Strongest ever glass-fiber Nylon and PK 3D printing filaments launched by Fortis3D

Canadian start-up Fortis3D is launching two new 3D printing materials for a range of industrial applications. Accompanying the launch of PA-GF20, and PK-GF20, Fortis3D has provided a detailed analysis of each filament’s material characteristics to allow engineers to understand the strengths and suitable applications.

Drawing on a background in polymer engineering, the Fortis3D team of scientists and engineers have created reinforced polyamide (PA), or Nylon, and polyketone (PK) 3D printing filaments that are stronger than others and feature a lower glass fiber content.

“We found that most fiber-reinforced filaments on the market can produce relatively strong and stiff parts, but they are nowhere near as strong as traditional fiber-reinforced resins for injection molding. We also wanted to make high-strength materials accessible to more users and not only those with expensive industrial machines. With both goals in mind, we developed these two materials to be the strongest on the market and allow even users with midrange printers to make very high-strength parts,” said Wayne Lam, Business Manager at Fortis3D.

PA6GF moisture absorption illustration. Image via Fortis3D.

Characteristics of PA-GF20 and PK-GF20

Fortis3D’s PA-GF20 and PK-GF20 chopped glass fiber-reinforced materials are intended for 3D printing high-performance functional components. In addition to superior mechanical strength, both have chemical, high temperature, impact, and wear resistance, making them durable in severe environments. The materials have applications ranging from industrial end-use parts to jigs and fixtures.

Most other glass fiber-reinforced filaments in the industry use ground glass fiber that is very short (100-300µm) and incorporated into various resins. They can be brittle despite having good strength and printability. Chopped glass fiber is longer (3mm) and provides very high strength while preserving more toughness of the base plastic material, but is more challenging to incorporate. Both types of fibers will usually break down more during the compounding process, resulting in shorter fibers in the end product; hence precautions must be taken while processing to minimize fiber breakage.

3D printed part with PK-GF20. Image via Fortis3D.

Technical data on PA-GF20 and PK-GF20 3D printing materials

Fortis3D’s development team optimized the fiber loading and processing variables to generate one of the “strongest” fiber-reinforced PA filaments in the sector with a lower glass fiber loading. The reduced glass fiber loading enhances printability, nozzle wear, and surface finish.  To attain a high tensile strength of 78MPa even after conditioning, a chemical coupling agent was additionally employed to strengthen the adhesion between the glass fibers and the polymer matrix.

In comparison with injection molding, this delivers tensile strength preservation of over 90% and is tougher than other leading brands’ glass and carbon fiber-reinforced nylon materials. Compared to a typical PA6GF filament, moisture uptake is lowered by 30% when employing a similar nylon copolymer as Fortis3D’s SnapPrint PA. Stringing is minimized even when the filament is left out in ambient conditions as opposed to a PA6GF filament.

Fortis3D PA-GF20Competitor 1(PA6GF)Competitor 2(PA6CF)Competitor 3(PA6CF)
Tensile Strength@ Yield (MPa)78636356
Flexural Strength (MPa)90728462
Flexural Modulus (MPa)2600360037002400

Graphical representation of moisture retained as per the number of days. Graph via Fortis3D.

Polyketone (PK) is a terpolymer of propylene, ethylene, and carbon monoxide with features similar to PA12 but with reduced moisture absorption, higher chemical and impact resistance, and reduced friction and wear. It also maintains mechanical strength after moisture absorption, unlike nylons. In terms of the environment, polyketone production generates up to 60% less CO2 than nylon production. However, because of excessive warpage and the absence of adhesion to most bed adhesives and materials, it is extremely difficult to print independently. To resolve this, Fortis3D’s development team created a proprietary formulation that drastically reduces warpage and can comply with most bed materials with just PVA glue. Chopped glass fibers were added for enhanced strength and rigidity, resulting in a material that is comparable to other carbon or glass fiber-reinforced nylons in the industry without the danger of excessive absorption of moisture. Moisture absorption is approximately 70% lower compared to a typical PA6GF filament, implying that stringing is limited and part strength is unaffected following a week of ambient conditions.

Fortis3D PK-GF20Competitor 1(PA6GF)Competitor 2(PA6CF)Competitor 3(PA6CF)
Tensile Strength@ Yield (MPa)65636356
Flexural Strength (MPa)68728462
Flexural Modulus (MPa)1800360037002400

The current Fortis3D range of filaments includes SnapPrint PA, Lignum PLA, BioDuro Metallic PLA, and more. Fortis3D says its filaments are made from premium materials, and each spool is confined to stringent quality control standards before being shipped. According to Fortis3D, the firm’s production facility is GMP certified and registered under the ISO 9001:2015 standard, ensuring an “industry-leading” degree of consistency in diameter, ovality, and colors batch to batch.

Fortis3D will be at the AMUG Conference later this month, where attendees can learn more by visiting booth #28.

For further information about Fortis3D’s products and reseller page, visit the website.

Featured image shows PK-GF20 moisture absorption illustration. Image via Fortis3D.