Can You 3d Print Delrin? It’s a common misconception that 3D printing is only capable of producing plastic parts. But did you know that it can also print other materials, including metal? One material in particular, Delrin, has similar mechanical properties to nylon and acetal resin. This means it’s strong enough for use in things like gears or shafts. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start 3D printing your way to the future!
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Can you 3d print delrin?
3D printing materials are a good way to make prototypes for things like gears and bearings. Materials should have properties like wear resistance and a low coefficient of friction. Delrin is a 3D printing material with these properties. It is also strong.
Delrin is a thermoplastic polymer. It was originally developed as a high strength replacement for metal in electrical connector backshells, but the market opened up when people began to use it for glider parts and medical implants. One of its best uses is as a material for bearings and gears due to its low coefficient of friction and wear resistance.
3D printing delrin is challenging because it’s not easy to melt with equipment many 3D printers have been designed with. So far only one type of printer has been proven capable working properly with this material: FDM machines using higher temperature filament like ABS or ASA plus an additive system that allows it to print between 240°C-270°C (464°F-518°F)
There are several issues to consider before chopping your delrin:
#1: Make sure you can 3D print it. Before ordering a spool of this material, make sure the printer is capable of printing with higher temperature filaments.
#2: Understand how it behaves and tests its limits If you want to try out this material on your working projects, test the results in small amounts first. This will save you time and money if something goes wrong.
3D printing Delrin has been done successfully by many people now that we know more about how does it behave when printed. You can find some interesting ideas here. But as with all new materials not much research has been done studying its full range of properties and best working methods.
Can You 3d Print Delrin?
How to print POM filament? Read review below.
Lately, POM filament has appeared on the market. What makes this material different from others is that it allows you to print various elements with one filament. For example, if you decide, you can make a spinner toy that will be able to rotate for several minutes after printing.
So what machine can provide us with such an opportunity?
The answer is quite obvious, any 3D printer with a heated print bed. But the spinner toy printed in POM filament won’t be able to rotate on an unheated print bed or regular PLA/ABS hotbed for example. So here comes the question: “How do I print POM filament if my printer doesn’t have a heated print bed?” The answer is quite simple – use a thin heating plate or aluminum foil. If you don’t have that, the only way to get this toy is to buy it in the online store.
Can You 3d Print Delrin?
What are the advantages of printing with POM filament?
– Prints without any supports
– Cost saves compared to similar items commercially available
– You can print the whole set of toys in one filament
– Perfect for children and start who has got a 3D printer
What do we need to get started?
- A) POM filament (available on our website: http://www.3dprintler.com/pla-pom )
- B) Aluminum foil or heat plate (just 5$ from your local supermarket)
- C) Regular 3D printer, like Prusa i3 with 0.4 mm nozzle (for example) and heated print bed at 65°C (if available otherwise 40°C is fine too). If you don’t have a heated print bed try aluminum foil or heat plate instead. We tried and there was no difference in quality.
- D) A slicer with support settings disabled (we use Cura).
- E) A printer host software where you can change filament and start printing directly from the print screen without being connected to any slicing software.
Can You 3d Print Delrin?
What is POM?
Polyoxymethylene or POM in short is a transparent thermoplastic with great mechanical properties such as abrasion resistance, stiffness, and hardness that come in granular or pellet form just like PLA or ABS filaments for FFF 3D printers do.
The composition of the material is very similar to Delrin which is commonly used for various machinery parts.
In other words, it’s a stronger material than ABS that is commonly used for 3D printed objects.
What are the main differences between PLA and POM?
Now imagine how an object made from ABS filament would look like if it was placed next to an object made from POM filament. Both materials have different glossiness levels but there still would be visible differences in their appearance, especially on smooth surfaces such as car fenders or any other automotive parts where ABS is commonly used.
POM has a less matte appearance and is much harder than ABS.
That’s why it can be used for parts, which require higher durability such as spinner toys or other rotating objects that must rotate for a longer time without breaking.
The mechanical properties of POM filament are very close to Delrin, the material that is often used in the machinery industry.
Can You 3d Print Delrin?
3D filament low friction printing for paper-based substrate materials
Papers, or other thin substrates are often used in additive manufacturing processes due to their ease of use and low cost.
However, these materials do not always offer the best surface finish that is required in many end-use applications. On top of that, in order to preserve the thin material during the building process, the moving print-head must be precisely controlled.
