What Filament are You Using

With just about all teams having printers by now, or at least the teams with representation on this forum, I’m curious what everyone is using on their robots, and I’m curious how dependent everyone is on their (and Thrifty Bot’s) Markforged printers. I know we as a team are using Onyx, PLA, and PETG primarily, with a focus on the Onyx.

It’s summer, and I’m genuinely curious as i personally see the material science in filaments having a lot of room to grow over the next few years. I was shocked to see we didn’t have a poll already.

  • Onyx
  • PLA
  • PETG
  • ABS
  • PLA Pro
  • Nylon
  • NylonX
  • Polycarb
  • PEEK
  • Ultem/PEI
  • Other (explain below)

0 voters

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Great question!
One request - could you please edit the poll so that users in the group trust_level_zero can vote?
Registered is a limited group that only includes members who joined before the site moved to discourse, in early January 2019.
Trust_level_zero encompasses all users in the site.

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Looks like the restrictions are now swapped

Ah, forum restrictions. This is why I post so little haha. Should work now, thanks guys. EDIT: Added multiple choices.

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Onyx.

But also Duramic PLA+. That stuff is fantastic.

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Onyx on the MF, mostly PETG on the Prusa, and PLA on a variety of Monoprice printers.

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Our sponsor lets us use their hp jet fusion printer on which we tend to use hp fusion jet pa12 on - they’ve also offered for chopped carbon fiber printing

We’ve done PLA for the past few seasons, but I upgraded my printer recently so it can print PETG, so we’ll probably be using that for the next season.

We were using mostly Microcenter PLA+. I’ve printed ABS and PETG but not normally. For stiffer parts like gear teeth we printed some PETG with 20% CF. I have quite a bit Solutech PLA I’m the shop currently after a filament sponsorship from Altice for PPE stuff. I’ll see how that holds up. Clear is a little brittle but others are printing decenti. I have some TPU I want to experiment with for wheel treads. Last I am interested in Nylon with CF but currently don’t have any.

We do most of our printing in PLA. I believe we tested printing in PETG and Nylon in the off-season nut don’t think we ended up using them on the robot. We also do a lot of printing in TPU for flexible or impact-resistant parts. Pretty much anything printed that extends outside the frame is TPU for the same reason most CNC cut parts are polycarb instead of aluminum. For example, our entire (original) 2019 hatch mechanism was printed from TPU:

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So far only PLA, as anything else is pushing the limits of our budget printers. I’m surprised at just how well some of our end use PLA components have endured.

We’re working on making PETG or low temp nylons an option, and one of our sponsors just got a Mark Two we may have access to.

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A couple people have mentioned PLA+ or something similar. What is your experience with these modified materials and what brands have other teams used? Have you noticed a reduction in brittleness or done testing to confirm this? For the time being, I’m not convinced it’s worth the small price increase.

I checked NylonX. Choice should be Nylon Carbon fiber. We use another brand. We proto-type in PLA. Most parts on the robot are PETG. This year we had to go to carbon nylon for 2 parts. Right now we are testing Armadillo TPU filament. We used it for a gear that is going to have high stress. So far the Armadillo is doing well. It’s a tough filament and low temp print. 230 first layer and 225 rest. It’s easier to print than nylon for the same toughness. Any printer that can print PLA can print it. Must be kept very dry or you will have a foam piece.

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Historically we have mainly run PETG. Our team uses Lulzbot printers, which use 3mm filament. Teachers don’t like running PLA because it gets too brittle and snaps while printing. Because we have enclosures on those printers, we find that PETG runs just as well.

We ran 1 PLA part last year on my personal printer because it was large, prone to warping, relatively low stress, and I didn’t want to mess with it.

I have been experimenting with Nylon and CF Nylon (NylonX and Polymaker CF Nylon) on my personal and have had some very good luck on my testing. I will probably be testing some Polycarbonate in the near future. One of our goals this coming season is to try and use more 3D printed parts in our designed to expand what we can do. With that, I expect we will expand to those higher strength materials (where it makes sense) and probably TPU/Nylon for places where flexible materials would be nice.

