Printing Markforged Onyx on non-MF printer

Our team is looking to learn how to incorporate more additive manufacturing into our design process. We’re looking into printing with CF-reinforced nylon so we can replace some COTS parts and create some things we otherwise wouldn’t be able to do.

Based on some preliminary research I’ve done, most filaments with chopped CF do not compare well in strength with Markforged Onyx filament. However, buying into the Markforged ecosystem is very expensive (at least twice as expensive for a comparable quality printer compared to the Markforged Onyx One).

Reviews of the Markforged Onyx filament seem to suggest that non-Markforged printers should be able to print Onyx as well, but it seems like nobody has actually tried this (or at least, not posted about it online). It seems that at least the Onyx One doesn’t do anything overly special to print Onyx (at least not anything essential to making quality parts).

To those that have Onyx filament in stock, and a non-Markforged 3D printer equipped to print CF-infused materials: have you ever tried printing Onyx on a non-Markforged printer? If so, does it work well?

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AS far as I know only the MF can lay the carbon fiber as a continuous fiber into the plastic. Now CF has its advantages but is not necessary for a lot of things it depends on what you are after. We printed lots of gears our of regular nylon and they all worked great. And we did it on a $ 1200 printer. You might check our website and my youtube channel (website is currently being worked on)

If you’re printing outside the MF ecosystem, no reason to use expensive MF filament.

NylonX is half the cost, 910 is 1/4, generic PC is 1/10. All are plenty servicable for many FRC uses, and you’re likely to get similar or better print quality than messing around to try to sort out print settings with Onyx in a non-MF printer.

EDIT: Printing Onyx outside a MF printer is like buying the xbox version of a video game to play on your PC. Sure, you can probably set up an emulator and get servicable results, but… why?


It’s my understanding that these numbers are a lot closer with the Markforged FRC program.

From reading threads on here it does seem that NylonX and 910 are comparable materials, but it’s been hard to find specific numbers backing that up. It does make sense given their similar composition (particularly NylonX), but the testing we’ve found (linked in the op) has shown NylonX to be a good amount weaker (though possibly more rigid).

What is this Markforged FRC program you speak of???

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There is a lot of Nylon out there. First Markforged has a proprietory system that runs the continuous fiber into the Nozzle with the plastic so its not chopped that makes stronger print in the direction of the fiber but layer adhesion is still as good as Nylon is so you might not get any benefit or a lot depending on how you design it. Now Nylon with anything in it continuous fiber or chopped fiber will be harder due to the fiber but also suffer a bit in layer adhesion due to having the fiber in it especially if its chopped as if any fiber comes to the surface where it attaches to the neighboring layer it will decrease the adhesion cause its CF and not Nylon. Now then you have the Pure Nylons. I have printed 910 its a Hard Nylon for about 80/kg Hard Nylon is good for gears and brackets. Now Bridge Nylon is about 40/kg and is a little less hard but still good for gears and even will hold a 2mm keystock that is on the CIM motor and you can stall the CIM to your hearts content and not break the Nylon or have the key slip (if you know how to print) Now Hobbyking has CX12 which is very hard and slippery - good for gears - but a little tougher to print than 910 or especially Bridge. They also have a real cheap Nylon but to print that successfully you really need to know your Nylon and get everything right and rehydrate it etc etc. Its like printing fishing line. Now if you want something strong and real cheap you can get Hobby King HIPS at about $12/kg, Works great for brackets and frame pieces and slow (<400 rpm) running gears with low to medium load. For all this you just need a printer with an all metal hotend (like an E3D V6 on a prusa style printer) and a garolite build plate ($50-100 depending on size)

Now then you have other Nylons like the Taulman 6xx series which are much softer. Make great cases and things that needs to give repeatedly - crappy gears as you don’t want your teeth to bend out of the way. For now I don’t see a reason to damage my Nozzle with chopped fibers. But then we have not gotten into anything that has to withstand something really abrasive - Maybe if next year they have an actual sand storm sand blasting the robot - lol.

Would I like to have a MF printer (X1 Please) with unlimited free supply of Filament - yes but we’d probably be better served to buy a bunch of regular printers and other stuff for that money

The Onyx One being discussed here does not do any sort of continuous fiber printing. Only their more expensive printers can do continuous fiber printing.

