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The Material Strength Myth

Marketing is a powerful thing. If you hear a credible-sounding message consistently and repeatedly over a long period of time, you tend to believe it. But belief and fact aren’t always the same.

Take material strength in 3D printing and additive manufacturing. A common myth is that if a 3D printed part contains carbon fiber, it must be super strong – stronger than similar additive manufacturing technologies. But it’s important to dive deeper to understand the concept of 3D printed part strength and whether that perception is accurate.

A 3D printed part is only as strong as its weakest point. Because 3D printers generally build up parts layer by layer, in many cases extruding material of one layer atop the next, they tend to have the weakest bond between layers, in the vertical, or Z axis. This is a common problem with many additive manufacturing technologies.

 

It is no different for 3D printed parts reinforced with carbon fiber. They are very strong along the X/Y axis, but the bond remains relatively weak between the layers, in the Z axis. Since a part is only as strong as its weakest point, this is important information if you’re evaluating 3D printers for production and direct manufacturing applications. It’s also important to know that the carbon fiber sometimes cannot penetrate the smallest sections of a part’s geometry – ones that likely need strength reinforcement the most.

Your requirements should include uniform part strength in all three axes (isotropic properties) to ensure you will be able to produce truly strong, functional production parts in any orientation. When evaluating 3D printers, be sure to ask for material specifications documenting independent test data for all three axes.

The combination of Rize’s patented, simultaneous extrusion/jetting APD process and proprietary compound of thermoplastic produces isotropic parts - uniform in strength in all three axes. In fact, Rize parts outperformed carbon-fiber-reinforced parts and those from similar technologies, in an independent functional strength test.

Rize parts are also uniquely watertight, safe and you can 3D print detailed part numbers, tool instructions and other text and images directly in and on your parts.

We invite you to learn more or get a quote.