3D printing with carbon fibre is now possible.

one of the main driving forces behind recent 3D printing innovation isn’t just confined to the hardware, but also the mechanical quality of the materials that are fed into the printer. Nothing exemplifies these developments to FDM 3D printing quite like the recent rise of carbon fiber 3D printers and filament.

Both the professional and industrial sectors have seen an influx of carbon fiber 3D printers over the past few years, and with them, a unique pathway to producing high-performance prototypes and use-end parts. 3D printing with carbon fibre requires reinforced filaments offer stronger, sturdier, and lighter weight parts than commonly used polymer materials.

These types of composite materials are playing a critical role in the advancement of 3D printing, bringing production capabilities closer to traditional manufacturing techniques. By adding carbon fiber into base materials like PLA and PETG, prosumers, engineers, and small businesses are able to create parts that offer strength comparable to titanium, but in a much more cost-effective manner.

In the following article, we’ll pull back the curtain on the carbon fiber for 3D printers, looking at affordable systems for professionals.

With hundreds of materials to pick from, why carbon fiber? In this section, we’ll explore the benefits and drawbacks of the material and the most common industrial applications of 3D printed carbon fiber parts. Below you’ll also find links to success stories that best illustrate today’s innovations in 3D printing with carbon fiber.

If you’re looking to print carbon fiber filament for nonindustrial uses, check out our Carbon Fiber 3D Printer Buyer’s Guide.

Pros & Cons

PROS

  • Lightweight compared to metal
  • Parts have increased strength and stiffness compared to plastics
  • Exceptional dimensional stability
  • Terrific for both end-use parts and functional prototypes that require metal-like strength
  • Resistance to corrosion

CONS

  • Carbon fiber composite filaments are more expensive than most filaments without carbon fibers
  • Carbon fiber is more expensive than some metals
  • An extremely abrasive material that can wear down some printer nozzles
  • More brittle than some other plastics
  • Increased risk of clogging some printer nozzles
  • The carbon fiber printers are often more expensive than other technologies