Will color make Nylon filaments more attractive to everyday users?
Nylons, yes, once the prodigy of 3D printing materials, now, they’re in sort of a special interest corner, but let’s check out what the 61€ per kilogram Breathe 3DP Phoenix nylon has to offer.
One of the big features they’re boasting is color, which is quite rare to see with Nylon filaments, but Phoenix is also intended for mechanical applications where strength matters. As with all Nylons, you do need to keep them in a drybox, as even a day or two exposed to ambient humidity can make it unprintable. Breathe 3DP recommend PEI as one of the surfaces to print onto, but I couldn’t get it to stick, so I went back to glue stick, which worked fine. Another recommendation is print with the part cooling fan on, and while that makes prints look nice, it also eliminates any sort of layer adhesion the material had. In the end, I printed it at 250°C, a 70° heated bed, no cooling fan and a 115% extrusion multiplier. Interestingly, there’s almost a minty smell to it while printing, which I’ve noticed on some other Nylon filaments, too.
Print quality, especially with the fan off, is not spectacular. There’s a good bit of stringing, blobbing, curling, just a good bit of everything. Again, this Nylon was fresh out of the box and kept dry, so that’s not the issue, you can probably tune out a few of these in the slicer settings, but overall, it’s not the best or easiest choice for artisanal prints. But why would you use it for that anyways? It’s about simple shapes and functional parts. And there, it does perform well. Strength is very good and the parts don’t crack and break, but instead tear apart.
Buuuuuut… There’s a very big but. Nylon doesn’t only absorb moisture as filament, it also absorbs moisture when it’s already printed. So if we look at flexibility, the Phoenix Nylon ended up at least 10x softer than the more rigid materials like PLA or ABS just a day or two after being printed, so you do need to be very careful what you intend on using it for. Heat resistance is good.
So overall, while Breathe 3DP Phoenix does provide good raw strength, you will need to weigh it against the usability concerns, long-term softening and the limited print quality.
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