Nylon is extremely tough, resistant to heat, large shocks and impacts, and doesn’t scratch or wear down easily — no wonder it’s considered one of the best 3D printer filaments. Used in FDM as a filament, as well as in SLS and MJF as a powder, Nylon is one of the most versatile 3D printing materials around.
- Nylon 3D Printer Filament Properties
- Best Nylon 3D Printers 2022
- Best Nylon 3D Printer Filament
- Best Nylon Filament Brands
- Advantages of Nylon Filament
- Disadvantages of Nylon filament
- Tips to get the best results from Nylon 3D printing
- Nylon Applications
- How to Store Nylon
- Different Types of Nylon Filament
- Nylon 3D Printing Technologies
- Nylon 3D Printing FAQs
Nylon 3D Printer Filament Properties
Nylon is a form of polyamide, with forms such as PA12 commonly used in SLS 3D printers.
Nylon filament is known for being extremely tough and durable, as well as for its flexibility. Though ABS is known for its toughness, Nylon is a step above, with very high impact resistance, abrasion resistance and increased flexibility.
While filaments like PLA can be brittle, Nylon is tough, and when printed thick it can handle large shocks and impacts. Unlike ABS, it does not print with bad odors.
This makes it ideal for functional parts that can be made quickly using rapid prototyping, tested for errors, and quickly iterated on.
Nylon also offers very good surface finish if you use the right 3D slicer and printing settings, and despite the toughness can be printed very intricately and accurately. We discuss the best settings for 3D printing Nylon further on in our Nylon filament guide.
Nylon melting point & Nylon 3D printing settings
An extruder temperature of around 250°C is used to 3D print Nylon, though some prefer to print at a lower temperature, and some slightly higher. Between 220°C and 260°C is the broad temperature range.
You will certainly need a heated bed to print Nylon to prevent warping. Most professionals and hobbyists use between 70-90°C heated bed temperatures, though some recommend going even higher, at 100°C. Without a heated bed, parts will cool too quickly, leading to warping and curling that ruins your parts.
For the same reason it is highly recommended to use an enclosure or heated chamber when printing Nylon filament. These enclosures maintain a hot temperature around the print, so the part cools at a steady, slower rate that reduces warping and curling. As with ABS, without an enclosure parts will suffer significant curling and deforming.
Using the correct build surface is also key to an accurate part, as this improves bed adhesion and reduces warping. Makers often use glue stick, PEI sheets, and Kapton tape, though this changes slightly depending on what type of print bed you have.
Unlike with PLA 3D printing, you should not use a cooling fan when 3D printing Nylon filament. Turn your fan off before printing to avoid any errors.
Another important factor is to ensure the Nylon filament you use is dry. If not, parts will be weaker, rougher and bubbly. Nylon is extremely hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs large amounts of moisture from the air, worsening printing quality. Nylon filament needs to be stored in airtight containers when not used, and dried if it has been out in the open beforehand.
We will explain more about drying and storing Nylon filament later in this article.
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Best Nylon 3D Printers 2022
Unfortunately, unlike with PLA you cannot buy a very cheap 3D printer and print good quality Nylon parts. More reliable, durable and effective 3D printers are required for good Nylon 3D printing, which cost more.
We have picked out the best Nylon 3D printers we recommend, starting at the lowest price ranges.
It is worth noting that while all of these Nylon 3D printers are good for Nylon printing, only the Pulse XE is designed specifically for printing filaments such as NylonX and other abrasive filaments. If you want to print these filaments only, consider looking into the Pulse XE.
Qidi Tech X-Plus
- Price: Check price on Amazon here
- Build volume: 270 x 200 x 200 mm
Another excellent offering from Qidi Technology, our breakdown of the best printers for nylon wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Qidi Tech X-Plus.
Versatility acts as a cornerstone of what the Qidi Tech X-Plus is all about, chiefly thanks to dual interchangeable extruders. One hits temperatures up to 260°C, ideal for your PLA, ABS, TPU, and PETG projects. The other cranks up the heat to 300°C to rally more demanding materials like nylon into excellent prints.
This duality also extends to the print bed with different adhesive qualities on each surface. One side is designed for your standard filaments; flip it over to use temperature-sensitive materials.
Another central selling point is the Qidi Tech X-Plus’ enclosed chamber and air filtration system, which go the extra mile compared to other similar nylon-capable 3D printers. The chamber helps reduce printing errors by maintaining a stable thermal environment, vital when working with nylon and ABS.
Added niceties such as Wi-Fi connectivity, a touch screen, automatic bed leveling, print resume, and dual filament holders bolster the Qidi Tech X-Plus feature list beautifully. You’ll also find a 270 x 200 x 200 mm build volume; not the largest out there, but certainly enough for medium-sized functional parts.
