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Printing Nylon

Today I’ll take a break from my BeTrue3D Printer project and look at some long overdue projects.

Todays project is going to be printing Nylon, which is something I’ve wanted to try for a long, long time.

Picking type of Nylon

The first step obviously is to get my hands on some Nylon, but which one? There are so many types, and I’m not really all the knowledeable in the composition and usages of the different models… luckily for me, Taulman3d has made a super nice overview of Nylon types, for this exact situation.

I strongly recommend you go and read the full page on Taulman3d to learn more about it.

I’ve picked the Alloy 910 to print, and marked it in the below image, which originates from Taulman3D.

When I bought it, a long time ago, there was a list over ease of printing as well, where the Alloy 910 featured as the most easy Nylon to print, which was a huge reason for the choice as well!

Properties and usagescenarios of Alloy 910

Below is taken from the Taulman3D page I linked to above.

Alloy 910 = Alloy 910 is a significant development by taulman3D and both our chemical house and post processing company.  The goal was to provide a super material with very high tensile, yet sufficient elongation to maintain a high degree of durability.  Alloy 910, when 3D Printed comes in at 8,100 PSI Tensile and close to 12,000PSI when injection molded.
Potential uses:
* Any industrial parts that are currently being made of other high tensile polymers.
* Large motor mounting
* Industrial vibration isolators and damping parts
* High Pressure Sand Blasting resistant
* Sand Blast Masking
* Electroplating supports and hangers
* Chemical dip and tank supports.
* High end gears and cams
* Chemical resistant equipment covers.

I primarily wanted to be able to print Nylon in order to create strong mounting parts and also to be able to print high quality gears, for which the Alloy 910 is a good choice.
The Alloy 910 is also the choice of Nylon for high temperature applications.

Alloy 910 has one very unique feature as well: There are no fumes when printing!

Alloy 910 Features:

I’ve only written the one directly relevant for printing and using Alloy 910. There are more informtion on the Specification sheet and much more detailed information in their Data Sheet (opens PDF).

  • Surface texture: Very Good
  • Use of Taps for threads: Excellent
  • Use in 3D Forging: Excellent
  • Printed Prostesis: Excellent
  • Robotic Assemblies: Excellent
  • Fumes: None
  • Dye Uptake (Saturation): Very Good
  • 8100+ PSI Tensile strength

How to print it

Ahh, now we come to the question that prevents many from trying to print Nylon.

The Taulman3D Alloy 910 is listed with the following printing requirments:

  • Printing Temperature 250-255c
  • Print-Bed Temperature 30-65c
  • Ambient Temperature 30-100c

Prepare printbed

Nylon just doesn’t stick on PEI. At least not on mine. It works well the first few layers, but then it pops free and leaves you something like this:

I opted to find a piece of glass, clean it using Acetone and clamp it onto my PEI-Coated Aluminium bed.

Now I applied a thinish layer of Elmers Glue-All (any PVA glue should do I guess) and heated the bed to 65c untill it dried up.

For my UM2+ clones I normally mix the glue 1:1 with water, but I applied it without mixing it here.

Ambient temperature

How to get the temperature above 30c you might ask.. higher is preferable… luckily for me, or maybe just foresight, I have removable sides on my printer, attached using magnets, and I recently made a top for it as well, made from Acrylic plates I cut using a jigsaw and printed parts.

So, I simply just put my heated bed to 120c and waited.. not long, untill the temperature in the box was at 40+ as you can see here:

Printsettings:

I started out using the recommended values and printed slow. I normally print a good deal faster, but I’ve learned to start slow when starting to learn something new. Takes away the speed variable for failures in most cases.

  • Hotend: first/rest 255c/250c
  • Bed: first/rest 85c/80c
  • Ambient: 40c-50c (I call it my passively heated chamber, as the heat comes from the bed).
  • 0.2mm layer height
  • 3 walls
  • 100% infill
  • First layer speed: 20mm/s – no need to go this slow. It stuck really well.
  • Outer walls: 30mm/s
  • 40mm/s everything else
  • 150mm/s movespeed
  • 100% flow
  • Retract 1mm – E3D Full 1,75mm
  • Nozzle 0.4 – all lines 0.4 width
  • No Cooling

Result

I hadn’t configured the distance between nozzle and bed properly. I thought I could do it using babystepping, but for some reason it wouldn’t move Z to negative, so the distance was too great. Even though, it was only one corner that came loose, and not even much at that!

Even though it wasn’t close to the glass it sat extremely like fused to the glass. I ended up putting the plate in the freezer, which made it pop free easily.

Unless you use a Borosilicat plate you must be carefull not to drop a smoldring hot plate into the freezer, or the other way.

Also make sure to get condensation away before next print (said mr. obvious 🙂 )

Further reading

I found a good article on Matterhacks on printing Nylon.

They also had nice info on how to dry out the Nylon before usage:

To dry nylon filament, place it in an oven at 70c/160°F – 80c/180°F for 6 to 8 hours. After drying, store in an airtight container, preferably with desiccant (learn more about desiccant here).

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