HP Jet Fusion: PA12
(Polyamide 12 / ‘Nylon 12’)
PA12, short for Polyamide 12 (commonly called Nylon 12‘), is one of the most useful engineering-grade plastics available. It is utilised across all major industries and for a wide range of challenging applications. PA12 is mechanically strong, heat-resistant and biocompatible. HP Fusion Jet PA12 is printed extremely fast, at a very high resolution and at high-accuracies and is therefore not only used for functional prototypes, but also for short-run manufacturing of fully functional parts.
HP Jet Fusion
380 × 284 × 380 mm
6 – 8 business days
± 0.2% with a lower limit of 0.2 mm
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Functional and end-use parts
HP Jet Fusion is the best choice when it comes to the production of end-use plastic parts. Compared to most other additive manufacturing technologies, HP Jet Fusion PA12 is stronger, more accurate, has a higher resolution and offers significantly faster printing times.
Unlike laser-sintered PA12, Jet Fusion PA12 has a density of virtually 100% and therefore in its mechanical performance it is comparable to injection molded plastic. Key advantages of the material are:
- Resolution: With 1,200 dpi (x-y) and 80 microns layer height, HP Jet Fusion 3D printed Nylon sets the standard for additive-manufactured functional plastic parts.
- Mechanical strength: Due to its high density, its mechanical properties are superior to those of most other types of 3D printed part (see technical specifications below). Unlike those produced by most other 3D printing technologies, Jet Fusion parts are virtually isotropic: i.e., their strength is similar perpendicular to and along the printing layers.
- Accuracy: With approx. 0.2% (lower limit of 0.2 mm) allowance, Jet Fusion PA12 parts are more accurate then SLS or FDM printed functional parts.
- Freedom of design: support structures are not required, hence almost all geometries can be printed. Even very thin structures, up to approx. 0.6 mm, can be realized.
- Throughput: The printing times are up to 10 times faster than those of comparable technologies, for example laser sintering or FDM 3D printing.
Due to the high performance of HP Jet Fusion parts, the technology is used for both prototyping and short-run manufacturing.
Due to the high outputs and consistencies possible, Jet Fusion can be used for short-run manufacturing of PA12 parts. For quantities of about 300 – 1500 / per batch, Jet Fusion is often more economical than injection molding (for small- to medium- sized parts).
Economic pricing can be achieved with small batch sizes – often around 50 – 150 pieces. Combined with the short lead times of just a few days, stock-keeping can be minimized. Furthermore, additive manufacturing is fully flexible; changes in part geometries can be implemented without any disruption of the manufacturing process.
HP Jet Fusion PA12 is one of the best choices when it comes to fully functional prototypes. Due to the material properties achieved, the parts produced are comparable to injection molded parts and therefore approach the ultimately intended properties better than, for instance, laser -sintered or FDM printed plastic parts. Furthermore, the high accuracy of the technology allows for a design closer to that of the end-use part, often without additional allowance.
The pricing of Jet Fusion PA12 is based on the material consumption and the machine space required for the part. Material consumption is the most important factor in Jet Fusion pricing.
Prices vary typically around EUR 0.40 – 2.00 (excl. 19% VAT, or ~EUR 0.50 – 2.40 incl. 19% VAT) per cm³ material volume. Please note: these values can differ significantly depending on the geometry of the part and the order quantities.
Look & Feel
- The surface is slightly rough.
- PA12 is light (density ~1.01 g/cm³).
- The raw print is a non-homogenous grey, which can easily dyed black.
- As in all 3D printing technologies, printing layers (80 microns layer height) may be visible.
- Thin structures are flexible; thick structures are strong.
- Very resistant material: chemically resistant, mechanically strong and heat-resistant up to ~100°C.
- One of the most durable 3D printed materials.
Elongation at break
15 – 20 %
Modulus of Elasticity
1,700 – 1,800 MPa
Minimum Wall Thickness
The minimum wall thickness should be no less than 0.6 mm. For long structures or structures which must endure mechanical stress, the wall thickness should be increased.
Hollow parts can be printed, as long as they contain escape holes with a diameter of 5 mm or more, which allow the removal of excess material. For larger cavities two or more escape holes are left.
The material is compacted during the printing process and therefore challenging to remove. Hence, thin tubes integral to the part might end up containing excess material which cannot be removed.
In case your file contains several shells, make sure to keep a clearance gap of min. 0.5 mm between the shells, otherwise they could be fused together.
The minimal details size should be no smaller than 0,3 mm.
Interlocking parts can be printed; a distance of min. 0.5 mm must be allowed between the objects. Make sure that this area can be accessed in order to remove excess powder.
The maximum size of the part cannot exceed 380 x 280 × 380 mm.
- Cleaning parts from excess material
- Bead blasting
- Manual polishing
- Dyeing (black or dark colors)
For details of the 3D printing process, please visit our technology page HP Jet Fusion.
A thin layer (80 microns) of powder is spread on a retractable build platform. A print head ejects tiny drops of ‘fusing agent’, a heat-conductive liquid, onto selected areas. The powder is then exposed to a heat lamp. The areas covered with the fusing agent absorb energy from the heat lamp and reach a temperature at which the powder melts. Once the heat source is removed, the (now liquid) powder cools down and solidifies.
A second agent, the detailing agent, is ejected simultaneously with the fusing agent and covers the areas which are not required for the model. The detailing agent is an isolating liquid. It ensures that the powder around the model does not absorb sufficient energy to melt.
The process repeats until all layers are solidified. After printing, the entire build chamber is left to cool down for several hours. Once the target temperature is reached, the parts are removed and cleaned from excess powder.
HP Multi Jet Fusion process schematic. Source: Youtube, Hewlett Packard Inc.