3D Carbon fiber is usually used to reinforce thermoplastics and other materials in 3D printing through a carbon 3D printer. This is because it has the properties to make parts lighter yet stronger. This property is particularly useful in engineering applications and has found wide applications across industries.
So what is continuous carbon fiber, carbon fiber 3D printer and how does it help in 3D printing? Let's take a look:
What is Continuous Carbon Fiber 3D printing?
In continuous fiber 3D printing filament, a spool of 3D carbon fiber is used to embed long strands of carbon fiber into the component that needs to be printed in carbon fiber printers. On the other hand, in the case of chopped carbon fibers, millions of short fibers are embedded into the filament.
There are several advantages that continuous 3D carbon fibers offer for 3D printing:
Benefits of Using Continuous Carbon 3D Printing Filament
One of the biggest benefits that continuous carbon 3D printing filament offers is cost-efficiency. The usual process involves running dry 3D carbon fibers through a resin bath until saturation. This pre-peg is then spooled and sent to the customer. Throughout the entire process of initial storage to shipment to storage again, the pre-peg must be kept frozen. This increases the cost of raw materials significantly.
In the case of continuous carbon fiber filament, the process starts with feeding a roll of dry fiber into a printhead which is mounted on an industrial robot. The carbon fiber 3D filament is impregnated with an instant curing resin within the printhead. This resin instantly hardens the fiber as soon as it is deposited on the print platform by the robot.
Because continuous carbon filament is used in the dry state, the whole process of freezing, expensive transportation, etc. is eliminated.
The second benefit is that continuous 3D carbon fiber is anisotropic. This means that the orientation of the fibers determines the direction in which the reinforced element will be strongest. This addresses a major problem that most printers face in 3D printing, especially when it comes to Fused Deposition Modeling or FDM.
FDM is weak in the Z-axis. However, with continuous carbon fiber 3D printing, the carbon 3D printer can address this weakness by changing the orientation of the printhead.
The third benefit is that continuous carbon fiber 3D filament can reduce manual labour and wastage of the printing material. The whole process of continuous carbon fiber 3D printing is automated. This reduces the cost of labour. Furthermore, the carbon fiber 3D printer fabricates objects in specified shapes, which means that material wastage is negligible or nil.
Also, continuous carbon fiber 3D printer filament can be fabricated with more than just carbon fiber. A number of other materials can also be used. Currently, materials such as carbon, fiberglass, continuous copper wire, nichrome wire, silicon carbide, etc are being used.
The ability to fabricate with other materials can help in the production of several functional parts that have high utility in specific industries.
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