NinjaFlex vs. Form Futura Flex Eco

Talk about anything.
User avatar
JuliaDee
Posts: 959
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 10:00 pm
Location: Connecticut
Contact:

NinjaFlex vs. Form Futura Flex Eco

Post by JuliaDee » Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:23 am

Got my NinjaFlex today. First off, it wouldn't extrude well at all at the low end of their website's recommended temp range of 210-230. After some trial and error, I found it does reasonably well at 240C, with the Up set at Fine mode for slowest possible travel. Even on Fine mode, however, the Up's head moves quickly when building zig-zag support and infill, so don't be surprised to see a fairly ugly mess developing inside your parts. Have faith, though, and let it run. Eventually enough junk piles up that it performs its function, and the outer shell stays nice.

It is much softer than Form Futura's Flex EcoPLA, I'd guess about half the hardness. Which is good for a lot of things, like bumpers, feet, etc.

It is far less "accurate" than the Form Futura material. Whereas the FF material seems to prefer a fairly large layer height and sticks to itself like crazy, the NinjaFlex doesn't stick to itself well unless the layer height is small, which results in layers mushing together due to the material's long molten state. A fan blowing on the build plate would probably help but I haven't tried it yet. I did leave the damper open after the first layer or two on all prints. Note how clean and straight the "shaft" portion of the part is with Flex Eco, and how it's somewhat messy with the Ninja, especially the 0.3mm layer part.

Oddly, the NinjaFlex seems capable of better X-Y detail than Flex Eco. It doesn't really show in the photos, but the shaft portion of my test part is supposed to have vertical ribs inside it. These are pretty non-existent in the Flex Eco part, but are well-defined in the 0.2mm NinjaFlex part.

Raft removal from flat-bottomed parts in NinjaFlex is astonishingly easy - almost like ABS, and much easier than Form Futura. Zig-zag support is about the same for both materials - you have to yank on it and do some snipping.

Adhesion to perfboard is good if you get it into the holes. Adhesion to glass coated with glue-stick is excellent, but go easy on the glue or it can leave impressions in the base of the part(s).

Filament feed is a bit erratic - not nearly as reliable as with Flex-Eco. NinjaFlex is very stretchy so you have to make sure there's minimal pull required to get it off the spool. I hand-fed it during high-volume raft or initial layer printing, then mostly left it alone during printing of the remainder of the parts.

NinjaFlex inter-layer adhesion is far less than that of Flex Eco - I could see during support removal that I was approaching its breaking point, whereas you'd have to really try hard to rip apart a Flex Eco part.

On the spool, NinjaFlex has a very matte finish, and as advertised, low tack (Flex Eco is pretty sticky). Fennerdrives touts this as promoting "smooth feed", but I've had no problems with Flex Eco feed. After extrusion, NinjaFlex is almost as glossy as Flex Eco, which is a bit disappointing; I like the matte finish!

It's great to now have a choice of hardness, with the option of making fairly soft parts. I can see adding internal structure selectively to sections of parts to end up with harder and softer areas. Or if these materials stick to each other, dual-extrusion might be used to simulate "co-molding" with parts having different hardnesses in different areas.

I think optimal printing with any of these TPE materials requires a printer with full control of extrusion rate, head speed, retraction (NinjaFlex really wants more retraction), etc., but it is certainly possible to get useful results with an Up/Afinia if you've got temperature control.

Looking forward to trying recreus' TPE material if and when they release it in 1.75mm!

julia
IMG_6021.jpg
IMG_6021.jpg (165.93 KiB) Viewed 24129 times
IMG_6018.jpg
IMG_6018.jpg (80.88 KiB) Viewed 24129 times
IMG_6026.JPG
IMG_6026.JPG (70.58 KiB) Viewed 24129 times

User avatar
JuliaDee
Posts: 959
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 10:00 pm
Location: Connecticut
Contact:

Re: NinjaFlex vs. Form Futura Flex Eco

Post by JuliaDee » Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:26 am

IMG_6027.JPG
IMG_6027.JPG (65.88 KiB) Viewed 24127 times
IMG_6022.jpg
IMG_6022.jpg (74.98 KiB) Viewed 24127 times
IMG_6019.jpg
IMG_6019.jpg (67.37 KiB) Viewed 24127 times

User avatar
JuliaDee
Posts: 959
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 10:00 pm
Location: Connecticut
Contact:

Re: NinjaFlex vs. Form Futura Flex Eco

Post by JuliaDee » Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:28 am

IMG_6025.JPG
IMG_6025.JPG (109.88 KiB) Viewed 24127 times
IMG_6012.JPG
IMG_6012.JPG (121.38 KiB) Viewed 24127 times
IMG_6023.JPG
IMG_6023.JPG (79.01 KiB) Viewed 24127 times

User avatar
wackojacko
Posts: 667
Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:46 am
Contact:

Re: NinjaFlex vs. Form Futura Flex Eco

Post by wackojacko » Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:23 am

Hi Julia

How does it compare to our rubber v2 material?

