Instructables

3D Printing PLA on Tissue Paper

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At the World Maker Faire this year in NYC I was sharing my experiments in 3D printing plastic on different substrates.

Here is what I have found works with tissue paper.

When it comes to printing plastic on tissue paper, the most important thing to do is keep the paper flat and wrinkle-free during the first few layers and stationary all the way through the build process.  Spray-on adhesive can't be used directly on the build surface because the paper will tear when you try to remove it at the end.

The only method I have found that works consistently is to construct a frame that sits snuggly around the build platform, flush with the surface, and glue the tissue paper to it around the perimeter.

This Instructable details how to go about building your own frame.

Source file for the PaperFly I printed in this example are at http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:32845
 
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Step 1: Graph your build platform long edge

Picture of Graph your build platform long edge
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Take a piece of graph paper and center one edge along the length of the build platform.

Only one pair of parallel edges need to be a tight fit around the build platform to keep the frame stationary.  In my case with a MakerBot Replicator it is easiest to make those the left-right pair of edges; the rear is complicated by the heated build platform cabling.

Mark off both side-edges of the build platform, making sure they are either precise or slightly smaller than the edge length of the build platform.  If the frame is too tight after construction it is relatively easy to shave away material until it is a snug fit.


Step 2: Graph your build platform short edges and escapes

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For the remaining pair of edges (assuming your platform is rectilinear), recenter the graph paper on one edge and mark off the boundary positions.  Since these edges don't need to be a tight fit you can either be precise or space them slightly farther apart.

Draw the bounding box in the center of the graph paper and mark off any extra features you need to take note of.  In my case that meant making a cut-out centered at the rear for the heated build platform cabling.
Have you tried an embroidery hoop for holding on to fabric while printing on it? if you flip the hoop over to where the fabric is on top the fabric will be 1/2" or so above the platform. Depending upon the weave of the fabric the molten plastic will probably not drip through. Just a thought. If you try it let me know how it turns out.
clothbot (author)  CementTruck1 year ago
I've been working on a variant of this frame approach I used to hold the paper in place that is inspired by embroidery hoops. :-)

I need to keep the fabric surface in contact with the heated build platform so the fabric itself stays at the correct the temperature. None of the plastics get fluid enough to seep into the weave of the fabric without a little help from both the hot nozzle and the heated build surface.
Great minds.. and whatever else follows. ;)

Good luck with it then. Cheers!

Fantastic job on winning the contest. You must be thrilled with this being your first Instructable. Looking forward to seeing your next project and what you build with the Shapeoko.
clothbot (author)  stevemoseley1 year ago
Thanks! I need to put together a "printing on cloth" Instructable because it's different enough from tissue-paper, but I need to gather a few examples together and iron out the wrinkles with the model slicing/software side first.
Looking forward to seeing it.
poofrabbit1 year ago
Congratulations on being a winner in the digital fabrication contest!
clothbot (author)  poofrabbit1 year ago
Much appreciated! I'll definitely be putting the Shapeoko to good use. :-)
manmake1 year ago
Hi love the bird you done here and waiting to see your upgrade version Do you have a link to see how this things fly? Thanks And just wondering, so what happen if the tissue break? Do we print another?
clothbot (author)  manmake1 year ago
As long as the PLA plastic frame is intact you should be able to resurface it with more traditional methods.

I'll have to try a slingshot launch. If that works and the tail stays intact I'll see about capturing some video.
Tooraj1 year ago
Nice one! How does it fly?
clothbot (author)  Tooraj1 year ago
That would be the "work in progress" aspect. :-)

I need to rework the v-tail structure, but I've been holding off until I receive a little something I ordered from microflight.com: http://www.microflight.com/Online-Catalog/Radio-Systems/Deluxe-Starter-Set-2
WOW! That will take it to another level! I was just expecting a glider like performance. I'll be eagerly waiting for an update for sure. Best of luck.
Beekeeper1 year ago
In the old days, when building model airplanes using tissue paper and dope, the tissue was never perfect after sticking it on. To tighten it up before applying the dope we would lightly spray the tissue with water and when dry it was tight and wrinkle free. Seems this old trick might apply here.
clothbot (author)  Beekeeper1 year ago
Yeah, I tried that. The gottcha is that you're printing molten plastic at temperatures way above 100C. The paper immediately under the nozzle+plastic evaporates unevenly causing what's commonly referred to as A Really Big Mess.
I think you may have missed the point. You let the water DRY before applying your hot 3-D printing stuff.
clothbot (author)  Beekeeper1 year ago
Ah, got it. What I tried was wetting the tissue paper on the build platform to keep it down and stationary.

I haven't tried wetting it between Step 7 and Step 8 to get it tighter on the frame. That sounds like an interesting+useful variation.
bill20091 year ago
Nice instructable. I saw the glider in Ottawa, really cute idea.
Try a vacuum bed to hold the tissue down during the print ?
clothbot (author)  steveastrouk1 year ago
Considered it, but I wanted to keep the build platform unmodified (it would have to be a heated vacuum bed) and I wanted something that would work for any paper (including porous and bumpy textures), and other things like fabrics, screen and mesh.

Keeping it simple was key. :-)
I've not made a heated vac bed for sure, but you'd be amazed what you can hold. provided you can get the flowrate on a vac bed.
rimar20001 year ago
Nice glider!
clothbot (author)  rimar20001 year ago
Thanks!

I can't take all the credit for the glider though. It's derived from someone else's CC-By-SA licensed design.

Details are at http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:32845
tek20001 year ago
Twist: print out the frame as well !
clothbot (author)  tek20001 year ago
I considered it, but things got complicated faster than the amount of time took to prototype it in cardboard.