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Discussions > Espresso > Espresso Mods > 3d printed group  
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s445203
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Joined: 17 Jan 2014
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Location: London
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Posted Sun Jan 19, 2014, 12:57pm
Subject: 3d printed group
 

I've googled and I've googled and I can't for the life of me find an accurate description of what happens to 3d printed ABS plastic around and above 100C.

So I'm hoping there's someone on here who geeks coffee and has experience of 3d printing.

The question is this - in theory, would it be possible to 3d print a group and portafilter handle capable of holding a standard 58mm basket which would be capable of sustaining the load of 9 bar at espresso brewing temperature for a prorotype - say 100 times before becoming useless?  Or is this just asking too much from ABS?

Thanks in advance!
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ilcaffedio
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Posted Sun Jan 19, 2014, 2:40pm
Subject: Re: 3d printed group
 

I have experience with 3D printing, and I would NOT use ABS for anything that would come into contact with food or beverages.  Polylactic Acid (PLA) is derived from corn, I would consider the un-dyed versions much safer than ABS.  You could also use HDPE, which is safer than ABS, but is petroleum derived.

You will have a lot of prototypes to discard.  Please consider the environment, and properly recycle your discarded prototypes.
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ilcaffedio
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Posted Sun Jan 19, 2014, 2:44pm
Subject: Re: 3d printed group
 

Most modern 3D printers can print PLA without issue.  According to wikipedia PLA has a melting point of 150-160 C.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polylactic_acid
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s445203
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Location: London
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Posted Sun Jan 19, 2014, 3:35pm
Subject: Re: 3d printed group
 

Hmm.  Good point about the edibility of it!

So for sure the melting point of PLA is above what you brew espresso at, but nowhere can I find any into on the strength of the material around the melting point.  But it sounds like this project idea of mine is probably a little far fetched.
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ilcaffedio
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Posted Sun Jan 19, 2014, 4:29pm
Subject: Re: 3d printed group
 

There are 3D printing services such as Ponoko, and Shapeways that can 3D print metal, just make sure that it's a food safe material.  I'd say use PLA for to prototype the part with cold water.  When you're ready to test it at brew temperature, have it printed by one of the aforementioned services.  Rinse, repeat.  When ready for market, farm out casting of the parts to HK.
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billc
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Posted Sun Jan 19, 2014, 8:37pm
Subject: Re: 3d printed group
 

I would strongly advise against this.  While ABS in it solid form may have the capability to withstand the applies stress, a 3D printed (FFF) part will not.  You are relying on the bond the material makes when melted a loosely attached to the previews layer.  

You may find that machining out of aluminum is cheaper than a 3D print that is strong enough for your application.


BillC
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ilcaffedio
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Posted Mon Jan 20, 2014, 8:22am
Subject: Re: 3d printed group
 

Look around for a makerspace/hackerspace in your area, they may have a CNC milling machine.  Be careful with aluminium in constant contact with water.
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DavecUK
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Posted Mon Jan 20, 2014, 8:29pm
Subject: Re: 3d printed group
 

The problem with a melting point is that it does not necessarily indicate the safe continuous working temperature at which the polymer may break down or undergo other changes .
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skydragondave
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Posted Fri Jan 24, 2014, 5:24am
Subject: Re: 3d printed group
 

Any group made of plastic would experience very rapid wear to the portafilter locking channels.
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DavecUK
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Posted Fri Jan 24, 2014, 6:00am
Subject: Re: 3d printed group
 

skydragondave Said:

Any group made of plastic would experience very rapid wear to the portafilter locking channels.

Posted January 24, 2014 link

in fairness, those parts could be embedded brass
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