Carbon fiber reinforced filaments: the power behind industrial 3D printing revolution

Carbon fiber reinforced filaments: the power behind industrial 3D printing revolution

Incorporating carbon fiber (CF) into filaments results in remarkable improvements in strength and stiffness. The increased strength and stiffness resulting from the addition of CF contribute to an improved strength-to-weight ratio. This performance translates into the creation of components that are not only lighter but also more resilient, all while speeding up the printing process.

Read on below to discover how carbon fiber integration can benefit your manufacturing operation and why the RAPID ONE is a suitable printer for this particular material.

Understanding carbon fiber filaments

Carbon fiber-reinforced plastics (CFRP) amalgamate the commendable traits and performance characteristics of carbon fiber with the host polymer substance they fortify. By integrating carbon fiber content, the printability and user-friendliness of conventional thermoplastics like PLA, ABS, or PET acquire heightened performance attributes.

carbon fiber filmament

Chopped fibers, predominantly employed in both industrial manufacturing and 3D printing, serve as the crux. These carbon fibers are introduced either as a “filler” within thermoplastic materials for injection molding or as dedicated carbon fiber filaments tailored for 3D printers. Their processing closely resembles that of any other thermoplastic substance, albeit with additional prerequisites that will be elaborated upon subsequently.

In the realm of FFF (extrusion-based) 3D printing, chopped carbon fibers take center stage. These diminutive fibers are seamlessly blended into a standard thermoplastic matrix to serve as a reinforcing element.

The significance of carbon fiber 3D printing

Within industrial settings, specific mechanical attributes and meticulous precision often take precedence. In this context, the convergence of robust material capabilities and the myriad benefits of additive manufacturing propels carbon fiber 3D printing to the forefront. This innovative approach bestows exceptional dimensional stability upon sturdy components, accentuated by a refined surface finish and elevated heat deflection temperature. These qualities render it an optimal choice for functional, high-performance applications.

As 3D printing continues its trajectory toward broader end-use production, the demand for manufacturing both components and tooling using carbon fiber filaments is on the rise.

From molds and jigs to fixtures, tooling, high-performance race cars, specialized aerospace equipment, and professional cycling gear, the utilization of carbon fiber 3D printer filament empowers the creation of components with remarkable strength. Naturally, as a relatively novel offering in the manufacturing landscape, carbon fiber 3D printing boasts numerous advantages. However, familiarizing yourself with the specific printing requisites is prudent before embarking on your journey.

Applications of CF Filaments

Carbon Fiber 3D printing finds its most promising applications within manufacturing environments, largely attributable to its impressive strength-to-weight ratio and inherent rigidity. Principally, these materials are leveraged for the production of molds, jigs, fixtures, and tooling.

Composite and thermoforming molds

In the industrial realm, the synergy between advanced 3D printing and traditional manufacturing techniques is strikingly evident in the domain of 3D printed molds. These molds amalgamate the swiftness and intricacies of 3D printing with the scalability inherent in mold-based manufacturing. Within the realms of composite molds and thermoforming molds, the performance attributes of CF materials manifest naturally.

Composite molds are pivotal for economically producing large quantities of identical components. Aptly named, they consist of composite materials that can be intricately shaped and endure repetitive utilization, all at a considerably lower cost compared to aluminum or steel molds.

Thermoforming molds employ heat and pressure to mold a flat thermoplastic sheet into a desired form, using various heating methods. Given the requirement for enduring high-temperature cycles, CF materials present an optimal choice for delivering the specific performance capabilities essential for thermoforming molds.

Jigs, fixtures and tooling

Jigs, fixtures, and tooling are often deemed supplementary to manufacturing processes, yet they hold intrinsic significance. These aids facilitate tasks such as milling, drilling, and subtractive operations. Playing a crucial role in holding components securely during various manufacturing stages, they are increasingly being 3D printed on-site. Customizability to specific requirements and the capacity for on-demand reproduction without external reliance or replenishment underscore their prominence.

When fortified with materials like CF filaments, 3D printed jigs, fixtures, and tooling exhibit prolonged durability and heightened performance. This is particularly advantageous in terms of enduring repetitive use and maintaining overall effectiveness.

Automotive and aerospace sectors

The design flexibility afforded by carbon fiber facilitates the realization of intricate geometries that conventional methods might deem cost-prohibitive. This liberty in design expedites iterative processes and, owing to augmented stiffness and thermal stability, enables the creation of more functional prototypes. Enhanced aesthetics, encompassing intricate curvature achieved through 3D printing and improved surface quality via CF filaments, fosters innovation across automotive, aerospace, and related industries.

Advantages of carbon fiber 3D printing

Undoubtedly, one of the most widely acclaimed attributes of carbon fiber 3D printer filament is its exceptional strength, which lies at the core of its performance and allure as a 3D printing medium. Carbon fiber presents a remarkable strength-to-weight ratio, fostering high-performance outcomes while maintaining minimal material density.

