Success in 3D printing begins at the design phase, a time which should also include research and planning for the most compatible 3D printing materials and technology. One of the greatest benefits of 3D printing is the ability to create complex geometries not possible when comparing traditional manufacturing vs. additive manufacturing. 3D printing materials like Nylon 12 [MJF Plastic PA12], however, present unique design guidelines for 3D printing accurate parts with desired details, surface finishes, and texture.
The Benefits of 3D Printing with MJF PA12
As 3D printing project requirements for Shapeways customers have grown, advanced materials and Nylon 12 3D printing properties continue to evolve. MJF PA12 3D printing material offers excellent mechanical properties with few drawbacks. The benefits are expansive, including low porosity in 3D printing, leading to greater strength and durability in parts, high resolution and good density, and resistance to heat and impact. MJF PA12 also supports complex geometries and parts with thinner features.
Shapeways recommends this 3D printing material with Multi Jet Fusion for applications like:
- Drone parts
- Prosthetics and orthotics
- Mechanical and structural parts
- Industrial mounts and cases
- Technical accessories
- Home decor
Colors and Finishes
MJF PA12 is available in both gray and black, featuring a standard finish with a matte surface and slightly grainy texture. Shapeways also provides a black finish with a smooth, non-porous surface created through a physio-chemical vapor smoothing process.
MJF Black Smooth PA12 is sealed with a semi-shiny, watertight finish, making it possible to achieve less than 1 RA of surface roughness. Since the finishing process is non-line of sight, even the internal cavities of complex parts can be smoothed. Unlike polishing, this all-new process removes very little material while smoothing, maintaining each part’s structural integrity. Parts with this finish are suitable for working prototypes, display models, external functional parts, and high-end DIY projects.
Check out other related nylon materials for 3D printing with MJF:
Nylon 12 Full Color (MJF) – offering the ability to 3D print parts in robust color, this material possesses superior mechanical properties, good dimensional stability, and resistance to impact–as well as chemicals like oil, grease, and more. Defined by the capacity to deform under tensile stress, Nylon 12 Full Color (MJF) is flexible for structures with a thinner design but becomes rigid for use with thicker parts, offering the durability and density required for end-use parts.
Find out more about the design guidelines for Nylon 12 Full Color (MJF) here.
MJF Plastic PA12 Glass Beads – This material is 40% glass-filled which reduces warping during the printing process and over the product’s life, as well as improving product stiffness and structural integrity. PA12 Glass Beads 3D printing material is great for flat and large parts that are prone to warping in Nylon 12 [Versatile Plastic] or MJF PA12 Plastic, and for functional parts that require high strength and dimensional accuracy.
Find out more about the design guidelines for MJF Plastic PA12 Glass Beads here.
Multi Jet Fusion Technology–How it Works
Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing falls into the powder-based subcategory, relying on an inkjet array moving back and forth repeatedly to deposit adhesive agents onto the MJF 3D printer bed. A detailing agent is added around the parts, evaporating and cooling the area–and fusing the molten layers together to form the desired 3D printed structure. Parts 3D printed with MJF technology are uniformly strong due to evenly dispersed temperatures, and deep absorption of thermal energy in comparison to other methods.
Turnaround in production tends to be faster with MJF 3D printing because many pieces can be 3D printed at once. This is due to the ability to nest hundreds or even thousands of parts at once–made easier due to no requirements for support structures. After cooling, each build is unpacked, and post-processing begins with auto-blasting removing extra powder. High-resolution 3D printed MJF parts are then ready for use as models for testing or high-performance parts.
3D printing with MJF PA12 promotes greater sustainability in additive manufacturing due to the ease in recycling powder from one build to another, with a mix ratio around 80% reused powder and 20% virgin powder. MJF PA12 offers UV stability and skin safety in accordance with ISO standards.
Enjoy the benefits of this advanced technology and a wide range of materials from Shapeways for 3D printing your creations with accuracy, complex detail, and no minimum or limits in terms of mass customization or single part orders. Shapeways has worked with over 1 million customers in 160 countries to 3D print over 21 million parts! Read about case studies, find out more about Shapeways additive manufacturing solutions, and get instant quotes here.