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|
Heat and impact resistant.
More chemical resistant than PLA.
|Good wear resistance.|
Can be drilled or tapped.
Strong and durable.
Bend without Breaking.
Impact, heat, fatigue, and
Can reinforce with fibers.
|Disadvantages||Prone to warping.|
May shrink when cool.
Emit toxic fumes (Styrene).
Prone to warping.
|Sensitive to Scratches.|
|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.|
|Uses||Cheap, low strength functional parts.|
|All uses including functional moving parts like gears, hinges, clips, pulleys, wearing plates.||Protection screens, eye protection, helmet, bottles.|
|Melting Point||200°C||PA11: 180°C|
|Glass Transition||105°C||PA11: 42°C|
|Ease of Printing||Medium||Medium||Medium|
|Typical Print Speed Range|
|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|
|Build Surface||ABS Slurry.|