Nylon is a higher level material that can be 3D printed, but people wonder whether they can 3D print it on an Ender 3. This article will provide details behind how to 3D print Nylon on an Ender 3 properly.
Keep on reading for more information about 3D printing Nylon on an Ender 3.
Can an Ender 3 Print Nylon?
Yes, the Ender 3 can print Nylon when you use certain brands that require lower temperatures like Taulman Nylon 230. Most brands of Nylon require higher temperatures that the Ender 3 can’t sustainably 3D print at. With some upgrades like an all-metal hotend, your Ender 3 can handle these higher temperature Nylons.
Some Nylons reach temperatures up to 300°C, so you would definitely need upgrades to your Ender 3 to print these.
For a stock Ender 3, this Taulman Nylon 230 from Amazon has worked great for many users, with plenty of people saying it’s very easy to print and can even be printed at 225°C on an Ender 3 Pro.
One user mentioned that your stock Bowden PTFE tube doesn’t have the best heat resistance, especially when it reaches above 240°C, so you don’t want to 3D print above that. It is known to release toxic fumes at those temperatures, especially dangerous to birds.
It’s possible that you can 3D print several times at 240°C without having an issue but there is also a chance of damaging the PTFE tube after just a few prints. That can even depend on the quality control of the PTFE tubing used in your hotend.
The Capricorn PTFE Tubing does have a better heat resistance, so that is a recommended upgrade from the stock one.
One user mentioned you need an all-metal hotend and he 3D prints MatterHackers Nylon X with a Micro Swiss Hotend (Amazon). He also says that Nylon is very hygroscopic which means it absorbs moisture quickly. It’s also prone to warping, shrinking and even splitting during the print.
He advises that you 3D print with an enclosure and a filament dry box.
This means that even though an Ender 3 can 3D print Nylon, you’ll need to use certain methods to do it successfully.
Another user has had a lot of success 3D printing Nylon on his upgraded Ender 3. His printer does not feature an all metal hotend but it does have a Capricorn tube that can withstand higher temperatures.
While 3D printing with MatterHackers Nylon X he got one of the cleanest prints he ever did.
A user decided to do a bunch of upgrades to his Ender 3 such as an all-metal hotend, a filament dry box, along with an enclosure and said it can 3D print Nylon very well.
As there are many types of Nylon filaments in the market, you should always do some research to find out which one will fit better for your project.
The 3D Print General has a useful video comparing the types of Nylon filaments available in the market! Check it out below!
How to 3D Print Nylon on an Ender 3 (Pro, V2, S1)
Here are some tips on how to 3D print Nylon on an Ender 3:
- Upgrade to an All Metal Hotend
- Printing Temperature
- Bed Temperature
- Print Speed
- Layer Height
- Using an Enclosure
- Filament Storage
- Retraction Settings – Distance & Speed
- First Layer Settings
- Adhesive Products
Upgrade to an All Metal Hotend
Since Nylon usually requires printing at high temperatures, you’ll want to make a few upgrades to your Ender 3, especially the all-metal hotend.
Upgrading to an all-metal hotend is necessary because the PTFE lined hotends of the stock Ender 3 cannot sustain the amount of heat necessary, usually above 240°C, to 3D print most Nylon filaments and it can release toxic fumes that are bad for your health.
As mentioned, I’d recommend going with the Micro Swiss Hotend from Amazon.
Teaching Tech has a great video teaching you how to change the stock hotend of your Ender 3 to the Creality All Metal Hotend so you will be able to print at higher temperatures!
The recommended printing temperature for Nylon falls between a range of 220°C – 300°C, depending on the type of Nylon filament you want to use, with some fiber infused ones getting up to 300°C.
Be aware that if you try to print Nylon filaments that are not low-temperature on your stock Ender 3 you may get one quick print out of it before exposing yourself or your pets to toxic fumes as noted by several users.
Check out some of the recommended printing temperatures for Nylon filaments that you can purchase from Amazon:
- YXPOLYER Super Tough Easy Print Nylon Filament – 220 – 280°C
- Polymaker PA6-GF Nylon Filament – 280 – 300°C
- OVERTURE Nylon Filament – 250 – 270°C
MatterHackers also has a great video that deals with the printing temperatures of Nylon filaments and plenty more that you can check out below.
