The use of soluble support materials unlocks new possibilities in the process of FDM 3D printing. Here, at Magigoo Headquarters, we have tested a number of soluble filaments with the current Magigoo® adhesive lineup. Novel support materials AquaSys™ 120 from Infinite Material Solutions and Kuraray’s MOWIFLEX 3D 1000 and MOWIFLEX 3D 2000 have been tested. These filaments are all water-soluble while AquaSys™ 120 and Kuraray MOWIFLEX 3D 2000 also work in higher temperature environments than most soluble support materials. In addition to these recently released support materials we also tested Ultimaker PVA.
Why use Supports?
Figure 1: Left: print without support, Right: print with support structures. Image source: 3DHubs
Since FDM 3D printers cannot print in mid-air, support structures are required when a print has a lot of overhangs and bridges (Figure 1). Sometimes support structures can be hard to remove and one might end up damaging the part instead of removing the support. In other cases the support posts might impossible to reach and remove, this is where water soluble support materials are needed. Water soluble filaments are frequently used in conjunction with other FDM filaments to produce water soluble support structures. The support structures can then be easily removed by submerging the part in water for several hours (figure 2). This softens and eventually dissolves the support material leaving a clean 3D-printed part. Soluble support materials generally break down into harmless by-products when dissolved in water.
Figure 2: Water soluble support. Image source: Ultimaker
Where does Magigoo come into the picture?
The compatibility of water soluble support materials with other FDM materials depends on the brand and range of filament. Furthermore support materials also work at a specified temperature range, in fact most water soluble filaments do not fare well at high build plate temperatures. In most cases when printing with soluble support material most users opt to print the both the part and support material directly onto the build-plate. This has the advantages of:
- Improving surface finish
- Minimising printing time
- Reducing post processing time
- Mitigating adhesion issues between the part and the support material
- Minimising the amount of support material used
Having good compatibility between adhesives and the printing material would thus be beneficial since the user can go ahead and print any engineering material in combination with the support with peace of mind that both part and support will adhere to the build-plate. With this in mind we have determined the compatibility of each adhesive with these support materials in their respective use cases as shown below.
AquaSys™ 120 is a high temperature water soluble support filament which can be printed in build plate temperatures of up to 120 °C and features a rapid dissolution rate. Furthermore this filament also claims to be compatible with ABS, PC/ABS, Nylon, TPU, CPE, PC, and PP materials and thus is suited for a wide range of engineering materials. The table below shows the compatibility of AquaSys™ 120 with the Magigoo adhesive range.
Kuraray MOWIFLEX 3D
MOWIFLEX 3D 1000 water soluble filament is designed to work at temperatures of up to 75 °C and works well in combination with PLA, PVB, TPU and Nylon. On the other hand MOWIFLEX 3D 2000 is further optimized in terms of solubility and printing characteristics. It is also more suitable for combining it with high temperature materials. The table below shows the compatibility of Mowiflex 3D filaments with the Magigoo adhesive range.