3D Printing with Polycarbonate

Polycarbonate (PC) offers exceptional strength for a 3D printed thermoplastic. This engineering-grade plastic offers strong flame resistance, impact strength, and heat resistance.

Mechanical

  • Strong impact resistance
  • Bends without breaking at room temperature
  • Very high dimensional stability

Thermal

  • Nozzle temperature: 270-310°C (518-590°F)
  • Bed temperature: 80-150°C (176-302°F)
  • Glass transition temperature: 150°C (302°F)
  • Heat resistant up to 116°C (241°F)
  • Excellent heat deflection and resistance
  • Different filaments, such as Lexan, offer UL94 V-0 flame rating

Resistances

  • Strong resistance to most acids
  • May be susceptible to solvent effects and stress-cracking from hydrocarbons

When to Use Polycarbonate for 3D Printing

The Translucent Thermoplastic

Some polycarbonate filaments offer translucency, which may be advantageous to certain applications or for aesthetic reasons.

Incredible Impact Strength

Its high impact resistance at room temperature and extremely low temperatures offers a versatile high-performance material option for any application.

Biocompatible & Sterilizable

There are grades of polycarbonate that are ideal for use in prosthetics due to their biocompatibility and potential for sterilization with gamma or ethylene oxide (ETO) sterilization.

Challenges with 3D Printing Polycarbonate

Low Viscosity

3D printers that offer fast retraction and travel speed are essential to preventing polycarbonate’s propensity to ooze from the nozzle. A well-tuned build profile, however, can allow for very fast print speeds.

Weak When Wet

Polycarbonate that is not properly dried prior to printing can result in print defects and substantially reduce the end part’s strength.

Low Temperatures = Layer Splitting

Enclosed, heated build chambers are necessary to avoid layer separation and maintain dimensional accuracy.

3D Printed Polycarbonate Parts

Polycarbonate 3D Printed Part from the AON-M2
3D Printed Part on Bed in AON-M2 from AON3D
Polycarbonate 3D Printed Part by AON3D

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