Hard filament for Ender

I am trying to make dies to go into a machine that I have that imprints bags. I had a local company create my first die and it worked. I purchased a Ender 3 and have tried PLA and PETG but both keep getting crushed in the stamping machine, even at 100% infill. I asked the company what they used and they told me Photopolymer. Is there a filament I can use in my Ender that will be strong enough? The top layer also has to be super smooth.

I don’t have a lot of experience with different materials, but the hardest I’ve worked with is PolyCarbonate (PC). Specificially, this stuff:

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+1 for polycarbonate or nylon, the only issue is I don’t think the standard Ender 3 can handle it. Your going to need a all metal hotend to print in it.

Any idea how much force it needs to withstand?

Alternatively, have you thought about printing a a master, make a silicon mold of that, then casting it in a photopolymer.
I do that quiet often, but I use epoxy or cements instead of a photopolymer.

You could upgrade to the micro Swiss direct drive put a grow tent around your printer And print it out of nylon will last you forever

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Actually, the polycarbonate I linked to was used on my Ender 5 Pro which uses the same hot end as the Ender 3, as far as I’m aware, so it will work.

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Oh really? I assumed you needed an all metal hotend.

I’m really happy to learn that you don’t need one, looks like I need/get to try PC out then :partying_face:

Yup. It works, but you are printing at the high end of the E5Pro’s heat range. A few months ago I posted pictures of one of my HO Scale model railroad turntables. The grey turntable pit was done in PC. The white gearing and motor mount were done in PLA-F. Very different printing characteristics for those two.

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I recently installed an all metal hotted for this purpose. I will give the PC a try. I cant make a mold because I need one for every company I do these for. On another note, can the Ender 3pro print with silicone?

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The machine is made to emboss cards, so it crushes pretty good.

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My understanding that embossing tools are made of a a UV cured epoxy. That is very similar to a resin 3d printer uses. I have made stamps recently it is difficult to hold detail.

PC might work but it has its strength in flexibility, more than PLA. I wonder if it will deform under the pressure.

You might try HTPLA.

No printing in silicone that I ever heard of. You can however make a positive and then negative mould from that in silicone. there are wax type filaments for molds too.

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Have you thought about using your 3d print to print a mpcnc and using that to cut aluminum plate for your dies? Last forever and honestly depending on thickness aluminum isn’t all that pricey, 15$ per linear foot of 1/4 x3" 2024 at aircraft spruce in brantford, which could be worked into layout costs, and the plates would exist basically forever

Plus it gives you an excuse to have a cnc machine lol

Holy #$%$! I’d never heard of Aircraft Spruce, so I checked them out. What’s the first thing I see on their home page? A panel mounted dual USB port, kind of like the $21 unit I bought for my mower although the mower’s USB port also had an LED voltmeter around it’s circumference. And look! It’s on sale! You can have theirs for the low, low price of $357.00!!!

I know aircraft are expensive with all the certifications, etc., but a 1500% price hike?

And look…if you need to fit the square USB port to an existing round hole, there’s a round-to-square mounting plate available for a mere $74.80. Screws are EXTRA.

So after picking my jaw up off the floor and examining the plastic models of the Imperial Japanese Navy destroyer Yamoto for $2008 (because, what aircraft supply company wouldn’t be selling WWII battleship models?) I went on to look at their aluminum and steel offerings. I can’t remember what I paid for aluminum last time, but the 1" x 1" x .065 steel square tubing, which I did buy last year, is still selling at Princess Auto for $9.99 for 4ft. Aircraft Spruce’s price? $114.00

I don’t think I’m going anywhere near that place. Then again, maybe I’ll pick up a $2950 Titanic model or the Yorktown Aircraft Carrier for $1937.00.

That place is insane.

On the plus side, it’s with walking distance.

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Huh? After reading this I went and priced the 1x1 sq tube, for 4 feet of 6061t6 is 42$
The difference between the aluminum sold by hardware stores and aircraft spruce is the grade.

Aircraft spruce’s stuff is structural. That t6 means alot. They also sell 4130 chromemoly tubing for not bad, and 4x8 sheets of aluminum, and hard to find resin and carbon fibre materials, Kevlar, and composite tools.

I also buy a couple of these, as they come with handy amounts and sizes

Yeah, as far as electronics, stay far away. There’s more to it then just certification, there’s burn ratings and built in insurance costs to every part when it comes to airplane stuff. Plus it’s all designed to carry the load coming from apu’s.

It’s useful for some stuff, overpriced for others I guess, I have honestly never looked at their toys :laughing:
The key is its a specialty store, like buying silver solder from princess auto, or going to buy the good high silver solder from midway or brownells, there is specific tailored use in mind. Sometimes we just divert that use, but it will cost us more because of the source. I use aircraft spruce because there’s no wait and it’s 10 min away.


I was comparing their 1x1x.065 steel square tubing. It’s the most recent thing I’d bought from Princess Auto (1x1x .1). I can’t weld Aluminum so I was looking at the products I might actually use.

Ah! interesting. I just checked my post and I see I referred to it as Aluminum when I was actually checking Steel. Now I see why you were surprised :frowning: Edited.


I Blame you if my keyboard shorts out…
The drooling over Aircraftspruce.ca

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As an AME, aircraft spruce has some neat things, but most are out of my budget XD.

Random tool thats used in aviation and i believe to be underappriciated in the hobby world is the handy dandy wire twisters.

I honestly use a princess auto 6inch one, and its outlasted other peoples snap-on wire twisters.

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Interesting. I’d never heard of these. I had always just used a drill. Then again, if I’m twisting wires, it’s usually several meters of it.

These are made for locking wire. Like on an engine or cylinder head. the bolt heads are cross drilled to pass a small wire through in such a way when the loop comes back and you twist them it would tend to tighten the bolts and can keep them from coming loose. the length thats twisted is pretty short usually and usually the bolts are in a pattern securing one part for example on a compressor head. I have a very old pair of these and a newer princess auto quality one thats just as good once it’s broken in.