FAQ

In our Support Knowledge Base Platform, we try to keep as much information as possible, free and opened to anyone! There are a few articles though, that contain sensitive information, that are available only to our customers.

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Each grade of plastic is unique, and will require a unique set of settings to be processed. Finding the right settings is an iterative process, which means you will have to experiment, following a structured approach, until the filament quality meets your expectations.

Feel free to watch our new video, which teaches the right approach to processing a new material on the Filament Maker.

You can also find the video in this article, which also walks you through the main steps of the process.

After each extrusion session, before you stop the extrusion or switch the machine off, it is important to use one of the following purging materials, in order to guarantee a good flow the next time you switch the machine on: HDPE, Devoclean MidTemp, or Devoclean HighTemp. Choosing the right purging material will mostly depend on the thermal window within which you are working.

HDPE is used for ‘soft’ purges within 180-280°C ; Devoclean MidTemp for ‘stronger’ purges within 180-320°C ; Devoclean HighTemp for the most thorough cleaning within 280-420°C.

There are no purging presets : you should use the same temperatures you were using to process a given material, in order to purge it out of the machine. Those temperatures must also respect the thermal window of the purging material.

Note: Devoclean HighTemp has an excellent purging capability, be cannot be left inside the machine over a shutdown period. You will need to run some HighTemp while letting the machine cool down to 300°C, and then transition to Devoclean MidTemp.

Each grade of plastic is different, and you will have to find appropriate settings to process each of them.

Thickness deviation is the most common extrusion problem, it just means that the settings are not correct yet, but you can keep experimenting as long as the plastic keeps flowing.

There is a general method to find good settings, but keep in mind that it is mostly based on pure experimentation. There is no definite rule to predict what settings will work best : the idea is to make safe adjustments in a logical way until the results improve (described in section 6 of the article).

We also created this video to guide people through the main steps.

Causes of slow flow include:

  • empty hopper: the only way to get an output is to push it with an input. The hopper must be kept sufficiently full during extrusion.
  • processing of powders or regrinds: ‘ratholing’ might be taking place. It occurs when the gravity-based feeding of the matter does not work properly (some of the matter remains sitting in the hopper, without sliding down the throat). Providing vibration or stirring in the hopper will solve the issue.
  • partially clogged nozzle: this might be visible from the outside (if there is plastic buildup at the tip). Changing the nozzle is then necessary.
  • partially clogged barrel: this can sometimes be seen on datalogs. The solution is to purge the machine thoroughly.
  • wrong settings: temperatures, when too low or too high, can lead to slow flow. Following a structured approach might reveal better settings.
  • inappropriate grade of plastic: for example some injection grades can have a very low viscosity, which will prevent pressure build-up and sufficient flow. Trying to process another, more viscous material, might give better results.

Here at 3devo, we work with two suppliers mainly: Resinex and IMCD. You are free to contact other plastic suppliers which deliver in your region. Keep in mind that 3kg of a given material is a good amount to perform a material test on our Filament Maker.

This happens when the filament is too soft when reaching the puller. In order to fix this, you can:

  • increase the fan speed, to provide more cooling, obviously
  • decrease the extrusion speed, giving more time for the output to cool down
  • decrease the temperature, in that case H1 mostly

In all three cases, the filament should be more solid when reaching the puller : it will keep its shape better.

A few difficulties can come with extruding regrind:

  • ‘ratholing’ might be taking place during extrusion. It occurs when the gravity-based feeding of the matter does not work properly (some of the matter remains sitting in the hopper, without sliding down the throat). Providing vibration or stirring in the hopper will solve the issue.
  • impurities (dust, foreign materials) can contaminate batches of regrind and decrease the quality of the product. It is extremely important to clean your parts of any glues, greases,… and store them away from dust.

You should also keep in mind that:

  • choosing one single grade of plastic is easier than trying to process a mix of different types.
  • the plastic will degrade after each recycling step because of heat and shear stress. Recycling a certain plastic 4 times is already quite a lot.
  • you can add virgin plastic to your regrind to maintain better properties.

