Hooked on 3D Printing: What is the Strongest 3D Printer Filament?

Hooked on 3D Printing: What is the Strongest 3D Printer Filament?


Hi everybody,
Erick Wolf here from Airwolf 3D. Today I’m going to talk to you about the
strength of commonly and not so commonly 3d printed materials specifically we’ll
be talking about PLA nylon 910, abs and polycarbonate. We’ll test each material
by 3d printing a common hook and then loading the hook until it fractures. The
hook that holds the most weight will correspond to the material that has the
highest tensile strength and to back it up they’ll pull some information from a
great article from 3d print com specifically talking about the tensile
strength of all the different 3d printed materials that we discuss today to
keep it interesting we set up a fun experiment using our 3d printed hook to
pick up a tractor tire that weighs 150 pounds loaded with hundreds of more
pounds of weight from our local and favorite gym precision Fitness in Costa
Mesa California so let’s get on with it and start talking about our 3d printing
materials the most popular desktop filament is polylactic acid or as we
commonly referred to it PLA we print PLA at about 190 to 200 C with a bed at 60 C
and we apply wolfbite nano to that bed to help with adhering it. The wolf
bite Nano adheres the PLA to the glass printing surface and after the prints
done its easy to remove the part. Now some commonly 3d printed objects
in PLA or toys and figurines PLA is used all the time in schools it’s
environmentally friendly its compostable and it prints easily and low
temperatures in all sorts of different environments it’s also pretty strong you
may be surprised at just how strong it is so let’s check the video pretty darn impressive PLA survived up
to and 285 pound lift with a small hook and bringing simulate to be able to
survive 285 pounds is pretty darn impressive truth be told we were
surprised for the strength of PLA however when we look back at that
article we mentioned earlier from 3d print com PLA has a very high tensile
strength in fact it is rated to 7,250 pounds per square inch this is a
strong material but with that comes a caveat
there’s a reason PLA is mostly used for toys and figurines PLA by its nature
degrades in sunlight and degrades in an outdoor environment so with that said
please don’t make any structural parts at a PLA because in only a matter of a
couple hours your PLA part can entirely transform. Let’s talk about real
engineering materials. let’s start off with ABS. ABS next to
PLA is one of the most common materials printed on the desktop here at Airwolf
we were one of the first companies five years ago in this industry to start
printing with ABS on the desktop why because ABS is a strong material but
it is a stable material also it can be sanded it can be painted it’s used in
numerous automotive industrial and home applications you can find ABS in
all sorts parts. Now when printing with ABS please keep in mind that there are
several things your printer needs to have to get the best quality parts. First
you need to print at 240 c or higher your printing bed needs to be at a
120 C or higher and you should really have a closed environment
to avoid cracking and warping finally we use Wolfbite on our glass bed to adhere the
ABS and to minimize the chance of warping on the part with those criteria taken care
of you can produce very nice end use products with ABS. As a matter of fact we
optimize the AXIOM 3d printer for printing in abs with the enclosed
environment now for the real test how does ABS compared to PLA
as ABS and PLA are the most frequently used materials which one is stronger let’s
watch the video as you notice the ABS hook snapped right
away we didn’t bother to reduce the weight on
the hook because we’re interested in finding out the ultimate 3d printing
material with that said you can increase the cross-sectional area of your abs to
make it as strong as you need and the beauty of abs is it’s easy to print it
lasts for a long time and it’s easily workable. Meaning sandable, paintable etc. but abs does have a lower tensile strength than PLA in fact ABS’s
strength 4700 psi compared to PLA which comes in at 7,250 psi but we’re
really here to find the strongest desktop 3d printing material and abs and
PLA aren’t gonna cut it so what’s up next there is a wonderful material that
I’m sure you all have heard of and it’s called nylon but nylon is traditionally
very difficult to print on the desktop at Airwolf 3D we did a number of things
to solve that first we invented a material called nitro wolfbite nitro
this is applied to the surface of a bed the bed is kept between 70 and 100 C and
the cart is printed on between 250 and 276
we have been using nylon and Airwolf 3d to make functional parts of our 3d printers
since 2014 and this nylon gear is a great example of it weve printed thousands
of these gears and they are some of the strongest and most reliable components
of our 3d printers. so after that brief description of nylon let’s take a look
at the video and see how it performs as a hook now looking at the video nylon
is a great material to make structural parts with the nylon hook lasted much
longer than than abs or the pla parts that’s
because nylon has a very high tensile strength nylon in fact is rated for 7000
psi compared with 4700 PSI for ABS and one of the beautiful things about nylon
is when it breaks this doesn’t give right away
it slowly elongates into a predictable failure notice how the hook initially
bent but didn’t yield until hundreds of pounds later while the PLA hook broke at
285 pounds our nylon hook lasted until 485 pounds as we can see nylon is a
predictable material that works great in load applications in fact every Airwolf
printer built since 2014 uses nylon gears for incredible reliability
and precision but we’re not here just to talk about nylon we’re here to find the
strongest desktop 3d print material and no discussion would be complete without a
mention of polycarbonate. At Airwolf 3D since 2014 with the
introduction with the Airwolf HDX we’ve been printing polycarbonate extensively
polycarbonate prints at 290 to 315 c with a bed temperature of 145
c we’ll use Wolfbite Mega to adhere the polycarbonate parts to the glass
printing surface now polycarbonate is a very strong
material to work with this in fact is made out of polycarbonate right here and one of my
favorite things to do with polycarbonate to demonstrated strength is to drop it
or to throw it or to bounce it off cement floors because polycarbonate is
very difficult break see after bouncing this hook it looks identical
how it looked before you just can’t do that with other materials. So the question is it looks great
here we use it in our printers all the time we’ve been printing with the
material since 2014 but how much weight can we lift with this tiny hook let’s
take a look at the video to find out polycarbonate is the undisputed king of
desktop 3d printing materials not only is it incredibly strong it’s print great it
also has a great heat deflection temperature in comparison to nylon
polycarbonate has a tensile strength of 9800 psi whereas nylon is only at 7000
psi when we design the axiom 3d printer we designed it to print
materials like polycarbonate we’ve designed it to 3d print these materials for
hours and hours and time in a very hot environment that is how you achieve
uniform finish and the strength throughout the part when printing
Polycarbonate so can you believe it we lifted 685 pounds with this tiny
polycarbonate hook in summary polycarbonate is the undisputed king of
desktop 3d printing materials to get this spool of filament free go to
airwolf3d.com/free shipping and get a free wolfbite

