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 SpecsABSNylon 12, 11 and 6PC
Chemical NameAcrylonitrile Butadiene StyrenePolyamidesPolycarbonate
AdvantagesLow 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.
DisadvantagesProne to warping.
May shrink when cool.
Emit toxic fumes (Styrene).
Hygroscopic.
Prone to warping.
Sensitive to Scratches.
Can expand.
AppearanceOpaque, matte.Opaque, matte/textured/rough.Opaque/ transparent (colored), smooth
Chemical ResistanceSome acids and alcohols, UV, SaltGenerally chemically resistant to oils and fuels, gasoline, mineral spirits, and some alcoholsMineral 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 EmissionToxic styreneToxic, styrene, caprolactam.BPA?
Food SafeNoYes, if certified.Yes, if certified.
Water Absorption0.20%0.8-2.3%0.23%
UsesCheap, low strength functional parts.
Prototyping.
All uses including functional moving parts like gears, hinges, clips, pulleys, wearing plates.Protection screens, eye protection, helmet, bottles.
StrengthMediumHighHigh
Density kg/m3101010201180-1200
Melting Point200°CPA11: 180°C
PA12: 180°C
PA6: 220°C
265°C
Glass Transition105°CPA11: 42°C
PA12: 48.8°C
PA6: 47°C
145°C
FlexibilityMediumHighHigh
DurabilityHighHighHigh
Ease of PrintingMediumMediumMedium
Typical Print Speed Range
(machine dependent)
30-90mm/s30-70mm/s20-30mm/s
Heated Bed50-110 oC50-100 oC80-120 oC
Extruder Temperature210-250 oC220-265 oC270-310 oC
Cooling MethodNot requiredNot requiredNot required
Enclosure RequiredRecommendedRecommendedRecommended
Ventilation RequiredYesYes
Build SurfaceABS Slurry.
Kapton tape.
PEI sheet.
Glue Stick.
PEI sheet.
Glue Stick.
Adhesive.
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