PC Filament Everything You Need to Know

Polymaker Polymax PC Filament White

Explore the versatile world of PC filament in 3D printing. Discover its strengths, challenges, applications, and tips for optimal printing results.


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

Polycarbonate (PC) filament is an engineering-grade thermoplastic known for its exceptional toughness, high heat resistance, and optical clarity. PC Filament is favored for applications that demand parts with superior mechanical properties and resistance to thermal deformation, including automotive, aerospace, and electronics industries. Its strength and durability, coupled with the ability to transmit light, make PC an excellent choice for creating durable, functional parts, and prototypes that can withstand challenging environments.

Despite its impressive qualities, printing with PC can be challenging due to its tendency to warp and require high extrusion temperatures. Thus, PC filament is best suited for experienced users with printers capable of maintaining high nozzle and bed temperatures. With proper handling and printing conditions, PC enables the production of parts that far surpass the capabilities of more common 3D printing materials in terms of strength, temperature resistance, and visual quality.

About PC Filament

PC stands out for its remarkable impact resistance and ability to retain its mechanical properties at elevated temperatures, making it significantly more heat resistant than materials like PLA and ABS. Furthermore, its transparency can range from clear to translucent, depending on the specific filament blend, offering unique possibilities for light-transmitting applications.

Optimal printing with PC involves careful temperature management and bed adhesion strategies to mitigate its high shrinkage rate and sensitivity to cooling. Despite these printing requirements, PC remains a highly sought-after material for professional and industrial applications requiring the highest levels of performance.

Possible Applications of PC Filament

Safety and Protective Components

PC is extensively used to manufacture bulletproof glass, protective goggles, and other safety equipment due to its high impact strength and clarity.

Automotive and Aerospace Parts

Its heat resistance and durability make PC ideal for under-the-hood automotive components, exterior parts, and aerospace applications where thermal stability is crucial.

Electronic Housings

The material’s strength and thermal properties are beneficial for electronic casings and parts that need to withstand heat while protecting sensitive components.

Lighting Fixtures

The optical clarity of PC allows for the creation of light covers, lenses, and fixtures that require a combination of transparency and resistance to impact.

Pros and Cons of PC Filament

Pros:

  • Exceptional Durability: Offers industry-leading toughness and impact resistance.
  • High Heat Resistance: Capable of withstanding temperatures far higher than what other plastics can endure.
  • Optical Clarity: Suitable for applications requiring light transmission with transparent or translucent options.
  • Chemical Resistance: Provides durability against various chemicals and solvents.

Cons:

  • Printing Challenges: High extrusion temperatures and a tendency to warp require advanced printing setups.
  • Moisture Sensitivity: Absorbs moisture from the air, necessitating filament drying prior to use.
  • Cost: As an advanced material, PC often comes at a higher price point compared to standard filaments.
  • Ventilation Requirements: High-temperature extrusion may produce fumes, necessitating good ventilation.
PolymakerPolymax PC Filament White
<a href=httpswww3djakecompolymaker>Polymaker<a>Polymax PC Filament White

Material Settings of PC Filament

SettingValue
Print Temperature [°C]250 – 295
Build Plate Temperature [°C]80 – 105
Print Speed [mm/s]30 – 50
Cooling Fan [%]0 – 10
Enclosed Build ChamberRequired
Air ManagementRequired
Min Active Heated Build Chamber Temperature [°C]60
DryingRecommended
AnnealingRecommended

Achieving the best results with PC filament involves managing high printing, bed and build chmaber temperatures to ensure proper layer adhesion and part accuracy while minimizing warping.

Mechanical Properties of PC Filament

PropertyValue
Shore HardnessD80 – D85
Specific Gravity [g/cc]1.18 – 1.2
Tensile Strength at Break [Mpa]50 – 75
Elongation at Break [%]3 – 15
Flexural Strength [Mpa]80 – 110
Flexural Modulus [Mpa]2,000 – 2,500
Impact Strength Charpy 23˚C [kJ/m²]4 – 35
HDT B [°C]110 – 130
Tg [°C]112 – 143
UV ResistanceModerate

PC’s mechanical properties underscore its robustness, particularly noted for its strength, impact resistance, and ability to maintain properties under thermal stress, positioning it as a material of choice for demanding applications.

Material Comparison

MaterialPLAABSPC
Print Temperature [°C]180 – 235230 – 270260 – 310
DurabilityModerateHighHighest
Ease of PrintingHighModerateDifficult
UV ResistanceLowModerateModerate
Heat ResistanceLowModerateHigh

PC offers unparalleled durability and heat resistance compared to PLA and ABS, making it ideal for projects requiring the highest performance under mechanical stress or high temperatures. It presents a challenging printability level due to its requirements for high extrusion temperatures and controlled printing conditions.

FAQ´s about PC Filament

What distinguishes PC from other transparent filaments?

PC is notable for its combination of high impact resistance, heat resistance, and optical clarity, making it superior for functional parts requiring transparency.

Can PC be used for outdoor applications?

While PC has moderate UV resistance, long-term outdoor exposure may lead to some degradation. UV-stabilized PC formulations are recommended for prolonged outdoor use.

How can warping be minimized when printing with PC?

Employing a heated bed, enclosed print chamber, and adhesive aids, such as glue or tapes, can significantly reduce warping.

What safety measures should be taken when printing with PC?

Ensure the printing area is well-ventilated and consider using an enclosed printer equipped with an air filtration system to mitigate potential fume exposure.

How does PC handle temperature variations?

PC excels in applications subjected to wide temperature ranges, offering superior thermal stability and maintaining its mechanical properties even at elevated temperatures.

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