Through mitigating the inclination towards part shrinkage, the elevated strength and rigidity of carbon fiber substantiate its exceptional dimensional stability during utilization. This stability stands as a vital attribute for components demanding meticulous dimensions and stringent tolerances.

In tandem with its robustness, the lightweight nature of a carbon fiber 3D printer filament is of paramount significance. The inherent lightness is a central advantage in the realm of 3D printing as a whole. The incorporation of carbon fiber materials into the equation facilitates this reduction in weight without compromising the strength that meets performance standards.

When contrasted with conventional 3D printing materials such as PLA, ABS, and PETG, carbon fiber filaments exhibit notable resilience against elevated temperatures. Carbon fiber composite materials elevate the base material’s heat deflection temperature, thereby augmenting its operational efficacy under high-temperature conditions.

CF filaments effectively minimize the visibility of layer lines, resulting in superior surface quality and tactile feedback. This diminishes the necessity for subsequent post-processing tasks like sanding.

Carbon fiber parts crafted through 3D printing exhibit exceptional form retention even when subjected to significant stress. Unlike alternative materials that compromise durability and strength in pursuit of stiffness, carbon fiber’s rigidity guarantees unwavering structural integrity.

RAPID ONE: the ultimate ally for carbon fiber reinforced filaments

The rapid one 3d printer is excels at printing carbon fiber reinforced filaments. Here are some features of the rapid one that allow it to print these challenging materials with ease:

Integrated filament dryer

A crucial feature that sets the RAPID ONE apart is the integrated filament dryer. This keeps the filament in optimal state for printing at all times, without humidity that can affect the performance and finish of the final product. This contributes to consistent and high-quality results.

Closed print booth

The RAPID ONE features a closed print booth, resulting in a controlled and elevated temperature during the printing process. This minimizes problems such as warping and delamination, which is crucial when printing complex parts with carbon fiber reinforced filaments.

Tungsten nozzle

The ability to install a tungsten nozzle eliminates nozzle wear concerns with abrasive fiber-reinforced materials. The RAPID ONE is prepared for the challenges of these materials and ensures long-term durability and reliability.

Unleash the future of 3D printing

Carbon fiber-reinforced filaments represent a revolution within the 3D printing industry, and the RAPID ONE is the appropriate printer to go along with this revolution. With advanced features such as integrated filament dryer, the ability to install a tungsten nozzle and an enclosed print booth, the RAPID ONE enables users to achieve superior results with ease with these challenging materials.

Whether you are a professional looking to produce high-quality parts or a hobbyist looking to push your creative boundaries, the combination of carbon fiber reinforced filaments and the RAPID ONE 3D printer opens the door to unprecedented possibilities. Discover the power of this technology and take your 3D printing projects to a whole new level.

5 advantages of large print volumes within industrial 3D printing

5 advantages of large print volumes within industrial 3D printing

In the exciting world of industrial 3D printing, the technology has made significant advances and the possibilities have grown exponentially in roughly 10 years. One of the key developments that is attracting attention is the emergence of large print volumes in industrial 3D printers. This innovation has the potential to dramatically change the way we produce and manufacture. In this article, we take a closer look at 5 benefits of large print volumes in industrial 3D printing.

1. Increase in scale and efficiency

One of the most obvious advantages of large print volumes is the ability to print larger objects at one time. This offers significant advantages for industrial manufacturing, where efficiently producing large numbers of parts is crucial. With a larger print volume, manufacturers can produce larger components or multiple smaller parts simultaneously, shortening the production cycle and increasing overall efficiency.

2. Complex designs and prototyping

Large print volumes in industrial 3D printers open the door to creating complex and detailed designs that were previously impossible to achieve. This is especially valuable for prototyping, where engineers and designers can experiment with innovative designs without worrying about print volume limitations. This results in faster iterations and shorter time-to-market for new products.

3. Less assembly and material waste

Large print volumes allow manufacturers to print larger parts that might otherwise consist of multiple smaller parts. This leads to a reduction in assembly time because fewer parts need to be assembled manually. It also minimizes the need for intermediate joints or fasteners, resulting in a stronger end product. This ultimately provides a reduction in material and lowers labor costs.

4. Cost savings at scale

Although the initial investment in an industrial 3D printer with a large print volume can be significant, it can lead to significant cost savings in the long run. The ability to print larger parts or multiple parts simultaneously reduces the need for expensive mold manufacturing or CNC machining. This allows companies to streamline their manufacturing processes and save costs on both labor and materials.

