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Other than the most obvious issue with the filament kinking in the tube, what other issues could arise when trying to print flexibles (i.e. TPU/TPE, Nylon, etc.) with a Bowden style extruder setup?

Can the kinking issue be alleviated by a well-constrained filament path (proper ID) in a properly sized Bowden tube?

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  • $\begingroup$ nylon is not a "flexible" filament in the sense, it is a somewhat flexible "hard" filament $\endgroup$ – Trish Oct 11 '18 at 6:25
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As a user of an UM3E, which uses Bowden tubes and has TPU as an available material, I can tell you that the kinking issues can be alleviated or downright avoided.

I've printed quite a few things with the Ultimaker-brand TPU 95, and never had problems with kinking in the tube.

Ultimaker uses 2.85 mm filament, with Bowden tubes adapted for those and a rear motor, i.e. the motor is on the back on the printer and not right on top of the print head.

I personally wouldn't consider Nylon as one of the really flexible material, but that's my opinion. Never had kinking in the Bowden tube with Nylon either in my UM3E.

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To also validate the first answer, I have been printing with TPU95A for a number of years and it has been one of the most reliable materials to use. The strength of the product alongside the flex makes it a test and production based outcome with fewer issues. My printer for the most part of this experience was the Ultimaker 2+ that has a similar set up to the UM3 with a more traditional hot end.

Cautions: Some older material profiles have the heatbed at 60c. I have always had better outcomes from room temp (no heat on the bed).

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  • $\begingroup$ Hrm. Interesting anecdotes. $\endgroup$ – ifconfig Oct 11 '18 at 5:32

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