Best 3D Printing plastic type for armor?

Phauxelate

Active Member
Hey!

So I've picked up armor smith to scale everything properly to print, and the next step is to start printing. First I've gatta fix up my printer though, but while I'm working on that....

What's the (arguably) best type of plastic to print with for making a full suit out of it? You know, PLA, ABS, PET, PETG, etc....

Oh! If you can, what's the pros and cons of them?

Cheers!

273168
 

Cadet

Executive Officer & RCO
Division Staff
405th Regiment Officer
I have heard horror stories of PLA slowly, and not so slowly, melting in direct sunlight. For example, a Mando I know 3-d Printed his helmet, set it on his back porch in the sun while he worked on something else, came back a few hours later and the helmet was pretty much a pool of a helmet at that point.

I know 3-d Printing is a different beast, but I have had a set of vacuum formed ABS stormtroper armor for over 16 years that is still going strong. I like ABS.
 

TurboCharizard

RMO & BCO
405th Regiment Officer
Community Staff
eSun PLA+ is my current go-to but I'm looking at starting up a PETG machine.

PLA+ is kind of a weird bird that varies between manufacturers because each of them use different "stuff" in that trailing plus. eSun basically makes a hybrid PLA that acts as an intermediate between PLA and ABS with some of the best properties of each.
  • Easier sanding than normal PLA
  • Higher impact/mechanical strength than PLA (fairly strong against bumps, drops and flexing)
  • Similar glass transition temperature, slightly better heat resistance (less melty in the sun)
  • Ease of printing (good overhangs, low stringing)
PETG seems to be that magical filament that you can print things, leave them out in the sun and not worry. It has strength and flexibility on it's side. It sounds great but there's the consideration that it'll cost more overall to work with because the price per spool is higher and part burnout on the printer will be quicker since you're printing with higher temperatures constantly. You also need specialized glues for assembly (gluing pop bottles together is hard) so your models will want to have assembly pins and good fit.

Basically PLA+ if you want good, consistent parts that can be made easily and PETG if high mechanical strength and durability is your goal. PETG is a finicky thing to work with but the payoff is that your armour will last longer. I consider each part of my PLA Daisy-023 suit to be replaceable and if it breaks or melts, a new piece is a few days of work to rebuild. As with all materials science, everything has it's trade-offs.
 

Ashuraa

Judicial Officer
Division Staff
We utilize eSun pla+. As TurboCharizard said above it is supperior to pla. It is a corn based plastic. It is less toxic to work with.

ABS can be smoothed with acetone. Down side it can be smoothed with acetone. It also needs higher tempatures. Also more toxic fumes while heating. An enclosed printer system is recommended

Petg is wonderful stuff to look at. It needs an enclosed printer system due to being very finicky about tempatures and adhering to itself. It also has more toxic fumes.
 

TurboCharizard

RMO & BCO
405th Regiment Officer
Community Staff
ABS can be smoothed with acetone. Down side it can be smoothed with acetone.
I love this quote and I'm totally adding it to the talk I do about 3D printing and cosplay.

Another fun thing about printer filaments is that even between the same brand, different colours have different properties. Certain dyes, pigments and colourants heat and cool differently or have a variance in grain size which will change how smooth your final product is or how it wears your nozzle. The best advice I can offer is find a brand you like, find a colour you like and get settings dialed in for it. Making a colorful patchwork suit of armour may be fun but you might end up with problem parts or ones that are noticeably different even when painted and finished.
 

Phauxelate

Active Member
MMMmmm. Looks like I may be going with eSun PLA+.

How about things like infill? Is there a recommend % that you hold true by? My thought is around 10-15% but what's your experience?
 

Crumpus

New Member
I use PLA and had a chest plate melt in the sun last month. Personally though I don't see it as a huge issue because I pour resin in everything and that helps keep its shape, even in the hot Alabama sun. Fully 3D printed armor is expensive. I've dropped $60 on my ODST build and its only about 2/3 of the way done, so material cost is something to consider with PLA being $15-$20/kilo and ABS being $20/$25. Overall I have to agree with Charizard, find a happy medium of material properties and cost and let us know how it goes :) Also, I use triangle infill at 10% with 3 perimeters. stuff is pretty strong
 

xXDashIVXx

Well-Known Member
I am sorry for hijacking your thread a little bit, but I just purchased a tevo tornado with some of my saved money, and was wondering if anyone knows of upgrades that I definitely should make to the machine. I know many of the upgrades are sircumstantial, and some of the websites that gave lists of upgrades just bombarded you with things that didnt seem necessary. Also is there anything I should know?
 