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Sorry for the mix up. Well then I still prefer to print in filament that does not have chopped fibers in it due to the layer adhesion thing. As the weakest part of every FDM printed part is the layer adhesion - even with Nylon and I have done tests on that and seen plenty of them

They sponsor FRC programs. We just picked up sponsorship from them for 2020, but the conversations to arrange that happened at our school district level, so I don’t know the exact details.

However, the MF program info that I’ve seen does offer some extremely generous discounts on printers and filament up to certain limits.

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Unfortunately, though, they don’t discount the Onyx One printer (if they did we wouldn’t be having this conversation).

I guess my question is, what makes the MF printer special for just Onyx? We were initially looking at getting a Pulse XE and printing in NylonX, until we saw test results from a couple of sources (Tom Sanladerer’s data linked in OP, and this person on Reddit). It seems to me that if the Pulse XE can print NylonX without issue, it should be able to print Onyx without issue (it has a garolite print bed, ruby-tipped nozzle, and metal geared extruder, etc). If there was any convincing data showing that NylonX has similar strength properties to Onyx then we would just do that, probably.

Besides the price point that @aidangoettsch already addressed, the reason we don’t want to use PC for most 3D printing needs is because I’ve heard its notoriously difficult to print (high temperature, toxic gases released, etc). NylonX I already addressed above. Taulman 910 is an interesting option. I guess I assumed that Onyx must be significantly stronger for people to pay $3500 for the Onyx One to print it.

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We got a Pulse. We customized it but did not get the Ruby Nozzle and the print dry cause we built one and were not going to print NylonX just the regular Nylons. Am Printing a ring gear for a planetary right now

We have used the Fiber Force NylForce carbon-fiber reinforced Nylon filament on Prusa i3 Mk3 printers this year with excellent results for our 2019 Deep Space robot.

Would you be willing/able to share the details of the discounts for sponsored teams? Their website doesn’t share that info with teams until their sponsorship gets approved.

Edit: thanks to @HDrake and @plusparth for sending over PM

I’d like to add 3DXTECH to the list of CF Nylons. It’s a little more demanding to get dialed in and when printing large structures and plates requires high nozzle temps. Very stiff and rugged results. Also their PETG CF filament prints easy, low shrinkage, Good layer adhesion and lower moisture absorption. We printed some large structural parts this year and have found that by going to larger .6 and .8 nozzles with a E3D Volcano yielded stronger parts and cuts print time significantly. Lost of fine detail is the trade off. The one thing that many people do not pay attention to when printing the more advanced filaments is moisture. To get the best performance filament must be very dry. There are many plans on the web for converting a food dehydrator into a filament dryer. Well worth the effort. My wife has notified me that the oven can not be used as a filament dryer any more.


Nope, I’m paying that $$$ so that I can not think about printer settings and focus on designing parts. I’m also employed full time in engineering with no dependents, so my personal constraint is definitely time before money. Ymmv.


Fair enough, though the CF-reinforced materials are more rigid, I think, than Taulman 910. From what I’ve heard, they’re also easier to print with (less warping, less moisture issues, etc).

I’m looking for something of a middle ground between an Onyx One and a cheapish FDM printer in terms of ease of use. I hope printing Onyx on a Pulse XE fits this – supposedly, the Pulse is very good at printing NylonX out of the box with very minimal (if any) tuning.

The strength discrepancy between Onyx and other CF nylons is very interesting to me. I’m wondering if that’s something to do with the material (which is what I suspect) or some secret sauce Markforged has in their printers.

AFAIK there are two requirements.

  • You need a hot enough extruder for nylon, as it’s fairly high temp.

  • You need a hardened steel extruder nozzle, as the carbon fiber acts as a strong abrasive. It will wear out a brass one pretty quickly and part quality will decline.

Besides that, it’s just your average every day filament. Print away.

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I thought you needed something like a ruby nozzle… one of my students has his own 3D printer and his research led him to this.

You don’t “need” a Ruby. I have a post on this from a previous question about CF filament, but it depends on how much CF filament you intend to be printing— a steel nozzle can put several kilos through before wearing out, and costs significantly less. I think the last time I did the calculations, I would need to go through 4+ steel nozzles to hit the price of a Ruby, and that’s a lot of filament. For reference on the time, I’m about 5.5 kilos in with ~2mo of print time.

Beware that there is a big difference between a A2 tool steel nozzle and some of the stainless nozzles being pushed by sellers for CF filaments. Spend the money and go with A2 tool Steel. If you have the bucks the Olsson is an option.