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Nylon is a fairly common material, and you’ve probably heard that it is used to make rope or to weave textiles. But did you know that nylon can also be used in 3D printing? In fact, it’s one of the most versatile and reliable materials that prints can be made from. This article will tell you all about printing with one of our favorite materials.
What is nylon
Nylon is an umbrella term for a synthetic copolymer made up of polyamides in a variety of configurations. It’s a thermoplastic, meaning it can be melt processed into a variety of shapes – a property that is great for 3D printing. It was the first commercially successful synthetic thermoplastic copolymer, and one of its earliest uses was in making toothbrushes with nylon bristles and stockings (or “nylons” as they were then called). To date, nylon can be considered one of the most useful synthetic materials in the world.
The basic form of nylon – known as nylon-6,6 – was first manufactured and patented at Dupont using amide monomers. Several variations of nylon have been developed today, such as nylon 510 and nylon-1,6. Other varieties of nylon can also be created by mixing with other additives such as carbon. A cursory look at varieties of nylon products these days would show that the possibilities are virtually limitless as varieties of nylon are available that offer different levels of hardness, strength, and friction.
What are the advantages of nylon?
Nylon is known as a strong and light material. As evidence of its strength, it was used extensively in wartime only shortly after its discovery to make parachutes, tents, tires, ropes, and other military supplies. Modern uses of nylon include clothing, reinforcement for automobile tires, and injection molded mechanical devices. Not only is nylon exceptionally strong, it is also resistant to abrasion and chemical degradation. It’s elastic and easy to wash. It also has a low coefficient of friction, which makes it an ideal material for gears and bushings.
In 3D printing, nylon is often used to print parts that need to be durable and withstand mechanical wear and tear. These are the times when the strength of the more traditional PLA or ABS just doesn’t make it. It has an excellent strength to flexibility ratio, resulting in products that are very strong and yet have a little flexibility.
Nylon also has excellent layer-to-layer adhesion which also gives its prints more strength. There is also no unpleasant odor when printing (we recommend printing in a well-ventilated room). Nylon makes its uses even more diverse and easily absorbs water, which makes it easier to dye or dyed.
How do you work with nylon?
There are a number of challenges and requirements when printing with nylon. The first challenge is that you need to print at very high temperatures of 260-280 ° C. Note that not all printers are designed for such high temperatures. Most printers come with hot ends that use plastics like PEEK or PTFE. The disadvantage is that these plastics begin to decompose at temperatures above 240 ° C and develop harmful fumes. For this reason, a metal hot end is required when printing with nylon filament.
Nylon tends to warp as much as ABS. We therefore recommend printing on a glass bed heated to around 75 ° C. Good adhesion to the bed can be achieved by applying a thin layer with a PVA-based glue stick. If this low-cost solution doesn’t work for you, you can’t go wrong with using adhesive films like those from BuildTak.
To reduce the risk of warping, we recommend that you do not use a fan while printing. You can also avoid drafts or printing in a cool room for best results. To go a step further, you can use a heated chamber or case that is held at a temperature of approximately 45 ° C.
Nylon can be printed at a relatively high speed. We recommend a setting of 30 mm / s to 60 mm / s.
When working with nylon, it should be noted that it is an extremely hygroscopic material. This means that it can easily absorb moisture from the air. Printing with an undried filament causes water to evaporate during extrusion, leaving voids or air bubbles in the print. This prevents layers from sticking, weakens the product, and makes the print not quite as good looking.
To ensure that you are working with a dry nylon filament, we recommend that you dry it in an oven for 2 hours before use. If you need to store the filament, you need to use an airtight container and keep it with some desiccant bags.
Another thing to keep in mind when storing nylon filament is that nylon can degrade over time. Most nylon products only have a shelf life of 12 months before their quality deteriorates.
What are the downsides to using nylon?
As with alternative 3D printing materials, working with nylon can be quite tricky. We mentioned earlier that not all 3D printers are equipped for the printing temperatures required for nylon filaments. If you are unsure whether your model is designed to be printed with nylon, it is best to check with your manufacturer.
The hygroscopic nature of nylon means you may need to purchase a few extra accessories to properly handle and store your filament. Printing in humid and humid environments, e.g. B. in temperate countries, can also be a major challenge. You may need to invest in a dedicated filament dryer, which is another additional expense.
Nylon prints are prone to warping and shrinking, so they may not be as accurate as you want them to be. The ideal solution to reducing warpage is to use a heated chamber or case when printing.
What are the best brands of nylon filament?
The market for 3D printed nylon filaments is not quite as large as other alternative filaments, so choices can be very limited. In light of this, the best brands of nylon filament currently available in the market are as follows.
Gizmo Dorks is a well-known brand for 3D printing filaments. The nylon filaments are available in sizes 1.75 mm and 3.00 mm. The spools are quite small at just 200g, which makes them perfect for those who want to experiment with nylon for their prints.
eSun has its own brand of nylon filament available in 1kg spools. The filaments are 1.75 mm in size and naturally look semi-transparent.
For heavy duty applications, eSun’s carbon fiber filled nylon filament may be just what you need. By combining carbon and nylon, more stable and stiffer prints can be created. Prints made from carbon fiber filled nylon are also less prone to warping, resulting in better quality prints. The nylon filaments filled with carbon fiber are available in both 0.5 kg and 1 kg spools and in a size of 1.75 mm.
Taulman’s nylon 645 filament is specially designed for 3D printing. With improved adhesion, reduced water absorption, and increased dye absorption, this filament product has all of the benefits you need to make high quality prints. The Taulman Nylon 645 filament is available in 1 pound spools and 1.75mm in size. This product is available in both black and natural colors.
Taulman Bridge Filament is another specially developed filament from Taulman that acts as a “bridge” product between Nylon 645 and other filaments on the market. It is cheaper, but still offers very high tensile strength, improved adhesion and reduced water absorption. The bridge filament is available in both black and natural colors, in 1 pound spools and in a size of 1.75mm.
|Applications||– Mechanical parts and equipment
– Woven into textiles
– Reinforcements for car tires
|characteristics||– Extremely durable
– Excellent strength to flexibility ratio
– Good layer adhesion
– Resistant to abrasion
– Resistant to chemicals
– Low coefficient of friction
– High moisture absorption
– Can be easily colored or stained
|Recommended printing temperature||260 to 280 ° C.|
|Recommended bed temperature||75 ° C.|
|Heated chamber||Recommended; hold at 45 ° C|
|Print speed||30 mm / s to 60 mm / s|
|adhesion||Thin layer of glue stick based on PVA (e.g. Elmer’s) or BuildTak adhesive foils|
|cooling||No fan required; If possible, print in a room with no drafts or cooling|
Nylon is a popular material for many 3D printing enthusiasts for good reason. It’s extremely versatile, and the durability of its prints cannot be compared to any other plastic. With the strengths that nylon has shown in the field of 3D printing, it is certain that it will remain one of the most useful synthetic materials in the world. If you’ve tried making permanent print and other materials just won’t do it for you, now we’re telling you, nylon is the answer. It may be difficult to use at first, but we are sure that after a while it will become one of your favorite materials too.
Warning; 3D printers should never be left unattended. They can pose a fire hazard.