3D PRINTING with CARBON FIBERS – ColorFabb XT-CF20 REVIEW

3D PRINTING with CARBON FIBERS – ColorFabb XT-CF20 REVIEW


This roll of Colorfabb XT-CF20 has been sitting
untouched in my shelf for over a year now. Now, I finally found the time to put this
Carbon Fiber filled material though its paces. This week well be looking at print quality,
mechanical strength and temperature performance of this more exotic material and I’ll also
talk about some safety concerns. Guten Tag everybody and welcome to CNC Kitchen. Colorfabb XT-CF20 comes nicely sealed on 750g
spools that sell for 50$ which gives it a price of 67$/kg. This filament is based on Colorfabbs XT material
which is Co-Polyester based and filled with 20% carbon fibers. The carbon is added as very short fibers,
which during the printing process orientate themselves in the print direction which gives
the parts very unique properties on which I will come later. When printing this kind of filled materials
it is very important to use abrasion resistant nozzles because otherwise the inside of the
hotend will erode away in no time. I used hardened steel 0.4mm nozzle from E3D
which is capable of handling this task. Tungsten or Ruby nozzels are also an option
but never ever print reinforced filament with a brass or stainless steel nozzle. Usually I print my whole set of test samples
and then analyze them. Unfortunately I noticed after my first run
that the printed parts showed quite a lot of porosity probably due to moisture, so I
dried the roll of filament in my oven at 65°C for around 6h and reprinted all of the material
test samples and this filament test ended up to be way more effort than I anticipated. The first thing I noticed was that instead
of an extrusion factor of 100% I now needed to increase it significantly to 113% to get
good prints. I printed all parts as always on my Original
Prusa Mk2s where I added some Magigoo on the 70°C bed and didn’t have any warping or
first layer adhesion problems as soon as the first layer thickness was set correctly. I tried fan speeds between 0 and 100%, where
starting at 25% the overhanging parts of the prints looked very nice. In the end I settled with 35% fan for the
rest of the samples. I tried nozzle temperatures between 230°C
and 270°C which all worked fine though 250°C looked the best and had proper layer adhesion
so this was the temperature I used for the rest of the prints. Since the material is a Co-Polyester I had
some issues with bits of material sticking to the nozzle and the heaterblock which let
loose from time to time and ended up on my parts. Overhangs printed great up to 65° and boy
look at these outer surfaces. The matt look gives the parts a finish I haven’t
seen so far with any other material. The material doesn’t string but left some
nasty material blobs at the stringing test, though fine details came out well. Playing around with retraction settings and
using dried material would probably increase the quality. Bridging was strange, because at first this
part looked really awful. Out of curiosity I used Slicer Prusa Edition
instead of Simplify3D which made such a difference! Almost perfect bridging even at the largest
gap. I tried to tune the settings in Simplify3D,
but nothing I did improved the quality, which is really strange. The 3D benchy reflects these results because
it showed the blobs at the retraction points and some material bits at a couple of places. Still, if you overlook these, then the rest
of the boat looks stunning with the matt black finish. Lets now take a look at the material properties
of Colorfabb XT-CF20. The tensile strength of around 45 MPa before
drying it wasn’t very impressive and even lower than regular unfilled PETG. After drying the material it improved more
than 20% and ended up 55 MPa which is better but still below regular PLA. Layer adhesion was only okay and the specimens
printed standing failed at 18 MPa which is only 1/3 of the strength of the lying specimens. The tensile modulus, so the stiffness of this
material is what really stands out because with almost 3000 MPa it is the most rigid
material I printed so far. But here comes the interesting part. This was the first time when I also tested
the stiffness perpendicular to the printing direction, so with the upright specimens. If we take a look at a microscope shot of
the material we see that the carbon fibers orientate themselves in the printing direction
and these fibers give the material its superb rigidity. Perpendicular to the printing direction they
are only barely adding strength and stiffness, which is verified by my second test that showed
a tensile modulus of only 1100 MPa in this direction. So keep this in mind with your designs. If you use fiber reinforced materials, they
have very different properties in and perpendicular to the printing direction. The filament test also confirmed the superior
stiffness of this material even in comparison to PLA. The slope at the beginning of the test indicates
the modulus. The steeper it is, the more rigid a material
is. My test hooks failed at around 50 kg of load
which is in the midrange, the standing ones only were able to bear 16 kg until failure
which confirms the previous tests. Temperature resistance was good and the material
stayed rigid up to 80°C and then totally failed at 85°C. The impact strength was okay
and an improvement over regular PETG or PLA but far away from the toughness of for example,
Polycarbonate. I’ve been mentioning safety concerns in
the beginning. This material is filled with lots of very
tiny fibers which might come loose during printing, cleaning or reworking. I wasn’t really feeling comfortable printing
the XT-CF20 in my office and when reworking this material, which by the way works very
well, a respirator is a definite must. I don’t know I’m overcautious but I have
a bad feeling having these particles in my office. What do you guys think? All in all it was very interesting for me
to work with Colorfabbs XT-CF20. It requires some setup due to the special
nozzles needed but delivers stunning looking parts. Overall strength was only okay but the stiffness
of this material is really standing out. If you need a material, that is stiffer than
most other materials, this is definitely not a bad choice, if you require only strength
and toughness there are other materials around that might be more suitable. You can find links to the material and the
test methods I use down in the description. The detailed test report together with print
profile and all test sample are available for my Patreons. If you enjoyed this video and learned something
then hit the like button and subscribe to the channel for more. If you have suggestions and comments about
my methods, please leave them down below and let me know what other material you would
like to see me investigate in the future. Until then, thanks for watching, auf wiedersehen
and until next time!

