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Why Not use Nylon?

Posted by rocket_scientist 
Why Not use Nylon?
March 24, 2010 12:59PM
I was looking at tables of physical characteristics of many popular types of plastics and noticed that strong as ABS is, it is only about half the strength of nylon. Nylon is also a thermalplastic, and extrusion is one of the common ways of forming it for commercial sale. I could not tell from the Wikipedia page, but it looks like it will have no outgassing or hazardous breakdown products until it reaches burning temperatures (then it releases Hydrogen Cyanide sad smiley ). It looks like this would be an excellent addition to our list of plastics to work with. It sould also make superior plastic gears to be used in reprap extreuders and axis drives.


Team Open Air
Blog Team Open Air
rocket scientists think LIGHTYEARS outside the box!
Re: Why Not use Nylon?
March 24, 2010 01:35PM
It should also be possible to generate nylon from precursors as done in that school chemistry favorite - the nylon rope trick.

We could use Epson piezo inkjet heads to deposit small drops of the two chemicals and the nylon would form where the drops mix. It would also set our resolution to be more like that of an inkjet printer (at least 300dpi) rather than the current 0.5mm. We could even add colour as well with further injet heads, but perhaps that is going too far.

One of the chemicals is caustic, but we would be using very small quantities.

Re: Why Not use Nylon?
March 24, 2010 09:49PM
I was thinking along the same lines today, but actually I found a supplier of Zytel in granule form (bookmarked on laptop, I don't have it handy)

Here's an interesting link:


..because the supplier and Dupont are both touting "low-warp Zytel" (which seems like just the ticket for printable plastic.) The worst issue I see is the high melt point (which can be significantly higher than ABS
Re: Why Not use Nylon?
March 26, 2010 04:45PM
Greetings all,

One of Nylon's precursors is Formic Acid. This is irritating far out of proportion to its strength as an acid. Formic acid is the major component in ant and bee venom. So, handle with *extreme* care!

Larry Pfeffer,

My blog about building repstrap Cerberus:
Re: Why Not use Nylon?
March 27, 2010 05:53AM
Formic acid is ants. Bee Venom may contain formic acid, but it's not a major component.

That said, the ants use it for self-defense. It is both a major irritant and smells awful.

I'm building it with Baling Wire
Re: Why Not use Nylon?
March 29, 2010 11:21AM
Nylon is expensive. sad smiley


Hell, there are no rules here - we're trying to accomplish something.

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

Thomas A. Edison
Re: Why Not use Nylon?
April 14, 2010 11:06AM
Nylon is lawn trimmer's treads made of. It is filament ready for use! But requires higher heating to extrude.
Re: Why Not use Nylon?
April 14, 2010 02:59PM
xoid Wrote:
> Nylon is lawn trimmer's treads made of.

Others have investigated using lawn trimmer, and nylon in general. If I recall, the results were not promising, for a few reasons, two of which include:

- nylon is not a single type of plastic, but rather, has qualities and purity that differ depending on exactly the process and source chemicals used to produce it (N-6,6 vs. N-6,12, for example).

- feedstock diameter should be as accurate as possible to form the pressure seal within the extruder body. Even 20% difference can muck it up and make it harder to get reliable extruder output; I can not imagine weed trimmer would be manufactured to the higher tolerances to get quality print.

That being said, some kinds of nylon, with high temp tolerance and strength, may provide ideal material qualities for some objects, for example, solid state hinges. If you want to take this and experiment to produce a viable printing process and material sources (fishing line or lawn trimmer line produced from a specific company, for example..), I'm all for that! smiling smiley

I've also read about thoughts for printing nylon chemically, using separate ink jets to lay the diamin and acid to bond layer by layer, removing the need for extruder completely... I think that holds potential too.
Re: Why Not use Nylon?
April 14, 2010 09:16PM
I gave it shot and it made a hard shell inside of the extruder barrel that had to be drilled out!
Re: Why Not use Nylon?
April 15, 2010 08:08AM
What about spraying one of the chemicals on the surface and then printing the other rather than printing both.
Or alternatively printing alternate layers of each chemical. This may make the print head design a little easier than a dual nozzle/ mixer.

Can you buy the two chemicals easily?
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