Polycarbonate (PC) is a solid material in 3D printing due to its transparency and impact resistance properties. It is both lightweight and sturdy. Many utilize it for various applications.
The process of polycarbonate 3D printing is a tedious one. It requires build plate temperature and relatively high extrusion. Some nations banned polycarbonate uses in the manufacturing of baby bottles as it releases bisphenol, which is a health hazard.
However, you can use it to manufacture optical glass due to its transparency. Also, manufacturers use it to produce motorcycle helmets and bulletproof windows thanks to its high impact resistance
Polycarbonate 3D Printing Material Properties
- High Impact Strength and Tough: It provides resistance to fracture and impact, thereby providing comfort and safety to situations that demand performance and reliability. It can still maintain toughness of 140 degrees Celsius.
- Protection for UV Radiations: The materials block ultraviolet radiation and protect you from harmful UV rays effectively.
- Transmittance: The material can transmit more than 90% of light, therefore, rated as good glass. You can still customize it to suit your different applications.
- Chemical Resistance: The PC will exhibit strong chemical resistance against diluted acids, greases, oils, and alcohols.
- Optical nature: The materials offer excellent optical properties because it has an amorphous structure. Its refractive index is 1.5.
- Heat Resistance: The 3D Polycarbonate printing material will remain stable up to 135 degrees Celsius. You can further improve the heat resistance by adding flame retardants.
- It has good abrasion resistance.
- It will tolerate frequent steam sterilization.
Limitation of Polycarbonates
- The mechanical properties will degrade after an extended exposure at over 60 degrees Celsius.
- Low fatigue endurance.
- It develops into a yellow color when exposed to UV.
Polycarbonate 3D Printing Service
PC may not be an easy material to work on when performing 3D printing. It will also require a high-performance PC 3D printer that will print and manage high-temperature materials. Here are tips for successful polycarbonate 3D printing.
a) Select High-End Polycarbonate 3D Printing Filament
You must select top quality filament while printing with polycarbonate. Beware of cheap materials that will compromise quality filaments, which will affect your 3D printing experience.
Again, the low-quality filament will create imperfections on your finished work. You should, therefore, buy your materials from a trusted dealer. You can procure a sample and assess the quality of such a filament.
b) Select the Right Printer
You should select the right 3D printer that will tolerate high temperatures. You should settle for a 3D printer that has an enclosed build chamber, which is ideal for printing polycarbonate plastic.
Again, the right 3D printer should tolerate high temperatures to work on high-temperature materials. Polycarbonate materials require a hot end that can reach a maximum temperature of 315 degrees Celsius. The print bed temperature should be between 140 to 145 degrees Celsius.
c) Bed Adhesion
Bed adhesion affects the quality of your polycarbonate 3D printed product. Polycarbonate material has a high warping and shrinking tendency. It makes strong bed adhesion, which is critical in the successful printing of the materials.
To enable the bicarbonate to effectively stick on the glass print bed, manufacturers improvised liquid bed adhesion solutions. The solution will bond the polycarbonate print to the glass. As the solution gets cooled, the bed solution will deactivate, enabling the part to get released from the bed.
The liquid bed adhesion solution is environmentally safe and non-toxic. Apply it to the glass print bed before beginning the glass printing process.
d) Enclosed Build Chamber
The enclosed build chamber will manage the heat aspect. It will also prevent any imperfections that reflect on the printed part, such a deformation, and cracking.
The enclosed print environment is crucial when working on large parts. In case the print is large, you will rely less on the bed heat. You will only get better results by employing a high-performance enclosure.
Polycarbonate Printing Recommendations
· Ambient temperatures
You can only get proper results if you maintain a consistent temperature. The heated bed should have an optimal temperature of between 135 to 150 degrees. You can still use third party adhesives that are still useful in maintaining bed adhesion.
You should maintain ambient temperature to prevent layers from warping or cracking. In case you lack a 3D enclosure, you can still access DIY enclosure options.
The PC will always absorb the atmospheric moisture. As such, you should keep it dry when you are not using it. You should also buy top quality filaments to escape bubbles or failed prints.
Typically, the moisture does not affect the polycarbonate 3D print quality.
However, it can compromise its optical transparency. You can prevent the moisture by storing the filament in sealed containers. Alternatively, before you begin the printing process, you should dry your filament.
· Nozzle Temperature
A PC will need a hot bet that can tolerate temperatures up to 300 degrees Celsius. You should, therefore, have a PC that will attain such temperature to get the right print. For that matter, you should do extensive research before you purchase the most suitable PC assists you in getting high-end materials.
Uses of Polycarbonate
1. Building and construction
PC has a high impact strength and transparency with good weather ability. You can use it to secure windows and making houses.
2. Electricity and Electronics
You can use the PC for lighting applications, electrical housing, domestic switches, plug, and sockets.
3. Automotive and Transportation
You can use the Polycarbonate 3D printing material in the manufacturing of the vehicle parts. It also creates an eye-catching vehicle design.
4. Consumer Products
You can use it to manufacture different products like sunglasses, bulletproof windows, CDs and DVDs.
You can apply the PC in the medical fields by creating surgical instruments, blood reservoir filters, etc.
With the invention of the Polycarbonate 3D printing materials, you will never overlook its usefulness to humanity. Various industries are using it to make different products for sale. About that, you need to use the right polycarbonate for 3D printing and make your business have top quality products.
We offer exceptional services on polycarbonate printing. Contact us for more details.