100 thoughts on “3D PRINTING with CARBON FIBERS – ColorFabb XT-CF20 REVIEW”

  • Fine fibers from asbestos causes mesothelioma (malignant cancer of pleural surface of lungs) sometimes after 15 years past exposure and has a survival rate of 5 years in less than 3 % cases. Its because if those fibers go into your lungs they cause scarring and stay there basically forever. I would not be surprised if even small exposure to carbon fiber would have same effect on your lungs. So nope, you are not being overcautious wearing the mask. If I was you I would even take air samples long after project is done to make sure room is not contaminated.

  • I would suggest a respirator when abrading any material with fiber like reinforcement but i dont think theres anything to worry about printing with it. The stray fiber might escape the material and there but being contained in molten plastic its probably safer while its printing than when its just sitting around.

  • I wonder why no one tests the filament before printing it — I know it wouldn't translate 1:1, but it could give you a baseline — like, if the base filament strands are much stronger than PLA then you would know you may need to tune the printer to get better results, but if it's about the same as PLA then you know the filament probably isn't even worth testing…

  • I read a paper where the coated the outside of the filament with carbon fiber, then heated in a microwave over this made the prints strength nonbiased to the print layering. Can you try heating it in a microwave to see if it increases layer cohesion?

  • Hi, I’m new in this printing stuff. We have to teach it in future as an additional skill, so now i’ve to learn a lot.
    At first thank you for your report. PLA, PVA, ABS, PET i’ve tried a lot with different results.
    On your site are the examples, do you also offer the thermal mark tower etc.?
    It would be really nice and much easier to get the best settings for each material.

    What are your experiences about using original material eg Ultimaker vs eg Innofil.

    Thank you in anticipation

  • Very interesting and you're the first channel I've seen that actually tests these filaments scientifically. I had a suspicion that CFF wasn't what it was claimed to be. The high price and poor strength properties speak for itself. The trouble is that they need to be aligned in every direction to get the benefit of the strength. Additionally, these are chopped, not continuous fiber so that's another reason why it wouldn't even come close to the actual CF used in aerospace and other industries. It'd be better to simply go with a 3D metal printer instead for real-world applications instead or use actual CF sheets.

  • Well it seems CF filament is more a gimmick than a composite with significant enhanced properties, plus the risks of the small particles. I do wonder if aramid loaded filament would be better than CF, i guess if the fibers are long enough it could have a significant improvement in tensile strength, do you know if someone is already trying this?

  • I've been printing with Matterhackers NylonX which has carbon fiber infused within. Would you still recommend wearing a respirator when we are working.

  • Its fine to use brass nozzles with abrasive filament. Just be aware that the nozzle will wear out quicker. Still a lot cheaper and easier to use though.

  • Mein drucker hat kein beheiztes druckbett also ist normal eher für pla geeignet
    Kann man das zeug damit drucken?

  • With the carbon particals taken up with the binder, it should be fine, for sanding, I'd be cautious. Everyone that uses this will die, just like all those people that drink water.
    Be safe.

  • Miners dealt with carbon dust."coal". Breathing it causes black lung. Bad news. So when dust is present wear a good quality dust filtering respirator.

  • Alter Falter! Super Review! Weiter so! p.s. Ich habe mir einen AmidLab printer geholt. Gibts es hier in den US bei Amazon für $379 Dollar. Die Reviews sind super aber mir gefällt er nicht so gut. Warum nicht? Das "bett" wackelt immer so… kann nicht gut sein. Die Qualität ist ok. Customer Service ist so so. Man muss bei Facebook sein und da habe ich kein Bock drauf. Ich denke jetzt an den Creality CR-10s Pro. Was sagst du? Danke.

  • What if you reprogrammed the layers? First layer one direction, followed by second layer put down perpendicular to the first. Repeat alternating layer direction through the part. Would that not increase the strength of the part?

  • For me compairing carbon fiber to this "carbon fiber filament" is like comparing KFC Tenders to Mc Donald's Chicken Nuggets…On one side you have something, on the other side you have something that you scratch from the one side, then put in a blender, add some "glue", put in the shape that you want, do the magical marketing thing, and voilà…

  • Lung health people!!! Don't even try to print cf unless you have a fully enclosed and filterd printer. Handle parts with gloves and respirator until you apply a seal coat

  • Hi, we would like to invite you to test our silk-like PLA filament, if you are interested, please let me know. Thank you very much.

