What about this material and how can you use it?
WAX3D Base is a model wax composition for printing according to FDM / FFF technology, for subsequent investment casting. It has low ash content (less than 0.01%), which is extremely important for this technology.
This material is positioned as a good alternative to standard technology for the production of waxes, but you should take into account the limitations of printers then it comes to details. That is, for the most part, it is intended for printing technical products rather than jewelry.
The following is a representation of my experience of setting the printer up and setting print options. All references to the models used can be found at the end of the article.
2. Initial preparations
Printing WAX3D Base is recommended on Direct extruders, or on a very short Bowden extruder, such as one of the Anycubic Predator printer. A printer that was able to print this material with the Bowden system is UlTi Steel, but this is an exception. My Anycubic I3 Mega with a stock Bowden extruder did not cope with this material, but after installing the Titan Aero extruder on it, everything was running like clockwork.
It is often the case, then printing on temperature below 170 is prohibited by firmware, and the manufacturer recommends 100-130. There are several options how to make printer work on such small temperatures.
Option 1 (the easiest)
In the slicer settings, you need to add the command “M302 S80” to the start G-code. This command allows printing at temperatures from 80 ° C, in my case 90 ° C was enough. It looks like this, the command is added almost to the very end of the starting G-code:
Option 2 (a little more complicated)
Download the firmware for your printer.
Firmware for Anycubic I3 Mega can be downloaded at this link.
Download the Arduino IDE and install. I have version 1.8.2 installed.
Open the file with firmware “Marlin.ino” and go to the tab “Configuration.h”. The keyboard shortcut Ctrl + F can use the search.
Find the line:
#define EXTRUDE_MINTEMP 180
(The value may vary depending on your printer)
Change the value to 90 or as the manufacturer recommends to 80, in my case 90 was enough:
#define EXTRUDE_MINTEMP 90
Now you need to install the firmware into the printer.
On the control panel, check the correctness of the selected board and processor (for your printer):
Tools - Arduino Mega or Mega 2560 Board and ATmega2560 (Mega2560) Processor
If everything is correct, on the control panel, click:
Sketch - Export a binary file
At the end of the compilation, the new file “Marlin.ino.mega.hex” should appear in the same folder as the file with the Marlin.ino firmware.
To download the updated firmware into the printer, we use “Cura”, or other software designed for this, in my case “Cura” version 4.4.1.
Connect the printer to the computer.
Select the desired printer and click "Manage the printer", then click "Update firmware" and then "install your own firmware." Select the file “Marlin.ino.mega.hex” and wait for the whole thing to load.
Unfortunately, I still could not figure out how to change the nozzle preheating temperature on the printer screen starting from 90 ° C, the minimum value that gives out is 170 ° C. If you know how to do this, I will be very grateful for the help.
Before threading, the nozzle and thermal barrier must be replaced. If there is no spare thermal barrier, it is necessary to clean the old one well before filling the wax into the printer, since if pieces of another filament remain, then at low temperatures at which wax printing occurs, these pieces will clog the nozzle without being able to melt.
Next, you need to adjust the force of the clip, if there is no such adjustment, then you can print a model similar to this, but for your feed mechanism it may differ. Keep in mind that a strong clamp or an aggressive gear can gnaw a thread with wax.
First, we heat the nozzle to 180-220 ° C, fill the rod and lower the temperature to the required 100-130 ° C, constantly feeding the thread manually, because you cannot leave wax in the nozzle at elevated temperatures for a long time.
This can still be implemented in the following way (for my printer, the above method is not suitable):
1. Connect the printer to the computer, go to Pronterface or Cura;
2. Heat the nozzle to a temperature of 180-220 ° C;
3. Send a command to heat the nozzle to a temperature of 100-130 ° C;
4. While the nozzle has not had time to cool, we refill the wax thread and continue to feed it continuously until the temperature of the nozzle drops to the working one.
Immediately wax, almost like a liquid, will flow from a nozzle, and then, gradually approaching the desired temperature, it will come out like a thread.
This completes the preparation of the printer and you can proceed to configure print settings.
3. Adjust print settings
The WAX3D Base bar is soft, flexible, easily torn, somewhat similar to flexible filaments, except that it is slightly sticky.
