24/7 Customer Service (800) 927-7671

Unique, Flexible 3D Printing Filaments: SD3D Reviews PCTPE, FlexSolid, NinjaFlex & Cheetah

by • March 10, 2016 • 11s Comments

SD3D-LogoIn the area of 3D printing, where new products and materials are emerging continually, one must be really thankful for those bringing the time to test items for us, saving us hours, effort, and many potentially wasted dollars. In a new review of SD3D, in a blog by Sean Aranda called Meet the Flexibles: An Expansive Review of 3D Printing Flexible Materials, we are able-bodied to learn a great deal additional of four flexible filaments:

PCTPE of taulman 3dFlexSolid of MadeSolidNinjaFlex by NinjaTekCheetah by NinjaTek

It is significant to note that there are of course many other flexible filaments on the market; yet, it’s just as significant to note that these take place to be materials that the SD3D team works with regularly. For these testing purposes, they utilized LulzBot TAZ5 printing devices with e3D hotends.Untitled

In the SD3D review, things are appearing pretty great right off the bat for PCTPE, as they refer to it as ‘awe-inspiring material.’ Formally known as Plasticized Copolyamide Thermoplastic Elastomer, you should find that this material contributes you all the benefits synonymous with elastomers, combined with the duraptitude of nylon. Specifications are: strength: 5046 PSI, elongation: 497.6%, Tg: 74C.

“The interlayer adhesion of PCTPE is great that is what manufactures this elastomer the many durable-bodied of any we have tested to date,” states the SD3D team in their review.

Pointing out that while the elongation for PCTPE is really astounding at just about 500%, you may be interested to realize that it is the very least flexible of the four filaments being reviewed, and does contribute rigidity as well, displayed in resistance as they tried to bend the 3D printed bracelet in half. All of these showcases should lead to be a advantageous 3D printing experience, and SD3D predicts that you can be able-bodied to print additional expediently with normal retraction settings. With Ninjaflex and FlexSolid, you may not experience the speed in fabrication.

“Since there is a lot of bend preceding breaking with PCTPE, but yet rigid adequate to maintain its shape, this material works great on any mechanical part that vibrates or needs cushioning,” states SD3D in their review. “PCTPE comes in a standard white color but can be dyed as any nylon based material can.”

PCTPE-GIFBecause of the balance between rigidity and flexibility, the SD3D team recommends this filament for items like phone cases. In terms of printing device settings, while this is an effortlessgoing material to work with, be warned that you can need to worry of the additional common issues of adhesion to the print bed, along with warping. If you’d like to ward off any issues, SD3D passes on their expertise to you: try applying one coat of PVA to a 45°C glass bed in order to eliminate sticking to PEI. The mixture for your coating should be eight parts water to one part standard glue. Whilst you may yet see warping here and there, with this system you should have pretty great luck.

With PCTPE, you can appear forward to printing at 45mm/s, and operating at up to 55° without requiring any sustain material. If you are via sustains, it’s recommended that you set the angle needd set to 52°, with a fill amount of 10%. As SD3D did, you may want to increase the distances for sustain of PLA to 0.8mm in the X/Y way and 0.16mm in the Z axis.

“This appears to work really well, but rigorous versions can yet donate you a tough time,” stated the team.

phoneYou should in addition use the next settings:

Minimum travel for retraction at 1.5mmCombing type to ‘all’Minimal extrusion preceding retracting at .005mmZ hop when retracting to 0.1mmSpeed to 10mm/sDistance to 1.5mm

“PCTPE was the initially flexible filament we loved printing,” states the SD3D team. “We automatically began printing phone cases, bracelets, other wearable-bodied items since it was so much smoother and softer than the average PLA or ABS.”

“This product is in addition great for parts that need brace impact or have a lot of vibrations since it holds its shape much advantageous than the other three materials listed. Whilst it unquestionably has its applications, we seem to find ourselves via FlexSolid additional frequently.”

