By guest author Emily Pollock from 3 D Printing
Stratasys has introduced a new carbon fibre material for fused deposition modeling (FDM). While the company has had a carbon fibre filament available on their industrial printers for several years, this is the first carbon-based option for their F123 series.
The new filament is called ABS-CF10, and it’s based on ABS thermoplastic. The “CF-10” stands for Carbon Fibre 10, as the filament is 10 percent chopped carbon fibre by weight. The carbon fibre makes it 15% stronger and over 50% stiffer than their standard ABS filament, and Stratasys bills it as a “compelling alternative to metal parts.”
ABS-CF10 is meant for the Stratasys F123 line of “benchtop” printers, lighter than the company’s Fortus industrial systems. According to the company’s press release, it will work specifically with the heavy-duty F170, F270, and F370 printers. The company has not specified yet whether it will work with the newer, smaller F120.
In some ways, this release has been a long time coming. Stratasys founder S. Scott Crump filed the first patent for an FDM printer back in 1989, but copycat FFF-style printers have been printing with carbon fibre filaments for more than five years as a part of a larger development of carbon fibre 3D printing techniques, which also include continuous fibre reinforcement.
Before this release, Stratasys only had carbon fibre-based material available for their industrial printers. Their nylon 12 carbon fibre (FDM Nylon 12CF), released in 2017, was made for their industrial Fortus printers. Nylon 12CF is 35% carbon fibre by weight, and Stratasys said it boasted the best stiffness-to-weight ratio of any of their FDM thermoplastics. Accordingly, it was made for designers and engineers putting together low volume production parts and working prototypes, and has been popular in industrial scale applications like jigs, fixtures, and tooling.
Indeed, it was so popular that Stratasys put out an entirely new printer to deal with it. They released the Fortus F380mc, a pared-down version of the Fortus 450 that was only capable of printing in carbon fibre, back in 2018.
With the new release, Stratasys is focused on applications in aerospace, automotive, industrial, and recreational manufacturing industries.
“There is a reason why manufacturers are increasingly turning to 3D-printed carbon fibre materials,” said Dick Anderson, Stratasys Senior VP of Manufacturing. “It’s incredibly strong, versatile, and lightweight. We want to enable all our FDM customers to take advantage of those material characteristics.”
F123 users can look forward to getting their hands on ABS-CF10 this April.