On the whole, we’d say the Qidi Tech X-Plus provides an excellent solution for semi-professionals in the market for a versatile nylon-capable printer. It’s affordable and has features generally reserved for the price rung above.
Prusa i3 MK3S+
- Price: $999 — Available at Prusa store here
- Build volume: 250 x 250 x 210 mm
Straight from the folks with arguably the best reputation in the 3D printing game, we have the Prusa i3 MK3S+, one of the best all-around 3D printers on the market today.
While you’ll usually find owners extolling its virtues when paired with PLA, PETG, and Flexibles, the Prusa i3 MK3S+ impresses as much with more exotic, demanding filament types, including nylon.
A custom E3D V6 hot end does the heavy lifting in that sense. Sporting overall high-quality all-metal components, the hot end can comfortably reach a peak temperature of 300°C.
Alongside the hot end, you’ll find a Prusa’s own MK52″ heat bed, capable of hitting 120°C, perfect for nailing a warp-free first layer of temperature-sensitive material. Nylon is a heat fiend, and the Prusa i3 MK3S+ dishes out all the toasty, thermal goodness needed to shine.
Discounting errors on the user’s part – the most common culprit for failed prints – the Prusa i3 MK3S+ generates admirable nylon results. It’s easy to forget this is an FDM printer by the level of detail on offer here. As it’s nylon, the parts retain all the durability and abrasion-resistance you’d expect, making them suitable for functional parts like hinges and gears, for example.
Nylon performance aside, the Prusa i3 MK3S+ has a feature list worth flaunting. Highlights include easy SuperPINDA 2 automatic mesh bed leveling, a filament sensor, power loss recovery, and ‘Stealth Mode’ near-silent printing. We’re merely scratching the surface here of what is a sophisticated, highly-reliable prosumer machine.
With the Prusa MK3S+ soaking in a glut of positives, it’s hard not to recommend it as one of the best 3D printers for nylon, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned maker.
- Price: $999 — Available at Matterhackers here
- Build volume: 250 x 220 x 215 mm
The Pulse XE is a robust, machined aluminum 3D printing brute designed from the ground up to handle the most exacting, abrasive, and challenging material types under the sun, including nylon. This is a machine to make durable parts for demanding real-world applications. Despite its tank-like tailoring, the Pulse XE is a gentle giant of sorts; incredibly easy to set up, use, and steer from the get-go.
The Pulse XE houses the same best-in-class E3D V6 hot end as the Prusa i3 MK3S+. Quickly hitting a maximum temperature of 300°C, the hot end has some help carrying nylon to great prints results from a heated bed with a LayerLock Garolite surface and Bondtech BMG extruder.
In action, the Pulse XE typifies reliability with few noticeable imperfections and a superb finish on printed parts, classing it as one of the top nylon-capable 3D printers on the market.
Other positives include an automatic BLTouch bed leveling probe, filament run-out sensor, power resume function, and a respectable 250 x 220 x 215 mm build volume – a welcome equilibrium between printing capabilities and overall physical footprint.
Put simply; the Pulse XE gathers up all the dream modifications you could think of and houses them in one sturdy piece of 3D printing kit. It’s a workhorse that performs out of the box. If demanding materials like nylon feature on your 3D printing bucket list, but you still want a printer equally at home with staples like PLA and Flexibles, consider the Pulse XE.
Dremel 3D45 – Best For Schools and Education
- Price: Check price on Amazon here / Available on Matterhackers here / Available on Dynamism here
- Build volume: 255 x 155 x 170 mm
Power tool manufacturer Dremel’s move to 3D printing has been something of a hit thanks to the Dremel 3D45. A fully-enclosed ecosystem printer aimed at schools, the Dremel 3D45 eases that steep 3D printing learning curve. Best of all, it works beautifully with nylon, and simplifies those first experimental prints.
Safe and dependable, thanks to carbon filters and transparent covers, the Dremel 3D45 melds into any learning environment. But, it still packs great printing capabilities under the hood.
A 255 x 155 x 170 mm build volume gives you enough room for small to medium-sized parts for, say, automotive or low-level robotic parts. You’ll also find other noteworthy features. These include a filament sensor, semi-automatic bed leveling, free lesson plans, and great slicing tools.
As for the Dremel 3D45 nylon printing, you can expect strong, durable prints with the right amount of flexibility for thinner parts. Dremel’s all-metal hot end can reach 280°C and the 100°C heated bed maintains suitable adhesion levels for consistent results.
