Stratasys has introduced a new carbon fiber material for Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). While the company has had carbon fiber filament available for its industrial printers for several years, this is the first carbon-based option for the F123 series.
The new filament is called ABS-CF10 and is based on ABS thermoplastics. The “CF-10” stands for Carbon Fiber 10, as the filament consists of 10 percent by weight of chopped carbon fiber. The carbon fiber makes it 15% stronger and over 50% stiffer than the standard ABS filament, and Stratasys calls it a “compelling alternative to metal parts”.
ABS-CF10 is designed for use with the Stratasys F123 series of benchtop printers, which are lighter than the company’s Fortus industrial systems. According to the company’s press release, it will work specifically with the high-performance F170, F270 and F370 printers. The company hasn’t yet announced whether it will work with the newer, smaller F120.
In a way, this release has been a long time coming. Stratasys founder S. Scott Crump filed the first patent for an FDM printer back in 1989, but copycat FFF printers have been printing with carbon fiber filaments for more than five years as part of a larger evolution in carbon fiber 3D printing techniques. This also includes continuous fiber reinforcement.
Before this version, Stratasys only had carbon fiber material for its industrial printers. Released in 2017, Nylon 12 carbon fiber (FDM Nylon 12CF) was made for their industrial Fortus printers. Nylon 12CF is 35 weight percent carbon fiber and Stratasys reported it had the best stiffness-to-weight ratio of any FDM thermoplastic. Accordingly, it was developed for designers and engineers putting together small production parts and working prototypes, and was popular in industrial applications such as jigs and fixtures.
In fact, it was so popular that Stratasys released an entirely new printer to deal with it. In 2018 they released the Fortus F380mc, a scaled-down version of the Fortus 450 that could only print in carbon fiber.
With the new version, Stratasys focuses on applications in the aerospace, automotive, industrial and leisure industries. “There’s a reason manufacturers are increasingly turning to 3D printed carbon fiber materials,” said Dick Anderson, Stratasys senior vice president of manufacturing. “It’s incredibly strong, versatile, and light. We want to enable all of our FDM customers to use these material properties. “
F123 users can look forward to getting their hands on ABS-CF10 in April.