The toughest filament: Taulman PCTPE review!
Taulman are known for making specialty filaments – this is PCTPE, their insanely strong Nylon!
Alright, you guys wanted it, so here’s a Filaween episode on a material as far away from PLA as it gets. This is Taulman PCTPE. It’s Taulman’s take on flexible filaments and it’s quite the material. It’s based on Nylon, comes in this milky, white color and is definitely intended for high-end applications. It costs about 65€ per kilogram, which is reasonable, even if it’s not exactly a bargain.
For print settings, I tried out a range of settings, as usual, these three benchies were printed at 225, 240 and 255°C, Taulman actually recommend 230°, but considering that the 3DBenchy at 225 didn’t even print completetly, I went with a more aggressive 250°C for the rest of the prints.
Now, PCTPE seems to be a lot less sensitive to ambient moisture than other Nylon filaments, so you can actually use it without a drybox and your finished prints will much less likely turn into a floppy mess over time. But I did have real issues getting it to stick to the printbed. Nylons don’t like to adhere to stuff, and even a fresh layer of gluestick, which usually works for everything, didn’t hold down the PCTPE well enough.
Magigoo are sponsoring the Filaween series, so of course I tried their adhesive, but on a PEI bed like one the Prusa MK2, it acts more like a release agent than an adhesive. But what ultimately worked was Magigoo on top of gluestick on top of PEI, the gluestick adheres to the PEI bed and the Magigoo sticks to both the gluestick and the part on top, and with the printer in an enclosure for extra ambient temperature, that worked out beautifully. Still, it’s a real pain trying to get PCTPE to stick, and while it did print at full speed in the MK2, other printers with a less well-restrained filament path might need some extra filament guidance or a slower print speed.
The prints themselves look pretty nice. The surface finish is consistent and crisp, however there’s a hefty amount of stringing from the higher print temperature and some overheating artifacts, so maybe try printing with the part cooling fan on a higher setting. In the technical quality tests, it did perform reasonably well and what I also like is that it doesn’t have the typical harsh, plastic feel to it.
But as we get to the mechanical tests, things get really interesting. And the more materials I test, the more I realize the strength scale might be a bit too short. PCTPE would get whopping 9 stars if the scale didn’t end at 5.
And here’s why: First of all, temperature stability. It’s fantastic! Even though PCTPE is already a soft material at room temperature, under boiling water it actually stays more rigid than PLA or even PET. It’s also the most impact-resistant material I’ve tested so far, with one of the specimen absorbing the full one and a half Joule blow from the hammer, a first in the series. One of the bend test samples didn’t print right, but the other just kinked instead of cracking, but the pull test shows the same thing. The layer strength specimen stretched to over two times its original length and still supported over 30kg of load, that’s 66 pounds, which is even more impressive considering that the cross-section has also thinned quite considerably. Layer adhesion is also impressively good, only beaten by another Nylon. Again, PCTPE is easily the toughest material I’ve tested yet.
It’s not too soft and floppy, and it will hold its shape, even under temperature. So if you can live with the extra effort it takes to get PCTPE to stick to a printbed, then I can totally recommend it technical applications. I think I’ll be printing some hard drive vibration dampers from it, and that’s exactly the sort of application that’s perfect for PCTPE.
Again, thanks to Magigoo for sponsoring the series, also check out the links in the video description if you want to get some PCTPE for yourself.
📘 Compare all #Filaween test results at toms3d.org/filawall2