5. Diversification of applications

Another advantage of large print volumes is the ability to address a wider range of applications. From large-scale prototyping and industrial components to custom production and even art and architecture. The possibilities are endless. This diversification allows companies to tap new markets and adapt to changing customer needs.

dddrop Rapid One’s scalable frame

The emergence of large print volumes in industrial 3D printing opens new doors for efficiency, complex designs, cost savings and diversification of applications. This technological development has the potential to transform the manufacturing industry and drive innovation on multiple levels.

The dddrop Rapid One is the first industrial 3D printer with a scalable print volume. Are you looking for a printer for large prints, a large batch of parts or complex prints? Request a free quote or contact us for more information!

How do I prevent my 3D print from warping?

How do I prevent my 3D print from warping?

How do I prevent my 3D print from warping?

 

 

From time to time our help desk is confronted with the question of how to prevent 3d prints from warping. Especially with ABS filament, but also with less common materials like nylon, the material tends to warp during printing. This leads to broken 3d prints and sometimes even to a ‘hard hit’: the printer head bumps against the curled up material. Read here why 3d prints warp and how to prevent it!

Why does a 3D print warp?

A print deforms because the material shrinks as it cools. How much the product shrinks depends on the shrinkage factor of the material. Because the print bed is nice and warm, the material will shrink the least at the bottom. The higher up the product goes, the more it shrinks. This difference causes tension in the material and ultimately a warped model. Warping can occur in the product in two ways. First, there is de-lamination. This is when two layers in the model split and a crack appears. This is usually caused by the layers not sticking together properly. If you use the right settings, de-lamination should not occur. The second variation is warping at the bottom of the product. This is a more persistent problem, but fortunately there are a few methods to prevent it.

 

Place a raft

When you use a raft, a few layers with little infill will be placed under your product. This causes less differences in shrinkage and less tension at the bottom of the product. And when warping does occur, this mostly effects the raft instead of your product. Therefore, it’s important that the raft is bigger than your product, to make sure that it will not cause problems when the corners curl up.

Regulate the temperature

Temperature control is very important in preventing warping. Choose a printer where the product will cool as gradually as possible. A conditioned, sealed enclosure is essential. That way you have control over the temperature inside the printer to minimize the difference in shrinkage. Our Rapid One has an enclosed print booth with fans in the back wall and optional HEPA filters. Perfect for maintaining the perfect temperature and preventing warping.

Gluing your 3D print to the print bed

In warping, two forces face each other: the tensile force of the shrinking top layers versus the tensile force of the print bed. Simply put, if the bottom is firmly glued to the print bed, it will not warp easily. There are a few tools you can use to secure the model to the bed. One common method is to use a slurry that acts like an adhesive. You can make this slurry yourself with acetone and ABS, but be careful! If you use too much of this glue, you can no longer (easily) remove the product from the print bed. Result: broken glass plates. A safer option is to use specialized tools like PEI sheets. These hold your print firmly to prevent warping, but the model is still easy to remove after printing.

3D print tip: How to increase your 3D printing speed

3D print tip: How to increase your 3D printing speed

5 ways to increase your 3D printing speed

Fast prototyping is possible with a 3D printer. However, sometimes a higher 3D printing speed is preferred. Our helpdesk often receive the question whether it is possible to increase the 3D printing speed. This is possible, but it may affect the quality of the 3D print. In this blog, you will find 5 ways to increase your 3D printing speed, but also the effects that it can have on the final product.

3d printing speed

1. Customize default 3D printing speed

The most common way is to adjust the print speed in the settings of your slicing software. You can adjust the speed to your wish. During the development of the dddrop EVO Twin, the control of the speed of the print head was an important starting point. This resulted in perfect acceleration and deceleration of the print head, which assures neat 3D-printmodels and efficiency in print speed. The overall print speed can be increased significantly without doing any prejudice to the quality of the 3D-model, even the ones with sharp corners. But, if you have a straightforward product,you can increase your 3D printing speed even more.

2. Infill density and wall thickness

Solid prints consist of thicker and stronger outliners and are filled in with honeycomb structure. If you do not use this structure, the 3D print will take a longer time before it is finished. However, if you already use an infill, you still have some options to increase your 3D printing speed. For example: try to reduce your infill even more, but keep in mind that the ratio between the wall thickness and infill remains good. This will prevent 3D models from collapsing. If you would like to try this, please contact our helpdesk (+31 314-377050) for more information. NOTE: a product with a lower infill density and smaller wall thickness is more vulnerable. Therefore we recommend to use this technique only with products where strength is not an important factor. For example: display models / prototyping. Read more about creating a strong infill. 

3. Using a larger nozzle and bigger layer height

Bigger layer height will reduce print time. If accuracy does not matter, you can choose for printing with a larger nozzle and maximum layer height. The maximum layer height is 75% of the nozzle diameter. This means that with a 0.8mm nozzle you can build a layer of 0.6mm. Herewith the layers become thinner, which has an effect on the firmness of the product. Also, printing with thicker layers mean more loss of details. dddrop offers the right nozzle for every job: super detailed or super-fast. You can choose from the print heads: 0,2 – 0,4 (standard) – 0,6 – 0,8 – 1,0mm. 