Finding the correct bed temperature is also very important to have successful Nylon 3D prints on your Ender 3.
It’s a good idea to start off with the filament manufacturer’s recommendations, usually on the box or spool of filament. From there, you can do some testing to see what works for your 3D printer and setup.
The ideal bed temperatures for some actual filament brands are:
- YXPOLYER Super Tough Easy Print Nylon Filament – 80-100°C
- Polymaker PA6-GF Nylon Filament – 25-50°C
- OVERTURE Nylon Filament – 50 – 80°C
A lot of users seem to recommend printing with the bed temperature at 70°C – 80°C but one user has found a lot of success and minimal warping when printing at 45°C. He actually recommended 0 – 40°C as your best chance for getting nylon to stick, as he puts it.
This does really depend on your Nylon brand and printing environment.
Users seem to get good adhesion results when printing Nylon at varied bed temperatures.
One user stated he prints with a bed temperature of 45°C and another one suggesting leaving the bed temperature at 95 – 100°C to get the best results possible when 3D printing nylon filaments on your Ender 3.
ModBot also had the bed temperature of his Ender 3 at 100°C when teaching to print with Nylon on the YouTube video below.
It is important to test different print speeds in order to get the best result when 3D printing Nylon on your Ender 3. Print speed for Nylon filaments will vary from 20mm/s to 40mm/s with users usually suggesting slower print speeds.
Users suggest slower print speeds at around 20 – 30mm/s to improve the strength of the final result, to allow good lamination and have good bed adhesion.
One user was experiencing problems when 3D printing his test towers with a print speed of 45mm/s and got recommended by the community to lower the print speed to 30mm/s or 20mm/s and prioritize building the outer walls last.
He started to improve his prints after changing his print speed to 35mm/s. Similarly, someone else suggested going to 30mm/s max.
Another user was having problems with layer separation/delamination on his Nylon 3D prints when using a print speed of 60mm/s. After slowing their print speed down and setting his temperature higher as suggested by one user, his prints really improved layer adhesion.
Here are some print speeds that manufacturers recommend for different Nylon filaments that you can purchase from Amazon:
- SainSmart Carbon Fiber Filled Nylon – 30-60mm/s
- Polymaker PA6-GF Nylon Filament – 30-60mm/s
- OVERTURE Nylon Filament – 30-50mm/s
Chuck Bryant has a great video on YouTube teaching how to 3D print Nylon on a modified Ender 3. He personally goes with a print speed of 40mm/s.
Setting up the right layer height is an important step in order to get good final objects when 3D printing Nylon on your Ender 3.
Lowering your layer heights is one of the most important steps when 3D printing Nylon if you want to get the smoother results possible but sometimes increasing the layer heights may improve layer adhesion
One user who was having problems when trying to 3D print carbon fiber filled Nylon got a suggestion that he increase the layer height from 0.12mm to 0.25mm for a 0.4mm nozzle for better layer adhesion.
Another user got really pretty results when using eSUN Carbon Fiber Filled Nylon Filament and printing with a layer height of 0.2mm, printing it slow and keeping the filament very dry.
MatterHackers has a great video on YouTube talking about 3D printing Nylon and its layer heights.
Using an Enclosure
An enclosure isn’t necessary to 3D print Nylon, but you’ll get a lot more failures and warping if you don’t use one.
This is because it’s a higher temperature material and the change in temperature between the material and the printing environment can cause shrinking which leads to warping and layers not adhering together properly.
I’d highly recommend getting an enclosure for your Ender 3 to get the best results. You can get something like the Comgrow 3D Printer Enclosure for Ender 3 from Amazon. It’s fireproof, dustproof, and does a great job keeping a constant temperature within the enclosure.
Installation is quick and easy for users, while reducing noise from the printer.
One user mentioned that they never had a lot of luck printing ABS or Nylon before getting an enclosure. Now he describes it as being slightly more challenging than 3D printing with PLA.
Another user had success 3D printing Nylon on his Ender 3 without the use of an enclosure but he does recommend doing it in a well ventilated space away from people and animals.
If you can, try to filter out the air through some vents or use some kind of active carbon air scrubber to remove the VOCs from the air.
