After the mini introduction on the various filaments we can use, we can talk about Nylon. There are some legends about Nylon, first of al his name. Someone think it’s short for NY (New York) and Lon (London), other think of a more articulated solution. Nylon, at the beginning, replaces the parachute canvas. In fact, the war with Japan, had interrupted the arrival of silk in that country.
So, probably poetically, the acronym was invented: Now You Lose Old Nippon. Referred to the fact that USA didn’t need more canvas.
Today we would like to introduce a new leading actor between the filaments, nylon!
Although not as famous as PLA or ABS, and perhaps not as widely used as PETG, nylon still has a nice slice of fans in the field of printing.
Nylon is also referred to as polyamide. There are many types of nylon filaments on the market as it is applicable to many FFF / FDM, SLS and SLA printing techniques. (you can view the various printing technologies here).
As a material, it usually requires more attention from users than other filaments, in the form of temperature and extrusion adjustments.
This material is used when the object requires both mechanical strength and flexibility. Another important feature of Nylon is its hygroscopy. It absorbs liquids with great ease. This is both a defect, in fact it must be dried well before use if it has been exposed to moisture, but also a great advantage: you can immerse it in the liquid colors for the fabric and it will assume the color. At the end of the article we will see the procedure in detail.
Since nylon is not biodegradable and has a unique relationship between strength and flexibility, it is an obvious choice for flexible parts, industrial, prosthetics, medical equipment and costumes for cosplay.
In addition to the qualities listed so far the nylon has many others, it deforms very little during printing (if good quality) and the finished process shows very few roughness. In fact, as a result we have smooth end products that require very little post-processing. All this added to the fact that it does not suffer almost at all from UV rays and to have a very high chemical resistance make it one of the best filaments that can be used to print objects that must last over time or perform a mechanical job.
Now, however, we must also mention a few flaws:
Expires, exactly… just as the food. It has an expiration date, normally set at 12 months from opening. It must be stored in a dry place, without humidity (because as mentioned before very hygroscopic) and, if not excellent, potentially can deform exactly as the ABS. If you want to try to print the nylon you must bear in mind that it is recommended to have a closed chamber printer with heated bed. If you do not have a printer with these characteristics, you can always try, without the guarantee of a certain result, using the 3M tape. Alternatively, if you normally print on glass, you can use the classic glue stick to add adhesion to the printing bed.
Nylon can flex
Obviously, as with flexible filaments, it is advisable not to go too high with the resolution. A layer with a height of 0.2 and the extruder 0.4/0.5 mm could be a good compromise.
Nylons can vary considerably in terms of extrusion temperatures depending on the brand used, the format or just in relation to the polymer used. Therefore the temperatures can vary from a minimum of 220° to a maximum of 280° C.
A filament that we would recommend for quality is the nylon of Taulman 3D, a company specializing in nylon that offers, therefore, a wide range of filaments. Each filament that the company proposes has a specific purpose and therefore, should be chosen with care. On this page I would like to find the recommended settings for each of their filaments.
Nexeo is another important producer. The Nexeo nylon filament is very interesting because on average it can be extruded at lower temperatures than normal. So it can be printed even by printers not really suitable.
As we promised here you are the method for the Nylon dyeing!
- Nylon Filament Coil or Part of it
- Liquid dyeing for fabrics
- Microwave oven
- Spoons and ladles (not made of wood)
Recommended protective clothing:
Note: The fabric dye can permanently stain clothes and shoes and temporarily the leather.
Dying Nylon: Procedure
First of all you have to dip the filament you want to color in water for 4/5 hours. In this way, you wash the filament and prepare it for coloring. After that, we insert the dye following the instructions and mix to uniform everything.
Once this is done, we put “colored water” in the microwave and bring it to a boil.
Once the temperature is reached (we’ll see bubbles), we turn off the microwave. Now, let the filament soak, normally for about 30 minutes. Obviously the longer it soaks and the more the color will become dark. We can raise the filament with the help of a spoon to ensure that it takes on a good color. If this is not the case to encourage the process, the liquid can be brought back to a boil every 5/10 minutes.
When you see that the nylon has taken the desired color, we must proceed to the next step.
Rinse the filament under running water. There is no difference if hot or cold until you verify that the filament does not lose another color. This step is very important because you can risk finding a filament that stains anything it touches. Even after printing, this is an important step, especially if we are going to print objects that must be in contact with clothes or skin.
After wrapping the filament in scottex and letting it rest for a few hours, we can move on to the last phase, drying. This phase can be carried out with different methods. The most common is the drying with the oven of the house, set to 65/70 degrees for 10 hours. Take care to keep the door slightly open. If not through a dryer, 60 degrees for at least 12 hours.