Which pellets can be printed?

To determine if a pellet is suitable for 3D printing, it is crucial to evaluate several factors, including processing temperatures and the characteristics of the pellet itself.

PROCESSING TEMPERATURES:
The first consideration concerns the processing temperatures. Each material requires specific temperatures to be printed effectively. For example, polycarbonate (PC) requires printing temperatures around 300°C.  It is important to ensure that the 3D printer is able to reach and maintain these temperatures. If the required temperatures are very high, it may be necessary to use a printer specifically designed for such materials.

PELLET SIZE & SHAPE:
The size of the pellet is crucial. Pellets that are too large, usually larger than 3-4 mm, are not suitable for 3D printing. Additionally, it is important to consider the shape of the pellet – sharp or uneven surfaces can cause problems during extrusion and printing.

HOMOGENEITY OF PELLET SIZE:
Consistency in the size of the pellets is important. Significant differences in size can cause power problems and blockages in the printer extruder.

PRESENCE OF FIBER:
If the pellet contains fiber (such as reinforcing fibers), its concentration must be assessed. If too high (over 15%, for example) it can make the material too rigid and difficult to print. In addition, it is important to check the compatibility of the fiber with the polymer matrix to avoid adhesion issues between the printed parts.

MANUFACTURER RECOMMENDATIONS: Some 3D printer manufacturers, such as WASP, provide specific recommendations on materials and brands that can be used with their machines. It’s always a good practice to go through these compatibility lists to make sure the pellets are suitable for your printer.

SPECIALIZED CONSULTATIONS: In the case of particular materials or if you have doubts about the printability of a specific pellet, it is possible to seek specialized advice. Experts in the 3D printing industry can provide specific information on material compatibility and offer customized solutions for your printing needs.

In summary, choosing pellets for 3D printing requires careful evaluation of the requirements for temperature, size, shape, fiber content, and manufacturer’s recommendations. Consultation with industry experts can be invaluable when working with particular or complex materials.