Even with an enclosure, Nylon is known to shrink around 1-4% according to one user who 3D prints Nylon-12 for marine applications.
If you are into building your own equipment, you can make an enclosure yourself with foam isolation and plexiglass.
Just remember to never build it out of flammable materials, like other users tried.
3D Printing Nerd has an amazing video with 5 tips for you if you are thinking about building your own 3D printer enclosure, check it out below.
Nylon filament is hygroscopic, that means it will absorb water from the air so it is crucial to keep it dry in order to prevent warping, stringing and other issues when 3D printing it.
Most users suggest getting a dry box to keep your Nylon filament dry as the moisture can ruin your prints and depending on how humid the place you live is, the Nylon filament can get bad really fast.
At least one user thinks the dry boxes available on the market don’t dry the filaments correctly and suggests using an actual food dehydrator, one with a fan and adjustable temperature, as he explained.
It doesn’t matter the method, all users agree, Nylon must be kept dry or it can get saturated and go bad within a few hours. Here’s what Nylon can look like when it’s wet.
Check out this highly rated SUNLU Filament Dryer Storage Box, available on Amazon. It’s a perfect fit for people looking to keep their Nylon filament dry and in a controlled temperature.
One user said he was previously drying Nylon in his oven before he purchased this. He said this is a much easier option and has a great user interface that’s intuitive.
For users wanting to 3D print Nylon on their Ender 3 it is one of the most recommended accessories.
CNC Kitchen has an awesome video about filament storage, how to keep your Nylon dry and other storage questions you should check below.
Retraction Settings – Distance & Speed
It is important to find the right retraction settings to get the most out of your Nylon 3D prints on your Ender 3. Setting up both the retraction speed and distance will heavily influence the results of your prints.
One user who was 3D printing with OVERTURE Nylon Filament, was having problems with stringing and found that higher retraction distances and speeds tend to work better.
In order to avoid such issues, he suggested a retraction distance of 5.8mm and a retraction speed of 30mm/s on his Ender 3 V2, which seemed to work great for him.
Another user had good results and no issues with stringing when 3D printing carbon fiber filled Nylon with 2.0mm retraction distance and a 30mm/s retraction speed.
MatterHackers has a really cool video on YouTube teaching you how to dial in your retraction settings for your 3D printer and get the best possible result on your final print.
First Layer Settings
As with most 3D prints, the first layers settings are one of the most important factors in order to get the best looking final object on your Ender 3.
If you’ve levelled your bed properly already, then making some changes to your first layer settings can make a significant difference. Some of the settings you might want to adjust are:
- Initial Layer Height
- Initial Flow Rate
- Initial Build Plate Temperature
You can increase your Initial Layer height by around 20-50% and see how that works to improve your first layer adhesion.
In terms of Initial Flow Rate, some people recommend trying out 110% but you can do your own testing and see what works best. It can work well to fix any gaps on the bottom layers.
For your Initial Build Plate Temperature, you can follow your manufacturer’s recommendation or even increase it by 5-10°C. Some users have had luck with having it be over 100°C for certain brands, but it does require some testing to find out.
Using adhesives for 3D printing Nylon on the Ender 3 is a great method to increase your success. Nylon doesn’t always stick to the bed surface very well, so using a good adhesive can help.
One user had a lot of success making Nylon-CF stick on a PEI sheet with an Ender 3 using a thin layer of wood glue. The user states that the glue is easy to remove afterwards by just washing with hot water and some brushing.
Another user confirmed they were having issues with adhesion and smearing some wood glue on their bed helped out a lot.
A common adhesive product that is recommended by the 3D printing community who 3D print a lot of Nylon is the Elmer’s Purpose Glue Stick from Amazon.
There’s another stronger type called Elmer’s X-Treme Extra Strength Washable Glue Stick that users have had success with.
Besides the more conventional glue sticks, users also recommend the Magigoo 3D Printer Adhesive Glue from Amazon. It’s a glue made specifically for Nylon filaments unlike the other conventional glues and works on multiple surfaces like glass, PEI and others.
Another user mentioned they use Purple Aqua-Net Hairspray for Nylon 3D prints with good success.
Hopefully these tips should point you in the right direction for 3D printing Nylon on your Ender 3.