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Looking for alternatives to Nylon PA12. I need a material that is extremely impact resistant, durable and can be left outside. PA12 performs like a dream but it warps intensely on thick parts, so I'm stuck with ASA for now which is rather weak.

I've tried different PA6 blends, Taulman 910, CF and GF filled Nylons, they are brittle and all inferior to ASA. I tried looking for Taulman 230 or 618 but they don't seem to be produced anymore and are out of stock everywhere except eBay.

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  • $\begingroup$ Let me throw two materials in the bucket I have no experience with: PC/ASA blend, PCTG $\endgroup$
    – AzulShiva
    Jan 15 at 23:03
  • $\begingroup$ Have you tried, to improve PA12 printing, to use a draft shield (you can even add a second one if you model it separately) and/or IR lamps to keep the part hot even without an enclosure? they work quite well $\endgroup$
    – FarO
    Jan 26 at 8:40
  • $\begingroup$ @FarO IR lamps? Never heard of that, I will look into it. Thanks. $\endgroup$
    – AzulShiva
    Mar 16 at 10:04
  • $\begingroup$ Calling Taulman 910 Nylon "brittle" must be the understatement of the decade. I've yet to see a material that is "less brittle". My larger 910 prints are indestructible by human force, you can throw them on concrete until your arms wear out, you can't break them. Only thin prints can be bent, if you are strong. They are longterm durable, I used one for a huge glass door hinge (in a moist environment) No. Taulman 910 is not brittle. $\endgroup$
    – John
    May 16 at 12:51
  • $\begingroup$ "You can throw them on concrete until your arms wear out, you can't break them" I've thrown large parts printed out of PLA 3D870 on concrete and they held out pretty well. $\endgroup$
    – AzulShiva
    May 17 at 14:08

1 Answer 1

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You ask about alternative and I will provide two, but for you rinformation both Taulman 618 and 230 can be easily bought in Europe therefore they must be still in production. Also, I'm not sure which kind of problem with PA12 you have, but if it's adhesion and warping, you can get good adhesion with PA12 if you print on garolite (fr4) boards. If they are thick enough they will avoid warping too, check here:

I don't know exactly which performances you expect for your part, but based on the specifications for Fiberlogy PA12 related to impact strength, tensile strength and softening temperature and HDT, I would say that you have two options.

If you are looking for a nylon-like filament for its strength and properties but you want it to print easily, like a PETG, you are looking exactly for Polymaker CoPA. It does not warp during print, it does not require a heated enclosure (in fact, they specify that the ambient temperature must be below 50 °C!).

See various reviews here.

Another option are Polycarbonate blends, where polycarbonate is mixed with other materials to make it easily printable, are a good choice. Polycarbonate is strong and routinely used for parts exposed outdoor.

Obviously you need a hotend reaching 300 °C for both alternatives.

I haven't tried Polymax PC personally, but the reviews and the experiences in various chats groups I follow are particularly good. It can be printed even on printers without enclosure, or at most placed inside a cardboard box to avoid air drafts.

Just remember however that polycarbonate is not resistant to some oils and some greases, that's why it's not used for parts in contact with bearings and so on. It becomes brittle, it cracks and breaks. It is likely not your case.

You can find two useful reviews about Polymaker Polymax PC here and here. Prusament PC is a similar blend with similar properties and printability.

Let me paste the second review if you doubt about its strength.

This is bar none the most printable for the strength polycarbonate. Absolutely no warping printing at 100mm/s at 110C bed temp and 295C print temp laying down PVA gluestick on glass.The printing experience doesn't even feel like an exotic engineering filament because of how easy it is to work with. Layer adhesion is very good. I print primarily at 100% infill with parts that are routinely 10" wide by 4" tall with no curl up issues. There is some shrinking upon cool down in the x,y axis, but it is to be expected with a thermal plastic (~0.6-1%). Now on to the strength. This stuff is strong. Printing a 1.5"x1.5" square tube insert, I misjudged the thermal shrinking (assumed too much) and the insert pressure fitted into the tube. Long story short, after trying to back out the part I eventually resorted to whacking on the insert with a hammer. For 30 minutes, I religiously swung with a might that only Thor would understand on this black Mythril-like object stuck at the end of my tube insert. Sweating profusely I gave it one mighty cloud-parting swing to the side of this object of torment. It broke the damn hammer handle in half. My heart crushed, the sun fading, and my neighbors watching from their windows I retreated a defeated man to my kitchen drenched in the sweats of my failure. Too sickened to muster the courage to inspect my handiwork, but too curious to look away, I set the object on my kitchen counter and began the awful process of inspecting it. Like a strange autopsy by cell phone light, I stared blankly at the effects of my entire human worth condensed into hammer swings. Not a single dent. Not one. "Impossible!"- I told myself. But the evidence of my lack of human value lay before me for all to bear. Sitting there, mocking me, a single scratch. Set there presumably by the object itself to torment me.

Two Youtube reviews follow.

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  • $\begingroup$ Nylon 6 gets brittle when dry and soft when wet, the video confirmed it. PC is brittle, not for taking a beating. PC blends is what Im experimenting with right now, but they are not environmentally resistant. G10 sounds interesting, but in order to print Nylon 12 I have turned off the heated bed entirely and covered the bed with superglue. It still warped and my bed is trashed. The guys at the professional printer store told me the only way to print large parts out of Nylon 12 is to get a printer with a heated enclosure that can go above 100C which cost 5000$ upwards. $\endgroup$
    – AzulShiva
    Jan 21 at 15:09
  • $\begingroup$ PCTG is drying in the oven right now, can't wait to test it tomorrow. $\endgroup$
    – AzulShiva
    Jan 21 at 15:10
  • $\begingroup$ You did not specify it in your answer but you do realise PolyMide COPA is a Nylon 6, Nylon 6,6 blend? Those are not tough lol, smack them with a hammer and you will see. ASA is superior. $\endgroup$
    – AzulShiva
    Jan 21 at 15:14
  • $\begingroup$ @AzulShiva CoPA is rated at about 10 kJ/m^2 impact strength and PA12 at 12 kJ/m^2. I would say they are not very different. I gave you the closest alternatives, but your question was quite generic concerning requirements and printer available so it's not possible to do more. Since you don't write what you are actually doing with it, you could even pick a hard TPU (98A or harder) and print 100% infill. Impact-wise it will outperform PA12. Of course it will be softer too. $\endgroup$
    – FarO
    Jan 21 at 15:29
  • $\begingroup$ You can print at 100 °C environment also with an Ender 3. youtube.com/watch?v=79r5D9nCQfM $\endgroup$
    – FarO
    Jan 21 at 15:36

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