  • Carbon fibers biggest pro is its strength vs weight. Carbon Fiber PLA is not necessarily stronger but lighter. Its about 25% lighter and of similar strength. I am printing boat parts in Carbon Fiber PLA and it is better than normal PLA. Normal PLA tends to shatter on my boat but the carbon lasts for significantly longer. Also it has great lubrication and wear properties. If people think carbon fiber filament will make their prints stronger then they will be disappointed

  • I know this is a pretty old video, but can you use a deeper focus lens so we can see more of what’s in your closeup shots w/o having to wait for you to manually adjust the focus to different parts?

  • I found a roll for 25$ and it had 20% carbon fiber and it printed great
    I can tell it does have carbon fibers because when I switch to a clearish filament the fibers left in the nozzle come out with the clear filament.

  • i have more & more Questions but you video is Great
    if i will work only on Car Spare parts which is most Powerful material , please help
    and which model can i use ? i need a big one but not to high Expensive to me i can give you example what i need .
    please help
    Ayman farouk

  • I appreciate the professional testing, impressive! I wonder about the electrical properties such as conductivity. Have you tested that?

  • I’m not sure why adding carbon anything to 3D media would do anything. It’s just adhesives. I found it very interesting to watch your vid.

  • Minimal benefits in expense of huge health hazards. I think it is time we had some regulation around the use of X type filaments for home use….

  • They need like a prepreg type material with apoxy that gets activated once it goes through the head. Maybe there already is something like that, idk

  • Owens corning or someone makes some Fiberglass embedded plastic that is supposed to be 55% stronger than normal.

  • Do you think that it is a feasible ideea to 3d print carbon fiber threaded rod (M6 size) for a linear motion mechanism (to lift 2 kg for 1 time per day)? I need to avoid metal in my environment.

  • I've used about a spool now of a different brand and yea this is more of marketing tool rather than a useful material. I've made a lot of carbon fiber parts for cars and bikes over the years and in this application there is just not enough weave or overlapping of particles to really make much of a difference. I too have noticed clean up is an issue if you do any kind of finishing sanding or drilling. Mask or respirator for fine particles should be used along with gloves and a better disposal solution should be used instead of tossing flash or support material into your 3D printer trash bin. It does look good and it's fun to say 3d fiber this an that but I never found a project where this improved on the end result. Although compression forces might be improved now that I think of it. The fibers may hold it all together for longer under force.

  • There is no such thing as being over cautious about loose micro fibers of carbon fiber. It may not be as dangerous as asbestos but any rigid fiber is potentially a cancer risk or lung necrosis hazard. Definitely not for the home hobbyist as you never know where you invisibly contaminate any surface around your home. At least treat it like glass fiber resin projects for health hazard factor.

  • Sorry…I quit watching as soon as I realized that you were not doing strength testing with 100% infill. I believe anything other than 100% infill for testing is a farce and should be discounted. I can guarantee that you will get different results with different infill patterns AND percentages. Please….If you are going to do strength tests, I demand that they be 100% infill.

  • i heard a guy the other day saying he prints nylon models with weed-whacker line, and they come out strong and clean. anyone heard of this? that line is cheap…

  • Have you heard of the iro3d metal printer? It's a printer where you print a dry sand-metal mixture and then the part is cured in a kiln. This produces full density metal prints. And it's "only" $5,000.

  • 3д принтеры так воняют, что кажется, что через экран пластмассой палёной пахнет, аж закашлялся.

  • Old video, but ill comment about the particles in your air.
    Dont worry about it.

    Especially if you cant feel anything whatsoever in your throat, or smell. If you printed this daily, every hour you would have been needing a particle mask for bacteria level dust. But since you probably arent, its fine.

    I work in industry and you measure it against how often you use it.
    Thats the some cleaning chemicals gets a "safe" pass for home use, but require gloves, glasses, masks for profesional industry. Its the amount of exposure. You dont clean your shower with shower cleaner every day. Even though that shit makes you cough like crazy.

  • So for inferior strength and heat resistance you can taint your plastic with carbon fibers, make printing more difficult AND pay more for all of that?? Sign me up. Unless I misunderstood your results.

  • If you want it stronger you need to take care of the Fiber Directions in each layer. 0° first, then 90°, after that 45°, then 135°. The different orientation of each layer will increase the toughness and strenght of the filament.

  • sounds like they're just playing off the reputation of actual carbon fiber material.. not just carbon fibers added to filament

  • I have worked with cured carbon fiber and you do need a mask if sanding, but if you are just printing it you should be good. The fibers should stay in the filament as it is still hot.

  • You need special certification to work with carbon and resin, so no you are right to be cautious, printing I don't think is a problom, but sanding defently is, the carbon fiberes will get stuck in your lungs, and they will NEVER leave your lungs again so long time exposure is werry dangores. Belive it's call iron ore black lungs, but I'm not sertan

  • The MSDS of the material can be read for safety instructions.. they say that when printing use vetilted area, a resperitor is not required.. altough i personally put a mask for any material i print
    https://colorfabb.com/files/SDS_E_Colorfabb_XT_CF20.pdf

  • It could be interesting to try to print this in an enclosure and a small mesh filter to see if small carbon fibre particle are released

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