So what is PA12?

PA12, Polyamide 12, or Nylon 12 are all interchangeable names for a synthetic thermoplastic. It is a material used in many industries like sporting goods, automotive, manufacturing and aerospace. It is made from ω-aminolauric acid or laurolactam, each with 12 carbon atoms which gives it it's name. It allows for parts that are lightweight, strong and functional. The material itself is known for it's durability and it retains excellent impact resistance below freezing temperatures. It also has a strong resistance to cracking under stress as well as excellent abrasion and chemical resistance. Additionally, it absorbs very little water so it's dimensionally stable.

PA12 is the material that Faini Made uses for most parts, using either HP’s Multi Jet Fusion  (MJF) or Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) processes. These systems use PA12 in a powder form. A thin layer is spread on the printing bed and the powder is heated to its melting point of 187°C with a laser, thus binding the power into a solid part. This method is superior to the common Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) printing that can be done at home. Unlike FDM it allows for very complex and durable functional products to be created without being limited by material and process constraints.

This video from HP goes into the MJF process in more detail.

You can read more about HP's PA12 here. It's a propriety form used with their printers.

So how tough is it?

It's plastic and plastic is weak, right? Not all plastics are created equal. Nylon is known for it's strength. It's even used in bulletproof vests and body armor. As you can see in the videos below, it can literally take a beating. In some applications it can meet and exceed the strength of aluminum alloys.

I think it goes without saying this video has quite impressive results. Forerunner 3D has also published various other strength, durability and wear tests with PA12 parts. You can check that out hereIf you've look over the results of their tests I think it's obvious that PA12 is up to the task for use on set.

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