Fiberglass, Kevlar, and Carbon Fiber: Differences in 3D Printing Materials

Last Updated on by DesignPoint Team

3D Printer Head

3D printing, while still a relatively new technology, has been around long enough in manufacturing to prove its value. When 3D printing is introduced into the manufacturing process, big benefits follow. Some of those benefits include reduced waste, fewer resources required and consumed, and less negative impact on the natural world around us.

There’s no debate that 3D printing production parts are changing the game for manufacturers across the board. But there is some confusion over which materials are best for use with 3D printers, and when fiberglass, Kevlar, and carbon fiber should be used. Each has its own specific properties and benefits. As experts on 3D printers, we wrote this article to help clarify the differences amongst them and the uses for each. Read on for more!

3D Printing Production Parts Using Fiberglass, Kevlar, and Carbon Fiber

Kevlar, fiberglass, and carbon fiber are mostly sturdy fibers that come in bundles. These fibers are woven into a material (matrix) used for crafting heavy-duty tooling, manufacturing equipment, and production parts.

The matrix is what gives the fibers their impressive strength (how much tension is required to break it) and stiffness (how deformed it becomes under force). This is true for all three of these materials.

Each of these robust materials is unique in its own right. While there are also some similarities in their uses. Let’s look at each one and how it is used in 3D printing.

Fiberglass

Fiberglass is mostly melted glass that has been pulled into long, thin strands and then glued together using a crosshatch pattern and resin for added strength. It has quite a few unique benefits. For starters, it’s cheap compared to many other manufacturing materials! It’s also relatively heavy, but it does provide good impact resistance. Thus, it is often used in large quantities for things like boats and as a protective layer for other composites. Generally, it is used in cheaper applications.

Carbon Fiber

On the other hand, carbon fiber is very expensive. Its benefits include super strength and stiffness, though, so the cost is somewhat justified. It’s also very lightweight, so you’ll find it most often used where weight is a key factor (like in performance bikes and cars, as well as in airplanes). It’s created when graphite molecules are aligned in a specific way that creates a flexible fiber with the strength of the carbon crystalline structure.

Kevlar

We all know that Kevlar is strong enough to stop bullets. What this really breaks down to is the fact that, when woven into a matrix, it has life-saving energy absorption properties. Mostly, it’s the weave of Kevlar fibers that distributes the energy of incoming bullets in bullet-proof vests. The Kevlar fiber is derived from plants and treated to make it super durable, even before being woven into a matrix/material.

The amazing thing is, you can combine all three types of fibers to get the benefits of each as well as maximized strength and stiffness.

DesignPoint Transforms Your Efforts with the Best 3D Printers

3D printing of production parts and the additive manufacturing trend is here to stay.

Maybe you’re ready to invest in one of the best 3D printers on the market to catapult your business into a brighter, more efficient, and sustainable future? DesignPoint sells a variety of top brands, including Markforged and BigRep.

These two best-in-class brands are some of the only 3D printers capable of printing with sturdy materials like fiberglass, Kevlar, and carbon fiber. Markforged composite 3D printers, specifically, use a base plastic matrix reinforced with all three: carbon fiber, fiberglass, and Kevlar. They also offer a full suite of metal printing materials, which you can order through our website for the best deals.

With these heavy-duty 3D printer brands, you can have fully functioning 3D metal parts ready to use within 24 hours. Even parts that can’t be easily cast or machined can be printed in just hours using Markforged and BigRep printers. And, what’s more, you’ll save a ton of money and resources, natural and otherwise!

So, when you’re ready to revolutionize your business with a Markforged or BigRep 3D printer for production or production parts, contact us. DesignPoint has the best deals on 3D printers and fiberglass, Kevlar, and carbon fiber printing materials to help you transform your business’s future, starting in the here and now!

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