Exploring Nylon in 3D Printing: Strength and Flexibility Combined

Are you curious about the potential of nylon in 3D printing? Discover the power of strength and flexibility combined in this article. We will explore how nylon filament creates functional and durable objects, from prototyping to various industries like aerospace, automotive, and medical. Delve into the advantages of nylon printing, the right technologies to use, and tips for successful printing. Whether you’re an industrial designer or engineer, this article provides valuable insights and industry trends. Dive into the world of nylon in 3D printing now.

Advantages of Nylon 3D Printing

One advantage of nylon 3D printing is that it offers a wide range of benefits for industrial designers and engineers. Nylon is an ideal material for 3D printing functional parts such as prototypes, gears, and tools. It can also be reinforced with carbon-fiber or glass-fiber to create lightweight parts with excellent mechanical properties. The rigidity to flexibility ratio of nylon makes it suitable for producing components like living hinges, which require a balance between strength and flexibility.

In terms of techniques, nylon can be printed using powder-bed technologies like Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and Multi Jet Fusion (MJF). These technologies allow for the creation of moving and interlocking parts, making them suitable for complex designs. However, nylon can also be used with Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) printers, although it requires higher printing temperatures and may have warping issues.

While nylon 3D printing offers many advantages, there are also challenges to consider. For example, proper storage and drying of nylon filaments are crucial to prevent moisture absorption. Additionally, specific printer settings and bed adhesion techniques may be required to prevent warping during the printing process.

Looking ahead, future developments in nylon 3D printing are expected to focus on improving the quality and performance of nylon filaments, as well as expanding the range of available composites. Advancements in printer technologies, such as HP’s Open Platform for MJF, will also contribute to the growth of nylon 3D printing in various industries.

Choosing the Right Technology for Nylon 3D Printing

To choose the right technology for nylon 3D printing, you need to consider the specific requirements and capabilities of each printing method. Two popular options for nylon 3D printing are selective laser sintering (SLS) and fused deposition modeling (FDM). SLS offers several advantages, such as the ability to produce complex, moving parts and the option to reinforce nylon with carbon-fiber or glass-fiber for enhanced mechanical properties.

On the other hand, FDM printing with nylon can present challenges due to the higher printing temperatures required and the potential for warping issues. However, with proper precautions like storing nylon filaments in dry, airtight containers to prevent moisture absorption and preheating the printing platform to prevent warping, these challenges can be overcome.

Comparing SLS with other powder bed technologies, SLS stands out for its versatility and capability to create moving and interlocking parts. The impact of nylon 3D printing on the manufacturing industry is significant, as it enables the production of prototypes, functional parts, and even flight-grade components for aerospace applications. By choosing the right technology for nylon 3D printing, manufacturers can unlock the full potential of this versatile material and revolutionize their production processes.

To help you make an informed decision, here is a table comparing the advantages of SLS printing and the challenges of FDM printing with nylon:

SLS Printing Advantages FDM Printing Challenges with Nylon
Ability to produce complex, moving parts Higher printing temperatures required
Option to reinforce nylon with carbon-fiber or glass-fiber Potential warping issues
Versatility and capability to create interlocking parts
Suitable for producing functional prototypes and end-use parts
Excellent mechanical properties with reinforced composites


Tips for Successful Nylon 3D Printing

Achieving successful nylon 3D printing requires following these essential tips to optimize your printing process and ensure the best results. To prevent warping, it is important to use a heated bed and apply a glue stick for bed adhesion. Set the bed temperature to 75C and create a cross-hatch glue pattern for glass plates. When printing on garolite, use a build plate and sand the surface to improve adhesion. Drying nylon filament is crucial because it readily absorbs moisture. Use a PrintDry system or oven drying to remove moisture, and store dried filament in an airtight container with desiccant.

For hotend and bed surface recommendations, consider upgrading to a hotend capable of reaching at least 250C, such as the E3D V6 all-metal hotend. Use Garolite sheets or glass plates as the bed surface, and apply PVA glue stick for enhanced bed adhesion. Other considerations include the flexibility and high inter-layer adhesion of nylon, its low friction coefficient, and high melting temperature. Nylon is ideal for functional parts, tools, and high-wear objects.

Recommended settings include an extruder temperature of 240C-260C, bed temperature of 55-65C for Garolite and 70-80C for glass, and a printing speed of 30-60 mm/s with layer heights of 0.2mm-0.4mm. Recommended printers for nylon 3D printing include Ultimaker S5, LulzBot TAZ 6, Pulse XE, Raise3D Pro2, BCN3D Sigma R19, and MAKEiT PRO-M.

Applications of Nylon 3D Printing

If you are looking to explore the applications of nylon 3D printing, you’ll be pleased to discover its versatility and suitability for a wide range of industries. Nylon 3D printing is being adopted by emerging industries, such as customizable eyewear, medical end-use parts, and flight-grade components. In the consumer goods industry, nylon is used for phone cases, customizable eyewear, and even 3D-printed mascara brushes. The aerospace and automotive industries also utilize nylon for tooling, jigs, fixtures, and prototypes. Medical sector applications include prototyping, educational anatomical models, and the production of medical end-use parts.

