Thomas Edison discovered carbon fibres in the late 1800s for use as a filament in early lightbulbs. Almost a century later, National Carbon was founded in 1900 and was the first company to produce carbon fibres for different practical applications.
Today, carbon fibre is used in various aircraft, including commercial aviation and military aircraft. It is also used in high-performance vehicles and boat applications.
Carbon Fibre 3D Printing
Carbon fibre is a popular material used for 3D printing today. Typically, it is made by screwing, glueing, or braiding carbon fibre through a 3D printer.
It is difficult to make repairs to a carbon fibre object. This means that it is necessary to 3D print something completely made of carbon fibre. You can 3D print carbon fibre objects by using thermoset or thermoplastic binding solutions for the carbon fibre.
The main benefits of carbon fibre 3D printing are its strength, stiffness and light weight. Unfortunately, its main drawback is that it can have different properties based on its orientation, which may not be ideal for your project.
3D Printing Carbon Fibre
Carbon fibre 3D printing is a two-step process involving first printing and then curing the carbon fibre. Printing carbon fibre is the same as publishing any other material. The material is held together with a binding solution which is typically applied using a syringe or other dispensing tool.
The primary considerations for carbon fibre printing are the temperature and the printing speed. These are dependent on the type you are using. For this reason, carbon fibre is available in different grades, and the grading system is based on its orientation.
The type of printing material you are using can also impact these specifications. The printing temperature and speed you should use depend on the binding properties of the product you are printing.
Carbon Fibre 3D Printing Materials
The main types of carbon fibre used in 3D printing are as follows:
Aramid fibres are synthetic fibres used in advanced aerospace and military applications. It is incredibly light, has high tensile strength, and is only made of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen.
Basalt fibres are made of 100 per cent basalt rock, originally from volcanic lava. It is available in fibre, fibre tape and fibre sheets.
Graphite fibres are very similar to carbon fibre, but are made from naturally occurring graphite inorganic matter, which is produced by breaking down hydrocarbons.
To start a project with carbon fibre 3D printing, you’ll need a lot of special tools and equipment, as well as a lot of careful attention to detail. When those conditions are met, you can make best-in-class lightweight, durable, functional parts that can be used in a wide range of industrial applications while taking advantage of all the design complexity that 3D printing has to offer.
We’re the ones to call if you need online 3D printing in the UK! If you send us your .stl files, we’ll do everything we can to help you realise your vision. If you need 3D printing services for architects or hobbyists, contact us today.