Materials

MATERIAL TECHNOLOGY INDEX

Types of Filaments Used:

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene): ABS is used typically for end use parts that need extra resistance to environment stresses such as toughness, temperature resistance, but allowing small amount of flexibility. There are more difficulties using the material as it is prone to warpage and shrinkage as it has a much thermal transition temperature.

Nylon: Nylon is a synthetic polymer that is great material for most mechanical parts manufactured. Due to the high strength, durability, and flexibility it can fit a lot of engineering needs. The only downside to nylon other than the cost, is that it is hydroscopic which means it does absorb moisture in the raw form, you will need to store it in cool dry areas in order to get the most of the material spools.  

PLA (Polylatic Acid): PLA is used typically as a prototyping material as it is easy to print with, has a low thermal temperature, minimal warping and shrinkage and is one of the easiest materials to use. Downside to the material as it has a high stiffness is that it has a low flexibility and temperature resistance. Though, due to the versatility and ease of use it is used the most commonly.

Various Fills: There are a multitude of PLA/ABS filaments that are composites mixed with various base materials. Some options include metals, woods, cork and clay. There unique materials offer solutions on a FFF/FDM printer without need to go to machine shop for example

 

PETG/PET/PETT (polyethylene Terephthalate): This is one of the most commonly used plastics in manufacturing- you likely know it from plastic water bottles and other packaging/clothing. The material is typically used for products that need transparency to them as the raw materials is clear. PETG has a high durability, medium flexibility with a high strength factor. The printing of this material does require a higher heat setting for the printer’s nozzle and build plate.

Conductive: One of the only options to make a 3D dimensional circuit. This is a experimental material used in assemblies that you can not otherwise make PCBs for.

 


TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane): This material has a higher flexibility than most with various durometers available. You would use this products that need flexibility such as a grip on a bike handle.

Carbon Fiber: One of the stiffest/rigid materials available carbon fiver filament are a great option for making lightweight and strong parts. The only downside for the material is it does increase wear on your nozzle this material should only be used with a hardened steel or ruby nozzle.

 

POM (Polyexymethylene/Acetal): This material is typically used in gears, small mechanisms such as zippers and bearings. You most likely know the family of materials from the names such as Acrylic or Plexiglass. The material is incredibly strong, but requires other environmental considerations such as regulated ventilation and a much higher build plate temperature.

SLM/EBM (Selective Laser Melting): This technology uses a laser/electron beam melt powdered material such as metals and plastics into solidified objects. The technology allows you to fully support parts with unused material in a build plate. This allows you to create intricate parts without worrying about the hassle of support post-processing.

 

SLA (Stereolithography Apparatus): This technology uses a photocured resin (it hardens with UV light is exposed to it) in a vat with a laser system that draws out layers of parts. With a layer is complete the build plate will dip in and out of the resin vat and adjust the z-layer height each time to compensate for the stratification of the print itself. SLA produces incredibly smooth and detailed parts.

Carbon Fiber: One of the stiffest/rigid materials available carbon fiver filament are a great option for making lightweight and strong parts. The only downside for the material is it does increase wear on your nozzle this material should only be used with a hardened steel or ruby nozzle.

 

DLP (Digital Light Processing): This technology is similar to SLA in the structure of the building process, but instead of a laser system it uses a projector. This has the advantage of building parts rapidly and reduces the amount of time needed per layer.


CJP (Color Jet Printing): This technology prints with a base powder (typically gypsum) and using color inks (such as HP) to bind layers of powder together. This then is solidified using a super glue-like material. In this binding process the glue draws the powder layers together creating an exothermic reaction thereby heating and cooling the molecular structure of the part.


SLS (Selective Laser Sintering): This technology uses a laser to ‘sinter’ (heat and form) powdered materials such as Nylon and other plastics into solidified objects. The technology allows you to fully support parts with unused material in a build plate. This allows you to create intricate parts without worrying about the hassle of support post-processing.


MJP (Multi Jet Printing): This technology uses a base structural material that is cured with a UV lamp, but materials is jetted from a printhead onto a platform instead of using a vat of resin. Using this process it jets out a secondary support material such as wax. This technology is one of the highest resolution option available and can print wax unlike most technologies.