In the same way that nylon has become a go-to material in traditional manufacturing, nylon has become a popular material to use with 3D printers. 3D printing provides the added benefits of unlimited geometries, iteration and customization, and low-volume affordability.
Nylon’s flexibility and durability help in 3D printing parts with thin walls. Its low coefficient of friction with a high melting point makes it especially resistant to abrasion and enables it to be used in printing for parts such as functional interlocking gears.
Nylon exhibits mechanical properties comparable to ABS (another widely used material in traditional & additive manufacturing). ABS is defined by its strength but Nylon’s resistance to wear and fatigue makes it superior for applications requiring such properties.
Apart from the advantages, nylon has one major drawback that can often hamper its printing performance – hygroscopicity, i.e., its moisture absorption property. This property is detrimental in delivering predictable performance. But this same property helps nylon in easy post-processing with fabric dyes and spray paints thereby making it suitable for use in the printing of aesthetic (display) models.
There have been successful cases of a patient receiving a titanium pelvis implant, another getting a new titanium lower jaw. A motorcyclist patient whose face had been seriously injured in a road accident had it rebuilt with 3D printed parts.
Bioprinting allows for the 3D printing of artificial organs, helping solve organ failure issues in patients faster, important to both the patient and his/her family and to healthcare systems.
3D printed tissues have been developed for pharmaceutical testing as a cost-effective and ethical means of helping identify the side effects of drugs and validating safe dosages.
Pills can be produced, using the 3D printing process of Binder Jetting. The process allows the pills produced to be very porous, therefore enabling high dosages in a single pill that can be dissolved quickly and easily digested, useful for treating conditions such as epilepsy.