OBC Filament: Everything You Need to Know

AddNorth - OBC Filament

OBC filament in your 3D printing projects for parts that demand the ultimate in flexibility, durability, and resistance to environmental stressors.


by Editorial Staff: We are a team of 3D Printing Enthusiasts who have build a lot of knowledge about 3D Printing the last 8 years. Our aim is to create the knowledge hub for 3D Printing covering all minor and major topics. Providing one source of reliable Information for everybody regardless of Beginner or Expert.


Introduction

Olefin Block Copolymer (OBC) filament is an advanced material that combines the beneficial properties of olefins with the versatility of block copolymers. Renowned for its exceptional toughness, flexibility, and environmental resistance, OBC Filament is making waves in the 3D printing industry for applications that demand durability and performance. Its high impact strength and elongation at break make it ideal for creating parts that are subjected to stress, shocks, or repeated use. Additionally, OBC showcases superior chemical resistance, including to acids, bases, and solvents, which broadens its utility across various industrial applications.

OBC stands out for its low density, contributing to the production of lightweight parts, and its low-temperature flexibility, ensuring functionality even under extreme conditions. These attributes, alongside its ease of processing and excellent surface finish capabilities, position OBC as a unique option for both functional prototypes and end-use parts. Despite its many advantages, OBC’s relatively new presence in the 3D printing market means that users may need to experiment with print settings for optimal results.

About OBC Filament

Olefin Block Copolymer is distinguished by its balance of softness and strength, allowing for a wide range of flexibility without sacrificing the part’s integrity. This balance enables OBC to be used in applications that would typically require rubber or silicone, but with the added benefit of thermoplastic’s ease of use and recyclability. OBC’s resistance to UV light and weathering further enhances its suitability for outdoor applications, ensuring longevity and consistency of performance over time.

One of the attractive aspects of working with OBC is its compatibility with common 3D printing platforms. It does not require high-temperature extrusion, making it accessible for printing on a variety of machines, including those without heated build chambers.

Possible Applications of OBC Filament

Sports Equipment

OBC is perfect for creating flexible, durable components of sports gear that require shock absorption and resistance to wear and tear.

Automotive Parts

With its excellent toughness and chemical resistance, OBC can be used for interior and under-hood components that experience thermal cycles and chemical exposure.

Consumer Goods

Its flexibility and durability make OBC an excellent choice for durable consumer products, including toys, household utensils, and wearable devices.

Industrial Seals and Gaskets

The material’s chemical resistance and flexibility make it suitable for seals, gaskets, and hoses used in industrial machinery and fluid systems.

OBC Filament Polyethylene by Add North
#OBC Filament Polyethylene by Add North

Pros and Cons of OBC Filament

Pros:

  • Superior Toughness: OBC offers exceptional impact resistance and durability.
  • Chemical and Environmental Resistance: Suitable for parts exposed to harsh chemicals and outdoor conditions.
  • Low-Temperature Flexibility: Maintains performance in cold environments, unlike many other plastics.
  • Lightweight: Ideal for applications where reducing part weight is beneficial.

Cons:

  • Printing Challenges: May require adjustments to printer settings for optimal adhesion and performance.
  • Relatively New Material: Less established processing guidelines and community knowledge may lead to a steeper learning curve.
  • Cost: As a specialized material, OBC may come at a higher price point compared to more common 3D printing filaments.

Material Settings of OBC Filament

SettingValue
Print Temperature [°C]160 – 200
Build Plate Temperature [°C]65 – 100
Print Speed [mm/s]10 – 40
Cooling Fan [%]0 – 10
Enclosed Build ChamberNot Required
Air ManagementRecommended
Min Active Heated Build Chamber Temperature [°C]Not Required
DryingRecommended
AnnealingNot Required

Successful printing with OBC involves fine-tuning print temperatures and speeds to ensure proper layer adhesion and part strength, with particular attention to cooling to prevent warping and enhance detail resolution.

Mechanical Properties of OBC Filament

PropertyValue
Shore HardnessD53
Specific Gravity [g/cc]0.91
Tensile Strength at Break [Mpa]14
Elongation at Break [%]700
Flexural Strength [Mpa]7,8
Flexural Modulus [Mpa]244
Impact Strength Charpy 23˚C [kJ/m²]34.3
HDT B [°C]NA
Tg [°C]NA
UV ResistanceModerate

OBC’s mechanical properties highlight its incredible elasticity and impact resistance, suited for producing parts that require stretching and bending while maintaining their original shape over time.

Material Comparison

MaterialPLAABSOBC
Print Temperature [°C]180 – 235230 – 270220 – 240
DurabilityModerateHighHighest
Ease of PrintingHighModerateModerate
UV ResistanceLowModerateModerate
Heat ResistanceLowModerateModerate

OBC offers the highest level of durability and UV resistance among the compared materials, with a moderate printing difficulty. Its heat resistance and balance of softness and strength make it a viable option for a wide range of demanding applications.

FAQ´s about OBC Filament

How does OBC compare to TPE or TPU for flexible applications?

OBC provides similar flexibility with enhanced chemical resistance and impact strength, making it suitable for more rigorous applications than commonly achievable with TPE or TPU.

Can OBC be used with any 3D printer?

While OBC can be printed on many standard FDM printers, achieving the best results may require specific print bed preparation and fine-tuning of temperature and speed settings.

How to improve bed adhesion when printing with OBC?

Using a build surface compatible with olefin materials and applying adhesion promoters or specialty tapes designed for PP or PE can significantly improve first-layer adhesion.

Is OBC recyclable?

Yes, OBC is recyclable, falling under the category of olefin plastics. However, as with any specialized material, local recycling capabilities will determine the feasibility of recycling 3D printed OBC parts.

What makes OBC unique among flexible filaments?

Its combination of low-temperature flexibility, high impact strength, and excellent chemical resistance distinguishes OBC from other flexible filaments, allowing for the creation of parts that remain functional in extreme conditions.

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