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SunLu TPU isn’t a material I have ever played with, I have never had the need. My 3D printing has often been limited to useful items, for which I generally default to PETG or toys and trinkets for which I go PLA. Same as everyone else.
Something new – Flexible
When our editor asked me to review some SunLu TPU, I was happy to try something new. Deciding that I didn’t need a full KG to test this filament, I ordered up a half spool – 500G from Amazon and decided that something Orange was in order.
When it was delivered, I was greeted with the usual amazon affair — a bubble bag with the SunLu TPU box. Now if you have read my previous articles on filament reviews I have a bit of a bug about plain brown packing. It’s lazy. SunLu, however, have taken the effort to use the packing on the rear of the box for a purpose. In an easy to understand format is a basic temperature template for SunLu filaments. From PLA to High-Temperature ABS. Helpful.
The packing is marked as recyclable, and the company’s address and contact details are easy to see. In the front of the box you have the usual viewing window and below that is a QR code that directs you to the SunLu Facebook Team. A clever touch.
The Front of the packing boasts of the company’s gold award-winning 3D printer filaments and that they have reached a standard of ISO9001 which is not something I recall seeing on any other filament packing. Opening the box, we have the usual vac-packed spool with the desiccant bag. The reel has large windows to allow you to judge the remaining filament. No complaints here!
Direct – To the point
Going with SunLu’s recommended temp settings, I started smack in the middle at 200C with my bed at 40C.
I set up my Creality CP-01 3 in 1 printer to test print. The reason I decided to use my CP-01 rather than my other printers is down to the fact it is a direct drive and does not use a Bowden tube.
I have read somewhere that direct drive was more comfortable to print TPU with. Searching for something to print after the obligatory Benchy and Calibration cube I went with The Thing from Fantastic 4! My son loves the cartoon so a squishy toy should go down well!
Looking around the various STL sites online soon provided a file and the print was started. Now in the prints defence, I set the infill too high and the retraction too high too but the print didn’t suffer too much for it is pliable and solid feeling at the same time.
I have since learnt that the best settings for Sunlu TPU are listed
- Filament Temp of 200C to 220C
- Bed temp 60C
- Slow Printing Speed – 30MM/S
- Cooling fan – Medium to high dependant on detail.
- Retraction speed set low and to minimal if at all.
With that knowledge I can say that TPU is a versatile filament if you need to print flexibles, it will obviously by its nature have trouble printing bridges, the main drawbacks are the problems in handling the filament for the extruder. To get a lovely print, you will need to experiment with the print speed, retraction settings and filament temperatures. Fortunately, TPU isn’t prone to warping.
Another drawback of TPU it’s getting that perfect finish is more a case of what you see is what you get as TPU cannot be cleaned with pure acetone like abs or sanded and painted like PLA. I will stick to PLA, PETG and try some ABS once I get my enclosure sorted.
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