Although it is possible, we never recommend customers to do this themselves.

This is a last resort operation.

Before you get there, please get in touch with our Service department:

There are three ways to work with additives:

  • using a twin-screw extruder beforehand, you can pre-compound pellets, so that they contain the filler dispersed inside the plastic matrix. You can then feed those pellets in your Filament Maker, and this usually works very well, up to high percentages (90%weight, depending on the blend).
  • without pre-compounding the blend first, but feeding in the hopper the unmixed additive and plastic (you can place the plastic and the filler in a jar and shake well, but they remain unmixed at a microscopic scale). If the additive is in powder form, then mixing it with plastic powder will probably work better than a powder-pellets mix. With this method, it is sometimes not possible to achieve high percentages of filler (often around 25%weight).
  • using masterbatches, which are pellets that contain a high percentage of filler. By adding a few of those pellets in the blend, you can disperse a lot of additive. Colorants are a great example.

Fibers, when not pre-compounded, are not easy to work with. In all cases, it is wiser to experiment with the virgin plastic first, and then gradually increase the percentage of infill.

Causes of rough filament surface include:

  • additives, especially fibers. This might not be a fixable problem.
  • unclean nozzle. Solidified plastic at the tip of the nozzle or inside the nozzle can lead to streaks on the surface. In that case the nozzle should be changed.
  • solidification inside the nozzle, which can lead to ‘sharkskin’. This happens when the nozzle is too cold: the plastic flows inside the nozzle, starts to solidify on its inside wall for a brief moment, then the flow rips off the newly formed skin, then it starts again. Increasing the rotation speed might help as well.

Bubbles in the filament can come from:

  • residual moisture, if the plastic has not been dried properly (unless the plastic is hydrophobic like PP or PS). Drying instructions can usually be found on the Technical Datasheet.
  • plastic degradation and outgassing, if the temperatures are excessive.
  • air trapped inside the melt, if the temperatures are excessive too close to the feed zone (H4 mostly)

Before switching the Filament Maker, or even before stopping an extrusion, you should always purge the machine with the appropriate purging material:

  • HDPE between 180-280°C, if the extrusion went smoothly and without additives, impurities, burnt particles, material degradation, bad flow…
  • Devoclean MidTemp between 180-320°C, if you feel like something remained stuck in the barrel, if you are not sure, if HDPE does not seem effective enough, or if anything wrong happened during the experiment (very unstable flow, clogging,…).
  • Devoclean HighTemp between 280-420°C, if you are working at high temperature.

There are no purging presets : you should use the same temperatures you were using to process a given material, in order to purge it out of the machine. Those temperatures must also respect the thermal window of the purging material.

Note: Devoclean HighTemp has an excellent purging capability, be cannot be left inside the machine over a shutdown period. You will need to run some HighTemp while letting the machine cool down to 300°C, and then transition to Devoclean MidTemp.

You can only switch the machine off when one of these is inside: virgin PLA, HDPE, Devoclean MidTemp.

If the error message says ‘motor current limit reached’, then you can act quickly and try to solve the problem yourself. This message means that too much current is required to make the screw spin. Usually, this indicates that the barrel is becoming fully clogged or that the melt is too viscous. A potential solution consists in increasing the temperatures by 20°C, setting the screw speed on 2RPM, removing the material form the hopper, adding Devoclean (MidTemp or HighTemp depending on the temperature), and trying to start the extrusion again.

If this does not get the flow back, or if another error message is displayed, please contact our Service department: service@3devo.com 

Our DevoVision App allows the user to log data during extrusion sessions, for several purposes:

  • during the search for optimal settings, analyzing the graphs can help the user understand how the material behaves and how to improve the settings.
  • once the optimal settings have been determined, it is time to spool the product, and the log then serves as a quality check before feeding the spool in a printer.
  • if you want help from our Materials Specialists (materials@3devo.com), sending a log is a very good first step which will give them a lot of information.

