Using Forefront Filaments

Forefront Filaments are a new generation of products, made entirely from polyolefins (that is, polypropylene and polyethylene). Getting the best printing results requires a compatible print surface. We recommend using a PP film with an adhesive back and the best (and most cost effective) way of doing this is to use a good quality PP packing (parcel) tape. Good results for smaller prints can also be achieved using a glue stick coating (providing you keep it moist during the printing of the first layer).

Using a good quality PP packing tape on your bed plate, you should find working with Forefront Filaments as easy as any other standard 3D printing filament. This page contains some general and some specific guidance for using our filaments. For further commentary on 3D printing, check out the latest blog posts.

Printer Settings for F43 TOUGH and F41 FLEX

Setting

1.75mm Diameter

2.85mm Diameter

Nozzle Temperature (°C)

195

215

Bed Temperature (°C)

First layer 110
Second layer onwards 30

First layer 110
Second layer onwards 30

Bed material

PP packing tape

PP packing tape

Nozzle Cooling Fan (%)

Small prints 100
Large prints 0

Small prints 100
Large prints 0

Extrusion ration (flow rate) (%)

116

100

Print speed (mm/s)

50
(exterior surfaces 25)

50
(exterior surfaces 25)

Retraction distance (mm)

2.2

3

Retraction speed (mm/s)

30

30

Layer height (mm)

0.1 – 0.3

0.1 – 0.3

Maximum Overhang (°)

60

60

General Printing Advice

  • Enclose the printer if possible or shield from air movement to avoid warping
  • Always allow the print bed to cool before removing the print, as the print could become distorted if removed while still warm.
  • Reset the nozzle height: start with a height of at least 0.3mm and lower until the filament lays as a smooth line without skipping along the surface. NOTE: If the nozzle height is too low, the PP print surface could become damaged by the nozzle or by the removal of the print.
  • With F41 FLEX, as with other flexible filaments, to get the best print results and minimise stringing:
    • Print at slower speeds, for example 20 - 40mm/s to start with
    • Use a nozzle retraction of 3 - 5mm
    • Set a z-lift of 0.2mm
    • Read our blog about printing with flexible filaments
  • Use a spatula or blunt palette knife to ease the print off the PP tape and then replace the tape for the next print. If using a glue stick coating, this can be washed off using warm water post print.
  • Always begin the print with one or two loops / skirts to get a smooth extrusion of filament before the first layer of the model is printed.
  • When printing large parts with F43 TOUGH, better results can be achieved by allowing the print to cool slowly, for example try:
    • enclosing the printing space (to keep it warm),
    • switching off any cooling fans directed at the build plate during printing
    • reducing the nozzle temperatures.

A tip to find the optimum nozzle temperature for the filament in your printer:

Try printing some single-wall test cylinders (using the spiral-vase slicer setting) at a few different temperatures, starting with the temperature that you would use for PLA and check the interlayer adhesion and surface quality.

Bed Plate Surface Materials

    Using PP Packing Tape

    The ideal print surface for Forefront Filaments is a good quality PP packing tape. We've acheived good results with a number of brands including 3M/Scotch Heavy Duty Packing Tape and also Prima Packing Tape. The tape should have a strong and heat resistant adhesive, otherwise the glue will be difficult to remove afterwards.

      Packing-tape.jpg

      To install the PP packing tape:

      • Prepare and clean the surface for application. Standard glass cleaner and a lint-free cloth can be used to clean off any dust, grease, or sticky residue from previous tapes or films.
      • Press one edge of the tape to the surface and smooth the film gradually across the surface, avoiding bubbles.
      • Add further strips getting as close to the edge of the last one as possible and attempting not to overlap.
      • To strengthen the adhesion of the film to the glass, heat the print surface to at least 60°C and allow to cool.
      • Ensure that the bed is level and the nozzle height is set correctly: start with a height of at least 0.3mm and lower until the filament lays as a smooth line without skipping. NOTE: If the nozzle height is too low, the first payer may not print properly or the part may be difficult to remove.
      • The surface can be cleaned using any standard glass cleaner.
      • Removing the tape can be done using a palette knife and a kitchen surface cleaner (to remove any glue residue)

      Using a Glue Stick Print Surface (for small parts)

      Start with a clean glass plate and set the nozzle height first. Use a washable glue stick such as Pritt Stick, UHU stic or other non-solvent glue stick. (Hint: the coloured ones can be useful to see that you get an even layer).

      • Rub the glue stick over the surface of the glass to build up an even layer over the print area.
      • Use a damp cloth and rub over the surface of the glue so that there are no dry areas (if the glue dries before printing, it will not stick).
      • Keep the print bed at room temperature, no higher than 35°C to prevent the glue from drying too quickly.
      • After printing, carefully remove the print and rinse in warm water to wash any remaining glue from the base.
      • Glue can be re-wetted or reapplied a number of times or the glass bed can be washed with warm water and the glue re-applied before the next print.

      For information on the safety of Forefront Filament products,
      download the Material Safety Data Sheet