Hooked on 3D Printing: What is the Strongest 3D Printer Filament?


Hi everybody,
Erick Wolf here from Airwolf 3D. Today I’m going to talk to you about the
strength of commonly and not so commonly 3d printed materials specifically we’ll
be talking about PLA nylon 910, abs and polycarbonate. We’ll test each material
by 3d printing a common hook and then loading the hook until it fractures. The
hook that holds the most weight will correspond to the material that has the
highest tensile strength and to back it up they’ll pull some information from a
great article from 3d print com specifically talking about the tensile
strength of all the different 3d printed materials that we discuss today to
keep it interesting we set up a fun experiment using our 3d printed hook to
pick up a tractor tire that weighs 150 pounds loaded with hundreds of more
pounds of weight from our local and favorite gym precision Fitness in Costa
Mesa California so let’s get on with it and start talking about our 3d printing
materials the most popular desktop filament is polylactic acid or as we
commonly referred to it PLA we print PLA at about 190 to 200 C with a bed at 60 C
and we apply wolfbite nano to that bed to help with adhering it. The wolf
bite Nano adheres the PLA to the glass printing surface and after the prints
done its easy to remove the part. Now some commonly 3d printed objects
in PLA or toys and figurines PLA is used all the time in schools it’s
environmentally friendly its compostable and it prints easily and low
temperatures in all sorts of different environments it’s also pretty strong you
may be surprised at just how strong it is so let’s check the video pretty darn impressive PLA survived up
to and 285 pound lift with a small hook and bringing simulate to be able to
survive 285 pounds is pretty darn impressive truth be told we were
surprised for the strength of PLA however when we look back at that
article we mentioned earlier from 3d print com PLA has a very high tensile
strength in fact it is rated to 7,250 pounds per square inch this is a
strong material but with that comes a caveat
there’s a reason PLA is mostly used for toys and figurines PLA by its nature
degrades in sunlight and degrades in an outdoor environment so with that said
please don’t make any structural parts at a PLA because in only a matter of a
couple hours your PLA part can entirely transform. Let’s talk about real
engineering materials. let’s start off with ABS. ABS next to
PLA is one of the most common materials printed on the desktop here at Airwolf
we were one of the first companies five years ago in this industry to start
printing with ABS on the desktop why because ABS is a strong material but
it is a stable material also it can be sanded it can be painted it’s used in
numerous automotive industrial and home applications you can find ABS in
all sorts parts. Now when printing with ABS please keep in mind that there are
several things your printer needs to have to get the best quality parts. First
you need to print at 240 c or higher your printing bed needs to be at a
120 C or higher and you should really have a closed environment
to avoid cracking and warping finally we use Wolfbite on our glass bed to adhere the
ABS and to minimize the chance of warping on the part with those criteria taken care
of you can produce very nice end use products with ABS. As a matter of fact we
optimize the AXIOM 3d printer for printing in abs with the enclosed
environment now for the real test how does ABS compared to PLA
as ABS and PLA are the most frequently used materials which one is stronger let’s
watch the video as you notice the ABS hook snapped right
away we didn’t bother to reduce the weight on
the hook because we’re interested in finding out the ultimate 3d printing
material with that said you can increase the cross-sectional area of your abs to
make it as strong as you need and the beauty of abs is it’s easy to print it
lasts for a long time and it’s easily workable. Meaning sandable, paintable etc. but abs does have a lower tensile strength than PLA in fact ABS’s
strength 4700 psi compared to PLA which comes in at 7,250 psi but we’re
really here to find the strongest desktop 3d printing material and abs and
PLA aren’t gonna cut it so what’s up next there is a wonderful material that
I’m sure you all have heard of and it’s called nylon but nylon is traditionally
very difficult to print on the desktop at Airwolf 3D we did a number of things
to solve that first we invented a material called nitro wolfbite nitro
this is applied to the surface of a bed the bed is kept between 70 and 100 C and
the cart is printed on between 250 and 276
we have been using nylon and Airwolf 3d to make functional parts of our 3d printers
since 2014 and this nylon gear is a great example of it weve printed thousands
of these gears and they are some of the strongest and most reliable components
of our 3d printers. so after that brief description of nylon let’s take a look
at the video and see how it performs as a hook now looking at the video nylon
is a great material to make structural parts with the nylon hook lasted much
longer than than abs or the pla parts that’s
because nylon has a very high tensile strength nylon in fact is rated for 7000
psi compared with 4700 PSI for ABS and one of the beautiful things about nylon
is when it breaks this doesn’t give right away
it slowly elongates into a predictable failure notice how the hook initially
bent but didn’t yield until hundreds of pounds later while the PLA hook broke at
285 pounds our nylon hook lasted until 485 pounds as we can see nylon is a
predictable material that works great in load applications in fact every Airwolf
printer built since 2014 uses nylon gears for incredible reliability
and precision but we’re not here just to talk about nylon we’re here to find the
strongest desktop 3d print material and no discussion would be complete without a
mention of polycarbonate. At Airwolf 3D since 2014 with the
introduction with the Airwolf HDX we’ve been printing polycarbonate extensively
polycarbonate prints at 290 to 315 c with a bed temperature of 145
c we’ll use Wolfbite Mega to adhere the polycarbonate parts to the glass
printing surface now polycarbonate is a very strong
material to work with this in fact is made out of polycarbonate right here and one of my
favorite things to do with polycarbonate to demonstrated strength is to drop it
or to throw it or to bounce it off cement floors because polycarbonate is
very difficult break see after bouncing this hook it looks identical
how it looked before you just can’t do that with other materials. So the question is it looks great
here we use it in our printers all the time we’ve been printing with the
material since 2014 but how much weight can we lift with this tiny hook let’s
take a look at the video to find out polycarbonate is the undisputed king of
desktop 3d printing materials not only is it incredibly strong it’s print great it
also has a great heat deflection temperature in comparison to nylon
polycarbonate has a tensile strength of 9800 psi whereas nylon is only at 7000
psi when we design the axiom 3d printer we designed it to print
materials like polycarbonate we’ve designed it to 3d print these materials for
hours and hours and time in a very hot environment that is how you achieve
uniform finish and the strength throughout the part when printing
Polycarbonate so can you believe it we lifted 685 pounds with this tiny
polycarbonate hook in summary polycarbonate is the undisputed king of
desktop 3d printing materials to get this spool of filament free go to
airwolf3d.com/free shipping and get a free wolfbite