100 thoughts on “Hooked on 3D Printing: What is the Strongest 3D Printer Filament?”

  • lol when you threw the part on the floor and claimed you cant do that with other materials LOL i doubt anything would break – maybe abs might show a dint- but the rest would be fine. great video- loved the poly carbonate strength

  • sorry but this test is flawed when testing the pla the load you put on it was bouncing witch would make the load up to 2 times more and the rest of the test didnt bounce as bad.

  • Couple of bits of feedback:

    1) Almost none of the world works in pounds. It's not that good a unit to work off. At least offer kg too, or just use kg since this is an engineering video

    2) The strength being tested here is only cracks that go through the layers, but that's very rarely the weak point of a 3d print. To be a real test, it should also test with layers perpendicular to the tension.

    3) You can't really call anything the 'king' without testing other options. Like, XT-CF20 for example.

  • Watching the video it shows that the pla got shock loaded and when you shock load something you cannot get an accurate measurement of its strength. I would recommend you do a revisit on this video and not use a forklift but more of a winch or a come along to achieve a more stable way of pulling it up

  • I'm calling BS on the hook test. What you saw was more a test of shear strength than it was lifting strength. If they had wanted to show how much weight it could lift before failure they would have made a figure 8 type with the center at the same cross section as the outside cross section of the wall of one of the loops, somewhat like this 0-0, then lifted weight until the center lug or one of the loop walls failed. A test best performed in an enclose safety booth with a hydraulic expanding ram and short attachments to limit flailing at failure.

  • Can you please redo this entire test fairly and not jerk the weight up but gently and slowly support it equally for all materials.

  • PLA is so strong that it shatter when you drop it on the ground. So "amazing". "Sure" PLA is strong.

    FUCK YOU, if it is that strong it wouldn't shatter on impact.