4. Producing in the same batch

Sometimes we receive the question: “I would like to have this product finished today, because then I can start a new print before I go home”. In this case, we advise you to print both products in the same batch. Both products are finished the next morning. However, this is only possible when both products are small enough and fit on the print bed. To perform this step, use the function center and arrange in your slicing software. Producing in the same batch provides more convenience and saves time. Resetting and heating your printer is no longer necessary. Keep in mind that you use the same filaments for both products to prevent heat problems. Thus, this option is an indirect way to increase your 3D printing speed.

5. One material, two purposes

The dddrop EVO Twin 3D printer has 2 independent print heads. Therefore the printer is able to print multi-colour and multi-material. This means you can print a model of PLA and use soluble support material. However, the printer has to switch between 2 materials. Certainly when in each layer 2 colours are processed, it will take a lot of time. A solution to increase indirectly your 3D printing speed is to use 1 material for both purposes, so using PLA material as the main material as well as support material. This is a function in your slicing software. The PLA support material will be printed with a lower infill density, so afterwards it is easier to remove. In this way the printer doesn’t have to switch between 2 materials and this will save you a lot of printing time. More about printing with support material you will read here.

Conclusion: increasing your 3D printing speed has an effect on your final product. It’s a matter of priorities. Do you want to save time, minimize costs or increase quality?

Remote 3D Printing Using the dddrop Smart Module

Remote 3D Printing Using the dddrop Smart Module

Remote printing with the dddrop smart module

The dddrop smart module has many advantages that can be applied for remote work situations. The module gives full control of the 3D printing process via a mobile and desktop application, provides a live feed via the 3D printer’s built-in camera with the option to record the feed and view it later, and offers print process statue review via email.

3D printing large parts can take many hours. With the dddrop smart module, you can consistently check the progress of the 3D printer without having to stay near it. Checking the 3D print online means that you don’t have to physically check the machine until the end of the printing process.

So, how does it work?

  1. First, download the mobile app or go to your web portal.
    • For mobile devices – download the dddrop-app from the Playstore
    • On desktop go to smart.dddrop.com
  2. Log in to your printer. If you do not know your login information please contact us
    • Email: cs@dddrop.com
    • Phone: +31 (0)314 377050
  3. Now, you are logged in, and ready to use the dddrop smart module. You have full access to the machine and can control it through the different tabs:
    • Camera view tab: with a status bar of 3D print
    • Influence settings-tab
    • Load-in tab
    • Maintenance tab
    • Settings tab

 

 

For more information about the dddrop Smart Module and the RAPID ONE printer click here.

3D printing with flexible filament

3D printing with flexible filament

The advantages of flexible filament

Printing with an FDM 3D printer offers more and more possibilities. In the past, PLA filament was by far the most widely used material, because it is cheap and very easy to print. Now we see the use of other types of filament increasing in the market. Due to the ease with which we can 3D print models and parts ourselves, there are increasing demands on the material. The models are used for more and more applications, for example small series of products or machine parts. In short, the 3D printer market is developing rapidly and there are now various types of filament (printing material) on the market, so the right material can be used for each application.
The dddrop 3D printers are specially developed with an open system and offer complete freedom of choice in printing material. This means that you are not only free to choose your supplier, but also the type of material you want to print. The closed housing and heated print bed make it possible to create models from all kinds of materials. In this article we highlight the flexible filament TPU.

Flexible filament

Flex filament is a collective name for all the flexible filament on the market. These filaments are also known by the name TPE (thermoplastic elastomer). There are different types of TPE, of which thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) is the most commonly used among 3D printer filaments. As the name suggests, this material is elastic in nature, so the plastic can be easily and extensively stretched and bent before breaking. In addition, it has a high temperature resistance and thus can be used in high temperature environments. The material is best described as the perfect balance between hard plastic and silicone. It is a combination of the beneficial properties of both materials, making TPU flexible, but dimensionally stable, unbreakable, dust resistant and barely scratchable. In addition, this material can be completely transparent.

TPU filament is easy to print

Of the flexible materials, TPU is the easiest to print, because it is relatively a hard flex filament. The “softer” the flex filament, the harder it is to print. Using a special soft spring to guide the filament to the print head, the right print settings and a clean nozzle, it is easy to print a flexible product with TPU.

Applications of TPU filament

TPU is used for shoe soles, for instance, but also for pads or other shock-absorbing applications. We also see many applications for closing off certain sections by means of, for example, cover rings

A frequently asked question is whether it is possible to print with rubber. Printing with rubber is not possible, but TPU or other flex filaments can be used for rubber-like solutions.