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Printing Nylon

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  • Printing Nylon

    My printer is a Creality Ender 3 Pro. To date I have used it to print PLA, TPU (Thermoplastic PolyUrethane) and OBC (Olefin Block Polymer). I have not yet tried ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) or PETG (PolyEthylene Terephthalate Glycol), but I have both on order.

    PLA has turned out to be a very good material for many of the custom slotcar parts I have been designing, but too brittle for highly stressed parts like guide shoes. I've decided to try printing in Nylon. Nylon is a genuine engineering thermoplastic and, given adequate interlayer adhesion, should be strong enough for almost any slotcar part.

    An unmodified Ender 3 Pro printer is not capable of printing in nylon. The melting temperature of Nylon is too high for the plastics in its hot end. An all-metal hot end is required.

    I intend to upgrade my printer with a E3D All-Metal v6 Hot End as soon as MatterHackers has the correct model back in stock.

    I'm wondering if anyone here has tried 3D printing in Nylon -- especially anyone using an Ender 3 printer -- and can give me pointers on what to expect, proven setup parameters, and issues to avoid.

    Thanks in advance!

    Ed Bianchi


  • #2
    I just printed my first guides today in PLA, 100% infill. Three orientations, vertical front face down, flat on the bottom of the guide and 45° face down.

    These will be for 1/32 hardbody plastic chassis (my 3D) cars with up to 25k NSR Shark motors

    Flat - nice finish but the pivot snapped off with not much force
    Vertical - definitely stronger as the print layers were perpendicular to the shear forces but a bit rough on the front edge where supports were touching
    45° - a bit of both, bottom of the guide will need filing flat

    A choice between the vertical and 45° and some testing tomorrow needs doing

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    • #3
      Try printing a little hotter to get better layer adhesion. You might be able to bump it as much as 20 degrees without detriment, depending on what temps you're already printing at.

      As for Nylon, I haven't done any yet, but it's certainly intriguing. I can do it on my Prusa and have an enclosure I use for printing ABS, so I can probably give it a try. I heard Nylon is really hygroscopic, though, so you have to take care to keep it dry, even while printing.

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      • #4
        I have been experimenting with guides for about 6 months and i have come to the conclusion that the best combination is PETG printed vertically

        With PLA and ABS i had blades broken after around 100 laps.Thickness of the blade is 1.2mm

        Re Nylon i have given it a try,my problem does not seem to be temperature, it works well at 250deg.My most important problem is adhesion and next is oozing.I gave up for the time being but will return in about a week

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        • #5
          I print at 60/205 with PLA.

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          • #6
            Have you tried PETG for chassis Alexis?

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            • #7
              I have printed guides in PLA, both vertically and horizontally. One held up fine in testing and racing, the other had the back of the flag break off and the mounting post sheared off at the base. Lost the post during a race. It didn't stop the car! But handling got weird.

              I'm pretty sure both guides were printed horizontally.

              I have not played with PLA printing temperatures. My PLA is dry -- it feeds directly out of a drying chamber. I print with a 215 C hot end and a 50 C glass base plate. I use the Elmer's "School Glue" for adhesion.

              Today I ordered a reel of PETG and one of ABS. I've already got some Nylon filament. Still waiting on the all-metal hot end. I'll play with each of those bits once they are in hand.

              It should be noted that I have had great success printing motor pods and other chassis components in PLA. Layer adhesion appears to be fine. My motor pods take a good bit of stress/deflection when I pop in a motor. The PLA stands up to much more strain than I would have expected. While I'm wrestling to get the motor in I'm very concerned I'll break the pod. Hasn't happened yet.

              I guess PLA is more sensitive to shock loading than simple strain. Materials can be weird.

              Just this evening I was printing a flexible sub-chassis for a prototype HO RacePro Rattler Mark 3. That was made in a new Dow Chemical filament called OBC. It is a polyolefin -- related to polyethylene and polypropylene. Temperatures were 185 C and 65 C. Very small details printed nicely with good layer adhesion. The part weighs less than half a gram yet is the main structural component of the car. Impressive strength-to-weight ratio!

              Ed Bianchi
              Last edited by HO RacePro; 05-18-2020, 08:13 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Kevan View Post
                I print at 60/205 with PLA.
                I never print PLA that cold. Always 215 or higher, usually at the upper end of the recommended temperature range. YMMV, and I print with a genuine Prusa i3 MK3/s. It's never a bad idea to print a temperature tower to get the sweet spot for any given filament on any given printer.

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                • #9
                  I suppose higher temperatures enable quicker printing speeds also. I print at 35mm/s, maybe I should experiment.

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                  • #10
                    Well beggar me. A use for the 500 metres of heavy trace line I will never use on traces on my boat rods . . . . now that I don't have a boat.....
                    Interesting thread. . . following.

                    Has anyone looked at the specs for the Ender-6 yet,
                    know any idea of price or expected release,
                    and whether it will print nylon without modification ?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Kevan View Post
                      Have you tried PETG for chassis Alexis?
                      Not yet but it is in my plans

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