Thank you for choosing the Creatr HS/XL and Simplify3D software for your printing needs.
The instructions below will explain how to properly use PVA filament in order to print 3D models which require soluble support. Please note that the instructions are for PVA printing together with PLA only.
Let`s get started:
Requirements and Recommendations:
- Sealed spool PVA;
- Driver-unit fan installed (this is only a recommendation, not an absolute requirement.)
- Fresh nozzle block installed for PVA printing only;
PVA is soluble in water and is going to be used as support material. The PVA filament is very sensitive for moisture because it is soluble in water therefore it always wants to attract moisture. Moisture can very easy destroy PVA, so always store it sealed in a air-tight, water-tight bag and in a dark, cool environment. When printing with PVA, put the PVA filament in a separate plastic bag with moisture absorbent silicone bags. Let the end of the filament stick out of the bag, and try to close the bag as much as possible. Cut a hole in the bottom of the bag so that is fits on the spool holder. This method reduces the amount of moisture that can come in contact with the PVA filament. (The PVA filament comes in an vacuum seal, leave the seal intact until you are ready to print). If you're having trouble printing with the roll in the bag, then an alternative to this would be to cut off a length of PVA filament, making sure that you have enough for your print. There is no special method of estimating this; but having a little extra waste is better than losing a whole role due to moisture. And in time, you'll get better at estimating how much you need.
IMPORTANT NOTE: NEVER USE THE STAND ALONE PREHEAT OPTION WHEN PVA IS LOADED IN AN EXTRUDER. THIS CAN VULCANIZE THE FILAMENT IN THE EXTRUDER AND CAUSE A CLOG THAT RESULTS IN YOU HAVING TO REPLACE THE EXTRUDER NOZZLE BLOCK. FOR THIS REASON ALONE, WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU PRINT PLA/PVA PRINTS WHILE CONNECTED TO THE PC.
Make a .GCODE file with the following settings: PLEASE BE PATIENT AS THE PRINT SETTING FILE IS BEING UPDATED.
- Nozzle 0 (Right) will be for PVA
- Nozzle 1 (Left) will be for PLA
Steps before printing PLA/PVA:
1. Connect the Creatr HS to the PC through Simplify3D;
2. In Simplify3D, heat the left nozzle to 220º, the right nozzle to 190º, and the print bed to 55º
3. When the nozzles reach the set temperatures, load the PLA filament in the left drive unit by feeding the filament by hand through the lower filament tube until it reaches the drive unit; then use the extrude command to feed it all the way to the print head. You may temporary disconnect the bottom filament tube if you're having trouble getting the drive unit to catch the filament. (Connect the lower filament tube if previously disconnected).
4. Remove the right filament guiding tube from printer as shown in figure 1 and figure 2.
5. Use the Extrude 100mm with the right nozzle to get the PVA to feed through the drive unit. See the note at the bottom of figure 2 as to why you're having to load filament this way (testing the pressure is important for PVA filament).
6. Connect the filament guiding tube back on the printer and load the PVA filament through the filament guiding tube, ensuring that it loads all the way into the nozzle block.
7. Extrude 300mm with nozzle, and check if an continuous stream of PVA comes out of the nozzle. The extruded filament should look the picture below (Figure 3):
8. Now you can run the .GCODE either from a USB stick or with a PC connection (Again, if you're using Stand-Alone mode, DO NOT preheat the printer; simply run the .GCODE file from the USB stick - the print settings will heat the extruders and bed).
- Remove the PVA filament from the printer IMMEDIATELY, and put it in a seal-able bag keeping it moisture free.
- To remove the PVA filament from the printed object, soak the printed object in water for a day or two; the warmer the water, the faster the PVA dissolves - but the water temperature should not be hotter than 50º C.
- If the filament will not completely dissolve, use a toothbrush-like tool to brush the excess PVA from the part.
Thank you for reading the solution and for any other issues please do not hesitate to contact our Leapfrog Support Team.
We wish you happy printing!