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3D Print with 0% Infill, But Fill It Later to Make the Print Solid

So lately, I wanted to print some large solid prototype parts. If the prototypes turn out great, then I can use it as the final product. So I have two options:

1) Print the prototype completely solid. If it works, then great, I have my part. If it doesn't work, I wasted plastic and have to print again, test again, and repeat the process. This process wastes a lot of plastic and wastes a lot of time.

2) Print the prototype with thin walls (0.8mm) and 10% or 20% infill. If the parts work, then I print it solid. This also wastes some plastic. But it also wastes a lot of time to get to a final product.

Today, I needed a working product as quickly as possible. Both options would waste too much time, where I would not be able to meet an one day deadline. So a third option came to my mind.

I can print the prototype with thick walls (3.2mm). But print with no infill (0%). Theoretically, the inside would be completely empty. After I test the prototype, and if it works, I can drill a hole and fill the inside with sometime of glue/filling that would turn solid, making the prototype a solid part. This option eliminates waste in successful prototyping. And it allows me to meet the one day deadline. The glue/filling curing process can take longer as a trade-off, but I would have met my deadline already.

Questions are 1) Has anyone already tried this process? 2) What glue/filling would work for this purpose?

Mel
Mon, 07 Jan 2019 20:01:37 -0800

After looking around, I found some potential solutions. Reading this "Filling Hollow Plastic", I found that you can fill hollow objects with resin and expanding foam. Resin seems to provide a hard filling, while expanding foam provides a soft filling.

I found two possible resin products. First, the "Alumilite Amazing Casting Resin, 16-Ounce". This product cures extremely quick, within 10 minutes. But if you need a longer working time, try the second product, the "Environmental Technology 33016 16-Ounce Kit Casting' Craft Casting Epoxy, Clear". It has a curing time of 1 to 2 days, giving you plenty of time to work with. Working with resin requires mixing two chemicals in disposable cups and sticks.

There are quite a lot of expanding foam products out there. And you can easily pick up a can from your local home improvement store. An example is the "Touch 'n Foam DAP Max Fill 4001031212 MaxFill Maximum Expanding Sealant, 12Oz, Tan". But reading reviews seems to indicate that the foam spray gets everywhere. And if you just want to fill a small object, it's quite wasteful to use a whole can.

While looking at these products, I thought of a third possible product: "Liquid Nails LN-2000 9 oz. Fuze It All Surface Construction Adhesive, Gray". I used Liquid Nail before in home improvement projects. It squeezes out like a paste and hardens once cured. I think it can be used as a filler. There is now a hand squeezable version, which seems great for smaller projects, "LIQUID NAILS/PPG ARCH FIN LN-547 5 oz Liquid Nails Fuze".

Anyone has any other options?

Mel
Mon, 14 Jan 2019 04:57:18 -0800

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