best filament for protective gauntlets?

I am involved in a sport called HEMA (historical european martial arts) where we hit each other with blunt steel swords. The choices for hand protection are not great, so I am trying to make my own!

I printed all the parts out of polylite PLA for the prototype. Next, i tried ABS from village plastics, but the ABS is WAY weaker than the PLA. I thought ABS is supposed to be stronger (more impact resistant, more flexible, less brittle)? The plates cracked when using a rivet gun (the
PLA did not), they broke when struck hard enough (not that hard), and they prevent a lot less pain when being hit lol.

Could my ABS prints be structurally dysfunctional because of my print settings? I am currently printing using the lulzbot CURA recommended settings. Or is PLA the better option for this project? Or is there a third better option than PLA or ABS? What would be the best filament for making functional protective gauntlets fighting with steel weapons?

Thanks in advance!

This design looks awesome! Nylon Alloy 910 should do the job nicely. It prints really well with the all metal hot end and PEI print surface of the LulzBot TAZ 6, 5 and LulzBot Mini. Slicing profiles are built into Cura LulzBot Edition as well. You’ll want to use PVA-based white school glue on the PEI print surface. 910 has excellent layer adhesion, superior strength when compared to ABS and PLA, while still allowing for some flex. Give it a try and let us know how it worked for this. Will you be sharing your design files?

Put a cardboard box around your printer to increase the ambient temperature when printing ABS. If you can, give the chamber a bit of a pre-heat with a hair dryer or heat gun on low.

Thanks for the replies! I think I figured out the issue: I had the density set to 20% haha. Rookie mistake! Now printing at 100% and will test that when complete. I think I will still test out Nylon Alloy though, because it sounds awesome! Thanks again! :smiley:

You might want to use 80% or so in case your flow rate/filament diameter is a little off, then it will still give a smooth surface but still be fairly strong. Maybe! :slight_smile:

ABS is difficult to get to bond to itself. PLA bonds to itself readily. It is less flexible and more prone to shattering, but abs is more prone to splitting along layer lines. you can mitigate that with abs by printing at a higher temperature, using acetone wash or vapor to chemically harden the outer layer, and printing with the parts arranged so the impact surface is as flat as possible rather than printing on edge up, which may result in a more pleasing finish but less overall strength. Also print at the highest infil you can get away with. 85% or better.

Polycarbonate would be a good choice, or nylon too. but they are difficullt to print.