I had Roman Fanizza pick the January Part of the Month to kick start 2024. Roman likes to design and 3D print parts in his spare time so I knew he was going to pick an awesome part. Boy, he did not disappoint.
During our interview, Roman and I inserted the chainmail into a popular movie scene for fun (because we’re weird like that). Come with us on a quick adventure, if you may…
Imagine you wake up and see your three dumb hobbit friends making a fire on the side of Weathertop Hill. You yell at them to put it out and then immediately hear a screeching noise, which could only be the Nazgul. They have found you. You and the other hobbits sprint to the top of Weathertop and wait nervously for the dark riders to surround you. Your new accomplice Strider is nowhere to be found so you pull out your sword, Sting, and hope for the best. (I really hope you know what movie I’m referencing at this point.) The duel starts and as to be expected, you aren’t doing well against the Nazgul and get knocked down. Here comes the dark rider’s Morgul-knife headed straight for your heart. All you have to defend yourself is a piece of 3D printed PA11 chainmail. Would you use it? Roman would.
Roman jokingly claims that, “It wouldn’t stop a bullet, but I think if someone was coming at you with a knife you might be safe.” (Not a Morgul-knife, but maybe like a butter knife.) Disclaimer: We have not tested this theory and won’t test this theory because it is not safe and we don’t suggest you try it either.
Roman’s real reason for choosing this part is that it’s not what someone typically thinks of when they think “3D printing.” The standard expectation is a solid part, this clearly doesn’t fit that mold.
This 3D chainmail is one of the “show stoppers” in the production section of our showroom, because of the color, material, and intricacy of the part. The chainmail was printed in High Yield PA11 on the H350. This material is 100% bio-based and made from a renewable source, castor seeds. The seeds are ground into a castor oil that contains amino 11, which is needed for the polymerization of PA11.
With the H350, parts are nested side by side in one production run, where the support is powder. This allows for significantly higher throughput, making the H350 a great option for users printing at med-to-high volumes. A full batch takes between 8-12 hours to print, depending on the size and quantity of parts.
After the parts are printed, they need to be post-processed. The multi-step process for the chainmail went like this:
- Using our depowdering machine, our Post-Processing Technicians pulled out the parts from the block of powder and started depowdering. Roman likes to refer to this step as “excavating the parts like an archaeologist.”
- Some of the powder was still clinging to the chainmail, so they took the part to the DyeMansion PowerShot C to get tumbled and sprayed for further cleaning. That got us most of the way there, but due to the intricate nature of this part, powder was still clinging to some of the small inner holes.
- Using a small brush or wire, the post-processing technicians manually cleaned the small leftover powder remnants off of the part.
The last thing I want to talk about is the coloring. All SAF parts come off of the printer light grey. The parts are easy to dye other colors using a system such as the DyeMansion DM60. This machine is great because it can dye every small inch of the chainmail (or any other SAF part) while producing a vivid, bright color.
The chainmail piece is a great example of how light, intricate, flexible, strong, and aesthetically pleasing you can get a part off of the H350. Not only can you print one of these at once, you can print a whole batch which is another awesome feature of this production style 3D printer.
By the end of our discussion, Roman and I decided that the chainmail wouldn’t be as durable as Frodo’s Mithril coat or actual knight chainmail, but it is still a strong, durable part, and it’s fun to play with.
Meet Roman Fanizza
His favorite part about working at Purple is the variety of work he gets to do (he never gets bored) and that everyone is fun to be around.
Outside of the office, Roman likes to 3D print things on his personal 3D printer, take care of all of his pets, and do some small woodworking projects. If you haven’t met Roman yet, stop by our office and say hi!