3 main advantages of PLA filament with Graphene – 3D printing experience

I had the pleasure of testing PLA with graphene additive from Prografen and, even at the beginning, I must admit that it’s been a long time since 3D printing using PLA gave me so much pleasure. However, let me discuss it one step at a time.

Packaging

The box in which the reel with the material was packed is interesting and minimalist but, at the same time, the design has the potential to attract attention and stand out from similar products on the market. It is worth noting that it is made of recycled cardboard. The same applies to the reel on which the filament is wound, and I must admit that this was one of the positive surprises. The material used makes the reel appear a little lighter than traditional plastic reels, which results in a more efficient feeding of the material. At first, I was a little worried that during the work that the cardboard would start to wear out and sprinkle the PLA with cardboard particles. Still, I didn’t observe anything like that during printing so, for me, this is one of the advantages as it makes it easier to be recycled later.

The first printout done with the tested PLA was a temperature tower, which is good practice and should be done with any material, even from the same manufacturer, to minimise any negative experiences at a later stage. The temperature tower showed that, optimally, the material should be processed at 210°C to 220°C; however, initial tests at 210°C to 215°C either failed for various reasons (layers did not stick together, failed or poor bonding to the work surface, etc.) or the final printouts were not satisfactory in terms of model reproduction quality. When I started printing at 220°C, the problems mentioned earlier ceased to occur, which is directly related to one of the properties of graphene (i.e., good heat conductivity). Because graphene dissipates heat to the outside much faster, it solidifies much faster – which requires a higher temperature on the nozzle. Subsequent printouts of the most popular ‘Benchy’ test piece seem to confirm my observations.

Once the parameters were adjusted, printouts came out very clean. The layers joined perfectly without any signs of overlapping, creating smooth even surfaces and no ‘threading’. The material also allows for an outstanding representation of the details of the model and does not ‘lose’ dimensions or shapes (thanks to minimal shrinkage).

After Benchy printing, it was time to test the more difficult models, the so called ‘print-in-place’, where parts are movable and should remain so after printing and removing the model from the work surface. In these cases, no problems were found either. In fact, I have the impression that thanks to the conductivity of graphene, the more difficult parts (with smaller tolerances) did not fuse and did not merge into one solid. Also, it is worth noting that as far as I can observe, in the conditions of home 3D printing, PLA Graphene from Prografen has very good mechanical properties and abrasion resistance – so even after quite intensive Dragon Egg’s screwing and unscrewing, there was no deformation on the threads and the deposit formed as a result of friction between the surfaces was minimal.

Encouraged by previous successes and just out of spite – after all, something has to go wrong – I decided to see how this material would cope with the ‘Tower of Pi’ without filling. The geometry of this model makes it generally impossible to be printed properly on FDM printers due to overhangs without first adjusting and making supports so, after 11 hours of printing, I expected to find a lot of waste material. To my surprise, the model was printed well and, despite some parts being obviously not replicated or damaged, my impression of this material had become even more positive. To further test how it would cope with a large number of thin walls close together, I decided to print the ‘Tower of Pi’ again, but this time with infill. I have to say that although I expected threading, it was definitely less significant than what I had prepared for.

In my opinion, it is a great product that is likely to win many fans, and I enjoyed printing with it.

 

Marcin J. Kalinowski | Heydash Workshop

Filament types and their properties

PROGRAFEN – PLA FILAMENT WITH GRAPHENE – combines the advantages of ABS and PLA plastics

It is a composite material containing graphene flakes nano-additive. The additive makes the filament more robust and durable than PLA base material.
PLA and PET-G filaments are enriched with graphene flakes, which significantly improve such mechanical properties of the base materials as the elasticity or tensile modulus.

This material is a superior alternative to ABS, offering superior mechanical properties (similar to ABS) and the printability features of PLA. What is important, it does not emit any unpleasant odours while printing and offers the possibility of effective printing with any type of printer.

This filament is successfully used in the telecommunications, healthcare, automotive, aviation and aerospace industries. In everyday printing, it can be successfully used to print prototypes, construction elements, toys and items used daily.

ABS – resistant and popular

Due to its properties, ABS has become very popular in various industries – it is used for the production of all kinds of casings, buttons, handles and others. It is durable, resistant and offers a good price to quality ratio. ABS features superior hardness, impact and abrasion resistance as well as high-temperature tolerance. It is not, however, UV resistant and becomes fragile after prolonged exposure to sunlight.

