The virgin PA 12 Granulate, spool and the 3D printed PA 12 part.

Developing PA 12 FDM Filament with the 3devo Filament Extruder

A spool of PA 12 FDM filament.
A spool of PA 12 FDM filament.

At 3devo our NEXT 1.0 Advanced (Industrial) Desktop Filament extruders can be used to make all manner of grades of plastics and filaments. Many customers of ours want to use the machine to develop lots of different types of plastics. Some are interested specifically in one polymer in particular. One thermoplastic that our customer’s were specifically interested in was PA 12. We tested the material and made spools of PA 12 FDM filament for our customers.

Polyamide 12 is a widely used polymer especially in the packaging industry but it is also used in things such as concealer and medicine. The material is biocompatible, flexible and has good chemical resistance and high impact strength.

PA 12 polyamide surgical guide 3D printed
A 3D printed polyamide surgical guide made from PA 12. The guide is patient specific and made so that the surgeon knows where she can cut. By Orthaxy.

In 3D printing PA 12 is used extensively in selective laser sintering (SLS or LS) as a powder. This powder material is the most popular SLS material in the world. Surgical guides, orthotics, prototypes, short run parts and many of the 3D printed parts that you have seen have been PA 12. Materialise’s design brand .MGX was the first 3D printing design brand. Pioneering design by Jeanne Kyttannen featured the Lilly lamp which was made in both Stereolithography materials and in PA 12. As an SLS 3D printing material it has a powdery feel and is porous.

Lilly.MGX Lamp by Jeanne Kytannen and Materialise made in PA 12.
Lilly.MGX Lamp by Jeanne Kytannen and Materialise made in PA 12.

Due to high customer interest in the material we’ve decided to test and make Polyamide PA 12 FDM filament. PA 12’s versatility and high degree of use in 3D printing and beyond made it a very worthwhile material to extrude as well. We extruded the material on our 3devo Next to see if it could then be tested to see if it could confirm to customer specifications. We dialed in the material over the course of less than a day and it conformed to spec. We then 3D printed test parts on an Ultimaker 2+ to see the results as a printed part. We’re very happy with the filament and the print. Our customers are also happy that thanks to our data it will now be easier for them to dial in their specific PA 12’s. We will be adding the PA 12 Material Preset to a future software update on our machines.

A PA 12 part 3D printed on an Ultimaker. Filament made on a 3devo Next.
A PA 12 part 3D printed on an Ultimaker. Filament made on a 3devo NEXT 1.0 extruder.