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3D Printing Nylon

3D Printing Nylon

Nylon filament is an extremely tough, semi-flexible material that is highly impact- and abrasion- resistant. Its low friction coefficient and high melting temperature make it an ideal material for an array of engineering specific applications.

Nylon is most prevalent in fabrics and fibers but can be found in a myriad of other products due to its toughness and flexibility. Other applications of nylon include automotive components, manufacturing tooling & fixtures as well as food packaging.

Nylon filament is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs moisture from the air. This can affect print performance as well as the overall strength of the final product. It should be stored in an airtight container with desiccant after opening and between uses. Many nylon filaments require extruder temperatures to reach 250°C and above, while some formulations can be printed at 220°C. Higher temperature nylons pose an issue with most printers as most extruders will not reach the required print temperature without an upgraded extruder.

ProsCons
Highly impact resistant Hygroscopic (absorbs moisture from air)
Temperature resistanceRequires high printer temperatures
Good abrasion resistanceProne to warpage if material is not dry
Partially flexible (will bend before it breaks)Does not work well in moist/humid environments
Odorless printingRequires air-tight storage for best results

Printing Specifications

Print Temperature
240-290° Depending on Type

Bed Temperature
110-120° C

Glass Transition Temperature

  • Printer performance:Although hygroscopic and prone to warping, nylon can be manageable and produce excellent results with attention to a well-optimized printer setup and environment
  • Strength: High impact and abrasion resistance while maintaining a degree of flexibility
  • Fumes: No unpleasant odor while printing
  • Best used for: Engineering specific applications such as gears or parts that need to have a high degree of abrasion resistance
  • When not to use: Do not use on applications where there is a chance for high moisture content or in a high humidity environment

Best Practices

  • Ensure filament is dry before printing
    • Nylon is prone to absorbing moisture, so it is highly recommended that you dry your material. Once dry, it should be kept in an airtight container with desiccant to limit moisture exposure.
  • A proper printer environment will mitigate warping
    • Ambient temperature fluctuations can affect print performance. It is recommended to use a heated enclosure maintaining a consistent ambient temperature throughout the printing process to mitigate warpage and layer adhesion issues.
  • Don’t be afraid to use brims or rafts
    • Some printers are not enclosed and an enclosure may not always be an option. In those circumstances, it is recommended to try using a brim or raft to aid large prints to adhere to the print bed. If there is warpage it will be concentrated to the brim or raft reducing print defects.