NinjaTek!!! Just the name sounds like the filament will be deftly back-flipping through all of your prints with ease. But does it?
I am fairly new to 3D printing and most of my experience is with PLA. However, I have tried a cheap no name brand of TPU before with little success. So this time I am trying both a harder and more well known TPU for my review.
- Shore Hardness = 75D
- Excellent bridging capabilities and virtually no warping
- Abrasion resistance 84% better than PLA and 60% better than ABS
- Chemical resistance to many materials, including naphtha, ASTM Oils #1-3, petroleum and freon
- Consistent diameter and material properties providing reliable, high quality prints
- No heated bed required. Build platform requires same prep as PLA
I am going to break up my review into 4 different areas that pretty much follows my experience with this NinjaTek Armadillo filament.
- Settings (ease of finding correct print settings)
- Print quality
- Durometer Accuracy
This is obviously the most important thing in making this filament work and I will describe it in one sentence — you want this filament to be at Goldilocks’ porridge temperature and very slow.
When you look online at the NinjaTek website they say:
- Extruder Temperature: 220°C – 230°C
- Platform Temperature: Room temperature – 45°C
- Glue or blue painters tape is suggested if not using a heated bed
- Print Speed:
- Top and bottom layers: 15-20 mm/ sec (900-1800 mm/ min)
- Infill speeds: 45-60 mm/ sec (2700-3600 mm/ min)
- Use cooling fan if available for 2nd layer and up
All printers are different but there are a few things to keep in mind. At higher temperatures you may want to invest in a steel nozzle. In previous attempts with a no brand TPU the brass nozzle on my 3D printer started breaking down. This may have been caused by clogging and may not have entirely been due to the abrasive properties of the filament. It was, however, a lesson learnt.
I found that 220-225 was a good temperature for my prints. For the printing speed I was able to get away with about 30mm/sec but slower is definitely better. I found it to be hard to print with a layer setting of 0.1mm. This material is ‘goopier’ (my technical term) than PLA and a 0.2mm thickness did me well.
The Armadillo has very good layer adhesion and I absolutely love it. I had my glass bed at 60 degrees with glue stick and it worked great! The red looked like pure rubies were being laid on the glass. No issue with leveling and I think the goopiness had a way of overcoming my lack of skill in bed leveling.
Adhesion between layers was also not an issue. The only point to make here is less about the material and more about the model being printed. When printing the standard Bench the unsupported bow of the ship constantly wanted to curl up. You will need to take this into account with your model orientation and build supports.
Overall, I really liked this filament. The strength of the final part is amazing. Think of those indestructible black combs and when printed thinner (<5mm) it is very flexible and perfect for living hinges.
Details due to overhangs are not great but with tuning anything is possible. I also noticed that the larger flat surfaces printed over a 20% interior fill can come out a bit bumpy.
This can be seen on the top surface of the clips I made (first two photos above). Due to this, PLA is still my go to for detail but for a functional part with a decent level of detail the Armadillo is perfect.
The NinjaTek Armadillo filament is rated at 75 Shore D. I use the following image all the time as a real world reference chart. Based on this I would say the accuracy is 100% when the thicknes of the part is over 5mm. However, when it is thinner, my calibrated thumbs felt this was more in the range of 25 Shore D. In a way this is really great because it literally gives you flexibility in the model for living hinges in a fairly solid part.