3D Printed (HIPS) Solar System

With most people who own 3d printers, at some point you are going to get asked to print something. Fortunately I know more interesting people than those who want spinners making (before anyone asks, no, I will not). My friend Ted is a teacher and he tends to come up with interesting and nerdy-fun requests, and this one was no exception — a scale model of the solar system!

3d printed solar system

Ordinarily this would be a great candidate for PLA. It won’t be kept in a hot car, doesn’t need to be particularly robust, and it’s going to be handled by kids.

Coincidentally, however, I was sent some HIPS filament by Inksmith (also based in Canada). When I looked at printing this model, knowing it was going to be printed on my CR-10, there seemed a great opportunity there to do something special.

Why you might 3d print with HIPS filament

HIPS == High Impact Polystyrene. Yes, Polystyrene, so you are familiar with this if you have built model airplanes or tanks, and the same modelling cement/solvent works to glue printed parts together. Also, as the name suggests, it is strong (considering it is used in toys, it has to be durable). It’s non-toxic to handle, important for when kids will be passing it around. Following the same modelling qualities, it sands well, and takes on paint well too. This makes it great for the application I had in mind. Ted can sand and paint to give the planets colour, and, well, make it attractive to have around.

Downsides are similar to ABS. It’s stinky (styrene is not fun to inhale), and needs similar 3d printing care as ABS to get good results too. I printed on my open CR-10 at 240c and 80c bed, but would likely use my IKEA-enclosed Wanhao Di3 in future.

HIPS is relatively inexpensive (again, think model kits). Unlike ABS, rather than using acetone, HIPS dissolves in a chemical called Limonene — yeah, as the name implies it is citrus-derived, but don’t let that make you lose caution around it! This dissolubility, combined with low base cost, means the filament is used as dissolvable support material, kind of like PVA filament.

Solar System Print

I like the white HIPS! It is very white, has a chalky texture, and layers bonded well, despite not having an enclosure. I think next time I will use my enclosed printer and dial in the temperatures.

The CR-10 did a great job on my solar system print, considering the above, but unfortunately I was a bit over enthusiastic removing the print from the bed while still warm. It stuck VERY well, so well that it tore a little removing it. Still, a great print, and as mentioned earlier, easy to glue :)

3d printed solar system
Completed Solar System printed in Inksmith white HIPS filament

You can find the Inksmith White HIPS filament online here.


Originally published at Maker Hacks.