Frequently Asked Questions
For ABS you should use VXL 90 if you don’t have an actively heated chamber. If you do have a heated chamber, you could also use VXL 111. Low-warp or warp-optimized ABS often has significantly lower glass transition temperature than raw ABS. For such ABS type, even VXL 70 could work.
For ASA you should use VXL 90 if you don’t have an actively heated chamber (Raise3D, Ultimaker, BCN3D…). If you do have a heated chamber, you could also use VXL 111.
PA and all VXL materials will bond enormously strong. You need to choose depending on the type of PA. If your PA has printing temperatures above 250 °C, please use VXL 90 or VXL 111. If you use it in a chamber with chamber temperatures above 100 °C, please use it with VXL 130.
You can use VXL 111 or VXL 130 for PC-ABS. VXL 111 for lower chamber temperatures (< 100 °C) and VXL 130 for higher chamber temperatures (up to 120 °C).
There are a lot of PC materials out there, some of which are heavily modified. We recommend using at least VXL 111 for printing with PC, because you need to go slightly higher in printing temperature than recommended for VXL 111. If you have a heated chamber that goes above 100 °C, please use VXL 130.
VXL 70 is the perfect choice for PETG in open printers. For higher melting PETGs where you need a closed printer, it might be better to go with VXL 90.
Sorry, our R&D Team is heavily working on this, but it is rather difficult to get anything to stick to PP. At the moment, the adhesion is not good enough that we feel confident about releasing a support for PP.
All of our VXL materials work with TPU. Please choose according to your printing environment and temperature requirements of the specific TPU. For open printers use VXL 70, for closed printers VXL 90. So far we did not come across a high temp TPU, where it would be necessary to use VXL 111 or even VXL 130.
Material Drying | DryBox EZ
The DryBox EZ is no filament dryer. It will dry material only over a very long time of several days.
The DryBox EZ is intended to use as a storage and feeding device for predried or freshly opened filaments. Please note that all our materials will ship in aluminum bags with a lot of desiccants. You can put this material into the DryBox EZ WITHOUT pre-drying.
If you receive any material in transparent plastic bags with only a small sachet of desiccant, we recommend drying it before printing or putting it in the DryBox EZ.
The Short Answer: Only dry plastics will extrude properly in your 3D printer’s nozzle. Also only properly dried materials will provide the wanted material properties, for instance, stiffness or flexibility.
The Long Answer: Some materials will bind water between their molecules – similar to your clothes in the washing machine. When the plastic is heated inside the nozzle, the water inside the plastic will vaporize and expand. This causes uneven extrusion and unhappy printing experiences. This will happen with materials like TPU or ABS. It will get even worse when the water is starting to damage the molecular structure of the plastic – called hydrolysis. This alters the physical properties of the plastic, making it behave more like fluid inside the nozzle. In worst cases this will make printing an impossible endeavor. Sometimes it just makes the properties of your finished parts worse, like making them bear less load than intended.
Soluble Support Material | VXL Filaments
Yes, you can print VXL support materials on any 3D printer with two extruders. Depending on the printer, different VXL materials will work better.
Yes, you can. You can use it for casting but also for making composite parts by wrapping carbon or glass fibers around the mold and fixing it with a duromer.
Yes, our VXL support materials dissolve faster than PVA/PVOH.
VXL-EX will typically dissolve your VXL supports in a half-hour to a few hours depending on the following parameters: The higher the temperature in your bath, the faster VXL will dissolve. Sparse supports dissolve faster than dense supports. Easy-to-reach support structures will dissolve faster than hidden supports like deep holes, occluded channels, and corners.
Here’s a tip: Always select the maximum temperature of your bath below the maximum temperature resistance of your model material. Selecting a too high temperature can damage your part.
Please store our VXL in the supplied aluminum bags. These have a zip lock and are packed with a large amount of desiccant. You can also use the more convenient way and store and feed VXL from our DryBox EZ.
Regarding shelve life, we don’t have a definitive number yet. You can easily store VXL for several months without losing any of its great printing and adhesive abilities.
