3d prints under the microscope

3D Printing – Can I Get That in Carbon Fibre?

Yes, but only by printing the part, taking a mould, then infusing the part. But hey – this is the future right? Food is blue, Boris is Foreign Secretary, and I can buy things and my watch pays for them.

I’m using a Velleman Vertex bought from The Electronics Shop in Cullercoats, Whitley Bay.

The Target Pieces


Here we have the two target pieces, 60mm  * 40mm * 6mm thick. I was experimenting with quality settings to see what is useable for moulding.





Lower Quality Settings (the default)

  • Support Matrix: 10%
  • Wall Thickness 0.7mm
  • Speed (max) 48mm/s

This is the top layer – you can see plenty of holes

0714_1This is the top layer, and you can see plenty of holes – If I was to take a mould off this I’d struggle – it’s an excellent keying surface. I may get away with a lot of brushed on thick PVA release agent, but if I was aiming for fine surface tolerances I’d not get it. Best bet would be to cover with gel-coat, polish then mould.



0714-2This is the bottom surface, which has a different setting (I don’t remember) but you can see the holes are pretty uniform and it picks up dust a bit.


Higher Quality Settings

  • Support Matrix: 20%
  • Wall Thickness 0.1mm
  • Speed (max) 43mm/s


This is the top surface with the number of supports in the hollow space doubled, and a thicker shell (1mm) added. If you look closely in the top picture, you can see the cross-hatching that is the support matrix, and the differences between them.

Increasing the shell thickness has also laid down a lot more plastic, making for a virtually sealed surface, but still with some tiny holes.




The Base here isn’t much better – I didn’t make any significant changes to the base, and I don’t think I would – If I design parts that are assemblies, I’d just use the base as my adhesive point. I’d use epoxy as well.





This organic looking beauty is a 3mm hole with a 1/2mm counter-sink. I wanted to see what I can do to leave dimples in the part. Dimples are important because I’d have dimples in the final part, which would make for an accurate drilling point if it needs to be demountable (such as the fuel-pump hatch in a petrol tank).

Praise for The Electronics Shop and Velleman

I can’t recommend the team enough here, and Anthony, with whom I dealt. They have the printer in stock, and all the consumables, spares and upgrades as well. I can’t emphasise the quality of service enough with these guys. I had a question about alignments whilst I was building the printer, and got an immediate helpful response. When I tried the printer for the first time, it printed exactly like it was meant to do, like a piece of consumer electronics, not a cutting-edge piece of manufacturing equipment.

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