Filament choices for outdoor applications

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Segrest
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Filament choices for outdoor applications

Postby Segrest » Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:28 am

Hello Everyone,

Can anyone help me understand the tradeoffs between filament materials for outdoor use. I am thinking about factors like sunlight, moisture, temperature, strength and my ability to print the material on a Rostock Max V2 with a HE280 extruder.

Bob

Eric
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Re: Filament choices for outdoor applications

Postby Eric » Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:17 pm

You left out price. The specialty filaments cost more than mainstream choices. In some cases, a lot more.
Many plastics can be made outdoor-worthy with a coat of paint.
Light colors will improve temperature resistance.

One of the better overview articles I've seen, but there's plenty more out there if you spend a little time searching.
https://all3dp.com/best-3d-printer-filament-types-pla-abs-pet-exotic-wood-metal/

Good place to look up physical properties of specific plastics:
http://www.matweb.com/

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Jimustanguitar
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Re: Filament choices for outdoor applications

Postby Jimustanguitar » Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:15 pm

I can attest that PLA will sag outdooors. I designed some mosquito traps (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1030806) that have gained an angle from the weight of 10ish ounces of fluid and the heat of the sun over a summer.

PLA will melt and warp if left in a car, as well.

I'd vote for a higher temp material. ABS or Nylon would do great. Perhaps an PETG or one of the super deluxe ultra mega PLA's would do the trick, too.

IMBoring25
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Re: Filament choices for outdoor applications

Postby IMBoring25 » Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:38 pm

Well, it was both under load and basically in a greenhouse, but I left my first PETG dash cam mount installed on a summer afternoon and it failed quite spectacularly. I really should have taken pictures of it before I threw it out. Its ABS replacement so far has not met the same fate.

I have personally used ABS and clear-coated it for UV resistance with reasonable results so far. Supposedly, the most UV- and weather-resistant plastic that's comparatively easy to print and readily available is ASA.

morgandc
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Re: Filament choices for outdoor applications

Postby morgandc » Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:34 pm

I think if you get the right high temp PLA you are good to go. I had the one I tested in the oven for a long time at much higher than car temps... If you choose black, fairly UV resistant.

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geneb
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Re: Filament choices for outdoor applications

Postby geneb » Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:34 am

If you're going to leave something outdoors in direct sunlight, you want ABS. You should also paint it as the kinds of filament we (as in 3d printer nerds) buy typically don't include UV stabilizers.

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Re: Filament choices for outdoor applications

Postby morgandc » Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:26 am

Geneb, from what I am reading (not testing) you have to go to ASA instead of ABS for UV protection, however the carbon used for black pigment in most filament is a really good UV absorber. There was a test (can't find it now) that left PLA in the desert for 6 months and then measured the tensile strength to destruction. Black was still at 90 something % of original strength. With high temp PLA you also have the temp resistance, so what is the advantage of ABS?
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Re: Filament choices for outdoor applications

Postby Polygonhell » Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:03 pm

I wouds have suggested ABS as well until recently, but my recent discovery of "annealed" PLA (HT or otherwise), I'd probably go with that unless you needed to last for many years.
I've never seen PLA degrade from being outside as long as it's out of the sun, but it is supposed to be "biodegradable" so I wouldn't use it for a part that I was relying on over a period of years outside.

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thechewiestbacca
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Re: Filament choices for outdoor applications

Postby thechewiestbacca » Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:17 pm

Why wouldn't PETG work? It has a much higher melt temp than PLA. However, I don't know how it would retain its color from the UV.


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