Why Nylon 12CF is the best alternative to metal

One will naturally think of using aluminum or an alternative metal alloy when it comes to industrial tooling designing. The main reason being their mechanical properties are usually well above the needed requirements of any applications. Thermoplastics do have the required strength and properties to work the same way as metals in most cases, but lack the necessary rigidity to perform the task.

This is where composite materials come into play, in particular, FDM Nylon 12CF material from Stratasys. By reinforcing the base polymer, the mechanical properties are drastically changed to the point that it becomes a reality for it to replace metal for varied tooling purposes.

By adding chopped carbon fiber to Stratasys’ proven Nylon 12 blend, 35% by weight, it results in a material with the highest stiffness-to-weight ratio of any FDM material currently produced. The tensile strength is also on par with other high-performance FDM materials.

With the unique directional orientation of carbon fibers, the anisotropic properties of the material can be tailored similar to a composite laminate. Parts produced with Nylon 12CF thus possess higher uniaxial stiffness than injection molded parts utilizing the same material.

One use case was a metal lathe gear which after 20 years of operation, broke down because of wear and tear. Instead of going down the usual route of ordering a replacement from the machine’s manufacturer, the gear was 3D printed using Nylon 12CF in 3 1/2 hours and was wear-resistant capable of operating the different loads the lathe experiences.

Other applications that are possible with Nylon 12CF include:

  • Robotic end effectors (end-of-arm-tooling)
  • Metal forming
  • Jigs/Fixtures
  • Drill guides
  • Bracketry

Available for the Fortus 380 CF, Fortus 450mc, and Fortus 900 FDM 3D Printers, contact us if you need more information about Nylon 12CF, drop us an email at info@creatz3d.com or call us at +65 6631 8555.