First Adventures In Nylon

posted 14 Nov 2014, 16:09 by Colin Bell   [ updated 1 Dec 2014, 11:12 ]

I've had a couple of rolls of Taulman 618 nylon sitting around since before the Huxley gave up on me, and I'd
been inspired by RichRap's videos and blog posts about colour dyeing and printing with it. Some of the models
he'd produced looked absolutely stunning, and now I have the Printrbot dialled in reliably and have a spool 
holder that manages loose rolls, I had no more excuses but to try it.

I started off by pulling the filament out of the pathetic excuse for packaging that Taulman shipped it in - as
I said, I've had it a while so I hope they've had suitably poor customer feedback on clamshell extra-sized bubble
pack that I got it in and now ship on proper reels. After untangling the inevitable mess, I separated out a couple of 30m 
lengths and used RichRap's method to colour one batch in Orange, and the other in Teal green. I did the split 
method only dying half the reels so that I could get the nice graduated stripe effect you see in the pictures.

The first thing I printed was a gunny sack 
using the Teal variant. I printed it at 0.2mm
layer height, 3 top/bottom and outer shells, 
at 245c on my usual bed of Kapton tape and 
glue-stick. I was stunned at how well this 
model came out - the nylon gives it a really 
slippery organic feel, which lends itself nicely
to portray fabric type textures like in this model.

The only issue I had was that the model stuck so
well to the bed, that I partially broke the top off
when I pulled it off. You can only see the break if
you physically bend the top portion of the model 
away from the main 'sack', but as a display piece
this doesn't really matter to me. I'm not actually sure
at this stage how to go about joining nylon, so it'll have to stay as it is.

The next model I tried was a rescaled version of 
I decided to up the ante a bit and increased the
resolution to 0.1mm layer height. Apart from taking a 
bit longer to print, the PB handled this well and the 
resulting model is excellent. I only printed a single wall 
on this model, so it's very flexible, and no amount of 
bending or crushing has caused any de-lamination, and 
it happily springs back to it's printed shape.

I'm finding that Nylon models are very easy to clean up 
following printing, requiring only a sharp scalpel and some 
needle nosed pliers for the most part to remove any strings.

I think I'm actually printing a bit too hot at 245c, as some of the 
stringing is burned, although this could be where a string has 
been picked up and wiped onto the nozzle where it cooks for a while 
before dropping onto the print. I'm reluctant to drop the 
temperature too much though as I'm getting incredibly good 
layer bonding, so I'll have to experiment slowly with changes.

Stem vases are pretty, but a home only needs a few, and I wanted 
to see how nylon stood up against ABS in terms of strength and 
being usable in manufacturing my own parts for things. One part 
I had recently printed in ABS was an extruder handle for the PB, which 
constantly annoyed me because it had some minor but noticeable warping 
due to the fact that I don't yet have a heated bed installed.

I found that the part produced was a better 'feel' than the ABS part, but the 
larger size, and solid infill of 35% I used, produced the same warping as 
the ABS part. My hope is that a heated bed will fix this for both nylon and 
ABS. Given that I prefer the extra flex, and smooth feel of the nylon part, I 
will stick with it for a while - but that damned warping is still annoying me!

YouTube Video

YouTube Video