If you are ready to experiment with a new filament for your 3D printing project, you can consider using nylon filament. It produces strong and durable material with high-quality finish.
If you have been doing 3D printing projects for quite some time now, you may have used ABS or PLA filaments. These two materials are easy to use and they produce great prints. However, they do have some limitations.
PLA is a good material especially for those who are just starting out with 3D printing. It is biodegradable and there is a wide variety of colors available. As for ABS filaments, it is durable and strong. But if you are looking for a 3D printing material that is more flexible, more durable, and more tough, you should check out Nylon filament.
Nylon Material Features
Among all of the materials that you can use for 3D printing, nylon 3D filament arguably has the most versatile of features. When it comes to printing with filament nylon, it is as easy as when you print with ABS filaments.
Nylon printing produces really nice prints. Its finish is silky smooth. But you have to make sure that it is dry and has not absorbed moisture. Another thing to keep in mind is to select the best nylon 3D printer material. Doing so will give you excellent layer adhesion so that your prints are perfect. The details will be produced well, especially for those with intricate design.
Nylon Durability and Strength
The strength of nylon 3D printing material is excellent. You won’t experience it snapping or being brittle. When you when you will be printing thicker parts and with wider wall thickness and higher density infill, you will see that nylon 3D printer plastic produces tough parts that can tolerate shock. It also has superb impact resistance.
When you print thinner parts though, nylon 3D printer filament becomes quite flexible. Since it is flexible, some of the uses of nylon is for parts that move. It has low friction coefficient and needs little or no lubrication. The tensile strength of nylon is also incredible. If you have ever tried breaking a cable tie, you know how difficult or impossible it is. Those are made of nylon.
Nylon 6 Vs. Nylon 12
Have you heard of these two before? If not, then this section is dedicated to knowing the difference between the nylon 6 filament and nylon 12 filament. Just like printing other kinds of plastics, there are various grades that are available. What is important is that you select a grade the can match or even exceed the requirements that you need.
Let’s look at nylon 6 3D printing filament first. When it comes to grades of nylon, the most common are nylon 6 and nylon 66 or 6/6. The more common brand for this is the Taulman nylon filament. They also produce other variations of nylon 6 such as nylon 645 and 618.
These two grade variations offer great hardness and strength. However, they may not be as chemically stable compared to nylon 12. With nylon 12 3D printing filament, you can expect it to hold its form consistently even at temperatures of varying range. It is also not as sensitive in terms of water absorption.
Nylon 3D Printing Properties
All kinds of nylon filament thread are hygroscopic. This means that they will easily absorb water.
You’ll be surprised to know that nylon filaments are able to absorb 10% of its water density in a mere twenty-four hours. To avoid this, keep the filaments in a bag or container that is airtight and make sure you put a desiccant.
Nylon 12 absorbs only half of what the nylon 6 does so with that, we can say that you’ll have a better printing experience with nylon 12 as you won’t have any problems with too much moisture in the filaments.
Nylon prints that have absorbed water prior to printing will have finishes that are not desirable. You may even experience them popping in your extruder. If your nylon filament is sure to be dry, it will have a smooth and nice sheen. To ensure that you will have only the best quality prints, dry your filaments first before printing with them.
How to Dry Nylon Filament
Before printing with your nylon filaments, you have to see to it that it is dry. If you have stored it in an air tight container along with desiccant, then you may not need to dry it prior to printing. But if you are not sure of the way you have stored it, then it is best to dry the spool.
The consequence of printing with filaments that have absorbed moisture is that your prints will be ruined. To dry your nylon filament, pop it in the over at about 85°C for around five to six hours. Needless to say, do not leave it unattended. Silica gel desiccants can be recharged this way as well.
Getting the Best Results in Printing Nylon
When printing with nylon filament, the recommended temperature is at around 240°C to 260°C. But of course, you can experiment with printing temperatures greater that this so you can find the best one for your printing projects.
As for the heated bed, its recommended temperature is at around 80°C. But you can go as high as 100°C because nylon is prone to fast cooling and this causes it to warp. Again, experiment with the temperature of the heated bed so that you will know which range will suit you best.
When it comes to aiding adhesion, you can make use of a PVA glue stick on the metal or glass print bed. You can also try using Kapton tape. To get the best results, we recommend that you try the Tufnol sheet as your bed surface. It works great for nylon printing because it will most likely warp if you fail to use the correct surface.
Another thing to take note of is to turn off the cooling fans and that you are not printing in a place that is cool or drafty. These are the main guidelines when it comes to the recommended printing temperatures for nylon. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the temperatures so that you will know the best range for printing your design.
Best Nylon Filament Brands
Now that you know the different features and properties of nylon filament, you must be interested in using this material for your next 3D printing project. Let’s take a look at some of the best brands of nylon filament.
1. Gizmo Dorks Nylon Filaments
Gizmo Dorks nylon filament is known to be durable and strong. It is not brittle compared to PLA or ABS. When you use it with a higher fill setting, you will find that the strength of the material from Gizmo Dorks is remarkable.
The prints made from nylon filaments are usually resistant to wear and it is also flexible. Nylon is the preferred material when it comes to printing gears and other engineered parts. You have to keep in mind though that nylon is more prone to warping compared to PLA or ABS.
2. Filabot Nylon Filaments
Filabot Nylon filaments are among the preferred brands because of its good quality as well as its price. This brand also offers several other products such as printers and extruders that can help you with your 3D printing projects.
The final products you get from printing with Filabot nylon filaments are comparable to more expensive brands. It is something that you definitely try for yourself to see if it matches your needs in 3D printing with nylon.
3. Taulman Nylon Filaments
Taulman is known to produce several grades of nylon filaments. The advantage of using this brand is that you have a variety of choices. You can select the grade that fits well with your design for your 3D printing project.
You can experiment with the different grades of nylon 6 as well as nylon 12. There are plenty of benefits in using nylon 12 as we’ve mentioned above. It doesn’t absorb as much water as nylon 6. Just make sure to store your nylon spools in airtight containers or dry them before printing.
Nylon filament printing is easy if you know the right temperatures to print it with. You will eventually get a feel of the most appropriate temperature after several tries of 3D printing with nylon filaments.
Have you tried printing with nylon filaments? How was your experience with it? Do share your thoughts with us in the comments!
Also check this article about PLA vs ABfS filament