3D printing malleable sheets

One interesting thing I noticed while dealing with prints that failed after the first few solid layers is that depending on the circumstances you can be left with a very malleable sheet of plastic at the right temperature.  

In one particular failed print of about 6 solid layers I turned the print bed temperature up to about 70 degrees (c) before peeling the plastic off the bed surface. The plastic peeled off In a stretchy manner that left just enough heat and softness in the material once it had been removed to form it further.  

 Deformed plastic sheet

Deformed plastic sheet

Of course this type of working with heated plastic is not new, and is used in techniques like vacuum molding as well as just hearing sheets to plastic to mold under pressure or by hand. Generally though these shapes have the smooth uniform surface of a sheet of plastic. By combining 3d printing some interesting shapes could be achieved by controlling the shape, texture, design of then initial sheet material. It is even possible to control the thickness and shape of the material in different areas. 

 Post print deformation sculpture

Post print deformation sculpture

To test the idea I printed off a honeycomb shaped structure 3 layers thick. I turned the bed temperature up (a bit to high) which resulted in difficulty removing the thin plastic. Nonetheless the stress tension from removable at high heat lead to interesting "twisting" in the connecting areas of the honeycomb joints. Although it had not been my intention, it's clear to see that this effect could be exploited deliberately to impart unique features onto the plastic. 

I will continue to experiment.