We got it feeding very well on the UP, still a bit stringy but very strong.
Bruce
http://www.3DPrintingSystems.com

Need help with your printer, check out our Youtube channel.
https://www.youtube.com/user/3dprinting ... /playlists

User avatar
wilsonj
Posts: 569
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:26 pm
Location: Australia

Re: NinjaFlex vs. Form Futura Flex Eco

Post by wilsonj » Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:56 am

Thanks Julia for the excellent write up. Looks like the search continues...
Regards
Jamie
3DPrinterGear.com.au

User avatar
josejuako
Posts: 479
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2010 5:55 am

Re: NinjaFlex vs. Form Futura Flex Eco

Post by josejuako » Wed Oct 09, 2013 2:08 am

Julia are so good info , a lot of color , nice .
Thanks to show us and put here you're opinion .
Very good images , excellent close up .


Jose

User avatar
DrewPetitclerc
Posts: 581
Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2011 7:39 am
Location: Silicon Valley California
Contact:

Re: NinjaFlex vs. Form Futura Flex Eco

Post by DrewPetitclerc » Wed Oct 09, 2013 2:49 am

Very informative, Thank you.
Regards
Drew
Drew Petitclerc
Petitclerc Designs
Owner/Senior Principal Designer, prototype, tooling and test equipment design and 3D printing
http://flash-graphics.deviantart.com/
http://www.thingiverse.com/DrewPetitclerc

User avatar
Numonic
Posts: 211
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:11 am
Contact:

Re: NinjaFlex vs. Form Futura Flex Eco

Post by Numonic » Wed Oct 09, 2013 2:39 pm

Anyone have an idea if this NinjaFlex or Form Futura Flex Eco will work properlly on a Up Mini? Being that the temperature on the bed is not that hot but the extruder heater is another story.

User avatar
JuliaDee
Posts: 959
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 10:00 pm
Location: Connecticut
Contact:

Re: NinjaFlex vs. Form Futura Flex Eco

Post by JuliaDee » Wed Oct 09, 2013 2:44 pm

Numonic wrote:Anyone have an idea if this NinjaFlex or Form Futura Flex Eco will work properlly on a Up Mini? Being that the temperature on the bed is not that hot but the extruder heater is another story.
I don't think bed heating is required at all for these materials. Full 260-270C Up nozzle extrusion temp is not optimal though I think; you need to lower it. Flex Eco likes 210-220C and the NinjaFlex 230-240C.

FD_Engineer
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Oct 09, 2013 6:37 pm

Re: NinjaFlex vs. Form Futura Flex Eco

Post by FD_Engineer » Wed Oct 09, 2013 6:49 pm

Hey Julia,
I'm an engineer with Fenner Drives (NinjaFlex). The print quality you're showing in these pics is pretty poor. I have gotten much better results on my Replicator. If you want to send me the model for this part, I can post and image of the resolution I would expect. I worked with another maker who was having similar issues with NinjaFlex on a Mendel. It turned out he had some roughness in his barrel that was causing erratic feed. You definitely should not have to go up to 240C to get the material to extrude. I generally run around 212-215. Higher temps prevent the material from freezing as quickly and lead to stringiness.
Thanks,
Steve

PS: You can also see typical print quality on some of the things I loaded to thingiverse.

