3D Printing Material – Nylon Specifications and Uses

For functional parts where strength and durability is required, Nylon is a better choice than ABS, PLA and PETG. It ideal for lightweight heavy-duty items like cog wheels or car parts.

This material extrudes at temperatures between 220-265 oC, which is quite similar to ABS, and is chemically resistant to oils and fuels, gasoline, mineral spirits, and some alcohols.

IIt is also prone to warping like ABS, which can be reduced or prevented by using heated bed and enclosures to slow down the heat loss during printing. Another disadvantage specific to nylon is the hygroscopic nature due to a higher water absorption rate than other material. However, some forumers commented that the water absorption helps to make it less stiff and more impact resistant, which could be a good thing.

Nylon filaments are typicall white or black in color, and the surface of nylon print are normally rougher than PLA.

Below is a summary of the three commonly used plastic material for functional parts and prototype for comparison.

Tech Specs ABS Nylon 12, 11 and 6 PC
Chemical Name Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene Polyamides Polycarbonate
Advantages Low cost.
Heat and impact resistant.
More chemical resistant than PLA.
Good wear resistance.
Can be drilled or tapped.
Lightweight.
Strong and durable.
Resist breaking.
Not brittle.
Rigid.
Bend without Breaking.
Impact, heat, fatigue, and
wear resistant.
Can reinforce with fibers.
Disadvantages Prone to warping.
May shrink when cool.
Emit toxic fumes (Styrene).
Hygroscopic.
Prone to warping.
Sensitive to Scratches.
Can expand.
Appearance Opaque, matte. Opaque, matte/textured/rough. Opaque/ transparent (colored), smooth
Chemical Resistance Some acids and alcohols, UV, Salt Generally chemically resistant to oils and fuels, gasoline, mineral spirits, and some alcohols Mineral acids, many organic acids, oxidizing and reducing agents, neutral and acid salt solutions, many greases, waxes and oils, saturated, aliphatic and cycloaliphatic hydrocarbons and alcohols, with the exception of methyl alcohol.
Fumes Emission Toxic styrene Toxic, styrene, caprolactam. BPA?
Food Safe No Yes, if certified. Yes, if certified.
Water Absorption 0.20% 0.8-2.3% 0.23%
Uses Cheap, low strength functional parts.
Prototyping.
All uses including functional moving parts like gears, hinges, clips, pulleys, wearing plates. Protection screens, eye protection, helmet, bottles.
Strength Medium High High
Density kg/m3 1010 1020 1180-1200
Melting Point 200°C PA11: 180°C
PA12: 180°C
PA6: 220°C
265°C
Glass Transition 105°C PA11: 42°C
PA12: 48.8°C
PA6: 47°C
145°C
Flexibility Medium High High
Durability High High High
Ease of Printing Medium Medium Medium
Typical Print Speed Range
(machine dependent)
30-90mm/s 30-70mm/s 20-30mm/s
Heated Bed 50-110 oC 50-100 oC 80-120 oC
Extruder Temperature 210-250 oC 220-265 oC 270-310 oC
Cooling Method Not required Not required Not required
Enclosure Required Recommended Recommended Recommended
Ventilation Required Yes Yes
Build Surface ABS Slurry.
Kapton tape.
PEI sheet.
Glue Stick.
PEI sheet.
Glue Stick.
Adhesive.
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