And with that said, let’s check out what additional they had to say of FlexSolid! One other ‘awe-inspiring’ material—this elastomer is said to be really close to rubber, so store that in mind regarding your project needments. With less elongation than PCTPE, you can find it to be softer and additional flexible—and able-bodied to print at higher speeds. Specifications are: strength: 7250 PSI, elongation: 450%, Tg: 74C.

It is in addition significant to take into account that these experienced 3D printing enthusiasts have utilized this material a lot, to include createing items like:

Insoles for shoesJewelryFunctional GT3 belts

Its flexibility is pretty astounding, too, if you check out the image revealing the honeycomb pattern, that is ideally flexible without breaking. But what of cost? The SD3D team finds it to be pricey at $39 per pound spool—createing it 33% higher than PCTPE. It is in addition just on the market-bodied in translucent.

Whilst their review sounds pretty great, disregarding price issues, what you can not like to hear is that the SD3D finds printing with it to be ‘tricky.’ Considering be able-bodied to 3D print with the material is the whole thought, you can have to decide what your level of expertise—and patience—is when it comes to tricky.

“Once the settings are idealed the surface high end can be really great, but trial and error can be frustrating at times,” stated SD3D.


“The print is a really exact version that can just be done on .4mm nozzles and smaller in size. From left to right all that was alterd was the speed was slowed down of 50mm/s to 45mm/s, temperature brought of 225°C to 220°C, the minimum travel for retraction was bumped up of 1.0mm to 1.5mm, the retraction speed sped up of 15mm/s to 25mm/s, and the distance retracted up of 1.5mm to 2mm.”

You’ll find life is simpler without sustains, but the team says it’s yet ‘unquestionably possible.’ They set their overhang sustain angle to 53° and above, fill amount of 10%, and a distance in the X/Y of .85mm and .18mm in the Z way. If you are interested, a full profile for a Cura 0.4mm Nozzle with an e3D setup at .25mm layer heights .ini can be downloaded here.

“Of all of the flexible filaments we have tried, we have come to use FlexSolid the many,” states the SD3D team. “Whilst Cheetah is a brand new filament that we may begin via additional frequently, FlexSolid is our go to for flexibility and a soft feel without an incredibly heavy price tag.”

Cheetah-GIFAnd speaking of Cheetah! This is a new filament that in fact has not been released yet. You may have guessed by the name that it’s intended to be swifter than the other one-of-a-kind, flexible filaments. As a note, the SD3D team tested this in red, that was supplied as the sample—and it wasn’t yet clear whether or not there can be other colors—that may be pretty limiting if not. Pricing information was in addition not yet on the market-bodied.

The SD3D team was apparently really impressed with Cheetah, as they discovered it contributeed great performance with ‘incredibly clean surface high end’—comparable-bodied to that of PLA. Whilst sloped prints were challenging, the team discovered that the material performed actually advantageous than expected.

“Not just is does this material appear great, it has a few awe-inspiring properties,” stated the team.

Without actual elongation or tensile data yet on the market-bodied, SD3D was able-bodied to say that it is one, softer than both PCTPE and FlexSolid—and two, ‘just a little additional stiff’ than NinjaFlex. Attempting the honeycomb test here, they discovered that it passed with flying colors, reverting back to shape each time, via a version that was just. 4 walls thick (1.6mm).

Quality-Cheetah‘Tricky’ can be a great term for printing issues here as well. Temperature seemed to be a big issue, and that does not bode well for other users.

“The number one issue we seemed to find is that this filament has a really low range of temperature for extrusion. Too cold and the filament can clog and too hot the print can have a really ugly surface high end,” stated SD3D. “This range was complex for us to dial in for the reason it seemed that actually the difference between two printing devices may alter our settings a bit.”

They experienced issues with oozing, additional clogging, and finally after several additional tries, decided that the most printing temperature for their TAZ 5 3D printing device was 230°-235°C.

On the other hand the filament is promised to run as swift as 75mm/s, the team discovered the optimum speed to be at 50mm/s, and actually there, manufactures it the swiftest out of all the filaments being reviewed here.