ABS can potentially cause problems during the 3D printing process as it has a significant shrinkage rate. It requires a high temperature for processing or a heated workbench.

PLA – biodegradable and perfect for prototyping

PLA is the most popular material for 3D printing. PLA is called “green plastic”. It is made from natural ingredients such as corn starch and sugarcane, making it a biodegradable and safe material. It does not emit harmful vapours during the process. It is a good choice for beginners and those who want to effortlessly obtain a large print with good dimensional accuracy. Unfortunately, it also has disadvantages – lower strength compared to ABS and limited elasticity.

PGA – good for structural elements

Polyglycolic acid (PGA) is a biodegradable thermoplastic polymer. PGA filament is excellent for structural prints. It is perfect for prototypes and prints that need a strong and durable structure.

3D Printing

3D printing (three-dimensional printing) is an innovative production technology that allows you to create three-dimensional objects that reproduce digital models. 3D printing is performed using filament (a plastic cord) in a special 3D printer.

The printer applies layers incrementally according to an uploaded digital design. To print in 3D technology, you need a digital 3D model of the object you want to create. You can design it in 3D modelling software (e.g., CAD – computer-aided design) or using a 3D scanner that scans the object you want to print. The digital file precisely instructs the printer on how to create a particular 3D object. This is done by dividing the object into layers and defining the dimensions of each layer. Spatial 3D printing as a modern technology finds its application in many fields.

Various industries have implemented 3D printing techniques because they significantly increase production efficiency and decrease costs. 3D printing in mass production is a cheaper alternative to any other manufacturing process. It is also the fastest option for building prototypes.

What can you create using 3D printing?

What is graphene?

Graphene is an allotrope of carbon, or, in other words, a flat structure of carbon atoms arranged in the form of a hexagonal lattice (like a honeycomb). This material is about 200 times harder than steel. This material is about 200 times harder than steel. At the same time, it has a much lower density – the mass of one square metre of graphene is only 0.763mg. The thickness of a graphene layer is equal to the thickness of one atom of carbon. The material’s properties are impressive. Graphene is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity. It is almost completely transparent. It is very lightweight and flexible. It may be stretched by up to 20% with respect to its length. It is impermeable to any chemical substances. any chemical substances. Research has shown that graphene also has antiseptic properties – it prevents the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Its structure and properties make it the most robust material in the world. Its unique properties make its application potential almost unlimited.

There are two main types of graphene: graphene flakes and single-crystal graphene sheets. Both of these are successfully manufactured by Advanced Graphene Products.

GRAPHENE FLAKES

This graphene type is obtained from graphite precursor as a result of chemical synthesis or mechanical treatment that involves breaking down the graphite structure into individual graphene flakes. Graphene flakes occur in the form of dry powder, various types of liquid dispersions and pastes. It is used as an additive in paints, varnishes and composites – thus effectively improving the properties of the final product.

HSMG® METALLURGICAL GRAPHENE (High Strength Metallurgical Graphene)

It is a large-area quasi-monocrystalline graphene sheet produced by metallurgical growth on liquid metal. The growth technology is patented and implemented for mass production by Advanced Graphene Products. The product features increased durability and a reduced number of defects. The size of single grains in the layer reaches up to 1mm, and the structure of graphene is continuous, as the growth process minimises the formation of the so-called ‘overlapping’. overlappingu. In practice, it means that long graphene ribbons can be obtained in the production process, which can be transferred to any material. Graphene manufactured with HSMG® technology also has semiconductor properties. The possible applications of this type of graphene are currently being explored in the aerospace sector, construction, electronics and sports equipment and in various kinds of sensors.

GRAPHENE IN 3D PRINTING

To date, several companies have attempted to produce graphene-based filament. However, due to the very limited availability of graphene and its high price, none of them managed to implement this product on a macro scale. As a global graphene producer, we have the ability to produce graphene-based filament on a mass scale. Our formulation is standardised, so we guarantee the highest and repeatable quality. PROGRAFEN PLA and PET-G filaments enriched with graphene flakes demonstrate significantly better mechanical properties than traditional plastics. Graphene-based filaments provide very high values both in terms of elasticity and tensile modulus. Graphene-based filament will prove useful whenever you need a resistant and durable – and at the same time – elastic and ductile material.