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Comments on polycarbonate?

Posted by rsilvers 
Comments on polycarbonate?
April 17, 2013 11:40PM
I have searched the internet, and saw a few people printing in it, but I have not seem anyone comment on it. I want to be able to print durable parts - will that mean that I want to print in nylon and polycarbonate? Or are they just too much of a pain that people just stick with ABS?
Re: Comments on polycarbonate?
April 18, 2013 12:02AM
I think the main issue with poly-carbonate is that it needs a very high temperature to extrude, starting around 260C. abs actually melts around 103C, but it needs anywhere from 220 to 250c to produce reliable prints, so if you scale that to poly-carbonate, which melts around 155C you need to extrude it in the range of 288C to 322C for decent bonding, although some suggest a lower temperature seems to work. one advantage of poly-carbonate is that it can be dissolved by acetone just like abs plastic and can therefore be acetone vapor smoothed.

most hot ends cannot withstand such high temperatures and even the "all metal hot ends" have issues, because the plastic tends to stick to the metal in the hot ends and cause jamming without some sort of liner. richrap did some tests with it as well as protoparadigm, and they found that it needs a high tempurature to print and a very hot heated build platform to make the piece stick

the reason why also is because the cost currently for poly-carbonate filament is about twice that of average quality abs plastic.

In the coming months i plan on doing a bunch of printing with poly-carbonate.
Re: Comments on polycarbonate?
April 18, 2013 12:49AM
more info can be found here [en.wikipedia.org]

there still are issues with strain relief. large parts printed will crack if cooled quickly.
Re: Comments on polycarbonate?
April 18, 2013 01:20AM
so it needs a heated build chamber then too i guess
Re: Comments on polycarbonate?
April 18, 2013 02:25AM
I'm going to be playing with PC when I get a new hotend that can handle printing it. A project printer that I'm designing will have minimal printed parts, and the parts that I do have to print, I'm going to print in polycarbonate (for the stiffness, and for the high temperature resistance, as the pieces will be used in a heated chamber.
Re: Comments on polycarbonate?
April 18, 2013 02:46PM
I'm close to finishing the 2.5kg roll of PC I bought from Orbi-Tech about a year ago. Most of it printed through Arcol V4, some with the E3D hot-end. It's a great material, the PC-printed extruder gears I have been using are showing no wear at all, whereas ABS gears at similar age would have shed quite a bit of their profile as white dust and developed backlash.

There's no need for a heated build chamber when printing reasonably sized things (say, a mendel X carriage), but bigger things become very challenging due to stronger warping forces and problems with layer fusion when already printed layers cool too much.
Re: Comments on polycarbonate?
April 18, 2013 02:54PM
ttsalo, what surface are you printing the PC on? I have some to play with, but haven't found anything that it sticks to well enough to prevent warping even on moderately-sized parts.

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Re: Comments on polycarbonate?
April 18, 2013 03:54PM
Have you tried printing on fr4, its the laminate that pcbs are made from. just get a single sided pcb and you can print on the non copper side.
Re: Comments on polycarbonate?
April 19, 2013 07:13AM
I have printed PC on both PET and Kapton tape (on top of aluminium plate), wiped with dilute ABS juice and heated to 120-140 C. It doesn't stick as well as ABS does, but it's good enough for printing medium size parts like the X carriage with no warping. For anything with sharp corners, using a brim is a good idea, it helps a lot with localized stresses in the corners.
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