Z Spools Reflection 4

It has been a great experience working in Studio M for the past few weeks. I have been able to

not only work with 3D printers and laser cutters, but I am also able to dedicate more time to

making Z Spools filament. This past Thursday, I headed down to Studio M to do just this. I start

every session with a purging process. This involves extruding not with PLA, but with purging

pellets, a material that is meant to clean out any debris collected in a filament extruder. I am

accustomed with working with low-temperature purging pellets. This essentially means that, as

to use this material, I must preheat the extruder to 180 degrees Celsius. Today, however, I

decided to use a new type of high-temperature purging pellet which is meant to give your

extruder a more thorough cleaning. With this material, I would have to preheat the extruder to

300 degrees Celsius which would not be a problem if the extruder were relatively clean. But no.

Apparently, the extruder still had some left over calcium carbonate residue from the material I

work with. So, once the extruder reached 250 degrees Celsius, it started spewing this thick, white

smoke that smelled of a sweet, burning plastic. Whoops. Considering, I work in the basement of

an academic building, this was not ideal. There were classrooms next door that shut their doors

due to the smell. Before I set off any fire alarms, I unplugged the extruder, picked up the

machine by its green sides and rushed outside, leaving a trail of white smoke in my wake. The

next day, after washing the plastic smell out of my clothes and hair, I returned to Studio M to

take apart my extruder as to give it a good cleaning. Hopefully, we’ll have better luck after

spring break.

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