Polycarbonate is a filament favored for its incredibly high durability and resistance to heat and impacts. It offers high levels of heat deflection and impact resistance. It also has a very high glass transition temperature of 150°C. Making it ideal for use in high-temperature environments. Polycarbonate prints can bend somewhat without breaking. So it is often used in applications where minor flexibility is required.
Polycarbonate filaments often have additives to reduce the required printing temperature, so make sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations for your specific filament. Just as with nylon filaments, polycarbonate is incredibly hygroscopic. So it’s important to store it in a sealed dry box with a desiccant.
- Bed Temperature: 80-120 °C
- Heated Bed Required
- Enclosure Required
- Build Surface: PEI, Glue stick
- Extruder: Temperature 260-310 °C
- All-Metal Hotend Required
Best Practices and Tips
PEI is generally the best build surface for polycarbonate, as it can consistently stick at 110°C or higher. In contrast, other surfaces can start to break down or permanently adhere to the print. Once the bed has cooled, polycarbonate typically self-releases or be easily removed with a spatula and minimal effort.
With the extreme printing temperatures and low level of active cooling required, polycarbonate is prone to stringing and oozing. To counter this, try increasing the retraction distance and speed settings or enabling the coasting setting.
The high temperatures used to print polycarbonate tend to be very poor at bridging or printing overhangs. Always make sure you have suitable support structures. We also recommend increasing the level of infill to provide adequate support to the top layers. This should also be a layer or two thicker than normal to prevent any drooping.
- High heat and impact resistant
- Naturally transparent
- Bendable without breaking
- Requires very high print temperatures
- Prone to warping and oozing
- Extremely hygroscopic
This information should give you a great starting point for polycarbonate printing. Have you got any specific projects you’re planning to use polycarbonate for? Let us know down below.