If you are curious about solid materials for 3D printing, in this article, we have introduced the latest types. 3D printing can be fun, but sometimes the produced parts are weak and suitable and only have a decorative aspect! This problem is often the result of using standard materials that are not designed for strength and durability. Solution: Use a strong filament material! Strong chemical compounds expand the possibilities of 3D printing, as you can print parts for small projects without fear of breaking them and use them directly for the industrial machining process.
In this article, we examine four types of the strongest filaments.
However, before that, we will elaborate on what robustness means in terms of 3D printer materials. Without further ado, let’s dive into these powerful threads.
the powerIn 3D printing filament materialwhat does it mean?
Before starting the discussion, as a guide, we say that all thermoplastic filament materials that are wrapped around a roll based on weight to be used by a 3D printer are called filament.
Filament strength can be measured by various factors, but we mainly use tensile strength for this, (ie the maximum elongation before ultimate failure). Most tests measure the resistance of a material to breaking by separation and are useful for determining the overall strength of a strand. Elongation at break, on the other hand, describes how much a material stretches before breaking and is great for investigating impact strength.
We will indicate the tensile strength of each string using pounds or pounds per square inch (PSI). For the elongation at break of a material, the percentage elongation of the material can be measured before breaking (this is more relevant for flexible materials such as TPU).
- Polycarbonate filament material: Polycarbonate:
According to several manufacturers and expert reviews, polycarbonate (PC) is the strongest filament that can be used as a 3D printing material in the world. This material can produce very high strength parts when printed with the correct hardware (all metal nozzle and enclosed housing).
Airwolf 3D, after extensive testing, has come to the conclusion that polycarbonate is the king of 3D printer materials. They were able to hang up to 685 pounds on a printed hook and found that the material had a tensile strength of 9,800 PSI. In contrast, the same part printed in PLA can only support 285 pounds.
In a similar experiment, MatterHackers studied the tensile strength of this type of filament as well as a variety of other materials. They were able to hang an average of 409 pounds on a PC hook while the PLA parts had a weaker average of just 154 pounds.
Printing conditions and characteristics of polycarbonatePC:
Perhaps unsurprisingly, PC doesn’t print very well and isn’t as consistent with protrusions or fine geometric detail as with other threads. According to Rigid.Ink, PC filament mainly comes in clear color and has excellent heat resistance as well as impact resistance. You also need to print it at high temperatures, so make sure you have an enclosed printer and an all-metal extruder structure.
Maximum hang strength: 685 pounds (using Airwolf 3D test)
Advantages: extremely strong, excellent heat and impact resistance
Disadvantages: It is bad at controlling the protrusions and details of printed parts, the need for an all-metal housing and nozzle structure, the variety of colors is limited.
- Nylon filament:Nylon:
Now we have the nylon material, another one of the strongest 3D printer materials. Nylon is second only to polycarbonate in terms of strength, but still beats veteran materials like PLA and ABS. According to Airwolf 3D, a hook printed in nylon (910) filament had a tensile strength of 7,000 PSI, while the same hook in ABS only had a strength of 4,700 PSI. Airwolf 3D also found that a clamp printed on nylon string can hold 485 pounds.
MatterHackers: A hook printed from NylonX brand nylon filament can hold an average of 364 pounds before breaking. Rigid.Ink gave it a score of four out of five in strength and five in durability. Price list of filament types: 3DPE Filament Shop
Printing conditions and characteristics of nylon filament:
Nylon is a bit easier to print than a PC, but it’s never as easy to use as PLA! Nylon filament is moisture absorbent, so care must be taken to keep it dry at all times. It also requires an average printing temperature of 220-270 degrees Celsius. This material is prone to gentle swaying, but it is also resistant to impact, fatigue and heat.
Maximum hang strength: 485 pounds (using Airwolf 3D test)
Pros: impact resistant, fatigue resistant, heat resistant, easier to print than PC
Disadvantages: Hygrometer, warps, requires very high end temperature.
- TPU filament:TPU:
The third resistant material is thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), which is a flexible material and is considered one of the strongest materials. Although TPU filaments lack the tensile strength of PC and nylon, this material’s presence on our list is due to its high impact resistance, which comes from the natural flexibility and tensile properties of plastic.
In a test conducted by Airwolf 3D, a 3D printed TPU hook had slightly higher tensile strength than half a hook made of nylon. However, the TPU hook reached an elongation of 909% at failure, which is about 60 times the elongation of the PLA hook. This means that parts printed in TPU can stretch quite a bit before they break completely.
A professional research study on the medical uses of TPU showed similar results to Airwolf 3D: TPU has 702% elongation at break. The researchers also noted that this elongation makes TPU one of the most durable FDM 3D printing materials.
Printing conditions and filament characteristicsTPU:
Flexible filaments, including TPU, are very difficult to print; Because when the extruder tries to push it forward, the filament stretches and changes the diameter of the filament. It is recommended to print TPU with a direct drive extruder, as the less filament travels from the extruder to the hot end of the nozzle, the better. However, it is worth noting that many users have successfully printed TPU with an indirect (two-piece) configured extruder.
Advantages: impact resistant, flexible, standard temperature requirements
Disadvantages: difficult printing, hygrometry, requires low printing speed
- Composite filaments: Composites:
Finally, composite materials, although not a single chemical composition, can still be very strong. Composites are filaments with special additives that affect the properties of conventional filaments to increase strength. These strings usually have the word “pro”, “enhanced” or “infused” in their name, as they are usually a combination of different ingredients. It all depends on what the composite string is made of. The strong material is usually a high-strength material such as nylon infused with a high-strength material such as carbon fiber or glass. There are other composite filaments that are stronger than many pure carbon fiber filaments, but they are not included in our list, but as a composite filament with a unique application, it deserves a special mention.
MatterHackers found that hooks printed in these materials can hold an average of 349 and 268 pounds, respectively.
Rigid.Ink gave the glass-reinforced nylon filament a four out of five for strength and a five for durability. They also gave the carbon-fiber-combined nylon a score of five out of five for strength and durability. For comparison, PLA and ABS both have a maximum of three stars.
Printing conditions and characteristics of composite filament:
Composites vary in how they are printed, but tend to be fairly similar to their base materials. Strong composite filaments are usually nylon-based, so you need to print at very high temperatures. These fields are also generally very expensive.
Maximum hanging strength: 349 pounds for carbon fiber-injected nylon, 268 pounds for glass-injected nylon (using MatterHacker testing)
Pros: Combination of ingredients, strong
Disadvantages: Expensive, requires high printing temperature.
Where can we get more information?
To study additional sources, you can refer to English language articles. Also, the Third Dimension Developers Blog has published good Persian content on the types of filaments for 3D printers: https://www.3dpe.ir/academy
We hope you enjoyed reading this article. We will be happy to share your thoughts about printable resistant materials in the comments section.