The PolyPearl Tower is Polymaker’s new model designed to test your 3D printer and filament to their limits! The popular 3D Benchy model has become the go to print for users looking to optimize their printers and software settings. However, with the development in filaments and printers over the last couple years, the Benchy model only serves as an entry level when pushing your printer to the limits. Most printers PLA settings will produce a solid Benchy, which is why we have created the much more challenging PolyPearl Tower. With inspiration drawn from the famous Oriental Pearl Tower located down the road from Polymaker’s Headquarters in Shanghai, this is an architectural model…. with a twist. This model is designed to be printed without supports, within a couple hours. We recommend using 0.1mm layer height. You can download the .STL file here. The main features of the PolyPearl Tower are as follows:-
Usually, 45° is referred to as the critical angle that printers can handle without using support material on a given model. The three supporting legs of the PolyPearl Tower are all at printed at 45°. Check the underside of these pillars after printing, they should be smooth and uniform, if you find the pillars are messy and non-linear, try increasing cooling and decreasing temperature.
Featuring an acute slope of 9° this feature will test your printers ability to extrude uniformly. This is also a good test of the filament, as variations in diameter and consistency will result in gaps or non-circular rings. Tweak your extrusion multiplier to perfect the acute slope, this feature can also be affected by your infill percentage. A low infill percentage will not provide the necessary support for the rings to form neatly. Still having trouble with acute slopes? Try increasing the number of top solid layers on your print.
Fine details are a challenge for any printer. The lower ball of the PolyPearl Tower features tiny circular indents around the center. Check the form and roundness of these holes, they should be round on both sides of the center band. You can compare the top indents against the bottom to see if the layer compression has affected their roundness. On all our test models we never found a perfect set.
The tiny pillars on the front of the pavilion are one of the most challenging aspects of this model. Being very thin, angled and able to support the bridge of the pavilion roof is surely a tough test for any 3D printer. This is a good place to test your retraction settings, aim for clean pillars with no strings in between. The bridge on top should be well formed and also curved. This aspect of the print is almost impossible to perfect so good luck trying!
On both of the ball sections of the PolyPearl tower, you will find a small overhang section. Inspect the form of these details and compare the top against the bottom. The bottom should be well formed, circular and flat. The top overhang is much trickier to perfect, check the sharpness compared to the bottom. This feature is affected by the number of shells/perimeters you choose and how you choose to print them. We suggest inside-out to get the best edge on the overhang. The underside of the balls themselves ranges from 90° to 0°, the top ball, in particular, has less support so keep an eye out for the roundness near the base of the top ball.
To achieve the perfect extrusion settings there should be no indication of where the layer has started and stopped. In this picture, we have used PolyWood to demonstrate a perfect extrusion. Play with your extrusion and retraction settings to achieve the perfect extrusion. Using a matte finish material like PolyWood helps blend the layers also!
Check the roundness of the balls on the PolyPearl Tower model. These balls should be consistent and spherical. Play with your speed settings to optimize roundness, most PLA’s will print happily at 60mm/s.
Fine Bridging and Smooth Curves
While the distance of this bridge is not that impressive, the triple helix design of the PolyPearl Tower will test your printers bridging capabilities on 4 different orientations in one print. We found this change in orientation resulted in some messy bridging on one or two of the sections. Play with your cooling and bridging settings to optimize the fine bridging. You should also notice a smooth curve up the sides of the triple helix. Key an eye out for layer shifts where the bridges meet the helix.
Top Layer Fill
The Top Layer Fill on the Polymaker Logo should be completely filled in. This is effected by the number of Top Solid Layers you choose and also by the amount of shells/perimeters you choose. Too many shells/perimeters and you will be left with a gap in the top surface.
Finally, check the dimensional accuracy of your print against the CAD measurements. The overall height of the PolyPearl tower is 99mm allowing to print on virtually every 3D printer on the market. Use calipers to measure the diameter of the top and bottom balls respectively. You can then create a ratio for your printer so you know how to design and scale for your machine.
Good luck printing the PolyPearl Tower, please share your results on our social media pages and start a discussion within the community!