Recommended Printing Experience

We would like to make your printing experience as positive as possible and we believe that this chart is one part of that process. We know that not all materials are suitable for all printers and that novice end-users often have more difficulties than someone with extensive experience. We often see this with something a bit more difficult, let’s say CF-PC and the end-user has minimal experience and is running a $250 Chinese printer. This really isn’t a combination for success, so we want to give our customers some indication of the general experience level they should have before buying a material – or an expectation of the level of difficulty that they should expect when trying something new.

These categories are somewhat arbitrary, but come from many years of our own printing experience as well as troubleshooting issues with our customers.

Novice:  A beginner using an entry-level 3D printer should have minimal problems using this material
Intermediate:  User has several months of experience with a moderate to high quality printer
Advanced User has > 1 year of printing experience and is using a high quality commercial printer
Expert:  User has significant amount of experience and is using a high-performance or heavily modified printer webp to png webp to png3 webp to png2 webp to png1
   CF-ABS [HERE]  

Max drying temp:  Important – this temperature should not be exceeded without risking the deformation of the filament, reel, or both.  

Drying duration:  This of course depends on how wet the material is.  If it has been sitting out for several weeks or months, then you may need to dry it longer to drive out the moisture.  High-temp materials like PEKK, PEEK, and PEI may need to be dried longer since they are slow to pick up moisture, but also slow to give moisture up when drying.  

Drying Nylon:  Anyone who prints with nylon knows how fast it can pick up moisture and what this does to the quality of your printing.   We recommend 90°C and at least 4 hours to dry nylon, but this is a starting point.  Saturated nylon may take 24+ hours to dry enough to make decent prints.  Keep the material in a dry place while printing and between print jobs to make drying easier. 

Over-drying Nylon:  One thing to note is that over-drying nylon can be more difficult to dry and handle.  Nylon actually likes a little bit of moisture in it or it will be brittle and more difficult to process.  Printing with nylon is so much fun!

Vacuum oven:  The use of a vacuum oven is of course helpful, but not necessary.  Any oven that heats the filament up to the recommended temp is generally suitable.  There are several filament ‘dryers’ on the market (Printdry, ebox), but even a simple toaster oven can dry the filament between uses. 

Ventilation:  It’s always a great idea to make sure you have proper ventilation in your printing environment – whether during printing or drying filament – to assure good air quality while processing these plastic materials.  

Smoke and Fire Detection:  Please make sure you have a smoke detector in any environment where you are printing.  You are processing plastic materials and many of them are flammable and all exude some vapors during printing.  

Questions?  Please email us at [email protected] if you have any questions.