Carbon Fiber PLA Filament Comparisons

3D printers have made a lot of impressive advancements in both software and hardware in a very short time frame thanks to a strong community that has a creative mindset, always searching for ways to improve things further. Perhaps one of the greatest advancements made comes from what is known as exotic filaments. These are typically a hybrid of sorts, like carbon fiber PLA, stainless steel ABS, etc.

I’ve been using Carbon Fiber PLA for quite some time now, it gives me a much better print quality than standard filaments, and it is a lot stronger so I can use a lot less infill, which is terrific for things such as my DJI Inspire 1 build.

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Recyclable Spool, 100% cardboard

My go to for the longest time has been ProtoPasta Carbon Fiber PLA, but at $40.00 for .5kg spools, it got expensive. I decided it was time to look for alternatives and give them a shot; that is when I found out that Hatchbox, my long running brand of choice for standard PLA and ABS filaments, actually has a spool of Carbon Fiber PLA of their own. Still priced at $40.00 but 1kg, double that of ProtoPasta’s, I was curious at the difference in quality, and my results had me very surprised.

I decided to print out one of the same pieces for the motor mounts on my drone build using my new spool of Hatchbox to see if it was comparable in both weight and finish. I did not expect the results to be 100% identical, because different “recipes” for filament can effect things ever so slightly, but that is exactly what I got. Two pieces with the exact same print settings, the exact same weight down to an accuracy of .1 gram, and the exact same finish quality that makes me so fond of this type of filament.

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I don’t currently have the means to scientifically test tensile strength of printed parts, that is something I’m looking in to in the future. I can tell you however, that I’ve actually stood on top of every part I’ve printed. If I, a 185lb man, can’t break these parts, some of which only have 20% infill, I think that is definitely note-worthy for both brands.

Both brands can go through an annealing process to make them stronger, but I chose not to. The models were designed with perfect tolerances, and annealing would shrink them ever so slightly and would not work for the majority of what I do.

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Hatchbox 1kg spool

So having said all of this, have I completely switched to Hatchbox? For the carbon fiber PLA, yes. The price is too good for the amount you get in comparison. Protopasta is still a damn fine company and I’ll definitely have a go at reviewing their other lines of exotic filaments, but the rate at which I use this type of spool in particular, it makes sense financially to go with Hatchbox.

Please always use a highly abrasion-resistant nozzle when using exotic filaments, as these can damage soft metals such as brass over time.

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AWS Pocket Scale 1Kg Review

3D Printing out parts for a drone is a very cool experience. You get the satisfaction of knowing something you built can fly! If you’re anything like me though, you wont just stop there. Once you’ve flown it, you’ll probably wonder how you can improve it. Of course with any quadcopter one of the best improvements you can make is weight reduction. With a bit of prototyping and redesigning of parts that can safely be trimmed down (definitely not impact-withstanding parts!) you can easily improve flight time, and every gram saved will be worth it. So how do you get a good idea of your gloriously redesigned weight reduced awesomeness?  Enter the American Weigh Scales 1000gram digital pocket scale.

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For less than $10USD on Amazon you can get this highly accurate scale and start making things lighter.

As the name suggests, the scale itself is small enough to fit comfortably in your front pocket, making this an easy addition to any field kit for a day of flying. The case has a clasping lid to keep the scale bed nice and protected and has all the instructions printed on the inside of the lid should you ever forget how to zero out the scale or what some of the features are.

Speaking of features, one of the interesting things this scale can do is tare weighing, which is essentially placing a container on the scale, pressing the Tare key which then zeros out the scale allowing you to subtract the weight of the container from the calculated weight, which would be a handy feature for the kitchen, or other recreational activities (Dude, I don’t judge, party on!).

As this is a high precision scale, it is not without the need for occasional re-calibration. It is recommended to have a set of weights to recalibrate. This scale in particular uses a 500 gram weight to calibrate so make sure you pick one of those up as well. They can be had for very cheap. I bought a set of these which come with a nice protective case.

Measurements are taken in 0.1 gram increments.

Scale takes two AAA batteries (included).

Backed by a 10 year warranty.

 

UGEE 2150 Drawing Monitor Review

This tablet has absolutely blown me away, and taught me a very valuable lesson that “You get what you pay for” is not always the case. At a third of the cost as the Wacom’s top of the line 22HD of the same size, you are getting arguably the same quality hardware but for WAY less the cost. Not only that, the UG2150 has a certain elegance aesthetically that I appreciate in my work space; I want an environment that can influence creativity and it may just be me being nitpicky, but I expect the same of the tools I use to create.

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This monitor is so sleek and simple, yet so powerful and robust! I’ve owned and used many Wacom tablets including their 13HD and 22HD, I honestly see no difference in my uses at all. With Wacom, the only thing you would be paying more for at this point would be their brand name on the front of the bezel.

Price Point: $609.99 on Amazon

Full specs below.

Pros

  • You get a massive work space that really helps to add that last bit of fine detail to your project
  • The price is absolutely unbeatable
  • You get 2 rechargeable pens included along with 8 additional nibs for 10 total, a drawing glove (Something I never knew I needed but now can’t live without), a screen protector, and all the cables needed to start using it right away
  • The adjustable stand is very sturdy and can be easily adjusted with one hand in seconds. Grips on the legs prevent sliding all over the place. Big range of travel from near totally flat to almost entirely vertical.
  • Can be VESA mounted to an ergonomic swing arm for more flexibility
  • Pressure sensitivity range is phenomenal and gives you a great control over line work and detail
  • Pen travels across the screen feels smooth as silk

Cons

  • I Would’ve liked to see some USB ports on the side to charge up the pens straight from the tablet, but double sided tape and a USB hub mounted to the back can do just that for me
  • A protective case for the pens would be a great addition, but I plan on 3D printing one anyways

As a digital content creator, do you really want to break the bank on a name plate when you could buy this monitor that performs just as well and put that saved money to a better use? I’ve used a lot of drawing tablets, with and without a screen. I wholeheartedly recommend this one in particular. You don’t have to be a starving artist, buy the tools you need for a price that wont condemn you to a year of Ramen noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Product Specification
Brand: Ugee
Screen Size: 21.5 inches
Display Area: 476.64 x 268.11mm
Display Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
Response Time: 14ms
Pixel Pitch: 0.24825(H)x0.24825(V)mm
Support Color: 16.7M
Contrast Ratio:1000:1
Backlight Unit: Lower side 1-LED light bar type Brightness: 250cd/m2
Viewing Angle: -80°~80°(H) -80°~80°(V)
Power Consumption: 18.49W
Power Source: AC100~240V universal
Interface Support: DC power in, VGA 15-pin, D-sub input, DVI input, HDMI input, USB port 1.1
Technology: Electromagnetic
Pressure Sensitivity: 2048 Level
Resolution: 5080LPI
Accuracy: 0.25mm
Reading Height: 15mm
Report Rate: 220 reports/per second
Package Contents
1×UG2150 pen tablet monitor
2×Drawing pen P50S
1×USB cable
1×Power adapter
1×Power cord
1×Pen holder(8 Tips and One Remove Ring inside)
1×VGA cable
1×HDMI cable
2×Pen charging lines
1×Driver installation CD
1×User Manual
1×Drawing Glove
1×Screen Protector
1×10 pen nibs