Material of the Month: Nylon 12CF
If you are looking for a true metal replacement thermoplastic look no further than Nylon 12CF from Stratasys. First released on the Fortus Series 3D printers back in 2017, this material combines the superior chemical resistance, toughness, and Z layer strength of FDM Nylon 12 with the stiffness, heat-resistance, wear-resistance and ESD properties of carbon fiber. Stratasys includes an industry high 35% chopped carbon fibers in its filament, which leads to better stiffness and material properties than those with a lower percentage of chopped carbon fibers CF.
Nylon 12CF vs. Other High Performing Materials
Other Stratasys high performing FDM thermoplastics such as ULTEM 1010 or Polycarbonate (PC) can provide the stiffness and heat resistance required for many applications, but Nylon 12CF is unique in that it has stronger layer-to-layer adhesion and possesses all the qualities needed for most demanding applications across functional prototypes, tooling, and end use components.
At AdvancedTek, we generally use ULTEM for applications that require a heat deflection of 300 °F or higher or require ULTEM’s Flame, Smoke, and Toxicity (FST) ratings. When we have special cases where we need better outgassing or enhanced chemical resistance with ESD properties, we turn to Stratasys’ PEKK materials (Antero800NA/ESD). What we find Nylon 12CF best suited for is high-demand applications that don’t require as high of a high heat deflection as ULTEM but still require high strength and durability. We have also found in many cases that the carbon fiber in the material can provide ESD properties.
Another advantage of Stratasys’ Nylon 12CF is that it is the only high performing material to use soluble supports, which gives you greater design flexibility without having to consider how supports will be removed.
The cost of Nylon 12CF is slightly higher than that of other Stratasys Engineering Grade materials such as PC, Nylon 12, PC-ABS, and ABS-ESD7, but is still a lower cost option than ULTEM or PEKK.
Building with Nylon 12CF
Nylon 12CF is available on the following Stratasys systems with the upgraded hardened printhead and drive blocks:
Nylon 12CF also requires a special hardened T20C tip that allows it to run in .010” slice. Otherwise it uses the same Nylon build sheets and SR-110 soluble support as the other Stratasys nylon-based materials.
Check out how Thule, an outdoor and transportation products manufacturer, uses Stratasys Nylon 12CF for their rigorous functional prototyping and production tooling and fixturing.
Pro Tip: If you need direct access to lower cost composite material solution(s), AdvancedTek now offers the MakerBot Method desktop printers. The new Method X Carbon Fiber Edition offers more reliable and repeatable results than most desktop printers on the market today. While it can’t match the speed and standards of the more capable Stratasys solutions and materials, the Nylon 6 based material has a 10% chopped carbon fiber fill and is a good budget offering for those who want to start experiencing the power of direct access to additive technologies or as a supplement to your industrial solutions.
Want to learn more about FDM Nylon 12CF from Stratasys and how it can be a game changer in replacing traditionally metal components and other high strength applications? Contact your AdvancedTek sales representative or give us a call at 651-489-6990.
David Kadlec, AdvancedTek Application Engineer