  • Engineering design point of view: Wear resistance is much more important on gear designs (I am only mentioning about it because you showed examples) Tensile strength comparison under static load (or may be dynamic? We couldn't see how did you load it and I think that forklift was a bit too fast on lifting) comparison was great and I will certainly keep this in mind while considering. Thank you for the video

  • Fucking hell man, quit repeating yourself, we got it the first time, we're her to find the strongest material.
    Geez, you got some sort of Aspergers or something?

  • Please explain to us why Nylon had a ~30% higher failure load than PLA, when PLA has a slightly higher tensile strength? All things being equal, PLA should have lased a few pounds MORE than Nylon. This means there is a fundamental flaw in your experiment and you are not printing the parts equivalent. My first thought is you are having dissimilar layer bonding efficiencies contributing to the discrepancy.

  • Hi,

    I’m currently working in Nigeria and we need to manufacture small parts for the industries in Nigeria. Normally we would make brackets out of metal and have it galvanized, but takes way too long and most of the times it is a once-off type solution. To 3D print it makes more sense, but most of the parts and brackets is used outdoors. I’ve been tasked to find a solution.

    My question is, which filament will work the best. We do have the following average conditions in Nigeria:

    • Temperatures ranging from 10 degrees C (50 Fahrenheit) to 55 degrees C (131 Fahrenheit)
    • Humidity of 20% to 100%
    • Northern region is desert and southern region is tropical.
    • UV index from 6 to 12+

    My thinking is that we need to revers engineer this solution, by first establishing the correct filament and then find a printer which will be up for the task. Could you please assist with the above.

  • What about impact resistance? If you test strength we have to do a fracture test. Reason I ask is I'm doing a 3D spin top for a kid and they battle so the plastic parts hit each other more often then they are under constant stress. These tops hit at 4,000 rpm – 14,000 rpm depending on the launcher. I'm gonna guess Polycarbonate

  • I could not watch the video longer than a few seconds. The annoying background "music" gave me a headache, especially the high pitched noise. It is much too loud and overlays the voice.

  • How does the polycarbonate compare to polyoxymethyene (AKA POM). I've seen POM filament for sale and injection moulded POM is strong enough to make plastic gears capable of handling thousands of watts (though usually those are cut by machine from injection moulded blanks). I've seen RC helicopters with 10,000 watt brushless electric motors that have a POM reduction gear for example.

  • Would you consider printing a nylon hook and letting it sit in a garage for a couple of months, and see how it handles the lift? All my Nylon prints are super strong the moment it comes out of the printer, but after a few months, every print has absorbed moisture and gone limp. They are all flexible and I can no longer us it as a functional part. Please let me know if you exhibit the same behavior.

  • Lets see according to the video you can get a free roll of PC filament and wolfbite bed adhesive. Checked out the site. You need to signup for premium membership at $99 a year, sooo no thanks.

  • What’s the best material for best layer adhesion strength as sometimes you can’t print parts in a certain orientation.

  • Hi, so which is the best to make helmet accessories to stick em to helmet surface? I need it doing well in sun heat for daily riding. Kinda custom patch for helmet what i was thinking. Is pc the best?

  • The PLA actually snapped under probably a couple tons of FORCE. The jerk caused way more force than the weight of the tire. Your method doesn't work, it causes too much jerk. Nice try though. Seems like you want us to buy your nylon/polycarbonate print-bed glue and filament.

  • Sorry but if you already know the tensile strength, well, you know which is the strongest. It would have been nice to hear an explanation as to why PLA and nylon, having the same tensile strength, break at different weights. Lastly, ABS turns brittle in the sun. Only ASA is resistant to UV.

  • I find your results to be lacking stability, the load is bouncing when you lift it, of course that will cause strain on the hook thats not needed. back to the drawingboard with your test. a suggestion on how to life is to use a crane with a hook on a wire to get a smoother lift.

  • Thank you. The bouncing made it more of a real world example and would cause a more brittle material to fail sooner. Although, in my engineering classes, you use a different shape to do strength and yield tests. But small errors in the surface can cause stress points that can lead to failure. It is not desktop, but I am about to order parts in Stainless Steel 3D printed. It has laser that melts thin layers of fine grains. About 95% solid I am told.