User avatar
JuliaDee
Posts: 959
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 10:00 pm
Location: Connecticut
Contact:

Re: NinjaFlex vs. Form Futura Flex Eco

Post by JuliaDee » Thu Oct 10, 2013 9:37 am

FD_Engineer wrote:Hey Julia,
I'm an engineer with Fenner Drives (NinjaFlex). The print quality you're showing in these pics is pretty poor. I have gotten much better results on my Replicator. If you want to send me the model for this part, I can post and image of the resolution I would expect. I worked with another maker who was having similar issues with NinjaFlex on a Mendel. It turned out he had some roughness in his barrel that was causing erratic feed. You definitely should not have to go up to 240C to get the material to extrude. I generally run around 212-215. Higher temps prevent the material from freezing as quickly and lead to stringiness.
Thanks,
Steve

PS: You can also see typical print quality on some of the things I loaded to thingiverse.
Hi FD,

Welcome, good to have you here! You can download my test part at

http://www.pragmaticdesigns.com/ZD100-3 ... 08.STL.zip

Thanks,
Julia

FD_Engineer
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Oct 09, 2013 6:37 pm

Re: NinjaFlex vs. Form Futura Flex Eco

Post by FD_Engineer » Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:23 pm

Here are a few pics of the first print. It went pretty well (much better than the prints you showed). I ran at my typical settings...35mm/s with .27mm layer height, 2mm retraction, 90% fill and no support. The internal overhang got stringy (If possible for the design, I'd put a taper on this transition...to avoid the need for support). I'm printing another one with a raft/support for comparison.

I don't have experience with the Afinia, but based on what you're showing, it may not be well suited for flexible materials.
Attachments
Julia-NoRaft3.JPG
Julia-NoRaft3.JPG (161.53 KiB) Viewed 24000 times
Julia-NoRaft2.JPG
Julia-NoRaft2.JPG (20.08 KiB) Viewed 24000 times
Julia-NoRaft1.JPG
Julia-NoRaft1.JPG (21.55 KiB) Viewed 24000 times

User avatar
JuliaDee
Posts: 959
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 10:00 pm
Location: Connecticut
Contact:

Re: NinjaFlex vs. Form Futura Flex Eco

Post by JuliaDee » Thu Oct 10, 2013 2:06 pm

FD_Engineer wrote:Here are a few pics of the first print. It went pretty well (much better than the prints you showed). I ran at my typical settings...35mm/s with .27mm layer height, 2mm retraction, 90% fill and no support. The internal overhang got stringy (If possible for the design, I'd put a taper on this transition...to avoid the need for support). I'm printing another one with a raft/support for comparison.

I don't have experience with the Afinia, but based on what you're showing, it may not be well suited for flexible materials.
That is totally awesome, thank you! I did mention in my original post that I believe optimal printing of these TPE materials probably requires a printer with more adjustability than the Up - especially with regard to head speed and retraction (ignoring temperature, which is obvious). So you did this at 212-215C? What is the size of your nozzle aperture? Oh, and what printer, just out of curiosity?

I will have to go back and give it another try at lower temperature, maybe with a freshly-cleaned shnozzle as well.

julia

FD_Engineer
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Oct 09, 2013 6:37 pm

Re: NinjaFlex vs. Form Futura Flex Eco

Post by FD_Engineer » Thu Oct 10, 2013 2:46 pm

These prints were on a Replicator (1st version) with the standard nozzle (0.3mm...I think). I did have to install the MK8 spring loaded roller (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:53125), but this comes standard on the Rep 2 and 2x...not that I'm advertising for them:) The support material between the drive gear "nip" and the entrance to the melt chamber is critical to prevent jams...pic attached.

I'm also attaching pics of the part printed with raft and full support. The bottom layers are stringy...like they always are on rafts, but otherwise the geometry looked good. I didn't spend much time cleaning off the support, so it looks kinda hairy...and for some reason, Skeinforge built the support all of the way up the small dia section.

Let me know if you need more info. Good luck...
Attachments
WithSupport3.JPG
WithSupport3.JPG (18.12 KiB) Viewed 23959 times
WithSupport2.jpg
WithSupport2.jpg (19.92 KiB) Viewed 23959 times
WithSupport1.JPG
WithSupport1.JPG (24.84 KiB) Viewed 23959 times

FD_Engineer
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Oct 09, 2013 6:37 pm

Re: NinjaFlex vs. Form Futura Flex Eco

Post by FD_Engineer » Thu Oct 10, 2013 2:50 pm

2 more pics...I guess max is 3
Attachments
Extruder Guide-Mk8.jpg
Extruder Guide-Mk8.jpg (177.65 KiB) Viewed 23959 times
WithSupport4.jpg
WithSupport4.jpg (20.23 KiB) Viewed 23959 times

roller
Posts: 1622
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:09 pm
Location: Brisbane, Australia

Re: NinjaFlex vs. Form Futura Flex Eco

Post by roller » Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:07 pm

You can't really compare temperatures between printers they are not "actual" temperatures. We can compare from Up to Up because the design and temp probe are identical. You cannot really compare between any two repraps unless they are identical both in hardware and firmware ... even then there are build vagaries in many of the extruder designs. Eg 215C on one Makergear nozzle is the same as 220C on another nozzle is the same as 235C on a Jhead all on the same hardware which all may equate to 250C (or 200C) on an Up.

