3D printing of polypropylene

The broad property profile of polypropylene offers enormous potential and ensures that PP is becoming increasingly important in additive manufacturing. For successful industrial 3D printing of polypropylene using established extrusion-based processes, such as Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF), Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) or Fused Granular Fabrication (FGF), three critical components are essential.

First, the 3D printed material should have low warpage and high interlayer bonding strength. Second, the 3D printing build surface must allow reliable 3D printing of PP parts and non-destructive and residue-free removal of the product without the need of additional adhesives. Third, a support material is needed to print more complex structures.

PPprint has now solved these three challenges. The support material ‘P-support 279’, which is now available does not only complement the existing filament product line ‘P-filament-721’ and the 3D printing build surface ‘P-surface 141’, but significantly enhances them. Therefore, PPprint is the only company worldwide to offer its customers a complete solution for successful industrial 3D printing with PP.

ppprint-support-material-launched

A unique support material

The company’s latest innovation is the break-away support filament ‘P-support 279’, which is specially designed for their PP filament ‘P-filament 721’. This customized support material enables 3D printing of even more complex products and can be easily and cleanly removed manually from the printed part at elevated temperatures. With ‘P-support 279’, PPprint GmbH, offers the world’s first break-away support material specially developed for polypropylene, with which highly complex and sophisticated structures with bridges, overhangs, and openings can now be realized.

The support material has high stiffness, low warpage, and excellent adhesion to the printed PP part and the 3D printing build surface ‘P-surface 141’. Furthermore, it can be advantageously used to print support structures on polypropylene as well as rafts. ‘P-support 279’ does not attract water and does not need to be dried prior to 3D printing or while in storage. Break-away support has the advantage that no solvents need to be used or aqueous polymer-containing waste is generated. In addition, the thermoplastic break-away support material ‘P-Support 279’ can be recycled.

PPprint support 279 process

Perfect 3d printing build surface

The 3D printing build surface is a crucial component in extrusion-based 3D printing. The ‘P-surface 141’ 3D printing build surface, specially developed for the ‘P-filament 721’ product line, enables a reliable and reproducible 3D printing process of PP. ‘P-surface 141’ offers a high quality, heat-resistant printing build surface with high durability and service life. ‘P-surface 141’ can be used with all commercially available 3D printers. The 3D printing build surface is ready for use without further pre-treatment and additional adhesives. Due to the optimized nature of ‘P-surface 141’, the component adheres perfectly to the surface during printing and warpage is minimized. After completing printing, the parts can be easily removed by hand at elevated printing build surface temperatures without leaving any residue.

Variety of polypropylene filaments

PPprint GmbH offers a wide portfolio of PP filaments. The ‘P-filaments 721’ are optimized for low warpage and very good layer adhesion, resulting in resilient, mechanically stable 3D printed products. Standard ‘P-filament 721’ is available in natural color, white and black in 1.75 mm and 2.85 mm diameters. 3D-printed parts made from ‘P-filament 721′ natural’ are certified as biologically safe according to DIN EN ISO 10993-5, which is relevant for diverse applications, e.g. in medical technology. Special colors are produced according to customer requests. Since polypropylene does not absorb water, ‘P-filaments 721’ do not need to be dried prior to 3D printing.

Polypropylene the material of choice

When searching for a suitable material for 3D printed industrial components, the number of materials which offer a suitable property profile is limited. In this context one promising material is polypropylene, which has already proven its broad applicability in numerous technical and medical applications in injection molding and extrusion over the past decades. PP has a broad property profile that includes very good breaking strength, low density as well as high chemical resistance to acids, bases, alcohols and water. Furthermore, PP’s skin compatibility, easy sterilizability, and food-safe properties open up additional interesting fields of application. 3D-printed parts can be cleaned in a dishwasher without any problems. In addition, PP can be recycled as energy source and as material itself.

advantages of PP infographic