Polycarbonate has been one of the most widely used thermoplastics in the world since the 1950s because it is strong, stiff, and easy to warm. It’s used in industrial applications as diverse as household appliances, dishes, auto parts, DVDs, safety glass, and even water bottles. The material is also ideal for injection molding, mainly because it is remarkably strong after cooling and can bend and deform without breaking or cracking. Unfortunately, it’s not widely used for 3D printing applications, largely because only expensive and specialized 3D printers can work with it properly due to its high melting temperature.
3D printing materials maker Polymaker has teamed up with advanced polymer developer Covestro to change this by jointly developing a new line of polycarbonate 3D printing filaments specifically designed for use with desktop 3D printers. Polymaker PC-Plus and Polymaker PC-Max are designed to reduce the normally required printing temperature of 300 to 320 ° C to a moderate 250 to 270 ° C, a temperature range that is easy to achieve with most desktop 3D printers. Polymaker also says the lower printing temperature reduces the possibility of heat-induced warping or warpage during the printing process.
As polycarbonate, PC-Plus and PC-Max offer stronger mechanical properties than conventional 3D printing materials such as PLA and ABS. The advanced properties of the new material make it ideal for the manufacture of components with mechanically demanding applications. However, the material also offers the same post-processing flexibility as standard materials and can be easily sanded or coated with paint or smoothing products. Polymaker was only able to produce such a strong material for standard extrusion-based desktop 3D printers with the help of its development partner Covestro.
“Covestro’s expertise, product portfolio and industry leadership will be invaluable to our mission to provide the industry with the best materials with the performance, reliability and safety that inspire our customers and expand our product portfolio,” said Dr. Xiaofan Luo, CEO of Polymaker.
Covestro, formerly known as Bayer Material Science, supplied the high-tech polycarbonate resins for the manufacture of the new Polymaker PC range of materials. Polymaker materials scientists and the Covestro team worked closely together to develop and improve the formulation of their new polycarbonate 3D filament. According to Polymaker, the final product will have unprecedented properties, functions and applications for 3D printing and rapid prototyping.
“Polycarbonate has properties that make it very desirable to the entire 3D printing community, and Polymaker PC makes it even better for creative designers and engineers at every stage of the production process. The excellent technical and functional properties open doors for new projects and applications that were previously not possible with desktop 3D printers, ”continued Dr. Luo gone.
Here is a Polymaker PC promotional video detailing the development of the new range of materials:
One of the main advantages of 3D printing with polycarbonate materials is the durability of individual printed parts, with finished parts having stronger mechanical properties than standard materials and the PC-Max significantly improving the impact strength and toughness even over PC-Plus. In addition to being durable, polycarbonate materials are inherently flame retardant, resistant to a wide variety of chemicals and solvents, and can be constructed to provide transparency. This optical clarity enables a multitude of new uses and applications, many of which are first available to desktop 3D printers.
In addition, Polymaker PC increases the final heat resistance over other 3D printing materials. PLA and ABS tend to soften and deform around 60 ° C (140 ° F). However, according to Polymaker, their polycarbonate materials can withstand temperatures well in excess of 100 ° C to 110 ° C (212 ° F to 230 ° F), and even hold boiling water without losing its shape.
Polymaker PC-Plus will be available directly from Polymaker and through the Polymaker network from distributors and resellers from October. Each 750-gram PC-Plus spool costs $ 39.99 or can be bundled with an 8 by 8-inch BuildTak sheet for $ 46.99. No price or release data is yet available for PC-Max. However, Polymaker expects it will be available by the end of this year.
Have you tried either of these two filaments? Let us know on the PC-Max and PC-Plus forum threads on 3DPB.com.