Innovation at colorFabb rarely slows down. Ever since the Dutch filament manufacturer formalized its collaboration with plastics giant Eastman Chemicals, and its extensive list of exclusive polymers, many new products have hit the market, especially those based on the XT copolymer. The latest one is considered by colorFabb to be its most advanced yet, by integrating as much as 20% carbon fiber into Eastman’s Amphora 3D polymer.
While combining carbon fibers into 3D printing filament is not an entirely new process, colorFabb’s new XT-CF20 offers several advanced properties, starting from the extreme high flex modulus of 6.2 GPa, which makes it twice as stiff as PLA, although just as easy to use.
The company reports that they have tested the material on 8 printers (which include a Leapfrog Creatr, an Ultimaker 2, Replicator 2X, A Delta Tower and a reprap systems, among others) for 6 weeks, without a single nozzle jam or other related thermal issues. The only issue to consider is the abrasive nature of the carbon fibers, which, in general, will accelerate the nozzle-wear of brass nozzles, much faster than unfilled filaments. ColorFabb recommends to use nozzles in stainless steel or hardened copper alloys.
The materials also has a moderate strain at break (8-10%), which means it is not an extremely brittle filament and yet it is tough. Glass transition temperature is high (Tg = 80C), giving it a very high melt strength and melt viscosity. Like all XT family of products, it is styrene free (which means low odor during extrusion) and offers good dimensional accuracy and stability, with a matte dark finish which results pleasing to the eye.
All these characteristics (functionality, stiffness, dimensional stability, heat resistance) make the XT-CF20 ideal for manufacturing of RC vehicles and drones, with several possible applications in the aerospace, automotive and prototyping industries. To prove this point, colorFabb used the XT-CF20 to build every single part of the open RC Truggy from Thingiverse. And, judging from the photo above, I must say it looks great.
If you can’t wait to try to emulate them, you will not have to wait long. The new filament is available for pre-ordering through colorFabb’s webshop starting today, with first orders expected to start shipping by end of February. You might want to get your 3D printer ready, there is more fun to be had.