IMG 0155Working with a new filament type for FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling). Called TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) It produces rubber-like flexible prints. Many producers and brands. I have no way to evaluate, so I picked a brand “Overture”.

I read a lot of prose on what brands are best. Most of what is printed is pure BS. It is like picking which tree in the forest has the best wood for your current woodworking project. Real craft people can adjust for slight variation in materials and produce excellent products.

It’s also like baking cookies. There are always slight variations in flour brands and also various “grades” of flour.  Bread and cake flour are both still flour.  OK - rant over…

I am learning how to work with my new TPU. 

The TPU filament is like boiled spaghetti, a bit past “al dente”. It is SOFT! Very flexible. For that reason, the suggested print speed range is between 20 to 40 mm/s with 40 really pushing it. It seems 10 to 20 mm/s is a great speed for printing. No so good if you think FDM goodness is judged better by how fast you can go…

I also noticed material is extremely under fed and I have pushed extrusion multiplier to 1.5 (150%). Most PLA and other hard filaments I run between. 0.9 and 1.0 for example.

I am also playing with UPStudio3 (BETA) using my CETUS Mk3 printer with heated bed. CETUS has a very closed coupled direct drive filament feeder. I cannot see TPU working well with ANY Bowden type printer. I have not tried, but with all the filament flex, a Bowden feed will be total frustration controlling the print.

Suffice, the Cetus drive is working very well.  UPStudio3(beta) is not quite ready for “prime time” for use with Cetus. It works, but there are limitations that must be removed before getting my stamp or approval as an everyone’s slicer/ printer.

The next step with my new TPU material is discovering what it can print. Things that must be flexible. How do printed supports work with TPU? I will be “playing” with TPU and looking for the “killer application” that needs to be made with TPU.

IMG 0156My soda can cap in the picture is a good start. The very first print was air permeable (not airtight) so will experiment with line widths and flow rates. A rubber cap should seal…  all part of mastering the process.