Therefore, with most machines available on the market today, printing on paper is often not advised due to their lower resolutions and lack of positioning accuracy.
This project aims at 3D printing on paper using a thicker more rigid filament than that generally used in FDM processes (normal PLA) to improve the print quality.
Currently, this project has been initiated by Guilhem de Lafourcade (mechanical engineering student interning at IDM Lab). We are developing a new FDM printer that will be able to achieve higher printing speeds than current FDM printers while maintaining high-quality prints on paper and cardboard.
The main challenge to overcome will be: how to feed the desired material (in our case, paper filament) and control its flow rate.
To achieve this goal, we have been looking for a cheap yet reliable solution that could be easily reproduced by any FDM printer manufacturer if they wish to produce such a device.
In other words, it would be nice if one-day consumer-grade printers were able to automatically switch from printing with their usual flexible filament into high-speed printing on paper or cardboard. We believe that can happen soon thanks to ultra-cheap microcontroller controller boards which recently have become available at very low cost (< 5$).
This is a paradigm shift in the way 3D printers are currently designed as these new controllers will allow manufacturers to experiment with new functionalities that were not possible before.
Can You 3d Print Delrin?
Delrin vs PLA
PLA (Polylactic Acid) is often thought of as the workhorse material for 3D printing. It’s relatively easy to print with, it doesn’t shrink or warp much during cooling and its mechanical properties are somewhat acceptable for many household items, especially if you’re only looking at the “sweet spot” of 50-100 microns layer height.
The problem occurs when one tries to push this material beyond these boundaries. This leads to problems such as warping, delamination, poor first layer adhesion, and other issues that make printing objects in PLA more difficult.
Luckily there are many new printers coming out which can handle higher temperatures (>= 200°C) which allow you to experiment with other types of materials like ABS which has very desirable properties when 3D printed. While ABS does have its own set of issues, especially warping during printing, many are willing to accept the extra hassle in order to print using a material that has much stronger mechanical properties.
A second approach is to look at different types of plastics which are more “3D printer-friendly”.
One option is PETG which has good mechanical properties, high-temperature resistance, and doesn’t warp or crack under pressure as PLA can. You may have heard of PETG being referred to as “PET”, this is incorrect – they are two separate plastics that react differently when exposed to UV light (for example). There are other varieties of PET such as APET, but again these are too chemically similar to be considered “the same”.
One choice for 3D printing is Delrin – a high-strength plastic with high-temperature resistance, good mechanical properties and it won’t warp during printing.
It’s often used in household items such as gears because of its durability. Normally you’d have to resort to using metal components when designing parts that require gear-like behavior but now with the release of new filament formulations it may just be possible to print these parts straight off the desk! Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it? Well, let’s take a look at what all this hype is really about.
Can You 3d Print Delrin?
A visual comparison between PLA (left) and “Delrin” (right). Note that I’m not claiming that I have officially ‘figured out’ the material properties of Delrin. I’m just comparing one product with PLA so that others can get a better idea of its physical behavior.
Delrin is manufactured in various grades, however, for this comparison, I used “Delrin 500” which has 3 times the tensile strength when compared to standard Nylon 6/6 (AKA – “mil-spec nylon”) material. Also since most 3D printers are not very good at handling thin-walled prints, I wanted to use a thicker layer height in order to produce parts with more mechanical integrity.
This gave me an optimal layer thickness of 2mm (PLA 0.4mm) for my prints (Figures 1-3). As you can see in Figures 1 and 2, “Delrin 500” beats PLA when it comes to flexural tests. While these comparisons look impressive on paper, I wasn’t really impressed with the actual results.
A comparison of Delrin 500 vs PLA printed @2mm layer height. The Delrin part is from Prototype Supply while the PLA part was actually printed by me. Both parts were made on a replica of a Makerbot Cupcake CNC which has a heated bed and uses a RepRap extruder system (sliced using Slic3r 0.7RC3)
One issue that I noticed during printing was that the filament would buckle under pressure even though my printer is making the part with a fixed layer height (Figures 3-4).
Can You 3d Print Delrin? (cre: gizmodorks)
A 100% view of the PLA print showing that it is making solid layers. This extrusion issue was apparent with all prints made using “Delrin 500”. FIGURE 4: The same print as shown in Figure 3, but this time at 50%. It’s clear to see how uneven the filament is on the upper portion of the part. This buckling occurred across all prints made using “Delrin 500” and definitely shows some room for improvement of my printer.
