Innovate Easier with 3D Printed Nylon PA-12

Innovate Easier with 3D Printed Nylon PA-12

Endeavor 3D’s additive manufacturing solution, powered by HP Multi Jet Fusion and high performance Nylon PA-12, enables engineers to develop new parts that are more capable, lighter, easier to assemble and less costly than those made with other technologies.

This article is the second in a three part series about the use and benefits of plastics with 3D printing. Read the first article HERE

Nylon PA-12 is a workhorse

Many different polymer materials are used with 3D printing, but nylon PA-12 is a popular choice for many applications. It’s a versatile material and offers a number of unique advantages. When high toughness, impact resistance and flexibility are required, it is ideal. It is also a good selection for applications where abrasion and fatigue are concerned. PA-12 is also chemically resistant and biocompatible, expanding its utility even further.

PA-12 for HP Multi Jet Fusion

HP 3D PA-12 is a high-performance nylon powder, developed specifically for use in HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printers like ours. It offers exceptional strength, toughness and durability, excellent surface finish and dimensional accuracy, good thermal and chemical resistance, and biocompatibility. It’s also highly recyclable.

HP MJF and the experts from Endeavor 3D

How does it compare to mass produced PA-12?

Traditional plastic manufacturing technologies like injection molding make frequent use of PA-12. Like that material, HP’s PA-12 for 3D printing is a high performance nylon. While similar, there are key differences between the materials and their related manufacturing processes. PA-12 for injection molding is pelletized, melted and injected into a mold. HP’s MJF technology uses a specialized PA-12 powder, fusing agents, and energy to “grow” parts, layer by layer. This enables newfound design freedom.

Can PA-12 replace metals and other materials?

HP’s nylon based material for 3D printing is tough, strong, flexible and chemically resistant, allowing it to be used for a wide variety of applications. Companies can utilize reverse engineering and Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) to build more elegant parts, while simultaneously simplifying assembly. Converting metal parts to PA-12 also reduces weight and cost.

Replacing and developing new metal manufacturing aids can be time consuming and expensive. With its strength, durability, and low cost, 3D printed PA-12 is advantageous for some types of tooling and other components like brackets and tabs. When combined with design freedom and MJF’s accuracy and fine detail, it can be ideal for making lightweight, high performance jigs and fixtures.

Why choose PA-12 over another 3D printing material?

Beyond mass production, HP’s PA-12 can replace many other materials. Fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printing technologies that operate with filament-based polymers, such as ABS or PLA, are inferior and do not offer the same quality or performance compared to nylon powder-based systems.  Stereolithography and related technologies fuse liquid resin with an energy source. While this enables good quality, there are significant challenges, including warping, shrinkage and discoloration with ongoing UV exposure.

Why choose HP PA-12 over SLS nylon?

While selective laser sintering (SLS) and Multi Jet Fusion both build parts in a powder bed, there are many critical differences in both the technologies and materials. As the name implies, SLS uses a laser to melt and shape each part layer. MJF uses a unique approach with a combination of an energy source and liquid agents that harden and smoothen parts, layer-by-layer.

HP PA-12 is also unique, and delivers better performance than typical SLS nylon powder. It retains its mechanical properties and aesthetics better in extensive outdoor testing:

PA-12 test results after 1,000 hours of outdoor exposure – per HP

The performance gap between HP PA-12 and SLS nylon increases over time. HP’s material exhibits stable ductility and strength while SLS materials show significant degradation:

Elongation at break, over time – per HP

As a result, parts printed with HP PA-12 are much more likely to maintain their function and appearance over time.

 Stay tuned…

In our next article we’ll be talking more about MJF and the specific advantages of HP’s unique Nylon PA-12 material.

Wait…there was a first article?

Yes! The first article was about how plastics in general are driving growth in the 3D printing industry. READ IT HERE

Want to chat?

Interested in learning more about plastic 3D printing, and how it can help you make more capable, lighter, easier to assemble, and less costly parts. We’re here for you! CONTACT US today.

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