Hexagon patterns for Tulle

by PokeyDoggo Feb 21, 2019
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Just a note for anyone printing on fabric or mesh: If you have a newer printer with a steel build plate, try small neodymium magnets. Binder clips work well too for glass or other non-ferric build plates.

I have to imagine there's a way to do this simply and easily in openscad / the thingiverse customizer where you can just choose shape, space between, bed size, and height. Might want to look into it.

Thanks for the idea! I have recently looked into OpenScad... and it goes a bit above my head with the mathematics, but I've used it before and programmed some extra lines for a batterybox. Hexagons are a simple design, but the distance of the edges from the center is different from the point or the edges. But I'll look into it.

What is the issue you are having that gives it a low percentage of success?

It requires a command line in between the layer to pauze or set the nozzle a-side. This can be easily programmed in both Slic3r, Cura and Simplify3D, however, then you have to place the Tule fabric down.
When placing the Tule fabric down, you could tear off the hexagons, as these are not perfectly flat and might have a corner that stands upward. You need to use paper holders, which are usually made out of metal, and will burn your hands if your print bed is very hot. And you need to reach around the heated bed to lay the Tule down flat.
Tule likes to curve due to it's own stiffness, on which the nozzle can catch and burn the fabric away. This will either leave holes, or the plastic will make filament residues upward, on which the nozzle could catch and pull the hexagons away.
If the Tule is overstretched during the laying down phase, the 3D printed piece of fabric will be successful, but the Tule in between the hexagons will be brittle and be broken very easily.

There is also a chance of the print bed cooling too much, so the small piece wrap a little bit and loose their grip. When the printer's nozzle comes fir the next layers, the plastic from the nozzle will grab on the hexagon, and pull it away. (hot extruded Plastic likes to grip onto either hot objects, or other plastics)
All this combined, and a small box full of small 1 to 2 layer hexagons, let me to believe the success rate is low.

But... now with the new nozzle wiping commands, maybe the new slicers will incorporate this in the newer firmware will make this process easier. I printed these parts in ABS. Which i do not recommend, because of the parts letting go issues. And it's very painfull to place metal paper holders down for the fabric, if your bed is 110 degrees C.
PETG will be better. Some PETG likes to string. All PETG spools that I've used (4 so far) all had different properties for the bed temperature and stringing.

Talking about filament extrusion, you must have a printer head, that does not leak too much filament, and can exactly print what is needed when it's starts printing a new hexagon on it's 1st layer. A leaky nozzle will make strings, and the first bit of the hexagon will be void, as the calculated plastic is gone in the form of a string.
A slow to extrude nozzle/plastic/extrude gear system will either over extrude plastic on the first few millimeters of a new hexagon. Or it will not extrude, leave a void, and then leave too much plastic at the end corners, which will cause a whisk up, which will be pulled away in the next pass or when placing down the Tule.

I'll add this in my description.