Chapter 10 – Silicone parts
Silicone has recently become increasingly popular in the field of 3D printing. The flexibility (print bed support, vibration damper for housing) and temperature resistance (pressure bed and heating block insulation) we also took advantage of with the Tantillus.
The way to the finished silicone part is somewhat more complex, because the first step is to print the moulds and this requires a certain amount of practice during subsequent casting. The right silicone is linked in the BOM. Who prefers black through-colored parts to meat-colored ones, can add approx. 3% active carbon dust. We recommend a layer height of 0.1 mm for the moulds, which enhances the surface of the finished parts and makes demoulding easier. No release agent is required.
The cast bed dampers are designed to level the print bed. They are compressed by the clamping screw and generate a constant counterpressure. The position of the bed remains surprisingly good, even if you carry the tiny printer around. Washers are provided for the dampers to distribute the pressure over a larger area. (Picture comes from a mould printed with 0,2mm layers)
Insulation of the heated bed is a recommendation but not a must. It helps to save some energy and minimizes the temperature fluctuations in the bed due to the air flow of the pressure part cooling. The disadvantage is that the cooling process to remove the printed parts is slower.
Before the heatbed insulation is cast, the bed dampers must be made. In the following step, these are pre-assembled and cast in. Optionally, the thermistor can also be completely encapsulated.
Even if the moving mass of the Tantillus is quite small, vibrations inevitably occur during print due to load changes at high speeds and accelerations. In order to decouple these from the ground, we have added housing feet to the equipment. It also provides additional stability even on uneven surfaces and protects the surfaces. The printer is about 5mm higher and the fresh air supply is improved. Small recesses for silicone feet are also provided in the pull-out of the spool roller.
Insulating heating blocks from Hotends actually only brings advantages. More about this topic can be found here.
PPE for working with silicone: gloves!
The silicone is well mixed in a mixing ratio of 1:1. A fine scale helps, otherwise it must be estimated. The challenge is to fill the moulds as bubble-free as possible, light tapping or vibrations with an electric toothbrush or your girlfriends toy etc. are helpful. Finally, the excess silicone is removed from the surface of the mould with a straight object, after which a little patience is required. Heat accelerates the hardening process enormously. At 40-50°C it can be demoulded after about 2 hours.
If the handling of silicone is too complicated for you, please use the contact form.
- Chapter 0 – Introduction
- Chapter 1 – Housing
- Chapter 2 – Z axis
- Chapter 3 – XY axis system
- Chapter 4 – Heated Bed
- Chapter 5 – Cooling
- Chapter 6 – Extruder
- Chapter 7 – Hotend
- Chapter 8 – Electronics
- Chapter 9 – Spool roller
- Chapter 10 – Silicone parts
- Chapter 11 – Option: Belt drive cover
- Chapter 12 – Option: Rasberry Pi Zero
- Chapter 13 – Option: UPS for the pi
- Chapter 14 – BOM / Downloads
- Chapter 15 – FAQ
- Chapter 16 – Samples
- Chapter 17 – Concluding remarks