Support-Cheetah-300x169In addition on a positive note was that sustain removal was really effortless. Ereallyone likes to hear that.

“Whilst we have just tested a really basic version, the sustain was really effortless and had a really clean underside,” said the team. “We utilized sustain with an angle of 53° and above, 10% fill amount, 0.9mm distance in the X/Y way, and 0.175mm in the Z.”

Heating of the bed was not needd and adhesion was ‘great’ during testing. The team was able-bodied to run the create plate at 40°C, and removed prints of glass and PEI beds without issue. A full profile for a Cura 0.4mm Nozzle with an e3D setup at .25mm layer heights .ini can be downloaded here.

“The surface high end, along with speed to print, manufactures this a great material for practical usage,” said SD3D. “The main issue comes with the fact that the price is not yet known. We hope to be able-bodied to add this material soon to our list of products on the market-bodied for clients.”

Ending with a filament that has been on the market for a while, details on NinjaFlex by NinjaTek (specifications: strength: 7250 PSI, elongation: 450%, Tg: 74C) can unquestionably manufacture you take pause—especially knowing that this is a filament SD3D finds complex to print with. They have discovered it to contribute up hairy prints when retraction settings were less than ideal, and in addition have stated that versions must be printed really slowly. Price is an issue as well. For .75 kg, you can be paying a steep $65.

“…along with a print speed of 25mm/s, this material can end up costing a lot of time and money to use,” states SD3D.

The filament does come in a wide range of colors, yet, and on a positive note, SD3D discovered it to be the softest material, indicating that it may be a great choice (if you can get past agonizing print times and high prices) for items that come into contact with the skin—like bracelets, and additional. Printing of rigorous versions is not an version, yet, according to SD3D. Supports are a leading issue in addition, and really complex to remove, along with the needment for slow sprinting speeds.


“As you can see of the photo to the left, a minor alter in settings can manufacture a pretty sizeable difference in the print high end. The print on the left was at 235°C, retraction set to a speed of 10mm/s and a distance of 1.5mm. The print on the right was printed at 220°C with retraction set to a speed of 7mm/s and a distance of .5mm.”

“We printed one version on a PEI bed and soon came to regret it. Whilst nylon based materials such as PCTPE can not stick properly to a PEI bed, NinjaFlex stuck so well it destroyed our print,” stated the team. “The entire bottom couple of layers delaminated of the rest of the print actually with careful use of a scraper with the bed at room temperature.”

If you are interested, a full profile for a Cura 0.4mm Nozzle with an e3D setup at .25mm layer heights .ini can be downloaded here.

“Whilst NinjaFlex is a lot of fun to play with, the high price tag, slow print speeds, and complexy to print rigorous versions has created it so that we have not contributeed the filament for sale to our clients,” states SD3D. “Whilst slightly additional soft and flexible than FlexSolid, it is almany always out of the price range and aptitude to print for client’s versions.”

We believe there is a lot of information here to sustain you on your way if you are appearing in the direction of via any of these one-of-a-kind, flexible filaments. The reviews are comprehensive and contribute great points regarding each material, that hopefully can sustain you greatly in terms of specific applications or projects you may be involved with.

“All four materials can have a great surface high end after dialing in your settings, but NinjaFlex is unquestionably the many complex to print. PCTPE, FlexSolid and Cheetah all seem to to have the aptitude to print sustain material without too damaging of results, with Cheetah leaving us with a lot to be excited of,” stated SD3D in conclusion.

“We have always discovered that flexible filaments are a few of the complexest one-of-a-kind materials to print swift in high high end. This is why we are really hopeful to contribute Cheetah soon to our clients.”

And contributeing actually additional tips for your 3D printing projects, SD3D has in addition just released their free A-Z 3D Printing Handbook newly. In addition written by Sean Aranda, it’s free for download or with an email subscription, as well as being on the market-bodied for purchase on Amazon. The handbook covers 26 one-of-a-kind 3D printing terms and tutorials, with ereally category covered.