Only considering VXL support material, the higher the temperature, the better, since this will lead to faster dissolution. But the reality is a little more complicated. You need to consider the maximum temperature your model material can handle without deformation. A good rule of thumb for amorphous thermoplastics is to go 30 °C below glass transition temperature of your model material. For semicrystalline thermoplastics it is more difficult, since elevated temperatures might also lead to crystallisation which might also deform your model. For these materials, please see the material suppliers info on heat deflection temperature.
Some examples for maximum dissolution temperatures:
|ABS real||75 °C|
|ABS warp free||50 °C||Please check data sheet of supplier and look for glass transition temperature|
|PETG||45 – 60 °C||There are low temp and high temp PETGs out there, please check Tg|
|TPU||80 – 90°C|
|PC-ABS||80 °C||There are low temp and high temp PCs out there, please check Tg|
What do I need to consider, when printing VXL support material to make parts, e.g. for lost molds?
You need to consider the same as for model materials with different temperature settings. Printing VXL 111 in an open printer will lead to the same difficulties as printing real ABS in an open printer. Due to the high glass transition temperature, the model will build up residual stresses which might lead to warping or delamination. You should use VXL 70 or VXL 90 in an open printer instead.
VXL is different from any other support material you may have tried before. Its chemical composition differs particularly from that of water-soluble materials such as PVA/PVOH and BVOH. You can use VXL as support material for almost every model material out there.* It will adhere well to your model materials and it also effectively prevents your parts from warping.
*except PP, PLA
You can use any nozzle with our material. The best substrate to use is PEI (ULTEM). The best substrates to use are PEI (ULTEM), BuildTak or PI (KAPTON). VXL will stick perfectly to it when the build plate is warm and easily release when cold. You should avoid using CFC, Epoxy plates or glass. The adhesion is so strong, you will not be able to remove the layer sticking to these substrates. But don’t worry: VXL is dissolvable. You can either put your build plate in the dissolution bath (take care of your build plate can take the alkaline pH of around 11,5).
Generally, the temperature to dissolve VXL should always be the highest that your model material can take without getting soft. We have made several different types of VXL to make sure you always get the best performance out of your prints and dissolving processes. You can check this FAQ for further details.
We design and polymerize all our materials in our own chemical plant. All VXL support materials are completely different polymers, but some of the used monomers are identical. Due to that, there is a similarity between the different polymers which makes all of the VXL support materials work with almost the same model materials.
Depending on the printing environment (open printer, closed printer, actively heated chamber printer), you need a support material, that can handle these situations perfectly:
- VXL 70 is designed to work in open printer, but also in closed printers with only a heatbed.
- VXL 90 still works in open printers, but is more ideal to be used in closed printers with slightly elevated ambient temperatures.
- VXL 111 does still works in closed printers with elevated ambient temperatures, but really shines when used in a heated chamber.
- VXL 130 is specifically made for high temperature printing environments.
Support Removal Stations | Vortex EZ
You can easily replace the propeller of the Vortex EZ. Just loosen the screw holding the propeller and carefully remove the old one. Put on the new propeller and tighten it with the screw – it is easy as that!
Some people have told us the Vortex EZ looks astonishingly like a food dispenser device used in many restaurants. We cannot possibly fathom where this resemblance comes from.
You may damage or risk your health using it for anything different than solving soluble 3D printing materials, and you’ll void your guarantee.
To solve PVA warm agitated water works best. That said, although we have specially developed the Vortex EZ to work best with VXL support material, it handles PVA pretty well.
The Vortex EZ comes with all the equipment needed to start operating it right out of the box. No special equipment other than a free power outlet is needed.
We highly recommend using the basket when dissolving your parts. Not only does it speed up dissolving time, but it also keeps your part safe from hitting the propellers. This eventually damages the propeller or your printed part.
How hot can the Vortex EZ heat the fluid inside? How long does it take to reach the temperature? How much power does it draw when keeping the fluid warm?
