Carbon fiber has become a very popular item in the Additive Manufacturing world. There are a slew of companies offering various carbon fiber solutions. Stratasys also has their own Nylon12 based carbon fiber material on their Fortus line of 3D printers, but this is a new solution for their F123 series of 3D printers. ABS Carbon Fiber Filled material is set to be released for the F170, F270, and F370 in April, so let's take a closer look at ABS-CF10.
You may be asking, "What’s the big deal with carbon fiber?" Carbon fiber is best known for its superior strength to weight ratio, which has made it a great choice for many different industries. It is most commonly added to FDM filament in chopped fibers to better increase the strength yield of that material. It is typically added to nylon for it's high durability and chemical resistance that makes it an optimal choice for a wide variety of applications. Nylon does require a controlled environment to achieve these mechanical properties, especially on Fortus machines. This is hard to do on hobbyist, or lower-end machines, that can’t consistently control their print environment to such a high degree.
Stratasys ABS-CF10 combines standard ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) material with 10% chopped carbon fiber by weight, and because it’s ABS it has a lot of benefits when 3D printing. ABS does not need any kind of post-print heating or specialized print environments to achieve its full mechanical properties. Right off of the machine these parts are ready to go. And by adding carbon fiber to the ABS material you can bet this will help increase the overall strength of parts without adding weight. This is important for any application where increasing stiffness while reducing weight is needed.
The addition of ABS-CF10 to the F123 Series lineup makes the power of carbon fiber printing much more accessible. We like to think it’s a powerful addition to your 3D printing toolbox. Check out this video for an even closer look at this awesome material.