Before removing parts, wait for them to cool down completely, including the bed. The material in the heated state is very soft and the probability of spoiling the model is quite high.
Measurements of the thread showed that the diameter fluctuates with a margin of 0.14 mm from 1.68 to 1.82 mm. It is ok, even surprising, that with its flexibility the range is so small. Even an attempt to measure the filament in one section gave an error of 0.5 mm
Note that for each printer, the temperature selection will be individual, photos and descriptions are provided as a guide.
3.1 Nozzle temperature
When selecting the nozzle temperature, the printouts looked as follows
The results are as follows:
90-95 ° С - Printing began, and then at some certain moment was interrupted;
100 ° С - Of the entire range, it turned out to be the most optimal;
105 ° С - Visually, the print looked a little worse than at a temperature of 100 ° С;
110-115 ° С - Traces of overheating in the corners begin to appear;
120-125 ° С - Defects from overheating in the corners of the cube became even more visible, and the lid became more blurry. On the temperature tower, in general, everything melted;
130 ° С - Overheating defect is visible on all faces and cracks appeared in the lid.
The temperature for the first layer was not increased, left 100 ° C.
3.2 Bed temperature
Here I experimented with bed temperature, from no heating to 100°С.
Up to 50 ° C there was no difference in printing. In the range of 50-90 ° С everything is the same as up to 50 ° С, with the exception that the printout became more difficult to separate the printout from bed.. After 90 ° C, defects began to appear on the lower layers from overheating, as in the photo below:
And as always, there is a slight controversy. When printing large parts, the first layer must be printed at a temperature of 100 ° C, and then turn off the heating of the table and either lower the printing speed of the second layer or pause the printer until the table cools down so that a defect does not appear as in the photo above. If you do not set such a temperature on the first layer, after some time there will be an unpleasant surprise, in the form of detached corners.
3.3 Distance from nozzle to bed
In the photographs above (paragraph 3.1) you can see that the first layers are conical, as if the nozzle is too high above the table. To get rid of this, I changed the Z-offset to "-0.15 mm", that is, the nozzle was located almost close to the table.
3.4 Adhesion, skirt and hem
I have Anycubic Ultrabase as the bed and the adhesion is so severe that it makes it difficult to remove parts. I don’t use any adhesive, so I mainly print with a “skirt”, the “hem” was used only for very small details.
Due to the fact that I never learned how to separate parts from the table without damaging the lower layers, I decided to experiment with foil, like those who work with the manufacture of waxes manually. It looks like this:
The desired piece of foil is cut out, glued onto glue stick and smoothed with a cloth to level the surface and expel all bubbles of air. The main thing is to do all this on a preheated table, because if you flat out the foil on a cold table, then new bubbles will come out during heating.
I missed a little with the location of the foil, but here you can see that nothing bad happened and the printout was a success. Specially left one bubble with air to see what happens. I chose this form to check whether corners will be bent when printing or not. The result after printing:
Bottom surface printed on foil. Unfortunately, this cannot be conveyed in the photo, but the surface is completely smooth and there is not a single defect.
And here is the place with the bubble left (the layers lay not so evenly, but this can only be seen, the entire surface is uniformly smooth)
Here is the bottom surface, printed without foil and very carefully removed from the bed:
The surface is almost all bully and rough. The star is 120 mm in diameter.
3.5 Material Flow
As a model, a cube of 20x20x20 mm was used, the wall thickness is equal to the diameter of the nozzle, filling is 0%, the top cover is missing. After several printouts, the flow settled at 96.8%.
A tolerable quality has appeared since 30% and then remains almost unchanged. Stopped at 60%.
3.7 Perimeters, bottom, cover and filling
Since parts printed from wax have a relatively short life cycle from printing to smelting from the mold, it is therefore most important that the part does not lose geometry. Based on this, it became interesting to check to what extent it is possible to reduce the thickness of the lid, bottom, perimeters and the percentage of internal filling without losing geometry.
Having printed several models, it became clear that it is optimal to print starting from 2 perimeters with a 0.4 mm nozzle. The thickness of the lid can be set from 0.6 mm.
With an internal filling of 15% (“triangle” pattern, the distance between the lines is 8 mm), you can print parts with complex geometry (artistic, a large number of angles, etc.), but for parts with more strict geometry it is better to use 20 % filling (template "triangle", the distance between the lines is 6 mm).
