13 Nov We extruded PCL filament with Felfil System: here is how
We started from PCL pellets, and we adopted some useful tricks: below is a brief guide to replicate our experiment.
Felfil System, the desktop extrusion system we developed, supports a wide range of materials: from the known, commonly used in 3D printing, to experimental or niche polymers.
For the ordinary polymers, we have written a brief guide which is free to download: it includes a summary the recommended extrusion parameters for various materials (the system, in fact, works best by correctly adjusting the temperature, speed and mode of the Spooler). When extruding experimental materials, however, the parameters must be set by from time to time; for this reason we usually carry out tests to check the potential of our System even with less common polymers and to provide useful information to our users.
This time we decided to test if we could make filament starting from PCL (Polycaprolactone) in pellets. It is a material that, thanks to its biocompatibility and its high thermal stability, is used for various applications in the biomedical field. Moreover, PCL has good resistance to chlorine, oil, water and solvents.
Extruding PCL with Felfil System
PCL has a low melting point (59-64 ° C); it also tends to sticks to any type of surface when it is still hot, including metals and PTFE.
First, therefore, it was necessary to replace the usual air cooling of Felfil System with a water cooling. In this case, the extruded filament was immediately immersed in a tray containing water at room temperature, as you can see in the image.
After a few attempts, we identified the best extrusion parameters, which allowed us to extrude filament starting from PCL in pellets:
- Temperature: 95°C
- Speed: 8 rpm
- Spooler mode: soft
For the extrusion, it was very useful to place Felfil Evo on a raised surface (about 5 cm), to prevent the material from sticking to the extruder body once it came out of the nozzle.
Finally, one of the most common issues of PCL extrusion is that if heated too much, it tends to agglomerate in the tank. So, recommend to shuffle the pellets often to avoid this inconvenience.
With the extruded filament, then, we 3D printed a PCL support: it was pretty easy!
If you have any questions about the extrusion, or want to know more about our products, feel free to contact us!