3D Printing with Nylon (Polyamide)

By Shaun Bryant

Nylon (polyamide) comes in a raw powder format that is normally white, but it can be dyed, sprayed, or smoothed to pretty much any 3D print of any 3D design. It is also known as white plastic, durable plastic, or strong plastic.

When 3D printing, the laser in the 3D printer melts the nylon powder in layers that are microns thick at exactly 170°C (338°F), thus giving you incredible flexibility in your 3D printing of your design due to this incredible accuracy. This is known as laser sintering.

Laser sintering can sometimes take up to one and a half days on a complex 3D print, and the cooldown period can take up to two days. After that time, you can touch the print, which will often be a large block of the white nylon powder that you have to dig into, to find your 3D print.

According to the Tinkercad materials guide, nylon polyamide has a 1 mm minimum wall thickness and is naturally white, but can be colored, if required. It normally 3D prints about 10 layers per 1mm in a 3D printer. As it is made from a powder, it can be used to 3D print alumide, which is polyamide plus aluminum, thus creating a metallic polymer that is strong but flexible. It can be used for interlocking, movable parts, such as a chain, and regular nylon polyamide can be used for simple plastic components, such as phone cases. The guys at Tinkercad created Tinkercad-branded phone cases for promotional purposes, and you can see them in the Tinkercad materials guide, shown here.

tinkercad-nylon
The Tinkercad materials guide for nylon (polyamide).