Nylon is a great 3D printing material. It’s strong with just enough flex to make it tough (it’s chemical and wear resistant), but it’s difficult to print. It doesn’t like to adhere to other materials, so it’s tricky to find a bed surface it will stick to. It also has a tendency to shrink, which when mixed with the adhesion problems means even if you get your print to stick, there is a good chance of curling. Well, the innovative team over at Taulman3D wanted to fix some of these issues, so they came out with Bridge, a nylon that “bridges” the gap between printing in common materials like PLA and printing in nylon.
Bridge was formulated to keep most of the desirable traits of nylon: strength (4800 psi tensile in Bridge’s case), chemical resistance, etc, while being easier to print thanks to less shrink and better adhesion to print surfaces. While you still need a pretty beefy machine capable of printing at 250ºC and with a heated bed, the bed can be coated with a thin layer of PVA glue (Elmer’s glue stick) and prints will stick. This is much, much easier than other solutions like extra nylon sheets and adhesive bed coatings used in the past with other nylon formulations.
Prints come out clean, bright white, and semi translucent. Stringing can be an issue so you might want to adjust your retraction settings a little if you don’t want fine line hairs in places. Overhangs are not an issue — there’s little to no drooping — but if you need support material, remember that with the material’s toughness, it will be very hard to remove.
One defect I had in my print is not really the fault of the material but instead those I’ve used in the past. Since Bridge prints at such high temperatures, any remaining material on the nozzle from previous filaments tends to burn and sometimes you will get little burnt smudges on your white nylon print.
Nylon has another property that can be both a bane and boon. Nylon is very hydroscopic; if it’s not stored correctly, it will absorb too much moisture and can cause printing issues. On the other hand, this also means that your white nylon prints don’t have to stay white. Clothing dyes like Rit can be mixed in water and your prints can be dyed to produce any color you desire.
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If you have a filament you would like us to try out or are a producer of filament, email me at [email protected] and we will try to make it an upcoming installment of Filament Friday!