  • Yup the stress was increased by erratic operation of the forklift. You didn’t feather the lever but jerked the lever which caused the force to spike up sharply breaking the hook prematurely.

  • I'm very into what you've done for us by testing these! As a few people stated before, the jerk on the hooks cause a huge range of error in the tests. a better way would be to create a sled, lift it, and then load it consistently.
    Then- to reliably test tensile, you should make a hook that is super beefy on both ends, with a consistent diameter cylinder in the middle- that will give you a predictable break zone in every hook, and will be pure tension. In the examples you printed, the failure was part bending, part tension, and probably part shear.
    I'd also love to see pure shear tests, since I get a lot of small gears on my printer failing along layer boundaries. Although that would be a much more detailed video, since layer temperature and bonding time can have drastic effects on shear.

    Still, these kinds of demonstration videos with consistent tests are hard to find. I was surprised that PLA outperformed ABS, and was impressed by the PC. Any change you'd try something with carbon fiber in it to see if it actually makes a difference? Thanks!!

  • For anyone here, leave. I suggested 3D Printing nerd. Hes not sponsored and doesn't show any favorites to one company or another for performance.

  • Why did you make a hook when you could make a circle, or other pattern which would probably hold twice as much weight as you showed on each filament???? Just wondering?

  • Really… Obviously, your produced filament is "the toughest"… Ya ya… How not?
    Now lokk if you can do like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0liQCWvVVcU

  • Stopped the video at 5:34

    Dollar store glue sticks work great on print beds.

    Also, regarding your printer in the background, what kind of print project requires a 300 km/h travel speed?

  • Annoying music. Flawed test -Jerking and bouncing. This should be done with smooth controlled and continously documented increase in pulling force. This way it's impossible to tell the actual tensility with any accuracy.

  • Can you make a container to boil and freeze water and also safe to drink the water afterwards.. also can it be clear. Doing something unique with water for special properties

  • Why not use industry standard tensile test coupons? Then you can get actual 0.2% yield, ultimate strength, Chappy impact, and notch sensitivity that can be compared with properly spec'd materials. Your results cannot be used to design a load carrying part which needs those specs.

  • So basically, if I wanted to print an AR-15 LOWER, I should use polycarbonate. Thank you for the advice.

  • For the love of god, please stop cutting to a different camera angle whilst the host is speaking toward the camera!

  • the forklift jars it too much whoevers on the controls has to ease in the lever so it doesnt shock load the plastic

  • We made a new wolfbite material, wolfbite nitro. Shit looks like PVA or maybe woodglue, not saying what it is only makes it more obvious that you are conning people. Great work at ensuring that I tell my colleagues never to buy from your company. Also fuck you with saying PC is the champion, Ultem 1010 has over twice the tensile strength and can be sourced for cheaper than your PC filament. Seriously, I do not know how people like you sleep at night. Is it ignorance or pure malice?

  • Excuse me here , you want to test your material by using a Hook!!!!

    Are you Seriously serious or Jokingly Joking there is something called ASTM specimen that will ascertain the allowables .

    And please we all know pla is stronger than abs and we keep telling the same things to cusotmer that don't get fooled with jerks who prove this as it is a known fact.
    We have printed these things with Pla
    From @rever industries

    Prosthetic Socket
    Orthotic devices
    Functional industrial hubs

    They are working still
    You can send me an email at
    [email protected]

  • Man I couldn't finish this video! You need to chill out with all the peddling of your own products, I swear it's like every minute your pushing your own products. I came here for the title, strength tests of different materials. Not to have your products shoved in my face every 60 seconds.

  • would like some help here i need to reproduce a intermittent sprocket for a 35mm/70mm projector .the sprockets aren't available anymore any suggestions?from what i can see they were made from a titanium metal but are very light.

  • wait what are we here for? Oh that's right, to find the strongest desktop 3d printer material. I don't think you said that enough.

  • It'd hold much more it it wasn't shaked during the test, plus the shape is the worst that could be for testing traction & resilience… 0 mechanic education..

  • Plural of member is members, not member's.

    Also, you used "it's" when you should have used "its" – should I trust your products?

  • What should i use if i wanted to make a stop motion armature? which Material would hold vs screws and bolts being tightened down on it?

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