Nylon Filament 101
What is Nylon Filament?
Nylon is a durable, resilient synthetic polymer that is highly absorbent. It is used both for material extrusion and powder bed fusion 3D technologies, which makes it one of the most popular 3D filaments.
How long does Nylon Last?
Nylon is usually sturdier and more resilient than other materials, thanks to its malleability. It is also a lot more resistant to industrial chemicals and fairs on quite well. Nylon is, however, hygroscopic, meaning that it absorbs liquids quickly. Due to its nature, it has a relatively shorter shelf life. The maximum shelf life for most nylon brands, therefore, is twelve months.
The durability of nylon also depends on your care. It is vulnerable to moisture and should accordingly be stored in a cool place, devoid of moisture always. Nylon prints are, however, more resistant to wear and can, therefore, stay for long provided that one takes good care.
How diverse is Nylon
Nylon is highly malleable. It can be molded into several shapes since it does not break easily. Nylon is, therefore, highly diverse since it can assume several forms and blends.
Natural nylon comes in either off-white, black and white color. However, nylon filaments can be dyed into any color that you want to help you achieve your objective.
Nylon is one of the most resilient materials that can be used in 3D printing, which means that it can still maintain its structure even when used alongside other materials. You can easily blend nylon with wood fibers and it still won’t change its structure. When blending nylon with other materials, however, one should take into account its heat requirement. Not all printers are capable of printing nylon filament due to its heat requirement.
Have in mind that nylon filaments are sensitive to even the littlest temperature changes. Therefore, you need a temperature-controlled print chamber enclosure, a heated bed( though not necessary for all threads)and a glue stick to control warping, which we will discuss shortly. Also, for blends, you do not need a cooling fan since nylon requires all the heat for proper layer adhesion.
Is Nylon filament worth it?
I would say yes. Anyway, just like any other material, it depends on your specifications. Nylon is pretty sturdy and therefore, its 3D prints are highly durable. However, before you commit your money into it, first check out the store. It is not uncommon to find shrewd stores selling synthetic brands in the guide of original nylon.
Also, make sure that you first research a little before acquisition so that you know what to expect. We will discuss some of the stores where you can get nylon filaments at affordable prices.It would also be helpful if you watched out for other reviews. all, in all, the cost of printing using nylon is usually cheap, and therefore, you can’t go wrong on such filaments
Pros and Cons of Nylon Filaments
Nylon is durable
Nylon filament is sturdy and durable thanks to its incredible mechanical strength that guarantees less deformation. As a result, nylon is usually highly malleable and can, therefore, be bent into various shapes without breaking.
Nylon is also endowed with high impact resistance capability, and therefore, materials printed with nylon do not wear off quickly. Parts printed in 3D using nylon have higher shock-resistance capacity. For this reason, nylon is used to generate more durable components such as nuts and bolts.
Due to its durability, it is possible to produce thicker parts with higher density infill. The filaments, however, become more flexible on the thinner parts.
Nylon has a high resistance capacity
Other than high impact resistance, nylon has a more significant chemical resistance property. It can, therefore, serve a lot of industrial purposes. Nylon also has a high tensile strength, which makes it more robust than other printing materials, adding to its durability.
Nylon is flexible
Nylon filaments are highly flexible, which adds to their durability. They are hard to break and therefore last quite long. Combined with the low friction property, nylon filament does not need any lubrication.
Nylon is also highly elastic. It can stretch up to 33-percent of its length and still retain its originals shape.
Nylon is easy to use
When you compare the 3D printing process between nylon and other materials, using nylon is one of the easiest. During printing, nylon filaments do not need any heated bed or cooling system, which also lowers the cost of printing. At first, however, using nylon in 3D printing might be quite challenging. As you progress and learn, it becomes effortless and convenient.
Nylon offers better results
Using nylon for 3D printing produces better results. The quality of prints is usually mind-blowing, therefore. Nylon has a superb layer adhesion property, which leaves you with high quality and smooth prints. For the surface finish, nylon has a self-sealing feature, which works for all designs.
It is not absolute, however; you need to be careful in your purchase. You should, therefore, get your filament from a known seller. For better results also, keep your nylon filaments dry since they are highly hygroscopic.
Nylon is versatile
Nylon is highly malleable and can be molded into any shape. Nylon filaments can, therefore, serve a range of purposes, which makes them highly versatile.
Nylon is inexpensive
Compared to other 3D filaments, nylon is one of the cheapest. It gives out 3d prints at a cost-effective price. The printing process is not as costly. Nylon is also used in several industrial applications and, therefore, readily available.
It dries easily
Nylon can easily be dyed to suit your favorite color. The filaments take up color, easily giving you an easy time.
It doesn’t smells
If you are used to printing, you must have noticed that materials such as ABS produce foul smell while printing. Nylon, however, has no odor and is, therefore, a viable option for a 3D printing.
It is hygroscopic
Nylon absorbs water quickly. It therefore requires additional care lest you are going to end up with low-quality prints. Also, due to its hygroscopic nature, it needs additional accessories for proper handling storage, which might be costly. This nature also makes printing in certain conditions quite challenging.
Most people are therefore tasked with getting a filament drier, which is not cheap also.
Now, in as much as prints made from nylon bend easily and might also shrink in return. This is due to the profound temperature change that usually occurs between the extruded plastic and the environment. This means that one will need up with not so perfect designs. To avoid warping, One needs to invest in the printing process, which requires a heated chamber or an enclosure while printing.
It is not suitable for a moist environment
Since nylon has high water absorption, it is not best for use in a damp environment. People living in humid areas will, therefore, have a problem printing with nylon. The filaments also need to be dried fast since poorly dried ones might cause printing defects.
Is Nylon Filaments Safe?
Unfortunately, nylon filaments can be quite harmful. 3D printing emits fumes, which can be a health hazard depending on the material. Nylon and ABS have been found to produce large amounts of styrene, which are suspected to be carcinogenic.
Styrene also causes headaches, drowsiness, and fatigue alongside other repercussions. Other filaments, such as PLA, are, however, safe. PLA produces lactide, which is safe in nature since it is extracted from natural plants. Nylon, on the other hand, is a synthetic polyamide.
Longer exposure to 3D nylon printing can therefore result into serious hazards.
How should you store Nylon?
Nylon is hygroscopic and should, therefore, be stored in a dry place free from moisture. You should, therefore, store the nylon filaments in an air-tight container to eliminate the chances of water absorption. Even after storage, you should dry your filaments during usage lest you compromise on the quality of the prints.
Nylon filaments should, therefore, be stored in a place devoid of water or humidity.
How Much Does Nylon Filament Cost?
Nylon filaments are not expensive. The average price ranges from $80-$ 110 per kilogram, which is fair enough. You can either buy nylon filaments from local 3D printing stores or order them online. Some of the online stores that sell nylon filament are Amazon and 3dprintersonlinestores.
For FDM printing, you can buy nylon filaments from MatterHackers Nylon, Ultimaker Nylon, and Nexeo nylon all at affordable prices.