On my Prusa I have done PLA, PETG and PETG with CF. I have everything ready for NylonX which I have used on another Prusa in the past and I plan to test NylonG.

In the past we printed with PLA and PETG with a few small ABS parts.
I have build an enclosure and have purchased a dryer and am ready to experiment with Nylon and Prusament PC. If we ever have a season.

I <3 Onyx (though it’s really the printer itself that’s the big difference maker to me).

I have been printing a lot with Prusament PLA, and some PETG and it’s been generally fine.

I will say the onyx does a much better job overall with supports then anything else I have experienced, which is just another reason why the MF is less headache and stupid-proof in many ways.

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PLA is really brittle, ABS warping is a huge issue without an enclosure, and Onyx is ridiculously expensive and overkill for FRC. PETG is cheap, durable, and easy to print. Honestly I don’t know why you would use anything else for 90% of FRC applications.

(alt: 28 Overture PETG Gloworm cases)

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We use PETG wherever possible and Onyx for some applications. We are partial to ColorFabb nGen PETG since the plastic is made by one of our sponsors, Eastman Chemical Company. Every now and then Eastman tech service will drop some off for us, but we buy our own as well. There are cheaper alternatives, but nGen prints easily and with wide windows for settings on our Ultimakers and comes in 2.85 mm diameter, which those printers need.

I expect that we will go with more Onyx in the future as long as there is no BOM cost limit.

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This year we mostly used HIPS. How well would it have worked - IDK as we didn’t get to compete once. Worked great in tests in the shop before we closed down. Why HIPS - tough enough and we are a low budget team we pick up HIPS between $4 and $10/kg this years robot had about 14-15kg of it on it (much more was used in R$D). We printed it on 2 anycubic Chirons. Now we also have 2 predators and a mega-x which we purchased with money that was donated to us when we were printing PPE - we turned about 80kg of filament (mostly HIPS) into PPE. Here is a link to the website I quickly through up the day the school closed with stuff I had on my phone

https://pirringers.com/3dp/?p=36

This years edition as you can see was 1/2 in 16 gauge square tube reinforced HIPS. A similar less sturdy bot survived well an off season competition We through an 1/8 in aluminum plate on it to give it a little more weight and replaced some of the tubing with solid bars to bring the weight up to 116lb. If we open in time we have a 2nd version planned that will loose some weight due to using different gearboxes and gains some as we are replacing the 1/2 in 16 gauge al. tubing with 1/2 in 16 gauge steel tubing which we got donated and that one with the planned mods should come in at about 118. We could also go “tubeless” with some Fiberglass reinforcements using the 3DP parts as a consumable frame and could come in at about 75-80 lb. But then IDK if we will build anything as right now it looks like we won’t have after school activities (according to plan) until end of Jan or somewhen in FEB in which we will just test last years robot and use that. There are some gearboxes made out of Taulman Nylon 910 on the drawing board but we will see how that goes both will be - if they work the inside of a 3dp wheel. The 4 in “HUB” will hold the gearbox with a 3-4:1 planetary with a 2-3ish to 1 Double helical bevel gear as input which will moung a CIM or NEO at 90 Deg to the wheel axle to save space width wise the you will have a 2 in wide wheel and then about 2 in for the motor. The outside of the 4 in hub will get a “tire” that is either just that or an omni wheel or meccanum. The 2nd one will have a cycloidal inside the hub with a straight motor mounting option and also a 90 deg Bevel gear option. Each wheel/gearbox assy should come in under 3lb each. Is it going to work - probably eventually - when - who knows. Right now its still possible we go all remote till xmas or longer and we are trying to figure out a way as to how to do robotics remotely. So in short we use (ordered by weight used) HIPS, ABS, Taulman 910, TPU, PETG and then long nothing and then PLA. We do not use filled (CF/FG) filament if we have need for extra low weight strength we print the part a little smaller and then use it like a skeleton to wrap it in FG with Epoxy resin. A 1mm thick ABS/HIPS part covered on each side in 17 oz matte and then covered with 1-2 layers of 6 -10 oz cloth is very strong and light. And on some parts you get away with using way less.

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