claims 100°C temperature resistance.
     
  26. Oct 12, 2019 #26

    Wallace

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    20191006_162014.jpg 20191006_153019.jpg 20191006_153256.jpg 20191007_161503.jpg
    John: I thought exactly the same way about the alleged difficulties involved with printing ABS. After reading about all the inherent problems I put it on my "I'll try that when I have a better/enclosed/fume hood,etc." system. Just for kicks, I decided to try it and see just how "bad" it would be. Absolutely could not get it to stick to PEI past the 25th ish layer no matter what I did so pretty much gave up. Just last week I had a thought, so I put down some blue tape and hit it with generic glue stick, results were amazing. I've since printed a dozen or so parts without a single failure. While certainly not perfect, they are more than good enough for there intended use. Look at how well the single line supports stick and keep in mind that's a CR-10S4 with stock bed heater that can struggle it's way up to 71c on a good day. 20191006_153019.jpg 20191006_153256.jpg 20191007_161503.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2019
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  27. Oct 12, 2019 #27

    Wallace

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    That's nothing special as far as filament goes, just plain black $22 a kilo Paramount ABS from Amazon. On my CR 10 with .8mm nozzle/Volcano clone, the sweet spot seems to be 255c. Everything I've printed at that temp has turned out nice and strong/tough and completely serviceable. I am making parts for a machine I intend to have set up in a heated enclosure in order to make technical parts that can survive said. As far as fumes are concerned, I personally can't smell it unless I stick my face as close as I dare to the hot bits. The GF says it stinks so ymmv?
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2019
  28. Oct 12, 2019 #28

    cwbullet

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    If you are gonna print high temps, consider buying a Mosquito Magnum.
     
  29. Oct 12, 2019 #29

    JohnCoker

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    It's not the smell itself. ABS gives off toxic styrene fumes, which need to be ventilated or filtered.
    https://io3dprint.com/should-you-worry-about-3d-printer-fumes/
     
  30. Oct 12, 2019 #30

    cwbullet

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    I have read the articles. It is not conclusive. I print it in my apartment and have not had a symptom yet. Then again, my printer is in a non-ventilated enclosure.
     
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