What are these things made from?
Generally speaking, I print all parts in PLA+, PLA Pro or PLA Tough, a common, but clean form of plastic in 3D printing. I’ve worked hard to make these parts extremely strong through a combination of printing techniques and design. I’ve worked with a number of materials (and some will be used in upcoming products), but these forms and alloys of PLA have been the most predictable, repeatable, and best looking finished pieces.
You may also find parts here made from PETG, ABS, or PCTPE depending on the application. Some custom colors may only be available in certain plastics.
Why don’t you use nylon like other larger printing companies?
You did some research. Good for you. I did too.
Yes. Nylon is a great material to produce 3d printed parts. It has a great tensile strength, absorbs impact and finishes nicely. I’ve also heard many people complain it’s just as brittle and problematic as “cheaper” plastics and yet you’re paying 20-50% more for it. In the interest of the bottom line for both you and me, I chose to go with what I was getting the best results from.
And carbon fiber? Well, it sure does look neat, but doesn’t really impart much in the way of strength since the actual carbon fiber is chopped up into tiny pieces. And it’s even more expensive.
So this thing won’t ever break, right?
3d printed parts are just not the same as an injection molded part you can get from a large manufacturer. Injection molded plastics are tough as hell. And yet, you still break those. So, these things can break. I’ve gone through a lot of testing to do my best to make my parts handle serious flex and impact, but they are not indestructible. Any part made of plastic will weaken over time and with repeated stress.
Some general limitations…
Given the general nature of these plastics, many of them will not do well if left in direct sunlight or in hot places as it may cause the parts to deform, bend, become brittle, etc. Do not leave them in the trunk of your car or on the passage seat. Store them in a cool place out of direct sunlight. Some plastics are much better at handling it, but your parts should remain in tact if you don’t treat them like rented playground equipment.