3.8 print speed
I can’t recommend anything certain here, since it all depends on the kinematics of your printer and very much on the geometry and dimensions of the printed part. My print speeds range from 25 to 65 mm \ s.
Here, as it turned out, there is ambiguity. My selection of the length of retracts and their further use did not cause any problems, but in this video on the Prozhektor8kvt channel, it is said that the thermal barrier may clog. There is a visual representation of the reason why this is happening, so be careful with this option.
Retracts are disabled:
The blocks turned out, but the columns are not of very good quality.
Retracts 0.5 mm:
The columns are of normal quality, but “snot” appeared on the blocks.
Retracts 1 mm:
Blocks and columns turned out to be of good quality. The retract rate is set at 25 mm / s.
3.10 Overhang angles
There are no defects from 5 ° to 55 ° inclusive, one angle is bent by 60 °, but from 65 ° it is no longer an option, loads of defects.
Even the 10 mm bridge was with slight sagging, the rest can be seen in the photo.
Considering that there are no difficulties when separating supports on this material, it is best to use them.
Using wax printing support is a pleasure. And that's why:
1. Side cutters, pliers and other rough tools are not required, you can do with tweezers only.
2. Almost everything can be removed directly on the bed without removing the part.
3. Due to the fact that the material is quite flexible, it is necessary to apply a special skill to break off something needed when removing supports.
4. The supports are separated from the main part without any problems.
5. There are almost no traces on the main part when separating supports.
It should be noted that for each detail, it is worth choosing individually which supports to use, standard or tree-like.
Docking places of supports and main part:
Docking places of supports and main part:
The photo shows that the material consumption when using tree-like supports is lower, but the surface quality is worthless, and even some parts of the part were not completely printed.
The model is increased relative to the original to 30 mm in height.
Judging by the photo, one could draw the obvious conclusion that tree-like supports are no good, but this is not entirely true. An example of use on the "art" model:
As I mentioned above, it is necessary to choose the type of support based on what you plan to print.
3.13 Material Shrinkage
I checked the shrinkage on the model below, while taking measurements I managed to break a couple of columns.
The groove in the form of a square with a side of 1 mm and a hole with a diameter of 1 mm were not printed, they were completely filled with wax.
The results were rather mixed, the conclusions are at your discretion, and I’ll just leave a summary table with the results.
3.14 Summary table
I remind you once again that these settings are individual and provided as an example.
3.15 Settings Results
Well, a little photo of the test parts and what will go on casting.
What about 3DBenchy?
And the most favorite test in the end of the material settings. Bolt and nut M20x1.5. Apex angle 60 °.
3.16 Second Life
It would be a natural reaction to send waste from supports, borders and failed printouts to trash, but this is not the usual plastic with which we are used to work, but model wax. With the help of the cheapest soldering iron or wax refinery (waxolite), you can melt the waste into small bars and later use it when repairing your parts or for additional surfacing of the gate system.
I do not have a wax refinery, but the soldering iron. With it, I remelted most of the test models that you saw above. The technology is simple, we find a piece of iron, we heat the soldering iron and just sit, melt and enjoy the process of draining the wax on the tip of the soldering iron on the plate. You can, of course, not remelt anything, but the bars are about the same size, it's still easier to store. Here is the first blot:
I really liked the material, there were no difficulties setting up. The only thing is that you need to do a little more gestures when replacing the material on the printer, otherwise, having worked well on the parameters, this material will only please you and will expand your capabilities.
Instagram Hexagon Sector 3D
Thanks for your time and hopes this article will be of use on mastering this material.
You can find WAX3D Base here
Clamp for adjusting the pressing force - https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3054903
Temperature tower 3.1 - https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2845339
Temperature tower 3.6 - https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2893943
Retracts test 01 - https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3056537
Retracts test 02 - https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3508609
Overhang Angle Test - https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:261317
Bridge test - https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:546688
Supports test - https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3574128
Dragon - https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3100640
Shrinkage test - https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2011862
Firmware and Arduino IDE:
Anycubic I3 Mega - https://github.com/derhopp/Marlin-with-Anycubic-i3-Mega-TFT/tree/bugfix-1.1.x
Arduino IDE - https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software