We offer the additive manufacturing service of high-precision prototype and final parts, both single and in low production series. A wide range of engineering materials allows for 3D printing of materials with various properties – flexible, mechanically, chemically or thermally resistant.
PP – polipropylene
Polypropylene is one of the most commonly used plastics – due to its properties, it has gained popularity in the automotive, electrical and chemical industries. Recently, it has also become present in the world of 3D printing, both in the FDM material extrusion technology and in selective laser sintering technologies. What makes the material more and more popular are its properties. What is the characteristic of this material and what is it best for?
What distinguishes the material is the fact that it is characterized by low density. This means that, with increased strength, it is lightweight, opening up a number of potential applications. Strength is of particular importance in the production of moving parts, adapted to frequent bending. The flexibility of the material at the level of 70-85D Shore is also important. A polypropylene object subjected to cyclic loads will not break, but will deform and return to its original form.
The material is also characterized by chemical resistance to active substances such as acids, bases and salts. This means that the material can be successfully used for the production of components working in high and low pH environments.
Due to a number of properties, the material is used both in everyday products and in technical applications. 3D printing from polypropylene materials is mainly dedicated to the production of:
• prototypes made of materials imitating the real properties of details,
• usable elements, subject to continuous deformation, e.g. hinges and latches,
• utility models with flexible properties.
PC – Polycarbonate
Polycarbonate is one of the most popular technical materials in the world, which is also becoming popular in the world of 3D printing. Due to its low weight, combined with increased strength properties, it is used in technical applications where impact resistance is the priority. In everyday life, it is used for production in a wide range of applications – from CDs to bulletproof glass. What applications should it be used for when using additive technologies?
When it comes to the properties of polycarbonate, it is worth emphasizing that it is a material with high impact strength, similar in some respects to PMMA. However, polycarbonate is mechanically much more durable – its hardness and compressive strength are comparable to aluminum.As a filament for 3D printing, polycarbonate is characterized by:
• dimensional stability,
• high stiffness,
• no deformation when exposed to high temperatures,
• insulating properties,
• impact resistance
• low weight with relatively high mechanical strength.
The material can be successfully used for 3D printing of mold tools, tools – both prototypes and functional parts. Printing in polycarbonate, however, requires specialized devices to maintain a constant, high temperature in the working chamber. Polycarbonate, like nylon, is a highly hygroscopic material, so before printing, it should be subjected to high temperature (e.g. in a filament dryer). It is recommended to store the material in a sealed package with a desiccant.
PCABS – ABS and PC composite
PCABS is a composite of the popular ABS plastic with the technical material PC (polycarbonate). By combining the materials, it was possible to combine the best features of the two materials, while making the printing process easier for users.
ABS is one of the most popular materials used for 3D printing in FDM technology. It is very popular as a filament due to its durability at a relatively low cost. ABS is characterized by high hardness, impact and abrasion resistance and good tolerance of high temperatures. However, it is not UV resistant, crumbling after prolonged exposure to sunlight.
Material manufacturers are trying to emphasize the advantages of ABS, at the same time reducing the difficulties with 3D printing of this material, creating new variants of the classic filament. ABS is the basis for the tech materials, but thanks to the optimization of the composition and the manufacturing process, manufacturers offer filaments with increased strength or other mechanical properties.
The combination of ABS and polycarbonate allows to obtain a material resistant to impact, UV radiation and high temperature PCABS is also resistant to chemicals. The material will work well in creating prototypes, printing personalized tools, as well as functional parts intended for long-term use, exposed to impacts and contact with chemical substances.
Although the name PMMA sounds strange to many users, it hides a popular material, i.e. acrylic (acrylic glass). Recently, material has also become present in the world of additive technologies. The fact that it is less popular than filaments such as PLA, PET-G or ABS is due to the difficulties in the 3D printing process – 3D printing may warp and deform. Why, then, is an increasing number of users turning their attention to 3D printing from PMMA?
What distinguishes PMMA at first glance is its transparent color – thanks to this feature, the material can be successfully used for 3D printing of translucent elements (such as covers or protective elements). At the same time, the material is distinguished by a number of properties such as resistance to scratching and impact, increased load resistance and continuous deformation. It can be successfully used in applications exposed to the weather because it is resistant to UV radiation.
As for the 3D printing process itself – the material can be troublesome in 3D printing. What’s more, to work with the filament, a ventilated room is necessary, because during the 3D printing process, harmful vapors may be released. Due to a number of problems occurring during the implementation of prints, it is worth considering outsourcing a 3D printing service to an external company.
The material is intended for strictly technical applications – unlike PLA, it is not approved for contact with food. The material, like ABS, reacts with acetone, which allows for smoothing 3D prints.
Nylon (PA12, PA6)
Nylon is a trade name for polyamides by the chemical company DuPont. Another term you may come across is the name PA. Usually, it is written with numbers – the most common types of polyamides found in 3D printing are PA 6 and PA 12 and it comes from a chemical compound from which nylon is synthesized. These polymers have found their application in such industries as: machinery, electrotechnical, automotive, transport and machine construction.
As for the manufacturing process, materials from the nylon group are characterized by a high melting point, which means that the production of 3D models from them should take place at a constant, increased temperature. The material is also highly hygroscopic, which means it easily absorbs water from the environment. When printing from nylon, make sure the material is properly prepared before starting the process.
Nylon-based materials can be successfully used to create highly loaded structural elements such as tools, hinges, clamps, gears, functional prototypes or mechanical parts. The finished elements are not characterized by a brittle fracture – before the sample breaks, it can lengthen by up to 50%. This is due to the elasticity of the material, which means that the finished elements can be exposed to cyclical loads
Manufacturers offer nylon materials enriched with carbon fiber or glass balls to provide improved mechanical properties of 3D prints. This is most often associated with an increased price. The most popular types of nylon-based composites are:
Nylon with Carbon Fiber (PA12 CF)
Nylon 12 enriched with carbon fiber is characterized by high thermal resistance and lower shrinkage compared to the unmodified Nylon PA12. The use of carbon fiber allows the weight of the component to be reduced while maintaining its high structural stiffness.
Nylon with Glass (PA6 GK)
Nylon 12 with added glass balls – the enrichment of the material with glass balls increases its flexibility in relation to the polyamide which is the base of the material.