Can composite materials be used in 3D printing?
What is 3D printing from composites, what is required for their use? - see the statement made by our specialist as part of the "Tips 3D" series together with the 3don.pl portal.
Working with a 3D printer - especially in professional and industrial applications, we enter the sphere of the need to obtain specific physical properties of printed objects. Most often they are resistance to high temperature, water and various chemicals, ensuring adequate strength while maintaining a low weight of the element or simply visual aspects similar to wood, metal or stone.
3D printing from composite filaments
This is where composite materials come in handy, consisting of a base material that acts as a binder and a specific amount of admixture of an additional material. The most popular composites include Nylon with an admixture of ground carbon fiber, which provides high stiffness and impact resistance, temperature resistance up to 180ºC and high dimensional stability - which speaks for its use as a metal substitute in industry.
Another of the advanced composites is Polypropylene with an admixture of glass fiber, which is characterized by chemical resistance to acids, bases, solvents and water, offering incredible strength and lightness. Models made of this composite are dedicated to work in an aggressive environment, they can be exposed to high temperature (up to 120 ° C), chemicals, changing weather conditions - which is used for the composite in the automotive and aviation industrie
So how do you approach working with composites?
Most of the specialized materials with fiber admixtures are abrasive, so it is worth using a hardened steel nozzle. Due to the fiber content - higher layers above 0.2mm and nozzles with larger diameters, e.g. 0.6mm, are better for printing, which ensure better material flow and proper extrusion.
It is also worth getting dedicated adhesives for a given material to ensure the correct adhesion of the model to the working table.
The key issue that may decide about the correct printing is the proper storage and preparation of the filament itself. The material is best stored in a dry and stable environment to eliminate the moisture absorption characteristic of highly hygroscopic composite materials. For this purpose, special devices with drying systems provide invaluable help - for storing and preparing filaments in controlled conditions.
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