Carbon-fiber-filled filaments are, as the name suggests, filaments that have carbon fibers included. However, Carbon fiber is well known for making solid and light products. A core market for carbon fiber is race cars, where minimizing weight is important, but strength is also key.
There are a broad number of filaments to which carbon fiber is added. PLA is generally the most popular, but you’ve also got PETG, Nylon, ABS, and Polycarbonate versions too. All of these retain the same printing requirements of the base filament. The addition of the fibers increases the likelihood of clogging, so a slightly wider nozzle is your best choice. We also recommend that you get a hardened steel nozzle as the fibers make the filament more abrasive.
- Bed Temperature: 45-60 °C
- Heated Bed Optional
- Build Surface: Painter’s tape, PEI, Glass plate, Glue stick
- Extruder: Temperature 200-230 °C
- Cooling: Fan required
- Wear-Resistant Hardened Steel Nozzle: Required
Note: These requirements are for PLA; your printing requirements will vary depending on the base filament type you’re using, and in some cases, on the brand.
Best Practices and Tips
The addition of carbon fibers makes this type of filament very abrasive. It is actually harder than brass, which is generally the material used for print nozzles. If your printer allows it, you should strongly consider swapping in a wear-resistant hardened steel nozzle. Using a normal one can result in pretty extreme wear and tear.
Unfortunately, the addition of fibers also makes the filament more likely to clog. To reduce the chance of this happening, we recommend that you use a slightly wider than usual nozzle. Bump up the temperature a bit, and minimize or eliminate retraction if possible.
Reducing the print speed can lead to better and more reliable results. A speed reduction of around 20% reduces the strain on the extruder and increases the chance that clogs are pushed through if they start to form.
Carbon-fiber-filled filaments are significantly more brittle than their base filaments. If possible, use a guided filament path to reduce the stress on the filament and decrease the chance of it breaking.
- Increased strength and stiffness
- Great dimensional stability
- Allows lightweight prints
- Abrasive to the nozzle
- Prone to oozing and clogging
- The filament is brittle and easy to break
This information should give you a great starting point for printing carbon-fiber-filled filaments. Have you got any specific projects you’re planning to use carbon-fiber-filled filaments for? Let us know down below.