In August last year, Holland-based 3D printer OEM Leapfrog launched a new 3D printer called the Bolt. The Leapfrog Bolt boasts a 7” touchscreen, a built-in webcam, a roomy 320 x 330 x 205mm build volume and it can 3D print at a layer resolution of 50 to 350 microns (0.05 to 0.35 mm). It also has outstanding material support: You can print with PLA, ABS, HIPS, Flex, Nylon, Hybrid, WoodFill, and several other ColorFabb filaments.
And now, as reported by 3DPrint.com, the Bolt can print with Polypropylene (PP) plastic.
In collaboration with Verbatim, Leapfrog has succesfully 3D printed parts with Verbatim’s Polypropylene (PP) filament (Product Number: 55951). Polypropylene (PP) is a versatile thermoplastic that’s used to manufacture a wide range of things, from consumer goods and packaging, to textiles and robotics parts. It is tough and stable and it boasts excellent impact strength. It is also chemically resistant, so it’s suitable for use in applications where parts might be exposed to common oils and solvents.
As you may know, PP is notoriously difficult to 3D print with because it behaves differently to regular plastics. It’s a semi-crystalline material (so it has a true melting point), whereas by comparison, ABS is amorphous (so has no true melting point). This makes 3D printing PP difficult, since it warps very easily and as a result, has a lower average success rate. Verbatim’s Polypropylene (PP) filament has been specifically engineered for 3D printing, however, with very clear 3D printer requirements. The extrusion temperature must be 220 °C, and the bed temprature must be 100 °C. The Leapfrog Bolt is able to meet these requirements, and the results are very good indeed.
In the video below, we can see the Bolt in action printing Verbatim’s Polypropylene (PP) filament:
And in another video below, we can see PP’s chemical resistance compared to PLA’s:
The key finding from these tests was that the Leapfrog Bolt doesn’t just print Polypropylene succesfully – it does so with excellent dimensional accuracy and consistency. With a high quality surface finish, models printed with PP are suitable for consumer-facing assemblies and end-use applications.
Here’s an image of a finished model:
Available in both 1.75mm and 2.85mm sizes (the Leapfrog Bolt uses 1.75mm filament), Verbatim’s Polypropylene filament prints transparent, although if it is printed in thicker layers, it becomes somewhat opaque (see image above). It is resistant to acids, alkalis and organic solvents, and it is suitable for food packaging. Verbatim says potential applications include “Technical products, automotive, mechanical engineering, prototypes, toys,” although we know that its potential uses stretch far wider than that. You can view the filament’s full specifications here.