Nylon PA 11: An Excellent Material for SLS 3D Printing

PA 11 Nylon 11 3D printed part

Polyamides such as Nylon PA 11, are ideal for additive manufacturing and in particular SLS 3D printing (selective laser sintering). Nylons are recognized for their mechanical features: robustness, resistance, and durability. This makes them prevalent materials for traditional and 3D thermoplastic production. 

Nylon PA 12 seems to be most advantageous for SLS 3D printing and Multi Jet Fusion technology. However, at Solaxis, we prefer to use Nylon PA 11 with our SLS equipment. Indeed, Nylon 11 enables the production of higher-quality parts for approximately the same price as Nylon 12. This opens up a wide range of possibilities in terms of applications. Here is everything you need to know about this beneficial SLS 3D-printing material.

Industrial 3D printing expert working on a 3D part made of Nylon 11.

The Unique Properties of Nylon 11 

Certainly, Nylon 11 or PA 11 has characteristics similar to PA 12, such as good heat resistance, friction resistance, flexibility, durability and a great surface finish. However, this material has several characteristics that set it apart from PA 12 and other materials used for SLS 3D printing and Multi jet Fusion.

High Mechanical Resistance and Durability

When it comes to SLS 3D printing, Nylon 11 offers resistance to wear, abrasion and impact, as well as an elongation at break superior to other polyamides. The tensile elongation at break is around 30% and the tensile strength can reach 45 MPa / 6527 psi, and more. PA 11 parts manufactured by SLS 3D printing are therefore characterized by their durability, making them particularly interesting for mechanical parts and end-use part series.

Thermal resistance

PA 11 also has good thermal resistance. Its heat deflection temperature (HDT) can reach 177°C / 351°F, making it a good choice for parts used in a more critical environment.

Isotropic Properties

The particularity of Nylon 11 is based on its isotropic performance. More explicitly, this means that unlike parts printed with other polyamides like Nylon 12, those made using PA 11 exhibit similar strength in all three manufacturing axes. The printed industrial parts then stand out for their excellent dimensional stability.



Chemical resistance

PA 11 is resistant to many chemical elements such as hydrocarbons, ketones, aldehydes, fuels, alcohols, oils, greases, mineral bases, salts and detergents.

Design Flexibility

The isotropic properties of Nylon 11 offer greater freedom when designing parts, since the properties are similar in all axes. Additionally, SLS technology allows supportless printing, providing additional design freedom.

PA 11 makes it possible to print parts characterized by their small wall thickness. This then makes it possible to reduce the mass of the manufactured products and limit the quantity of material used. As a result, wastage is reduced, and this reduces production delays as well as costs.

High Performance in Extreme Conditions

Compared to other polyamides, Nylon 11 stands out for its performance in extreme conditions: exposure to UV rays, and resistance to chemicals and high temperatures, etc. In the same vein, and depending on the applications envisioned, the PA 11 responds upon request to certain requirements such as:

  •     USP class VI
  •    biocompatibility
  •    food contact
  •    cosmetic packaging

It is therefore a material of choice for manufacturing parts for the medical and food sectors.

Low-volume production nylon PA 11 parts with SLS 3D printing

A bio-based and Ecological Polyamide

PA 11 is a bio-based polyamide powder composed of renewable resources from vegetable/castor oil. It is therefore a wise choice if you want quality products with net zero carbon emissions.

Due to its constitution, PA 11 clearly has a smaller footprint on the environment than PA 12 for example, which is a fine synthetic powder made from petroleum materials.

Nylon 11 and SLS 3D Printing: from Prototyping to Production

Thermoplastic parts made of Nylon 11 are distinctive for their durability or their mechanical strength, their dimensional stability and the possibility of overcoming certain geometric limitations compared to other materials. The parts are characterized by good thermal resistance, light stability and impressive elasticity.

Therefore, whatever the type of application considered or the sector of activity targeted (medical, aeronautics, transport, etc.), PA 11 could be an excellent material to use both for designing functional prototypes and parts in production.

At Solaxis, we use Nylon 11 to manufacture parts requiring high mechanical and thermal resistance (for example: car parts and specialized transport, defence and security). Since this material also demonstrates its performance in extreme environments, we also use it to manufacture parts for the healthcare sector and many industrial sectors.

Are you looking to print parts in Nylon 11? Feel free to contact us, it will be our pleasure to help you.


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