Composite Materials for Additive Manufacturing

Composites and Continuous Fibre Reinforcement | Strong, Affordable Printing

A composite material is made from two or more materials which when combined result in a much stronger material, often with weight-saving. In 3D printing, it’s possible to print with two types of composite materials – chopped and continuous. The first is chopped fibre, which has small strands (less than a millimetre in length) mixed into the plastic base material. The higher the percentage of chopped fibre inside the base material, the stronger (or stiffer) the material becomes. The second is continuous fibre where long strands of fibre like carbon fibre, fibreglass or kevlar are mixed/”ironed” in with a plastic filament, like PLA, ABS, Nylon, PETG and PEEK during the printing process. A carbon-fibre reinforced composite for example can be as strong as aluminium and printed at a fraction of the cost. Companies including NASA, Google and Ford are now creating parts 50x faster and up to 23x stronger than ABS, using Markforged’s continuous carbon fibre industrial printer platform.

What can you print with composite and carbon fibre reinforcement?

Replacement parts
Jigs and fixtures
Maintenance spares
Tooling
Strong & chemical-resistant

Interested In Composite and Continuous Fibre Reinforced 3D printing?

Want to know if your application is suitable for Composites or CFR 3D Printing?

Which Markforged Composite Material?

The Markforged range of Onyx™ composite materials includes Onyx FR™ Onyx ESD™ and Onyx FR-A™ versions

Onyx™

Engineering grade thermoplastic, micro carbon fibre filled nylon with a beautiful surface finish

Onyx FR™

Flame-retardant, UL Blue Card, V-0 (self-extinguishing) at thicknesses greater than or equal to 3mm.

Onyx ESD™

High-performance static-dissipative, stronger, stiffer version of Onyx

Onyx FR-A™

For aerospace and automotive with lot-level traceability, parts meet 14 CFR 25.853.

Which Markforged Continuous Fibre Material?

The Markforged range of Onyx™ composite materials includes Onyx FR™ Onyx ESD™ and Onyx FR-A™ versions

Kevlar

Lightweight, durable, strong, good for parts with repeated and sudden loading

Carbon Fibre

Strength of aluminium but half the weight, highest strength to weight ratio of the Markforged range

Fibreglass

High strength at an accessible price to reinforce prints for strong, robust tools

HSHT Fiberglass

The strength of heat tolerance of aluminium for parts loaded in high operating temperatures

Other Composite powders and filaments

Developments in the new Formlabs Fuse 1+ 30W hardware including a higher-powered laser, use of inert gas and upgraded mixing now allow printing in Nylon 11 CF. Carbon fibres throughout the powder reinforce the nylon’s material properties and provide greater strength and durability. Some FFF 3D printers can also print with composite filaments including PC, PA-CF, PC-ABS and PEEK-CF.

Nylon 11 CF

Ideal for printing stiff, strong and lightweight end-use parts

PC

Tough with outstanding strength, stiffness. offers impact resistance

PA-CF

High strength, stiffness and durability

PC-ABS

High impact strength, High stiffness, Heat resistance

PEEK-CF

Chemical resistance, Toughness, Very high stiffness, hydrolysis and superheated steam resistant

Interested In Composite or Continuous Fibre materials?

Call the team now for advice on which additive manufacturing material/technology combination is most suitable, or we can call at aa time to suit you

Printing Examples

Composite 3D Printers

Markforged X7

Markforged Industrial Carbon Fibre 3D Printer for same-day printing of reinforced parts as strong as machined aluminium

Markforged X5

Markforged Industrial 3D Printer for Continuous Fibreglass reinforced parts

Markforged Mark Two

Markforged’s Desktop Carbon Fibre Composite 3D Printer

Markforged X3

Markforged Industrial FFF 3D Printer for high-quality, strong nylon parts filled with micro carbon fibre

Markforged X7

Markforged Industrial Carbon Fibre 3D Printer for same-day printing of reinforced parts as strong as machined aluminium

Markforged Mark Two

Markforged’s Desktop Carbon Fibre Composite 3D Printer

Markforged X5

Markforged Industrial 3D Printer for Continuous Fibreglass reinforced parts

Markforged X3

Markforged Industrial FFF 3D Printer for high-quality, strong nylon parts filled with micro carbon fibre

Additive-X | Your experienced additive manufacturing partner

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FAQ’S

Commonly asked questions about Composite and Continuous Fibre Reinforced 3D Printing

Composite materials offer a range of benefits over other polymers mainly strength and chemical resistance, great to print with and are ideal replacements for certain metal, delrin acetal) parts
3D printers that are capable of printing in Composite materials either have a dedicated print module/nozzle designed for Composite printing. Bowden Tubes have to be replaced on a regular basis due to the abrasive nature of the composite materials
Composite materials have varying percentages of composite fibres in the polymer, ranging from 10% to above 30%, this affects the strength of the material, other composite machines have the ability to add continuous strands into the print (imaging reinforced concrete). Base materials most are Nylon but some are from the PAEK family
Most if not all of the composite materials need to be stored correctly before, during and after use. Machines have a mix of heated filament chambers, Dry Boxes or humidity controlled chambers for better print results. During printing remove, bag and store with desiccant in an airtight container