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May 08, 2019, 06:26 AM
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Lynxman's Avatar
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New Product

ColorFabb LW-PLA

I received a spool of this new material yesterday and did some testing. It's extremely light, and the part feels a lot like ABS in stiffness, but lighter. It's supposed to be like PLA in regards to sun resistance, but I haven't tested that off course. The part I printed is more elastic than the PLA part, and you can see the weigh is much lighter for the same wall thickness. 4,2 g vs 10,4 g. This includes some oozing inside the part as I haven't tuned that away yet. The material expands under heat so it will ooze unless a lot of retraction is used.

I can definitely see a use for this material. Especially for small models, and for the tail surfaces of bigger models. It's expeisive for one spool of 750 g, but since it expands by over 200% when printing, you're actualy getting the equivalent of at least a 1500 g spool for the money, by volume.

The part I printed is the wingtip of my Nucking Futs pylon racer.
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May 08, 2019, 08:20 AM
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Lynxman's Avatar
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I think it will be more impact resistant than PLA.

ColorFabb LW-PLA elasticity (0 min 37 sec)
May 08, 2019, 08:47 AM
Registered User
Wow, the weight is impressive! I just imagine printing a 3Dlabprint Sabre for example. You need around 2,5kg of normal PLA to print this plane. If one can reduce the weight by about 50% this would mean just 1,25kg of the LW-PLA and if using the same power system…. a damn rocket!

Thanks for sharing your test results. I’m highly interested in this material.
May 08, 2019, 01:04 PM
Registered User
What was the printing temperature of these parts, lynxman?

Colorfabb recommends to do several tests with different temps up to 280C to find the right level of expandation.
I guess one has to use an all metal hotend to print this material.
May 08, 2019, 01:10 PM
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Lynxman's Avatar
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I used 250C. I have a Capricorn PTFE ( tube in my hot ends which can handle high temperatures, but I haven't tried more than 255C. Not much happened from 250 to 255 in my case.
May 08, 2019, 01:12 PM
Retired CAD guy
birdofplay's Avatar
That's only ~20% higher price than their normally exorbitant prices.

I've been wondering how long it would be before printable "Foams" would
come top the market.

However, I always thought things would get messy with difficult to control expansion rates.

I do like the flex.
Foams are flexy yet perform well at high flight speeds.

I'll be watching see how this market develops.
Last edited by birdofplay; May 08, 2019 at 06:48 PM.
May 08, 2019, 01:55 PM
Registered User
I just ordered one roll...
May 08, 2019, 02:23 PM
Registered User
€60 /kg compared with the 15 sometimes for the cheapest hk pla.
So if by weight you need only half then the price would be €30 /kg so twice the price of hk.
If the increased durability is true then it would be "economical"
A spar would be a requirement with the increased flex though.
May 08, 2019, 06:50 PM
Retired CAD guy
birdofplay's Avatar
A N D ...shipping ought to be less for you than across The Pond ;>}

It'll be great to have a few more "Takes" on the wonder of this new Filament.
May 09, 2019, 07:52 AM
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Lynxman's Avatar
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I guess price might come down if it's popular. Right now it's an exotic material so you can't expect it to be cheap.

I tried printing the tail surfaces for my Melusine glider with no changes to the structure, and the large parts ended up too floppy. I'll have to add a little more internal structure.

The oozing leaves a mess. I've tried up to 7 mm retraction (1,5-1,7 is normal for PLA) and it still leaves a mess. At least it's easy to clean up afterwards. I added a lot of internal structure to the tail section now to print in LW. The weight should be aroung 64 g instead of 57 g. As a comparison, in PLA it was 130 g.
Last edited by Lynxman; May 09, 2019 at 08:48 AM.
May 12, 2019, 05:07 AM
Registered User
I printed the first few parts of the 3Dlab small Spitfire.
So far it looks promising, but I don't want to be too confident.

The parts are sensationally light yet strong. Very good layer bonding and a rough but nice surface. I guess it's very good for painting.

The flex might be a problem for several parts, but we will see.

I printed with 240C, extrusion muliplier 0.5, wall thickness 0.4mm, nozzle = 0.5mm.

I will report back, when I printed some more parts.
May 12, 2019, 08:03 AM
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Lynxman's Avatar
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I've been trying to print the tail for my glider for a few days now but it kept failing. In the end it started thumping as if it jammed. I replaced the Capricorn PTFE tubing now and will print the parts individually instead of all together. The tube didn't look darkened or distorted like it would when it decays, but the friction might be higher inside. I also cleaned out the nozzle with a 4mm and 0,4 mm drill.
May 12, 2019, 10:47 AM
Registered User
You can try to use a bigger nozzle. Since I changed it from 0.4 to 0.5 I didn't have any clogging or jamming problems any more.

What I forgot to mention in me pervious post...
I didn't find a way to reduce the stringing so far. Changings of the retraction settings seem not to have any affect on the actual strining behaviour.
The only thing I learnd so far is to keep the travel moves as short as possible. To start the layers from a certain point isn't the best strategy for this filament.
May 13, 2019, 01:44 AM
Registered User
Thoemse's Avatar
I've been following the news about this material. Made me sad that it has the same temp properties as PLA. I doubt one can print the typical 3D planes with it with all the included servo ling wire tubes and so on.

Parts designed for this could be good though. We could actually print planes that are not flying bricks with this (I got a 3D Labprint Me 109 in my trunk right now - with way past 1 kg. ).
May 13, 2019, 04:14 AM
Registered User
I'm trying to print and fly a small 3Dlab Spitfire completely with this stuff.
It's not as stiff as normal PLA and has a way more flexible surface.

At the moment I'm not sure if will fly, but it's also not impossible.
Time will tell.

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