Can ColorFabb XT CF20 carbon fiber filament be used with the TAZ4 or Mini?
It can, but it may not be ideal for what you’re doing or worth the potential outcome:
A special point of attention is the abrasive nature of the carbon fibers. In general these fibers will accelerate the nozzle-wear of brass nozzles, much faster than unfilled filaments. Therefore we recommend to use nozzle’s from Stainless steel or hardened copper alloys.
While it’s tempting to try using filament containing carbon fiber, many users are reporting trouble extruding after using that material, even from different vendors. We’ve seen people that wear out the inside of their nozzle, not to mention having lingering extrusion issues after switching to more common filament types.
One of the benefits of carbon fiber containing materials are it’s strength, similarly to good quality plywood. The interlocking long carbon fiber strands give the material a super-strong core. All the filaments we’ve seen so far however, don’t have that same kind of long carbon fiber strands, so your prints are similar to Oriented Strand Board (cheaper plywood with smaller fiber length), which isn’t as strong or as durable. That somewhat defeats the purpose of using carbon fiber materials.
We find that for applications needing high-strength printed parts Nylon is a great material. While a bit slower to print, the parts are much, much stronger.
Thank you for the reply.
Yes I have Nylon filament, which is a good option. I agree with your explanation.
So in the future what is the solution? Since carbon fiber filament is becoming more popular, should the construction of the filament change or should the hardware change?
Will Lulzbot every develop/config extrusion hardware which supports current carbon fiber filament with out the risk of wearing out the nozzle and possible extrusion issues?
Thanks again for your response.
We’ll see! The more interest there is in a certain area, the more we’ll experiment with it as well. We print with a ton of different materials, much more than we actually carry for retail sales. As far as filament vs hardware changes it’s usually a combination of both.
We will typically only offer slicing configuration files for filament we have to test with, and that we carry for retail sales. We do however follow an “Open Innovation” philosophy, so all our slicing profiles we are experimenting with can be found on our development server at http://devel.lulzbot.com. The only reliable nozzle designs I have seen involved a customer replacing the filament path with an M10 stainless steel bolt that had been drilled through and turned into a nozzle… Not sure how long it lasted though.
The strength of carbon fiber is the continuous strand. Extrudable filaments with chopped carbon fiber strands will most likely not produce increase the strength of the part. The part could be slight stronger and possibly lighter. But strength wise, the weak link will be the thermoplastic filler. The piece will be conductive though, due to the carbon fiber content.
With that said, there was coverage of a printer that could print continuous strand carbon fiber. The issue they overcame was cutting the carbon fiber strand on layer changes and retracts. The printer unfortunately is 3x the cost of the TAZ…