So temp is not an Apples with Apples comparison between machines unfortunately.

Julia, from your prints it does look like it needs a lower temp but the Up extruder design may not be up(no pun) to it. I would try printing on Fast at the higher temp instead with an external fan.

User avatar
JuliaDee
Posts: 959
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 10:00 pm
Location: Connecticut
Contact:

Re: NinjaFlex vs. Form Futura Flex Eco

Post by JuliaDee » Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:18 pm

Fair point re temps, but you have to start somewhere...

Re speed, my experience has been that these TPE's usually do better on the Up at slow speed. What seems to happen is that the layer being extruded does not adhere well enough to the layer beneath to overcome the forces (surface tension, stickiness, whatever) that tend to keep it stuck to the nozzle. At slower head speed (and smaller layer height) there's a better chance of it sticking to the layer beneath and laying down a clean bead. At faster speeds it just slings goop. There may be a feed rate mismatch as well, and there is almost certainly a retraction mismatch. Just my observations; my guesses as to root causes and fixes may well be wrong.

User avatar
JuliaDee
Posts: 959
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 10:00 pm
Location: Connecticut
Contact:

Re: NinjaFlex vs. Form Futura Flex Eco

Post by JuliaDee » Fri Oct 11, 2013 1:38 am

FD_Engineer wrote:The support material between the drive gear "nip" and the entrance to the melt chamber is critical to prevent jams....
Thanks for the additional info and pics, FD. The (unsupported) space between the feed gear/roller and the entrance to the downtube may indeed be a problem with filament this soft on the Up, I'll have to study. But if it was jamming there I'd expect to see a big messy buildup in that area, and so far I haven't.

roller
Posts: 1622
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:09 pm
Location: Brisbane, Australia

Re: NinjaFlex vs. Form Futura Flex Eco

Post by roller » Fri Oct 11, 2013 11:29 am

JuliaDee wrote:Fair point re temps, but you have to start somewhere...

Re speed, my experience has been that these TPE's usually do better on the Up at slow speed. What seems to happen is that the layer being extruded does not adhere well enough to the layer beneath to overcome the forces (surface tension, stickiness, whatever) that tend to keep it stuck to the nozzle. At slower head speed (and smaller layer height) there's a better chance of it sticking to the layer beneath and laying down a clean bead. At faster speeds it just slings goop. There may be a feed rate mismatch as well, and there is almost certainly a retraction mismatch. Just my observations; my guesses as to root causes and fixes may well be wrong.
That is a fair and valid observation but it's important to experiment both ways. One additive to a filament can significantly change the way they behave and sometimes what you had accepted to be the typical mechanical properties goes out the window. Sometimes you want slower and more retract (unfortunately out of our control) to allow binding and in turn reduce stringiness and other times you need fast to quickly "snap" off threads while they are still viscous and allow surface tension to restore the surface quality. It's one of those, you gotta try it both ways scenarios.

Apart from the lack of retract control on the Up it's also pretty sluggish so the Fast setting often isn't fast enough to get better results ... but sometimes it works. The acceleration and rapids on my repraps is probably almost an order of magnitude faster. That's how ultimakers often achieve such beautiful prints ... the snap rapid.

roller
Posts: 1622
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:09 pm
Location: Brisbane, Australia

Re: NinjaFlex vs. Form Futura Flex Eco

Post by roller » Sat Oct 12, 2013 1:24 am

This might be of some use...

http://talpadk.wordpress.com/2013/10/10 ... -filament/

Interestingly they have gone for no retract with this filament to get great results which suggests an issue with repriming. The other way to go on that would be trying more temp (since we can't retract) which seems a little counterintuitive given your previous results. It's so painful sometimes, not being able to tweak retract.

Also, the problems you are having with this material has me contemplating a temp step up mod to permit printing at higher temps using the PLA setting. I am pretty sure it has a different retract behaviour and it might come in handy for more exotic filaments.

Post Reply