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"Printing roads with flexible filament" Topic

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455 hits since 8 Mar 2019
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Nick Bowler08 Mar 2019 11:46 p.m. PST

Has anyone tried printing roads with a flexible filament?

fantasque09 Mar 2019 2:20 a.m. PST

Can you explain in more detail what you mean by flexible filament? I thought at first that this was a reference to 3d printing but the polymers used in them set rigid.

Nick Bowler09 Mar 2019 4:00 a.m. PST

It is 3d printing. You can get polymers that set and are flexible. The really flexible polymers require special print heads. But some reasonably soft polymers will work with standard 3D printers. YouTube link

I was hoping to find a filament that could produce a road that would conform to underlying terrain.

Personal logo TheWhiteDog Supporting Member of TMP09 Mar 2019 6:32 a.m. PST

There's a few filaments I've seen that might work. I think most are TPE-based, but those are really a pain to print with. Very unforgiving material, and they really require you to be on-point with your settings.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Mar 2019 7:40 a.m. PST

Seems a LOT easier, not to mention faster, to just make them out of latex the old fashioned way.

Grimmnar09 Mar 2019 8:25 a.m. PST

Hell, you can print in metal now.


UshCha11 Mar 2019 8:42 a.m. PST

I have used nijaflex in the past with some success. I think the issue would be either getting the right colour or if paint would stick to it. Also it's not the cheapest of filaments.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Mar 2019 9:18 a.m. PST

You could print metal over ten years ago … if you could afford it.

One of the best "calibration tasks" for a 3D printer is to print a working monkey wrench (adjustable spanner) as a single piece (hook jaw, nut, and handle assembled, not separate parts) in rubber or another flexible material.

Like the nunchaku … cool, but useless.

Seems a LOT easier, not to mention faster, to just make them out of latex the old fashioned way.

And more fun!

Something fairly flat like that would print relatively flat. You could likely get several of them side-by-side on the plate for one run.

I think the only real advantage, though, would be the ability to print roads with a nice puzzle-piece connection on the ends, like the rigid Pegasus river pieces. That would be tough and fiddly (i.e., time consuming, not impossible) to do manually, especially in a flex material.

Nick Bowler11 Mar 2019 1:43 p.m. PST

I'm curious about the Pegasus river pieces. Where are they? (I.e., do you have a link to their STL files)

UshCha12 Mar 2019 2:24 a.m. PST

I think the old guard is missing something. 3D printing takes far less time than maual manufature, printint time thogh long in some cases is spent doing somting else (even sleeping) so is not wasted. Personally that is a major win, mush less time vaulable hobby time to wasted preparing figures and terrain.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP12 Mar 2019 6:09 a.m. PST

3D printing takes far less time than maual manufature,

That is a highly contextual assertion. Which is faster depends on what you're making (which has dozens of concerns), how many, quality dimensions, cost constraints, individual skill sets, how much you're offloading, and a dozen other things.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP12 Mar 2019 6:19 a.m. PST

I'm curious about the Pegasus river pieces. Where are they? (I.e., do you have a link to their STL files)

Pegasus is a manufacturer of plastic terrain pieces.


You can see in the picture that the end of the river piece has a tab and notch system in the lower layer (not visible from the top when joined). This connector holds the pieces together very strongly on the tabletop.

I made a Pegasus-compatible piece by hand. Instead of making a complete puzzle-piece interlock, I just cut out a big square on the bottom where the tab would insert and ignored the tab bit on my piece.

I think manually building an interlock like that would be difficult. Especially since the pieces are supposed to be modular so any one should fit snug with any other one. Making pieces with that type of interchangeability is one of the activities for which manufacturing is a perfect fit.

Of course, you don't have to have that type of interlock, but it is very advantageous for a wargame layout, where you are going to be touching, measuring across, moving figures on to and off of the terrain. Keeps it from squidging out of alignment during use.

With flexible river sections, presumably conforming to uneven terrain, squidging becomes a larger concern.

3D printing would be great to make a flexible section with this type of interlock. Or just to make the interlock end bits, to be integrated into your manually made design.

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