The Vortex EZ is equipped with a potent heater element. It’s electronically and mechanically limited to a fluid temperature of 85°C. When filled to the max with about 38 liters, it will reach 85 °C in just under 2 hours. When the temperature is reached, power consumption drops significantly. You can find more details on power consumption here after we launched sales on the Vortex EZ.
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The Vortex EZ is equipped with technology to prevent it from damaging your device or yourself. Nevertheless, it uses hot fluid to solve support materials, with temperatures up to 85 °C. Prolonged contact with hot fluid will cause skin irritation. Always use the safety gloves and the pliers provided in the starter kit when operating the Vortex EZ. You can order spare gloves and other safety equipment – just write a mail to moc.reenoix@plehnacew.
Don’t worry, we got you covered. Most parts of the Vortex EZ are easy and quick to replace. Contact us for spare parts. If you don’t find what you need, use our contact form to leave a message for our support team and they’ll take care of you.
Over time, deposits form under the propeller blades. These build-ups can lead to a blockage of the propeller. Occasionally, a piece of a printed part may also get stuck in a propeller and block it. If this occurs, you need to empty the purge bucket. Then, dismount and clean the propellers. This is really easy if you loosen the retaining screw and carefully remove it. Subsequently, clean the propeller and its support and mount the propeller back. You can find more information in the user manual.
The Vortex EZ is an easy-to-understand helper in your 3D printing operations. We recommend watching the 2-minute quick start video or read the quick start guide to get an idea of its ease of use.
The Vortex EZ uses a basket that will contain all your printed parts. The dimension is big enough to fit most of your support removal demands: 450 x 260 x 205 mm.
Usage and upkeeping of the Vortex EZ is hassle-free. It’s made out of solid stainless steel and easy to replace parts. We recommend cleaning the stainless steel tank every now and then with a warm citric acid solution and a sponge. Should a propeller be stuck or even be broken, you can easily unmount it with a single screw and then clean or replace it.
You can safely let the fluid cool down and let it rest for some days. Take care to leave the lid closed. This will avoid the fluid from vaporizing too fast. If too much fluid vaporizes, it will become thicker and thicker. You can counteract that by filling in some freshwater from time to time and shortly powering on the Vortex EZ to stir up the fluid.
VXL EX is able to dissolve up to its own weight of VXL support material. We recommend keeping notes on how much support material has been dissolved inside the Vortex EZ. We also understand that sometimes it is hard to keep track of the exact amount of dissolved support material inside the Vortex EZ. When you experience a major drop of dissolving speed in your Vortex EZ, first check the correct temperature. If the temperature is correct and the dissolving time is still slow it is time to change the fluid.
If necessary in your community, first, put a spoon full of the neutralizing agent into the Vortex EZ. A bit of foam will build on top of the fluid – that’s a sign that the fluid is ready to be drained. You can use a hose to connect to the drain port and drain the fluid directly into your sink.
If you don’t have a sink nearby, you can use one of these handy grey-water tanks.
Washing Powder | VXL-EX
The best dissolving result is achieved if you add at least as much VXL EX to the dissolving bath as there is support material to be dissolved. In addition, the concentration of VXL EX in the bath should be at least 2.5 %. As long as the amount of dissolved support material does not exceed the amount of added VXL EX, it is possible to reuse the dissolving bath. After saturation of the bath, the dissolving time increases noticeably. In this case, a new dissolving bath should be prepared.
VXL EX is comparable to typical household chemicals like washing powder. When dissolved in water, it will have a pH level less than 11,5. Therefore, VXL EX is only marked as “irritant”.
However, even household chemicals like your everyday washing powder should be handled with care. So we advise our customers to use gloves and goggles every time they work with VXL EX.
For more information, please read the safety datasheet of VXL EX.
VXL solve is our dedicated removal agent supplied with our VXL GO Starter kit in small sachets. Need a refill? Get a bottle of our VXL EX. They both work perfectly with our support Materials.
Please keep in mind, VXL Solve may cause eyes and skin irritation. So handle with care!