You will need:
3DLabPrint digital 3D files
+ RC equipment (linked in our airplane userguide)
Adobe PDF document downloaded in your download package.
Please have a look at the PDF/VIDEO user guide before you start printing each airplane. Our STL model is a little bit specific so some slicing and CAD softwares may report an error upon slicing/printing. Don’t worry though, the files are OK. After very careful development we realized that the models must be designed this way if we want to achieve the required strength to weight ratio.
Our STL files work with slicer softwares such as Simplify3D (fully recommended), CURA or MatterControl. We are also offering the P-47 Thunderbolt Slic3r version (completely redesigned for the needs of this software), which will work on most other slicers as well (you need try it and always check weight). Please Always check our Facebook for live information.
Included Gcodes works 100% with Prusa i3 original printers (should also work with all i3 family printers and much more)
Experiment with temperature (PLA 210-260) for best layer bonding…
We mostly print only one outline perimeter/shell thickness (nozzle 0.4mm work best so far). For example, in the Slic3r version of our Thunderbolt we need to turn on thin wall detection for good weight ratio (one perimeter thickness). Two or more perimeters can be used at the bottom of the print or at very exposed parts/spots.
Extrusion multiplier – amount of filament
Please experiment with your extrusion multiplier. We would like to repeat one IMPORTANT thing for the success of your prints. Because we find that some printers can be a little bit “under-extruded,” we find 1.02 extrusion multiplier works OK, but if you increase this value you can increase the strength and layer bonding, resulting in and a good print overall (and good weight). We find that sometimes we need at least 1.15, depending on the printer and filament diameter! Please follow our user guide where you can find the best weight for some parts and find the right extrusion multiplier value. Always ensure that your extruder and HotEnd are working properly and gives the right amount of filament.
This is highly dependent on your printer and filament quality. If you find under-extrusion at layer startpoints (after retraction), your HotEnd or nozzle probably does not work correctly and you should check it. You can also increase “extra restart distance.” This value adds some extra filament after retraction; 0.05–0.2 works (if your slicer is able to) and also helps if you decrease print speed, increase movement speed, and find the best temperature. RETRACTION 0.7-1.5mm for non-bowden extruders usually works (direct drive). Start with 0.8 and if you find some oozing filament out of the nozzle during non print movement, increase this value up to 1.5mm. For bowden, 4-6 mm is OK. We need retraction for all spots, not just for outer perimeters! Sometimes a little bit of vegetable oil applied before printing on filament helps (200 mm), especially for bowden extruders. If you get filament blockage during printing, try decreasing retraction to 0.7mm. Also reduction retraction speed to 15-20 mm/s should help when underextrusion occurs.
If you have tried everything with no success, you can try one last solution:
Change the bottom stock setting to the optimize start point setting. This will add some minor blobs to airfoil, but helps with oozing the filament out of the nozzle and so on… (Simplify3D picture)
The last chance – if you use Prusa i3 clone printer and nothing works.
I guess your HotEnd/Extruder probably does not work well enough for our Thin Wall Printing. You can upgrade to E3D Prusa i3 Upgrade Kit and get 100% working Nozzle/HotEnd/Extruder combination. With this kit you upgrade your cheap Chinese printer to the next level…
In general if you already tried all settings and more than one PLA filament supplier and nothing helps, you will need check your Nozzle/HotEnd/Extruder. If works good enough for our needs – CLEAR IT – CHANGE FOR THE NEW OR UPGRADE.
And just one advice from Philipp Amann (thanks for sharing this):
I have done a lot of testing and discussing with other “printers” and we have found, that the cheaper (or in bad condition) printers cant realy cope with 0,25 layer strength and the necessary restart. When you reduce the layer to 0,2 it works perfectly, even with the cheap printer.
This is 0.25mm layer
This is the same S3D profile with 0.2mm layer…
Proper first layer adhesion is very important, as you will find out 🙂 The first layer must be flattened on the bed very well, and it’s best to decrease the printing speed of the first layer. Two perimeter setting for the first 1-3mm of print is better for strength and adhesion is beneficial (Simplify3D) or 130%–150% width and reduce speed to 30% for the first layer … (CURA, MC, Slic3r and so on) A HEATED BED is highly recommended: 60-70°C with strong hair spray (print without warping ends). Use strong hair spray and razor blade for best adhesion to the heated bed (60°C) or some special Bed surface. Without a heated bed you can use KORES stick and add some skirt outlines with 0 offset to increase adhesion (skirt helps even if you use heated bed). Also PEI heat bed surface works well as it is without any next solution.
Experiment with temperature (PLA 200-260) for best layer bonding… Turn OFF print cooling fan for better layer adhesion (BUT, ensure HotEnd fan is still ON) we don’t need print cooling for thin wall printing. As you can see in our VIDEO guides, we print more parts together for better cooling and layer adhesion.
We have tried a lot of filaments and so far PLA is still the best for our models (2016). It looks like any standard quality is OK for our planes, BUT it always depends on the combination of PLA vs. Extruder vs. HotEnd. Sometimes you need to experiment with HE temperature. We find that some color of filament has lower layer adhesion also. Please note that ABS is not suitable for printing our planes. You will get huge warping and not so strong result as with PLA. We also made some attempts with PETG and it is not so strong, but more impact and temperature resistant. PC-max from Polymaker is also very promising materiel, but with a little bit of shrinkage.
We use PLA – Plasty Mladec (suplied by Prusa3D)
We highly recommend Heated Bed. Build volume 200/200/200 mm is big enough and 195/195/150mm or 250/120/150mm will work with most off our planes, but bigger is sometimes better…
The smallest STLs (Spitfire with use of 150 splited wing) also works with 150/150/150 mm printers.
A 0.4 mm nozzle is recommended. 0.35 mm and 0.5 mm will also work, but you will need to experiment with the extrusion multiplier value (strength/weight ratio). Some printers have disproportioned X, Y, Z axis’, which leads to unusable results. You need repair the firmware steps setting. Also, the extruder and amount of filament may vary from printer to printer.
We prefer direct drive extruders, but some bowden printers work also well. Always check the condition of your HotEnd + nozzle. These are the most important parts of the printer for achieving good result, as Thin Wall Printing is very sensitive for proper and fast distribution of melted filament.
Remember: Nowadays there are lot of FFF/FMD printers on the market. Most of them are OK for printing our aircrafts (specific thin wall printing…): sufficient volume, heated bed, 0.4 mm nozzle… this should work fine.
We use Prusa i3 Original printers (prepared Gcodes works 100%), Makerfarm and we also tried some cheap Chinese Prusa clones (somehow it worked, but maybe extra upgrades are needed for better print results. Everything depends on individual printers)