TurboCharizard

RMO & BCO
405th Regiment Officer
Community Staff
I am sorry for hijacking your thread a little bit, but I just purchased a tevo tornado with some of my saved money, and was wondering if anyone knows of upgrades that I definitely should make to the machine. I know many of the upgrades are sircumstantial, and some of the websites that gave lists of upgrades just bombarded you with things that didnt seem necessary. Also is there anything I should know?
These are probably the most important I've come across ordered most to least important that you can pump out in the first few days.

Get some sort of strain relief or chain guide for the bed heater cables. I've had that cable snag and get jammed between the bed carriage and limit switch causing some damage.
Tevo Tornado Strain Relief by pemic

Rubber washers for the plate to stop the level getting shifted out of whack by motion of the bed.

The y-axis motor is really torque-y and some people have had frames holding the motor warp over time. Just a little support can't hurt.
Y MOUNT FOR TEVO TORNADO(CR10) by SanderPrints

The spool situation is a bit odd on the machine but I like mine on the back left to feed into the machine easier.
Spoolholder for Cartesian printer with aluminium frame by Coat

Cable management and swagger
X/Y Pulley Cover - Tevo Tornado by EngrC

Better thumbscrews because the ones on most Tornados are a bit small and fiddly.
Hybrid Tevo Tornado LEveling Knobs based on Ultimate CR-10 Knobs by Nerys
 

TurboCharizard

RMO & BCO
405th Regiment Officer
Community Staff
Yeah, so I've sliced it up....

It's going to take 10.9kg of filament, and will take ~45 days of straight up printing...

View attachment 273665
That's almost exactly what Daisy-023 took so everything is checking out. I did have some print failures and spool ends so in reality it was closer to 7-8kg of material but you're definitely in the right ballpark.
 

Phauxelate

Active Member
That's almost exactly what Daisy-023 took so everything is checking out. I did have some print failures and spool ends so in reality it was closer to 7-8kg of material but you're definitely in the right ballpark.
Hmmmm. Thinking....

What if I were to bump up the nozzle size? I wonder if it's a linear decrease between the nozzle size and print time.

I'm thinking more and more about going back into foam and using what I've learned last time to really knock this out of the ballpark. Plus, I'll be able to use things that require ventilation this time!

What's killing my decision to do this is the amount of wear the printer will take, and most importantly the amount of time invested.

If I do go with foam again, it couldn't hurt to get real skilled with it. A sort of "Git Gud M8" thing to be on the skill level of professional foam smiths
 

xXDashIVXx

Well-Known Member
So I have done two prints now in pla. They came out really well, but the it took a very long time. I switched over to abs to give it a try, and it just wont print. It may have been a few problems and I think I am yroubleshooting the problem now, but what I am here for is to ask how fors one change the layer hight. I have the cura slicing software, but I am pretty sure that is for slicing only for the most part. Can you change the layer hight via computer or do I have to change the nozzle. I went to print something relatively small in pla but it said it would take almost 11 hours. I just want to speed up the process and am not too caring about how much detail I will get.

I am sorry if this is basic. I have no idea what I am foing and it took me a good 30 min just to figure out how to load in the filaments XD
 

Wayward Flood

Member
So I have done two prints now in pla. They came out really well, but the it took a very long time. I switched over to abs to give it a try, and it just wont print. It may have been a few problems and I think I am yroubleshooting the problem now, but what I am here for is to ask how fors one change the layer hight. I have the cura slicing software, but I am pretty sure that is for slicing only for the most part. Can you change the layer hight via computer or do I have to change the nozzle. I went to print something relatively small in pla but it said it would take almost 11 hours. I just want to speed up the process and am not too caring about how much detail I will get.

I am sorry if this is basic. I have no idea what I am foing and it took me a good 30 min just to figure out how to load in the filaments XD
Did you have an enclosed printer case for the ABS prints? I heard you want as much control of the temp and environment with ABS printing.
 
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