Netherlands-based colorFabb introduced an incredibly powerful new 3D printer filament today, based on carbon fiber.
The new material, cryptically named colorFabb XT-CF20, is a co-polyester based on their custom Amphora polymer. Amphora, jointly developed by colorFabb and Eastman Chemicals, is a new polymer specifically designed for use in 3D printers. Now they’re leveraging this substance by adding carbon fiber.
Like other hybrid specialty filaments, the XT-CF20 is a mix of Amphora and in this case, “no less than 20%” carbon fiber material. It prints in the same manner as other 3D printer filaments, yet produces objects with significantly improved engineering performance. Yes, they’re stronger.
colorFabb indicates the new material is “twice as stiff as PLA” yet is not brittle. Like other Amphora-based materials, XT-CF20 is very low odor during printing.
The strength of the new material permits extended uses, particularly for parts experiencing mechanical stress. Here we see an RC car developed with parts printed in XT-CF20. Note the heavy stress components, which might easily break with other materials. Certainly you can break XT-CF20, but it will take more effort to do so as compared to previous colorFabb filaments.
Appearance-wise, XT-CF20 has a flat, matte black finish and is offered only in this color. That’s not really a drawback as the use of this new material is likely for mechanical parts where color is not so important.
Any drawbacks? Only one, according to colorFabb, who say XT-CF20 is somewhat more abrasive than other filaments, and thus may introduce additional wear effects on your hot end. Specifically, they recommend using a stainless steel or hardened copper hot end instead of the more commonly found brass hot ends.
Pricing? Expect a premium price for this material: €50 (USD$57) gets you a spool of 750g. Available now for preorder at their online shop; shipping expected in late February.