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  • Im extremely excited to report im getting a nice sized 3D printer soon, ordering next week. I just wanted to ask some of you experienced guys, is PLA or ABS better for wing ribs. Im already planning to get PLA media, but if i need the abs, for structural components, i would like to have the best i can get. This is for my flying wing project plan is to have it 10ft in a 3 piece breakdown format. Hopefully itll look nicer than my previous n9mb tries.

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    • Originally posted by rifleman_btx View Post
      Im extremely excited to report im getting a nice sized 3D printer soon, ordering next week. I just wanted to ask some of you experienced guys, is PLA or ABS better for wing ribs. Im already planning to get PLA media, but if i need the abs, for structural components, i would like to have the best i can get. This is for my flying wing project plan is to have it 10ft in a 3 piece breakdown format. Hopefully itll look nicer than my previous n9mb tries.
      RBTX, I have not yet made truly structural parts though PLA is tough, I have experienced some parts shrinkage when cooling and you can warp/unwarp it with hot water of only 130F. ABS is tough, does not shrink as noticeably, but it is also more brittle than PLA. If I were constructing solid wing ribs, I would choose ABS and presume that whatever material I was using to skin the wing would suffice to keep the ribs from undue stress and box the spars on both the LE and TE sides. Neat idea to print wing ribs. Best, LB

      Fine Print:
      Please consult your aeronautical engineer if experiencing redness of the face, increased volume of the voice, bleeding of the eyes and knuckles due to returning with more parts than when leaving your residence. If additional symptoms occur, discontinue reading any further advice from LB immediately. Not sponsored by anybody at any time and this advice is valid only for the 30 seconds it took for you to read it.
      Captain: Got any ideas?
      F/O: Actually not.
      — Captain Chesley B 'Sully' Sullenberger III and F/O Jeff Skiles—

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      • Thanks, i think ill try with pla and see what happens. The skinning will be foam overlayed with fiberglass.

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        • PLA has a much lower melting point than ABS. ABS is more flexible than PLA and has a slightly lower density meaning it is a bit lighter. It is definitely stronger than PLA too. ABS can be more of a problem to print because if it's higher melting temp though and it can be prone to warping. My printer is in a heated enclosure and I rarely have printing problems with ABS so if I were to take on a project if 3D printing a plane, I would make the 90mm F-86 Sabre and do it in ABS. Maybe someday.

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          • I guess it will be abs, but that stuff isnt gonna kill me while i sleep is it? As the printer will be in my room.

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            • Yes it can be more smelly too but I honestly don't notice any smell with mine.

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              • Cool, i have my game plan now, thanks for the advice. Definitely going abs, and print in the garage or in the barn.

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                • My printer was purchased second hand and came with the enclosure. It is a wooden cabinet with a hinged wooden frame glass door. The inside has been lined with that thin foil insulation material. Inside the cabinet in the front left corner is a cheap little space heater that is controlled by a controller I got off of Amazon. It turns on/off the heater based on a temperature probe. I have mine in my basement which is an unheated space and can get a bit chilly in the Winter but the heater maintains a nice 40C ambient around the printer. I replaced the print bed with a piece of mirror glass which was flatter than the original bed. You can tell by how the first layer goes down. I also use cheap hair spray to adhere the print to the bed. Tried glue stick but the hairspray works better. You need the kind that has a certain ingredient in it. Do a Google search and you will see what I am talking about. The only other tool I got was one of those thin metal artists spatulas used for painting. Works great to remove the print from the bed. With this setup I can print ABS like a boss.... It can be frustrating at times but don't give up. Plenty of helps out there for the slicing software you will need to use. I use Simplify 3D. I just went ahead and paid the one time fee for the license. I also am trying to get better at Fusion 360 which is free for hobbiest and some powerful software. I am only scratching the surface with it. Start with some simple objects off of Thingiverse. I was very ambitious when I first got mine and tried to print a Skyrim dragon skull right off the bat. That was a lesson in frustration but I eventually learned and was able to get a successful print with ABS. Good luck and happy printing.

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                  The dragon skull. Required a lot of support structures.

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                  • Oh yeah thats really nice! I know i will have a learning curve to catch up with, but there is so much i want to do, beyond just the planes. Exciting times!

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                    • Hey Ya'll, Has anyone used or had any experience with 'Clear' filaments? Thinking ordinance lenses, HUD, Reflector and Canopy parts. Best, LB
                      Captain: Got any ideas?
                      F/O: Actually not.
                      — Captain Chesley B 'Sully' Sullenberger III and F/O Jeff Skiles—

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                      • Well i just pulled the trigger on an Anet A6. Cant wait to set her up and give her a go! as for the clear, ive heard its more of a hazy fogged look. However if anyone have had a nice clean clear print would be really cool

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                        • BTX, Congrats on the new toy! I was hoping someone might have had some experience with which clear filament to use so I could smooth it afterward with solvent and then polish it back to crystal. I did need to polish the clear lenses on my A-10 lights after I had stripped the OEM paint with acetone which 'hazed' the clear parts. Worked great. Best, LB
                          Captain: Got any ideas?
                          F/O: Actually not.
                          — Captain Chesley B 'Sully' Sullenberger III and F/O Jeff Skiles—

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                          • Well i did buy some clear myself, im gonna try and make the PT17 from 3dlabprints. So hopefully i can see good results when i print the windscreens. And thanks! I also plan to make some decorative items for my sons train.

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                            • I am currently trying to print their 90mm F-86 Sabre.

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                              • You doing it in abs correct? I think i remember you saying that earlier.

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                                • Yes. I did a test piece on the intake to see how it would print and had to make some adjustments. First print was just too thin. Second one came out much better. I just got my first roll of Silver ABS today so now ready to turn it loose!

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                                  • Awesome! Yes i can tell a definite difference in the two prints, its gonna look great when shes completed!

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                                    • A quick question do they say in the assembly manual if it can be scaled down? To say 80mm?

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                                      • I haven't even seen the assembly manual yet but I would think so. Not sure how that would work with retracts, etc.

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                                        • Yeah thats kinda what i had worried about as well. If the weight cost would overwhelm the motor fan and not have enough go to rotate.

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