Nylon has an enduring popularity within the 3D printing industry. It’s resilient, strong, durable and a tad bit flexible. It can be difficult to print on a desktop 3d printer though, so we’ve gathered a few tips and tricks.
Nylon is also referred to as polyamide. There are many types of nylon 3D printer filament on the market. Nylon is applicable to material extrusion and powder bed fusion 3D printing technologies.
Besides the previously mentioned properties of nylon, it is also hydroscopic. This means it absorbs liquids. This makes nylon a good choice when you need to paint your printed part in a certain color afterwards.
Functional 3D printed parts
Since nylon has such a unique durability to flexibility ratio, it is often used for functional 3D printed parts. Think of prosthetics, medical equipment, connectors and living hinges.
Nylon has its own distinct pros and cons:
- Nylon is very resilient and durable.
- Excellent strength to flexibility ratio.
- Easily colored / dyed.
- UV resistant and higher chemical resistance than PLA or ABS.
- Nylon is very sensitive to moisture and must be kept dry.
- You’ll need to store nylon filament in a moisture free container or drybox.
- You might need to dry it in an oven prior to printing.
- First layers tends to warp.
- Most nylon brands have a shelf life of max. 12 months.
- Nylon can (potentially) shrink during cooling so printed parts may be less precise.
There are quite a few desktop printers that are capable of printing nylon filament. Due to it’s moisture absorption and being sensitive to temperature changes we recommend to use:
- A print chamber enclosure(temperature controlled would be even better).
- Heated bed not necessary for all nylon filaments (yet preferable).
- Some sort of adhesion spray or glue stick to prevent warping.
Things can get tricky here. Nylons can vary widely in terms of temperatures, cause each brand has their own range of nylons. The required temperature will depend on the size or polymer type being used. Therefore, temperatures can range from 220°C all the way up to 280°C.
Nylon Filament Manufacturers
Taulman 3D specializes in high strength materials and offers multiple different types of nylon filament. Each filament serves a purpose and targets different applications or industries. Use our Taulman 3D filament guide for a quick overview.
Nexeo solutions is another brand. They’re filament requires a lower extruder temperature in case your 3D printer isn’t up to the task.