Personally, I love learning about new 3D printing materials. A new material means the potential to 3D print things that couldn’t be printed before, and Markforged has always come through in the never-before-seen materials department. Their inventory includes several super-strong composites such as Kevlar, fiberglass, and carbon fiber, and they’ve just announced a new material that should open the door to 3D printed end-use parts even wider.
Onyx combines nylon and micro-carbon fibers into a filament that is stronger, tougher, and more heat tolerant than other plastic 3D printing materials. It delivers the toughness of a nylon with the added stiffness of a fiber-reinforced plastic, and with a heat deflection point of 145°C (293°F), it holds up under harsh conditions. Moreover, it requires very little or no post-processing; its smooth, matte black finish produces that coveted ‘3D printed parts that don’t look like they’ve been 3D printed’ appearance without any chemical or mechanical finishing required.
3D printed end-use parts are still something of a rarity in industrial manufacturing, which at this point still relies on the technology mainly for prototyping, but thanks to companies like Markforged, parts that can be taken directly from the build plate to the assembly line are becoming more of a reality. Manufacturers have been drooling at the thought of 3D printed end-use parts for a long time, and Onyx already has a lot of companies very excited – companies like Media Blackout, which specializes in cables and connectors for high-end cameras.
Media Blackout is a new convert to 3D printing thanks to Onyx, which is allowing them to deliver stronger, higher-performing parts to their customers with a faster turnaround time – and, of course, at a lower cost. They’ve embraced the technology wholeheartedly and enthusiastically.
“I think we’re going to never look back with this new material… it’s helping us make parts that are direct sale to market,” said Alan Rencher, founder of Media Blackout.
Other fans of Onyx include Dixon Valve Company, a supplier of high-performance fittings to the oil and gas, construction, and agricultural industries, just to name a few. The company is using Onyx for their factory’s robot grippers, enabling heavier parts to be robotically lifted and moved with less wear and, consequently, less maintenance. And, in perhaps the best possible testament to the filament’s toughness, it’s also become a favorite of SawBlaze, a producer of battle robots.
“This material is fantastic…we expect this part to take a lot of abuse, which attests to the confidence we have in this material,” said Jamison Go, SawBlaze team lead.
Onyx can be used on its own or further reinforced with layers of Kevlar, fiberglass or carbon fiber. The material is available with the Mark Two Enterprise Kit, and Markforged does caution not to use it with other Markforged printers, which run the risk of damage. According to the company, parts printed with Onyx are up to 30% stronger and stiffer than similar parts made on other 3D printers, and if you’d care to see for yourself, you can request a free sample part here.
If you’re interested in learning more, Markforged is also offering a webinar on July 14 from 11 AM – 12 PM EDT. The company will further discuss the previously-unprintable parts and geometries that can be built with Onyx, will go into more detail about its material properties, and expand upon its potential applications in a number of industries. You can register for the webinar here. Discuss further in the Markforged New Onyx 3D Printing Filament forum over at 3DPB.com.