Nylon 3D printing enables the consistent production of flight-grade components for aircraft, where strength and durability are crucial. This technology provides the necessary mechanical properties to meet the demanding requirements of the aerospace industry. Additionally, nylon filaments for FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) 3D printing are constantly improving, allowing for a wider range of applications in various industries.

Summary and Industry Trends

One key trend in the nylon 3D printing industry is the constant improvement of nylon filaments for FDM technology. Manufacturers are continuously working on enhancing the properties of nylon materials to meet the growing demands of the market. The industry is witnessing significant growth in the nylon market, driven by the increasing adoption of 3D printing technology in various sectors.

Here are some industry trends related to nylon 3D printing:

– Nylon market growth: The nylon market is experiencing rapid expansion, fueled by the demand for strong and flexible materials in industries such as aerospace, automotive, medical, and consumer goods.

– Emerging nylon 3D printing technologies: Alongside traditional powder-bed technologies like SLS and Multi Jet Fusion, new 3D printing technologies specifically designed for nylon, such as HP’s MJF, are emerging in the market.

– Challenges in nylon 3D printing: Despite its advantages, nylon 3D printing presents some challenges, including higher printing temperatures for FDM, warping issues, and the need for proper filament drying and storage.

– Future applications of nylon 3D printing: As nylon materials continue to advance, their potential applications are expanding. From functional prototypes and end-use parts to tooling, jigs, fixtures, and even customizable consumer goods, the future of nylon 3D printing holds great promise.

These industry trends highlight the ongoing advancements in nylon materials and the increasing adoption of nylon 3D printing across different sectors. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect further improvements in the quality, performance, and versatility of nylon for 3D printing applications.

Nylon Properties and Advantages for 3D Printing

Now let’s delve into the properties and advantages of nylon for 3D printing, building upon the previous discussion of industry trends. Nylon filament has several key properties that make it a popular choice for 3D printing. First, nylon offers a unique combination of flexibility and strength, making it suitable for producing functional parts such as gears and tools. Its high strength allows for the production of durable components that can withstand rigorous use. Additionally, nylon filament exhibits outstanding dimensional stability during the print process, ensuring accurate and precise prints.

Furthermore, nylon filament has excellent abrasion resistance, making it ideal for applications that require high wear resistance. Its low friction coefficient allows for smooth movement between parts, reducing the risk of jamming or friction-related issues. Another advantage of nylon filament is its ability to provide a finish akin to smooth sandpaper, reducing the need for extensive post-processing.

Nylon Applications and Comparison With Other Filaments

When exploring nylon applications in 3D printing and comparing it with other filaments, consider its unique properties and advantages. Nylon is one of the most popular filaments for 3D printing, alongside ABS and PLA. Here is a comparison of nylon with other commonly used filaments:

– Nylon vs PLA: Nylon is stronger and more flexible than PLA. It is suitable for industrial and engineering applications where strength is crucial.

– Nylon vs PETG: Nylon is more abrasion-resistant and offers better dimensional stability than PETG. It is a preferred choice for applications that require durability and toughness.

– Nylon vs TPU: TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) is known for its flexibility and elasticity. While nylon is also flexible, it offers higher strength and toughness compared to TPU.

– Nylon vs ABS: ABS is stiffer than nylon, but nylon is stronger. Nylon can be reinforced to create super-stiff 3D printed parts. ABS is commonly used for its ease of use and affordability.

– Nylon vs PEEK: PEEK is a high-performance thermoplastic known for its exceptional mechanical properties and chemical resistance. Nylon offers a more cost-effective alternative to PEEK, while still providing good strength and rigidity.

Supported Desktop 3D Printers for Nylon

To print with nylon, you will need a desktop 3D printer that supports this material. Two popular options are the Ultimaker 2+ and the Markforged Mark Two. These printers have the necessary features to handle nylon filament, such as an extruder temperature range exceeding 240°C and an all-metal hot end.

Here is a comparison table of the Ultimaker 2+ and the Markforged Mark Two:


Printer Ultimaker 2+ Markforged Mark Two
Extruder Temperature Up to 260°C Up to 280°C
Hot End All-metal Hot End All-metal Hot End
Bed Surface Glass Plates or Garolite Sheets Glass Plates or Garolite Sheets
Filament Compatibility Ultimaker Nylon filament Onyx filament (nylon and chopped carbon fiber hybrid)


The Ultimaker 2+ is known for its reliability and ease of use, making it a popular choice among enthusiasts. It offers a wide range of filament compatibility and is compatible with Ultimaker nylon filament specifically. On the other hand, the Markforged Mark Two is known for its high-performance capabilities, including the ability to print with Onyx filament, a nylon and chopped carbon fiber hybrid.

Both printers are capable of handling nylon filament and provide a solid foundation for successful nylon 3D printing. Consider your specific requirements and budget when choosing between them.


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