While the Dremel 3D45’s great, there is one major concern. The printer only performs at its best when using Dremel’s proprietary filament. This is by design for an ecosystem printer for day-in, day-out educational use. You can, of course, use third-party filament. But, expect to fine-tune temperature settings to hone in on the best print quality.
- Price: ~$4,000 — Available at Matterhackers here / Available at Dynamism here
- Build volume: 215 x 215 x 200 mm
Following in the footsteps of the critically acclaimed Ultimaker 3, which burst onto the 3D printing scene back in 2017, the Ultimaker S3 is a powerful dual extrusion 3D printer suitable for professional and design applications.
The dual extruder setup oozes versatility, extending its competence to everything from ABS and PLA to PVA, CPE, and nylon. Whatever you throw at the Ultimaker S3, the print results are nothing short of excellent, with a particular emphasis on clean edges and smooth finish when printing with nylon. For those functional applications where durability and dependability are essential, the Ultimaker 3 absolutely sings.
Peeking briefly at the specifications list, the Ultimaker 3 hits its stride there, too. A decent 215 x 215 x 200 mm build volume, swappable print cores for different filament types, an enclosed chamber, Wi-Fi connectivity, automatic bed leveling, a layer resolution up to 60 microns, and a heated glass bed.
Donning our nitpicking caps, the only issue holding back the Ultimaker S3 is lengthy print times. Blame its age and the fact we’ve become accustomed to much speedier printers due to advances in the intervening years. Key in fine-detail prints, especially when using several material types, and you’re in for a long old slog numbered in the dozens of hours.
- Price: $6,300 — Available at Matterhackers here / Available at Dynamism here
- Build volume: 330 x 240 x 300 mm
The Ultimaker S5 is a professional-grade printer fit for all manner of applications. Much of this is down to how it tackles various filament types, including nylon, all in a streamlined, functional setup that delivers outstanding print quality.
You certainly pay for the pleasure, and the Ultimaker S5 prices out hobbyist makers, who’d be better served with the more affordable, if older, Ultimaker S3. That said, for business and expert makers with the budget to spare, the Ultimaker S5’s price tag is entirely justified.
Beyond extensive material compatibility, the Ultimaker S5 ships with a large-scale 330 x 240 x 300 mm fit for series batch-printing, large prototyping, functional parts, and everything in between.
Add in automatic bed leveling, an enclosed chamber, the same impressive dual extrusion capabilities Ultimaker S3, a touchscreen, and a heated bed. List the most coveted features among designers and engineers, the Ultimaker S5 has them.
While we could happily keep praising this machine to stress just how impressive an offering we have here, the Ultimaker S5 is best considered a super-sized, souped Ultimaker S3, itself one of the best affordable nylon printers around.
Best Nylon 3D Printer Filament
There are a number of popular Nylon filament brands and types. The cheapest Nylon filaments can cost as low as $30 per kilo, whereas NylonX is more expensive as it is mixed with carbon fiber, as is NylonG which is mixed with glass fibers for added strength.
Some of the best places to buy Nylon filament include:
- View the full range of Nylon filaments on Matterhackers here
- Matterhackers NylonX filaments
- Matterhackers NylonG filaments
- 3DJake UK & Europe Nylon filament selection
Best Nylon Filament Brands
Matterhackers Pro Series Nylon picks off two birds with one stone by offering outstanding quality filament at a reasonable price. Additionally, Matterhackers proposes a broad range of colors to choose from in the Pros Series Nylon range, along with two 1.75 mm and 2.85 mm options. Matterhackers Pro Series Nylon comes highly rated for commercial prototyping.
Overture Nylon is another excellent choice for those sticking to a budget and willing to sacrifice quality for a lower price. We see it as a perfect choice for beginners trying their hand at Nylon for the first time. We particularly like the anti-warping and odorless features. It’s available in 1.75 mm, either in gray or black.
Also worth mentioning for businesses and designers not willing to compromise on quality is Ultimaker Nylon. Premium through and through, it delivers quality prints with also a nod to nylon’s tricky storage with work done to minimize moisture absorption. You’ll find Ultimaker Nylon available in 2.85 mm diameter, in either black or transparent.
How much does Nylon filament cost?
Prices vary based on the type and blend, but generally the cheapest Nylon filaments cost around $30 per kilo. Typical high-quality filament can expect to cost $50 per kilo and upwards. Major filament brands such as Polymaker, ColorFabb and more make their own Nylon filaments, as well as 3D printer manufacturers such as Dremel and Ultimaker.
Advantages of Nylon Filament
- Very strong: ABS is another filament known for its durability, but Nylon is stronger than ABS as well as more flexible. For really tough 3D printed parts, Nylon is the best choice.
