PA Filament (Nylon): Everything You Need to Know

Fillamentum Nylon Filament CF15 Carbon

Explore the comprehensive guide to PA filament for 3D printing. Learn about its advantages, applications, properties, and printing tips.


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Introduction

Polyamide 6 (PA 6) and Polyamide 12 (PA 12), commonly known as Nylon 6 and Nylon 12, are high-performance nylons widely utilized in 3D printing for their outstanding mechanical properties, durability, and flexibility. PA filament are designed for applications requiring parts that can withstand wear and tear, from automotive components to consumer goods and mechanical gears. Both filaments offer excellent impact resistance and the ability to perform under stress, making them versatile choices for functional prototypes and end-use parts across various industries.

Despite their advantages, printing with PA filament can present challenges, including moisture absorption from the air, which can affect print quality and necessitate filament drying before use. Additionally, their tendency to warp requires careful bed preparation and environmental control. For users capable of managing these prerequisites, PA 6 and PA 12 filaments provide superior performance characteristics unmatched by more common materials.

About PA 6 and PA 12 Filament

PA 6 is renowned for its superior mechanical properties, such as tensile strength and toughness, allowing it to be used in applications demanding durable and resilient materials. It offers good chemical resistance and abrasion resistance, enhancing its utility in creating end-use parts and functional prototypes.

PA 12 is distinguished by its excellent fatigue resistance, lower friction coefficient, high resistance to abrasion and impact, and lower moisture absorption compared to other nylons like PA 6. Its compatibility with high-precision printing techniques extends its utility to detailed and intricate designs.

Optimal printing with these nylons involves managing print settings to address potential issues related to moisture absorption. Despite these considerations, PA 6 and PA 12 remain preferred materials for applications requiring a blend of performance, durability, and aesthetic quality.

Possible Applications of PA Filament

Automotive and Aerospace Components

Both PA 6 and PA 12 are utilized for creating lightweight, durable parts that can endure mechanical stress and thermal variations, including connectors, fasteners, and ducts.

Industrial Machinery

Their durability and resistance to wear make both nylons suitable for producing gears, bearings, and other mechanical parts subject to friction and continuous use.

Consumer Products

The adaptability of PA 6 and PA 12 makes them ideal for durable consumer goods, including sports equipment, tools, and various household items that benefit from their toughness and flexibility.

Prototyping

Engineers and designers favor both materials for functional prototypes that accurately simulate the strength and thermal properties of manufactured parts.

Pros and Cons of PA Filament

Pros:

  • Durability and Flexibility: Both nylons can withstand repeated use and stress without failure.
  • Chemical and Abrasion Resistance: Suitable for parts exposed to chemicals or abrasive conditions.
  • Thermal Properties: Maintain performance at higher temperatures than many other plastics.
  • Low Moisture Absorption (PA 12): Reduces the risk of dimensional changes and degradation over time.

Cons:

  • Moisture Sensitivity: Both materials require drying prior to printing to ensure part quality.
  • Warping: Can warp if proper bed adhesion techniques and environmental controls are not applied.
  • Printer Requirements: Need a heated bed and preferably an enclosed chamber for optimal printing conditions.
Fiberlogy Nylon Filament PA12 + CF15 PA Filament
<a href=httpswww3djakecomfiberlogy>Fiberlogy<a>Nylon PA12 + CF15 PA Filament

Material Settings of PA Filament

For both PA 6 and PA 12:

SettingValue
Print Temperature [°C]230 – 300
Build Plate Temperature [°C]25 – 110
Print Speed [mm/s]40 – 60
Cooling Fan [%]0 – 50
Enclosed Build ChamberRecommended
Air ManagementRecommended
Min Active Heated Build Chamber Temperature [°C]Not Required
DryingRequired
AnnealingRecommended

Adhering to these settings for both PA 6 and PA 12 will ensure optimal adhesion, layer bonding, and overall high-quality prints that require minimal post-processing.

Mechanical Properties of PA6 Filament

PropertyValue
Shore HardnessD70 – D85
Specific Gravity [g/cc]1.03 – 1.12
Tensile Strength at Break [Mpa]40 – 65
Elongation at Break [%]10 – 50
Flexural Strength [Mpa]55 – 80
Flexural Modulus [Mpa]1500 – 2500
Impact Strength Charpy 23˚C [kJ/m²]20 – 50
HDT B [°C]85 – 145
Tg [°C]95 – 105
UV ResistanceModerate

Mechanical Properties of PA12 Filament

PropertyValue
Shore HardnessD55 – D80
Specific Gravity [g/cc]1,01 – 1,05
Tensile Strength at Break [Mpa]35 -60
Elongation at Break [%]50 – 200
Flexural Strength [Mpa]80 – 100
Flexural Modulus [Mpa]1100 – 1400
Impact Strength Charpy 23˚C [kJ/m²]10 – 20
HDT B [°C]105 – 180
Tg [°C]30 – 60
UV ResistanceModerate

While PA 6 and PA 12 share many beneficial properties, PA 12 typically exhibits lower moisture absorption, leading to better dimensional stability and slightly higher fatigue resistance, making it more suited for precise applications. PA 6, on the other hand, offers exceptional strength and flexibility, ideal for a broad range of uses where durability is key.

FAQ´s about of PA Filament

How do PA 6 and PA 12 compare in applications?

Both offer exceptional durability and thermal resistance, but PA 12’s lower moisture absorption makes it slightly more suited for precision applications. PA 6 is preferred for its high strength and flexibility.

Can PA 6 and PA 12 be used for outdoor applications?

Both materials can be used outdoors, with PA 12 offering slightly better moisture resistance. However, protective treatments are recommended for long-term exposure.

How to maximize the print quality of PA 6 and PA 12?

Ensuring the filament is dry, using a heated print bed, and maintaining a stable temperature environment are crucial steps to maximize print quality.

Are PA 6 and PA 12 recyclable?

Yes, both are recyclable. However, due to their specialized nature, they should be processed at facilities capable of handling nylon materials.

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