While these issues were certainly discouraging I am not giving up hope just yet! If Delrin can be used to produce gears then maybe it’s enough for other types of parts as well.
I have been told that some filaments on the market are made of a mix of materials – one option is to find a Delrin filament that has a PLA base. This way you could use your 3D printer as-is and get away with producing parts that perform better than standard PLA. The only issue I see with this approach is that it would be hard to spot these types of filament from photos alone since most manufacturers make their own “secret sauce” blend of filament material (Figure 5). In my opinion, knowing exactly what you’re putting into your machine is very important if you want predictable results from each print!
While not the best picture, it’s easy to tell which part was printed using the “Delrin 500” filament. The part on the right is a sample print made with PLA while the piece on the left shows signs of being stronger and less pliable than its PLA counterpart.
In my opinion I think it’s fair to say that 3D printers will become more useful in rapid prototyping applications once new filament materials are introduced which have superior properties over existing ones such as PLA, ABS, Nylon etc… But until these types of filaments are available for purchase, we must resort to using additive manufacturing technologies which can produce a variety of parts made from various types of materials at a reasonable cost
Can You 3d Print Delrin? (cre: pick3dprinter)
Acetal 3D printer filament (Do you know stratasys?)
Acetal is one of the most versatile materials for 3D printing. Why? It can be printed at almost every temperature, prints great on almost every machine and it’s rather easy to finish afterward.
But there are also some downsides: acetal doesn’t stick too well to Kapton tape (but it does stick), acetal warps when cooling down after printing (but not much) and it has a somewhat abrasive surface (it will destroy your nozzle if you don’t watch out). But still, these issues are bearable compared to their advantages. And now… now we found out that Acetal can be dissolved in MEK! That’s right, MEK Methyl Ethyl Ketone.
Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK) is a solvent that can break down the polymer chains in the Acetal. This means acetal can be dissolved into MEK. You will need to use a fairly high amount of MEK though, like 50% or more (meaning you’ll still have 50% of the original part left).
Acetal dissolves better when heated up, so it’s best to dissolve small parts at about 40-50 degrees Celsius and let them soak in the MEK for some hours. Bigger pieces may need higher temperatures but heating up too much will result in melted POM so be careful there! Depending on your party size and the amount of acetal used, you’ll get decent results with several hours of soaking.
Small pieces like this one dissolve really fast! Some people reported acetal bubbling in MEK, but we had no such problems as far as we know.
We dissolved some bigger parts as well and they turned out fine too. But if you do notice any sort of bubbling or melting, stop right away and check your part with an X-ray scanner (for example Sinterit Lisa).
Can You 3d Print Delrin? (cre: prusaprinters)
We tested the MEK by submerging a small Acetal piece and after 10 minutes bubbles started appearing and it was noticeable that the acetal changed its color to grayish-blue – which means direct contact with MEK! Please note, that there is another chemical called “MEK peroxide” which may appear harmful. Be sure that the MEK you are buying contains only Methyl Ethyl Ketone and no other chemical ingredients!
Acetal dissolving in MEK – notice bubbling and color change! Also please be careful when using any solvents.
Always work in a well-ventilated area, use gloves and goggles to protect yourself from skin or eye contact with MEK. As we said, small amounts of acetal dissolve quite quickly but if you leave it too long, you will end up with a badly dissolved part as there is a limit to how much acetal the solution can hold (and your part may fall apart). If that happens, try adding more acetal into your MEK or heat it up to 50 degrees Celsius for some time.
If you are not sure if your acetal will dissolve, submerge only a small part first and check it after a few hours. If everything turns out fine you can try dissolving bigger pieces. It’s also good to test MEK on a spare piece of acetal just to see how the process goes!
And finally… have fun with this new feature!
We know that many people switched from printing acyclic parts onto POM or ABS suspensions because they were easier to work with since POM sticks better to Kapton tape (and is less abrasive) and ABS warps less when cooled down (still warps though). This means our customers are missing out on some parts they would like to be able to print with us so now they can simply dissolve them! We are all very happy about this new feature 🙂
Creating a high-quality product with 3D printing is possible if the right materials are used. Delrin is one of these materials, and it’s worth exploring for your own projects. If you need help finding out more about how to get started or what type of material would work best for your needs, contact us today! We will be glad to provide you with all the information that you need on this exciting new technology.
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