While I have never done any research on the subject, I will be showing you how to make a flexible abs plastic 3d print. This is much harder than pla, or some flexible filament because no chemical (to my knowledge) changes the structure of the plastic, thus always making abs plastic rigid. That is, until now. My method does have many limitations, but it is simply the beginning of something new. I would love for others to use my idea, and take it a step further. Feel free to publish an intractable on flexible abs, but be sure to mention me, and be sure to change it up! I hope that everyone would try this at least once.
This is my first intractable, so please feel free to leave constructive criticism, but please do not bash my project.
Step 1: Design Your Object
I was actually designing my part to be a fan shroud for an old fridge…Long story, but the printed didn’t end up fitting. It sure opened up a whole new path of 3D printing for me.
This is the hardest step because you have to create a thin enough object to only have two layers, but not so thick as to have any more. The only thing that will be bonding your layers will be the first layer, the one touching the print bed. This makes the print very flexible, but also very fragile. In the last step there are some photos of the cracks that have occurred from me playing with it. I am not exactly sure on the thickness of the walls, but It is somewhere between 0.25-0.75mm. Try out different thicknesses for different amounts of flexibility, and strength.
Step 2: Slice, Then Print
In the first photo is my settings, 0% fill, .20 layer height, standard shell, and standard speed. These settings worked for me on my Da Vinci 1.0, depending on your printer, you may need to adjust them a little bit.
After you have sliced your model it should have two separate, defined layers. If you look in photo two, you can see the separate walls. My print was rather skinny, and tall, but I hope someone will figure out a way to make the sides of the object thicker. I think that if you modeled the walls into the 3d print, then when you printed it, they would not be connected, but there would still be the walls on the inside of a large print.
Step 3: Final Thoughts
The result is simply mind blowing! It bends and flexes, yet it is still plastic. I have seen a lot of projects I cannot print because they require flexible filament…I wonder if this could fix that! There are a few problems because of the way the flexibility is created. The thin, one layer thick walls make it easy to see small imperfections, and little cracks. Where the mounts I had for screws were, the plastic started to crack, this is because of the torque provided by these pieces…I think that if I had just printed the circle, it would not have cracked like shown.
This is a rather fun, and accidental project that I hope everyone who can, will try. Don’t forget to vote for me in 3D printing contest!!