Printing with Matterhackers’ NylonX on Your [Almost] Stock Ender 3
by Mr. Riptide
If you are consistently getting good results with PLA+, know your way around a 3D-printer, and are ready to try an engineering-grade filament…welcome! While there are many Carbon Fiber Nylon filament options, this guide is specific to Matterhackers’ NylonX.
Your Ender 3 will need just a few low-cost upgrades before you get started, some of which you may already have! It will need an upgraded extruder, all metal hotend (or a drop-in bi-metal heatbreak), a glass bed (because that’s what I use), and a hardened-steel nozzle. You may be tempted to use your brass nozzle, but you will have issues if you do. NylonX is very abrasive, and brass will wear out very quickly leading to extrusion issues. You may already have a filament dryer. If not, you’ll need one of those, too, as nylon is quite hygroscopic (absorbs moisture from the air) and doesn’t print well if it isn’t dry. There are other ways to dry your filament, such as putting it in an oven or food dehydrator. I’m not experienced with those, so do your research if you go either of those routes. Lastly, it is necessary for the NylonX to stick very well to the bed, and a great way to achieve this is with Elmer’s Glue-All and a splash of water (we will cover the specifics later).
Upgraded Extruder Options (Pick one)
All-in-one upgrade that includes other components you may find useful: https://a.co/d/5bJndoI
EZRStruder (This is what I use and is a great option if you already have the other upgraded parts in the first link): https://www.seemecnc.com/products/ezrstruder
Upgraded Hot End Options (Pick one)
Bi-Metal Heatbreak - If you’re looking to save a few bucks and want a quick upgrade for your OEM hotend, this does the job: https://a.co/d/gOiLNoB
Gulfcoast Robotics All Metal Hotend (This is what I use): https://a.co/d/7hHqIeA
Glass Bed: https://a.co/d/gy7ggAO
Hardened Steel Nozzle: https://a.co/d/2cdKWsH
Matterhackers NylonX: https://www.matterhackers.com/store/l/nylonx-carbon-fiber-nylon-filament-1.75mm
Elmer’s Glue-All: https://a.co/d/hAgky2h
Foam Brush: https://a.co/d/5taFXOb
Filament Dryer: https://a.co/d/hzgQvLE
Step 1: Put your brand new, freshly opened, filament in your filament dryer and crank it up to 85°C (or max temp if it can’t reach 85°C) and let it run for a minimum of 6 hours. Hopefully, you can print right out of your filament dryer, but if not, it should be fine. I print with my spool on the spool holder on top of my printer and have yet to have an issue.
Step 2: Install all the upgrades and place the glass bed so the textured side is down. Use binder clips to hold it in place. If you weren’t using a glass bed before, be sure to adjust your Z-axis homing switch and lower your bed quite a bit so the nozzle doesn’t hit the bed. There are plenty of videos and guides about this online.
Step 3: Calibrate your e-steps using the NylonX at 260°C. It was recommended to me that I do this, but I will be honest and tell you that I did not. I did, however, have my printer dialed in well prior to printing NylonX. If you have never calibrated your e-steps, now is the time to do it. If you decide to skip this step and encounter under/over extrusion, come back to this step. For a comprehensive guide on printer calibration, go here: https://teachingtechyt.github.io/calibration.html
Step 4: Build your NylonX Cura profile. Take your PLA/PLA+ Cura Profile and change the following settings as a starting point. Don’t forget to create a new profile from these settings:
Layer Height 0.16mm
Print Speed 50mm/s (Wall Speed 25mm/s, Infill Speed 50mm/s)
Disable Part Cooling Fan
Use a brim or a raft
Under Experimental, enable Conical Support
Step 5: Level your bed with it heated to 80°C. Be careful to not touch the bed, as it will be very hot. Once leveled, let it cool back down to room temperature then wipe it with isopropyl alcohol. Don’t touch the top surface again once it’s clean!
Step 6: Prep the bed with an 80/20 Elmer’s Glue-All/water mixture. For every four parts glue, use one part water. For example, you could mix 4 tsp of glue and 1 tsp of water. You can also use a food scale and measure by weight. It probably doesn’t have to be exact, but I took care to do it accurately with a food scale using 16g glue and 4g water. Stir the mixture until it is one consistency. Pour about half the mixture on the center of your bed and spread it around with your foam brush creating a thick, even coating. Now, wait until it is completely dry. You’ll know when it is dry because it will be clear. To speed up this process, you can heat your bed to 40°C.
Step 7: Repeat Step 5! I know…it’s time consuming and you want to get that print started!
Step 8: Using your new Cura Profile that you created for NylonX, slice your model.
Step 9: Make sure your printer isn’t near any air conditioning vents, open windows, opening/closing doors, fans, etc. and turn off that ceiling fan. Anything that creates a draft can cause your print to warp and lift off the bed. An enclosure is ideal, but we are trying to get away without one here.
Step 10: Hit print! Keep a sharp eye on that first layer, as you normally would. If you haven’t practiced live leveling (adjusting the bed height while the first layer is printing), you should, but now probably isn’t the time to try it out.
Step 11: As per usual, take a peek at your print from time to time, making sure all is well. If something looks off, use your best judgment in determining if you should stop the print. NylonX isn’t cheap, afterall. Once your print is finished, let the bed cool down to room temperature before removing it from the bed. Elmer’s Glue-All is great at holding down NylonX prints, and it is also a great release agent. My prints have come off with very little effort and with a satisfying “snap!”
If you have any questions, want to brag about your success, or provide more tips and tricks, please do so in the comment section below! I will likely update this blog as I do more testing and learn new techniques.
-You can reuse the glued surface multiple times.
-You can add another coat of glue and water mixture if necessary.
-Spread the glue on the entire bed and use different spots each time and slice your model on unused parts of the bed.
-Hot water and a plastic scraper will remove the old, used glue and water mixture.
-Storing your filament in a homemade drybox is a great way to prevent moisture contamination.
Moisture contamination. If your prints don’t look nice, you hear crackling coming from the hotend while printing, or you experience poor layer adhesion, then moisture contamination is likely to blame. If you dried your filament in your filament dryer as recommended, but your filament still contains moisture, try baking it for 6 hours in the oven at 180°F prior to use.
Warping. If your print begins lifting off the bed, double check to make sure there are no stray air drafts getting to your print. I even find myself holding my breath when I’m taking a close look.
My Cura Profile
You are welcome to use my Cura profile, but be aware that some of my settings may not work for you, such as first layer height, so comb through everything.
Link to my Cura Profile here: odysee.com/@riptiderails/Riptide-Ender-3-NylonX
I would like to give a special thanks to @BrokenBulletz on Twitter for helping me along the way. After all, it’s his success with NylonX on an [almost] stock Ender 3 that piqued my interest in the topic. Give him a follow at: https://twitter.com/BrokenBulletz and https://www.instagram.com/brokenbullets1. If you are in a position to do so and are feeling generous, please support BrokenBulletz here: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/brokenbullS