‘Novelty’ 3D-printing filament has real applications

3D-printing ColorFabb ngen_flex-rubber filamentNot everything I create on my 3D printers is artwork. I’ve written before about using my CAD software and 3D printing other things – it’s super handy for making parts as well as other items simply for fun.

That includes the cool design I came up with for a Farkle board.

As with most things, after I used the farkle board, I began to see some ways to improve the design. PLA resin creates a hard, stiff surface, so I added a padded bed to the first boards I printed.

That helped, but I wondered if I could eliminate the need for the padding while still getting a quiet, controlled throw of the dice by printing the design in rubber.

Fortunately, the Dutch filament maker ColorFabb offers a rubber filament called NGen_FLEX (usually called “Ninjaflex”) in 3 millimeter, perfect for my 8-foot-tall Gigante 3D printer ….

3D printed rubber farkle board - Kevin CaronThe print went remarkably smoothly. Most important for a piece with such a big footprint, the filament stuck to the print tray beautifully.

The only oddity was lots rubber “boogers” throughout the print. I think they were caused because, as often happens, the print head made some odd passes, repeatedly printing non-existent corners of the board before going around. That certainly contributed some of the slubs.

The aberrations were easy to cut off with my flush cutters, though – those little cutters are a truly handy tool to have around when 3D printing!

I found some purple dice with white dots, making it look like I’d actually thought through the color scheme – LOL.

Before we knew it, we were playing Farkle with a surprisingly quiet board that had just the right amount of bounce.

Of course, now that I have a little experience with this filament, I’m dreaming about what I can do it with it artistically ….

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