In one of the classes I attended on 3D printing, the instructor noted that different colors of the same material might require different extruder temperatures, to get the same surface finish. All other things being equal, he said that darker colors need higher extruder temperatures than lighter colors to achieve the same surface finish.
Has anyone noticed this so far on their Z200? It's possible that Zortrax found a way around this in the material itself. If not, perhaps they could add it as an adjustable setting in either Z-Suite, or the printer itself (for example, when you load the filament you tell the printer what color you loaded and it adjusts accordingly).
Just to be clear! I'm not trying to fuel the "3rd party filament" discussion. I'm just referring to printing with Z-ABS White vs Z-ABS Black (for example).
I haven't done an explicit Apples-to-Apples tests yet, but from what I've printed so far, it seems that darker colors do not give as good of a surface finish as lighter colors. Specifically, there is more of a gap between the perimeter and the "fill" on the darker colors, than on the lighter colors.
I'm working on some test prints now, but thought I'd start the discussion in the mean time.
I have noticed that the raft on the dark blue is impossible to remove on large parts. The lighter colors seem easier. I was wondering that myself..
So I printed out the same part twice, once in black and once in white, using the same .zcode file: ABS, 1.9mm, Full Infill, 0 Support, 0 Fan, 3 Layers top & bottom.
To me there was a difference, but it was pretty slight. The white piece has less height difference between the peaks and valleys of the fill beads on the top surface. Also, the gap between the perimeter bead and the fill beads is more shallow in the white plastic. This means that to me, the white plastic had a better surface finish, because it was smoother. These observations both support the theory that the white filament was a bit less viscous as it came out of the printer, and thus the beads of plastic were better able to flow into each other. However, this difference was very slight!
Also interesting to note is that the left side of the print, which is under the heating block, appears to have a smoother finish than the right side of the block. Possibly this is because the heat from the heater block made the left side less viscous. This happened on both prints, and again the difference is slight.
Overall, I think there is still room for improvement with the surface finish. I suspect they can do better with this printer, in part because the top surface of the the raft is smoother than the top surface of the finished prints! I would expect that either the plastic needs to be a touch hotter, or the extruder needs to be running a bit faster. Hopefully they're working on this in the R&D labs at Zortrax.
In the mean time, I'm working on an enclosure for my printer and perhaps that will help.
I'd be curious what others have found with their surface finishes as well!
I think the nozzle tip plays a role, too. If I remember correctly the flat nozzle on my (now sold) UP made a nicer surface finish on the top.
But the flat nozzle is more critical in getting electrical contact during calibration… That’s I think why the Z doesn’t use it.
I think theres something to this cause when I used yellow it was a bear to remove the support but with black it was a cinch. I couldn't believe the difference.
But I also have an issue with yellow and curves. Still have to do a test again to make sure.
Well I did another test print and upped the fan to 40% when I switched to yellow and it did way beter than ever before. The rafts were even easy to take off. I am finding out it is all trial and error till you get the right setings. There was one spot on the curve that was eh, but all in all it was almost like the black. I am thinking I will try 50% and see if that will make it like the black at 20% fan.
if you are printing small objects, the fan is your friend... :D