Formlabs Launches Glass Filled Nylon 12 for SLS 3D Printing


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Not long ago, Formlabs launched a new ESD Resin specifically for applications that need to keep parts safe from electrostatic discharge (ESD). Now, the double unicorn has announced the latest member of its selective laser sintering (SLS) range of materials—the new high-performance Nylon 12 GF Powder. Good for 3D printing engineering and manufacturing functional prototypes and end-use parts that require thermal stability and structural rigidity, the newly launched material offers excellent stiffness and is the latest meant for use with the Formlabs Fuse 1 industrial SLS 3D printer, which was released last year.

Formlabs’ Nylon 12 GF powder makes it possible to 3D print parts that are thermally stable, and can maintain their dimensional accuracy under load. In the past, glass-filled Nylon materials have been used for a variety of applications, such as 3D printing a scale model, a prosthetic drum stick, a bike rack, loudspeakers, and even a bar! This particular material—one of many Formlabs is planning to introduce for its industrial Fuse 1 3D printer—is said to be a good choice for printing threads and sockets, strong jigs and fixtures, parts subjected to high temperatures and sustained loading, functional prototypes for compsite parts, and replacement parts.

U-shaped duct. This part highlights Nylon 12 GF Powder’s stiffness and compatibility for hot fluid/air flow applications, as well as its dimensional accuracy thanks to the cap that threads perfectly into the part.

“Formlabs’ materials, hardware, and software are developed and validated together to deliver peak performance while optimizing cost per part. As the newest addition to the Nylon material family, Nylon 12 GF Powder builds upon the existing capabilities of the Fuse 1 to provide manufacturers, engineers, and product designers the ability to design, customize, and produce parts that can withstand sustained load and elevated temperatures,” explained Chris Haid, SLS Product Manager at Formlabs.

SLS 3D printed enclosure for micro controller board, which shows a thin, rigid enclosure for electronics.

A lot of companies shy away from using industrial SLS 3D printing, because it has a difficult workflow and can be expensive as well, though there are some lower-cost options out there, including the Formlabs Fuse 1, which features a 70% powder refresh rate and patent-pending Surface Armor technology that shields a part’s surface while offering a reliable, high quality finish.

The Fuse 1 has an easy to understand process, which makes industrial SLS 3D printing more user-friendly, and the printer is more cost accessible as well. But, the real way to increase the number of applications for a printer is to add new materials, like the Nylon 12 GF powder, which was created specifically for parts used in environments that need high stability, functionality, and maintained dimensional accuracy under high temperatures and load.

Electric vehicle plug for restoring or modifying existing cars.

Additional features of Nylon 12 GF powder include:

  • Tensile modulus: 2800 MPa
  • Heat deflection temperature @ 1.8 MPA: 113ºC
  • Refresh rate: 30-50%

NACA submerged air inlet duct design. Frequently used in aerospace and racing applications for its low drag. This thin-walled panel showcases the stiffness of Nylon 12 GF and its ability to create complex geometry for fluid flow applications.

Trim piece for 2012 Ford Fusion. Used to hold the fog lamp within the bumper, this part is stiff and strong despite its thin walls due to the design, as well as the properties of Nylon 12 GF.

Formlabs’ versatile Nylon 12 GF Powder, with its resilience, ductility, durability, and stiffness, helps improve and expand the advantages and capabilities of the Fuse 1 for parts that need thermal and structural stability. After the company’s Nylon 11 and Nylon 12 powders, this material is the third one to be added to the Formlabs SLS 3D printing materials library for the Fuse 1, with more still to come in the future.

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