Of course this depends on the material you are processing, and the quality (tolerance) you want to achieve. On average, for most unreinforced plastics, it is often possible to produce 600g/h of good quality filament. You can produce more than 1kg/h by playing with the settings, but the quality will decrease.

Note: getting a tolerance worse than +/- 50 microns does not mean that the filament will not be printable.  

Yes you do. Unless you are processing virgin PLA.

Before switching the Filament Maker, or even before stopping an extrusion, you should always purge the machine with the appropriate purging material:

  • HDPE between 180-280°C, if the extrusion went smoothly and without additives, impurities, burnt particles, material degradation, bad flow…
  • Devoclean MidTemp between 180-320°C, if you feel like something remained stuck in the barrel, if you are not sure, if HDPE does not seem effective enough, or if anything wrong happened during the experiment (very unstable flow, clogging,…).
  • Devoclean HighTemp between 280-420°C, if you are working at high temperature.

There are no purging presets : you should use the same temperatures you were using to process a given material, in order to purge it out of the machine. Those temperatures must also respect the thermal window of the purging material.

Note: Devoclean HighTemp has an excellent purging capability, be cannot be left inside the machine over a shutdown period. You will need to run some HighTemp while letting the machine cool down to 300°C, and then transition to Devoclean MidTemp.

You can only switch the machine off when one of these is inside: virgin PLA, HDPE, Devoclean MidTemp.

Yes, it will be a pleasure teaching you how to use the machine and get better results.

No matter how much you currently know about extrusion and polymers, our friendly Materials Team will transfer you all the knowledge you need to conduct successful experiments.

Feel free to consult this page and ask any questions you like by filling the form.

Information about our warranty can be found on this page.

By default, the warranty period is 12 months, but we offer different service packages.

Please feel free to contact our Account Managers for a more interactive explanation (sales@3devo.com).

This can mean a few things:

  • the temperatures are too high, especially on H1, so the plastic comes out very liquid. Finding better settings will fix the problem.
  • the plastic has degraded before or during the extrusion, its molecules have been broken, and it has lost viscosity. For example, PLA that has been left inside the machine overnight will degrade and come out very liquid on the next day, during the first minutes of extrusion.
  • the plastic is an injection-molding grade with a low viscosity. Extrusion grades and general purpose grades are preferred.

In a nutshell, the solution usually consists in decreasing the temperatures, but a lot of injection-molding grades will remain extremely hard to work with. Applying more cooling does not always work with very liquid outputs.

Causes of nonexistent flow include:

  • empty hopper: the only way to get an output is to push it with an input.
  • clogged nozzle: this might or might not be visible from the outside. In that case it is possible to remove the nozzle and see if the material can flow out of the knee.
  • wrong settings: usually, the temperatures would be too low, not providing enough heat for the plastic to melt. In that case, increasing the temperatures might bring the flow back.
  • clogged barrel: either because the machine has not been purged properly and/or because some impurities are clogging it (agglomerated metal powder, burnt particles, wood chips, foreign plastics which cannot melt,…). In that case, performing a purge with Devoclean MidTemp or HighTemp (depending on the current temperatures) is a good plan. Increasing the temperatures can help fluidize the matter, and removing the nozzle will ease the conveying.
  • if the screw will not even start spinning (error message ‘motor current limit reached’ from the start), then increasing the temperatures and reducing the rotation speed might get the flow back.

As soon as the flow stops, or if the flow does not even start, it is always wise to remove any material from the hopper and then feed in some Devoclean MidTemp or HighTemp.

In some cases, for example if you let PEEK or PVA solidify inside the barrel, it is impossible to get the flow back without disassembling or changing the whole extrusion system.

If you do not manage to get the flow back, please contact our Materials Specialists (materials@3devo.com)

It is highly highly recommended.

Some plastics release toxic fumes, such as ABS and PS.

But even plastics which are not officially considered harmful, like PLA, release unpleasant fumes. You will definitely smell or feel those fumes after spending a bit of time in a room with the Filament Maker.