- Flexible: as a result, Nylon parts are not only strong, but have great impact resistance. This makes Nylon filament ideal for parts that will come under a lot of strain and force, such as in mechanical gears and functional parts.
- Great for making functional parts: Nylon is perfect for functional parts that need to be able to hold up to significant, long-term strains, and for testing whether a design will work.
Disadvantages of Nylon filament
- Prone to warping: if not properly optimized, 3D printed Nylon parts can curl up on the edges, rendering functional parts such as gears completely useless. Carefully optimized print settings are required, as well as a heated bed, enclosure, and build surface to prevent warping.
- Requires airtight storage: to stop water absorption which affects print quality. This adds to expense, though we recommend filament containers further on in this article that can extrude directly from a small hole, so you do not need to remove filament to print.
- Requires additional investment in a high-quality hot end: we highly recommend upgrading to a high-quality hot end, which we recommend in our hot end buyer’s guide. Nylon is tough and requires higher temperatures than filaments like PLA, which some more basic hot ends can struggle with. To get the most out of your filament, consider upgrading your hot end.
Tips to get the best results from Nylon 3D printing
Use a 3D printer with an enclosure
Some Nylons are prone to warping as a result of the huge change between the printing temperature and the outside environment. A heated bed can help, especially with the bottom layers, but a heated chamber or enclosure works far better at controlling warping and curling.
Optimize printing settings
If necessary, consider using brims or rafts to prevent warping, and use the correct heated bed and extruder temperatures for the best results.
Dry filament before use / use an airtight filament container:
Dry filament prints better quality, stronger, and more crisp surface finish parts.
Use a 3D Printer With An All-Metal Extruder
As a durable, abrasive material, nylon takes a toll on a 3D printer, which is why an all-metal extruder capable of reaching temperatures, ideally up to 300°C, is vital for successful nylon printing.
Use a Heated Bed
Nylon’s temperature sensitivity means you’ll need to provide the requisite heat, chiefly from the extruder.
But, also by using a heated bed reaching temperatures around 100-degrees centigrade for the best results. Doing so guarantees better adhesion and reduces the likelihood of unwanted warping.
Nylon is commonly used to create durable and long-lasting plastic gears, screws, hinges, nuts and bolts and cable ties. Beyond this, custom parts that need to be strong, as well as somewhat flexible, are often best for Nylon.
Nylon is commonly used to make gears due to its low friction and good abrasion resistance, with its flexibility also making it useful to create hinges. Within 3D printing, Nylon is used in durable parts for rapid prototyping, as well as often in homemade maker projects such as on drones or RC cars.
How to Store Nylon
Nylon is extremely hygroscopic, absorbing huge amounts of water from the air, which can ruin printing quality and result in weaker, bubbly parts. To prevent this, Nylon filament should be kept in a filament container.
We recommend the following products below to keep your filament in the best condition.
Nylon Filament Dryers
Filament dryers remove a significant amount of the moisture that your filament absorbs, resulting in better quality prints with better surface finish. A dryer, coupled with the appropriate storage container, can keep Nylon in great printing shape for a long time.
We recommend the following:
Different Types of Nylon Filament
NylonX is a hybrid Nylon filament with carbon fibers added to further improve toughness and improve stiffness.
Though used sometimes by committed makers, NylonX is mostly used for industrial uses such as in rapid prototyping, and it is recommended to use hardened metal nozzle as these filaments can wear down nozzles quickly.
Read more: NylonX 3D printer filament guide
Similar to NylonX but instead of carbon fibers, NylonG is Nylon blended with glass fibers to improve strength and resistance further.
Again, this is a mainly industrial filament, though some hobbyists will find niche everyday uses.
Nylon 3D Printing Technologies
Fused Deposition Modeling technology melts filament through a heated extruder before depositing it layer by layer to complete a print. FDM tech and nylon work well for jewelry, toys, and functional outdoor household parts.
Selective Laser Sintering employs a powerful laser to selectively fuse (or sinter) thermoplastic polymer powder into a solid print one layer at a time. Nylon and SJS pair well for applications such as functional prototypes, rapid manufacturing, electrical casing, and nonmechanical automotive parts.
Multi Jet Fusion uses an array of inkjet print heads to fuse and detail a thin layer of material powder into voxels to create a print. MJF-printed nylon is often used in applications such as hobbyist RC cars, camera mounts, drones, and mobile phone cases
Nylon 3D Printing FAQs
If you are interested in our other filament guides, check out:
- Our complete guide to ABS filament
- Our complete guide to PLA filament
- Our comparison of PLA vs ABS
- The best 3D printers buyer’s guide
- The top 10 FDM 3D printers
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