3D Systems announced the availability of nylon material cartridges for use in their CubePro line of professional desktop 3D printers.
Previously, the machine was limited to conventional plastics, such as ABS and PLA, although the company recently announced a rinse-away dissolvable support material.
The new material is quite powerful: nylon is typically a high-end 3D print material used in industrial machines, although it has made some appearances in other desktop 3D printers. It’s highly desirable because it is a very strong material that also flexes significantly. Very durable items can be made from it.
Now you can do so on your CubePro 3D printer.
Nylon has been shown to be tricky to print, having a number of challenges, but these seem to have been overcome in the CubePro. Nylon can warp when printed, but the CubePro’s enclosed and heated print chamber can minimize that effect. It also requires a slightly higher temperature to extrude through a metal hot end, both of which the CubePro can handle.
One big challenge with Nylon is its ability to absorb water. It’s almost like a solid sponge, so it must be kept very dry – or even explicitly dried before printing to avoid “pops” as absorbed water boils in the hot end during printing. 3D Systems solves this problem differently:
Competitive nylon filament needs to either be dried prior to printing or the print needs to be dried post-printing to keep the nylon from absorbing moisture. 3DS nylon filament is protected from moisture intake while inside the sealed cartridge and is cured during the print process to eliminate the need for post-processing drying techniques.
So it should be easier to print Nylon on the CubePro than other machines. It is also compatible with their dissolvable support material, Infinity, as shown here. You’ll be able to print all kinds of durable and functional parts.
However, the cost of doing so will not be cheap. 3D Systems sells ~600g cartridges of Nylon for the CubePro on their Cubify site at a cost of USD$149 each, but remember – this is a high performance material. It comes in natural, white or black colors.