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What is Nylon filament

Nylon filament is a high-performance thermoplastic used in 3D printing to print tough and resilient functional components. 

Nylon belongs to a group of Polyamide materials and is known for its excellent toughness and durability. It has a low coefficient of friction, making it suitable for printing gears and interlocking components. Nylon has superior layer adhesion properties and can be flexible when printing in thin cross-sections. You can reinforce the Nylon filament with glass fiber and carbon fibers to enhance its mechanical properties and extend your 3D printing capabilities. But, Nylon can be a challenging material to 3D print, and it is hygroscopic and prone to warping. Nonetheless, it is a versatile 3D printing filament and is excellent for high-strength applications.

The Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Low coefficient of friction 
  • Excellent mechanical strength 
  • High toughness
  • It can be reinforced with carbon and glass fibers
  • Great abrasion resistance

Cons:

  • Highly hygroscopic
  • Warps easily 
  • Needs controlled storage and printing environment
  • Expensive

Hardware Requirements

Nylon is a high-temperature 3D printing material and melts above 240 °C. And as Nylon is prone to warping, you will need a heated bed and some kind of bed adhesion. 

  • Hot end temperature: 225-265 °C
  • Bed Temperature: 70-90 °C
  • Bed adhesion: PVA glue stick, PEI, Garolite Build surface 

Best Practices to 3D print Nylon

Nylon melts at temperatures above 240 °C, which are not suitable for PTFE-lined hot ends. Although some blends of Nylon can melt at low temperatures of 220- 230 °C, these often have weak mechanical characteristics. To get the best results and a high-quality print, you need to use an all-metal hot end that can work at such high temperatures.

Nylon filament readily absorbs moisture from the environment, and it can get wet during the printing process itself. You need to store the filament in dry conditions and away from humid areas. When you’re not using it, a filament storage box with desiccant is an excellent option to store Nylon. If you notice bubbles or weak layer adhesion in your prints, your filament is most likely wet, and you will need to dry it before printing. 

To extract any moisture from the filament, you can dry it in an oven at 160°F – 180°F for 6 to 8 hours. While printing, too, if you print Nylon directly via the storage box, it will minimize the chances of filament absorbing moisture.

Nylon is prone to warping during 3D printing, so an enclosure will help keep it cool and reduce the warping phenomenon. An actively heated print chamber will be ideal for Nylon. But even a heated bed with an enclosure should be enough to minimize the Nylon’s warping.

While an enclosure helps reduce the warping of Nylon filament, using brims and rafts will also be helpful. A raft and brim will provide different print surfaces and prevent the lifting of corners and edges of the 3D print. Additionally, printing Nylon on a garolite surface or a glass bed with a glue stick gives excellent bed adhesion.

Pro Tips

  • Enclosure

    Nylon emits harmful 3D printer fumes. An enclosure will help with the print quality and reduce the side effects of the toxic Nylon fumes.

  • Drying

    Drying Nylon in an oven can be tricky, and you can use a filament dryer or a food dehydrator to reduce the moisture content of your filament.

Get Started with Nylon

Nylon applications:

  • Gears and interlocking components 
  • High-performance machine parts 
  • Hinges
  • Jigs and fixtures

Nylon projects : 

Nylon Filament FAQs

Nylon has a high tensile strength of 66 MPa and flexural strength of 97 MPa. Its impact resistance is more than 187 J/m. Considering these parameters, it is easily amongst the top strong 3D printing filaments.

You can buy Nylon filament on Amazon or directly from the local 3D printer resellers. 

Nylon filament is slightly flexible and can stretch in a spool easily. You can make your prints flexible by printing thin walls with less infill.

Use a food dehydrator or a filament dryer for the best results while drying the nylon filament. 

Nylon can be used as a filament and a staple fiber depending upon the end product.

Yes. Nylon filament emits toxic fumes, and you need to print it either with an air filtration unit or within an enclosure.  

Nylon filaments have a shelf life of 12 -18 months. However, as they are hygroscopic, nylon filaments will go bad quickly if not stored properly.