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Strongest 3D printing materials: What are the most robust options?

Introduction

There are so many 3D printing materials to choose from that it might be overwhelming. Which one would be best for your production? It might be a hard call to make. To help you we’ve written about available materials, their properties, and possible applications. Recently we had a look over flexible 3D printing materials, today we will focus on the strongest ones.

3D printing doesn’t finish at FDM technology. However, with FDM you can build fairly good prototypes, real Additive Manufacturing allows you to fabricate fully functional, end products. Thanks to Additive Manufacturing your parts can be strong, and produce less material waste which also leads to lower manufacturing costs.

We will go over different 3D printing technologies such as SLS and Jet Fusion for plastic, PolyJet for resin application and we will also cover metal 3D printing. There are a lot of options but, we will try to share with you our 3D printing experts’ knowledge to help you pick one. Now, which material and technology should you choose for strong and robust parts?

A Selection of Robust Polymers

SLS is a 3D printing technology that produces your parts layer by layer with fine polymer powder. Once a layer of powder is spread on the bed, a laser beam sinters it in the shape of your part at 160°C to 200°C. Selective Laser Sintering technology is perfect for low-volume production, robust prototypes, and simulation. It allows for intricate geometries and lattice structures. It is a very robust 3D printing material.

Many options with Nylon

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Nylon has the biggest variety of properties. At Sculpteo we offer Nylon PA12 and Nylon 3200 Glass-filledNylon PA12. Your parts will come out strong, but if your model has a small wall thickness, it will be flexible at the same time. The melting point for Nylon PA12 is a minimum of 170°C and a maximum of 180°C . With SLS technology you can really experiment with your design.

Last, but not least, Nylon 3200 Glass Filled is the strongest out of the 3 Nylon materials. However, it presents very little flexibility. It has a bit more sleek surface and additional polishing can be added. Nylon 3200 Glass Filled can withstand temperatures up to 176°C.

 

Ultrasint® PP nat 01

polypropylene

High-performance 3D printing materials are offering advanced properties. Our Ultrasint® PP nat 01 is a high-performance material that can be used in the automotive industry. This 3D printing material has really high rigidity and toughness.

It has excellent chemical resistance and is perfect for industrial goods. This material is particularly well suited for technical applications. Manufacturing strong and lightweight parts is important for various sectors, such as the automotive and consumer goods fields.

For example, Polypropylene can be used to 3D print airflow or fluid systems for the automotive sector. PP 3D printing material is perfect for industrial uses, from pipes to machinery.

 

Multi Jet Fusion PP

Multi Jet Fusion PP is an industrial-grade polypropylene, combining high rigidity, high elongation at break, and high resistance to chemicals. It is a particularly interesting material for demanding industries. Polypropylene is already widely used for industrial manufacturing, due to the excellent mechanical properties of the material. 

The opportunity to use this material for additive manufacturing is now opening new possibilities and could accelerate the shift of many companies to digital manufacturing. This material is perfect for automotive uses, as it is allowing to manufacture strong and lightweight parts. Two extremely important criteria for various sectors, such as this one.

3D printing Polypropylene is a good solution to manufacture airflow, dashboard parts, fluid systems, but this material can also be used for industrial uses and to create machinery parts. 

 

Ultrasint® PA6 MF

pa6 mf

Do you need a strong and heat resistant material? Ultrasint® PA6 MF (Mineral Filled) might be the perfect material for you. Our PA6 MF is built on the chemical base of reinforced PA6; this 3D printing material combines high rigidity, media tightness, and enhanced thermal distortion performance. This plastic material is the perfect choice for any advanced technical applications where properties of mechanically reinforced thermoplastics are required.

With a 3300 MPa Tensile Modulus this material is quite resistant and perfect to create engine parts, and other components for the transportation sector. PA6 is strong enough to hold the whole engine assembly and handle all heat, vibration, and static loads. 

The Heat Deflection Temperature of this material is of 207°, making it particularly interesting for projects where heat resistance is needed.

Jet Fusion by HP

Jet Fusion is an Additive Manufacturing technology developed by HP. It produces the parts by a fusing agent being applied on each layer. Jet Fusion PA12 material really stands out as a 3D printing plastic. It is stronger than Nylon, provides you with some level of flexibility and at the same time, it is resistant to chemicals, especially hydrocarbons, aldehydes ketones, mineral bases, and salts, as well as alcohols, fuels, detergents, oils, and fats. Those are some pretty impressive qualities of our Jet Fusion PA12.

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This material is also scratch and abrasion-resistant. On top of that Jet Fusion PA12 is light and UV stabilized and can be used for outdoor projects, and it’s biocompatible. It also has higher precision than Nylon. Jet Fusion PA12 comes in two colors, black, and grey. There are also two finishes available.

Metal 3D Printing

Now we will talk about Additive technologies with the application of metal materials. Selective Laser Melting (SLM) and Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) are 3D printing technologies that use metal powder to produce your parts. A layer of metal powder is spread and then fused locally in a full melting process. At Sculpteo we use Aluminium AlSi7Mg0,6 which is composed mostly of 90% aluminum, 7% silicone, and 0.6% magnesium. This material can be subjected to high voltage, it is durable and lightweight at the same time, which might be crucial for your project.

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The composition of our Stainless Steel 316L is iron 66-70%, chrome 16-18%, nickel 11-14%, and molybdenum 2-3%. This material presents high resistance against corrosion as well as a fine surface look and of course is strong. Those properties make Stainless Steel 316L a great candidate for applications in medical, automotive, and aerospace industries.

The second option for DMLS technology is Titanium 6AI-4V composed of Titanium 88-90%, Aluminium 5.5-6.5%, and Vanadium 3.5-4.5%. This 3D printing material stands out for its low toxicity, high resistance to oxidation, and acid as well as its extremely high melting point (1660° C or 3260° F). Not only that, but it also produces very precise parts.

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