CPE filament has a whole host of favorable properties, yet it's a name shrouded in mystery to most users. Dive into this guide to discover what CPE is and how you can get started printing it!
CPEs (co-polyesters) are very strong and versatile materials with growing popularity in filament form for FDM 3D printing. As printing material, CPE is highly durable, creating prints with high strength and intricate detailing. In addition, its layer adhesion is excellent with minimal warpage and shrinking. CPE has a wide range of possible applications due to being FDA-approved for packaging in the food and medical industries.
Here are its typical print settings:
Please note that all figures may vary between different filament brands, and each manufacturer will have a base series of settings that they recommend you start from (to be tweaked as you begin to print using CPE).
It is also worth noting that all PETG filaments fall under the co-polyester category. The difference is PETG has added glycol, which remedies brittleness caused by crystallization when heating standard PET filaments. For this guide, however, CPE filaments specifically are the focus.
To give a better idea of how CPE fares as an FDM material, here are a few points comparing it to popular materials PLA and FDM.
CPE vs PLA
CPE vs ABS
have been developed specifically for use with their own hardware and possess some excellent characteristics synonymous with co-polyesters, such as:
Applications include visual and functional prototypes (due to the great dimensional stability and detail), short-run manufacturing, and tooling, among others.
CPE+ expands on the original filament by offering increased temperature resistance up to 100 °C and an even higher impact strength (Izod tested to 860 J/m). Flexural strength (64 MPa) and Hardness (Rockwell 111) also increase with CPE+, but so does the price!
guarantees a high quality print with good functional properties. It’s made of a modified PETG material. Key qualities include:
Fillamentum recommends using Magigoo for bed adhesion with a bed temperature between 70 and 85 °C to give best print results, along with a nozzle temperature between 255 and 275 °C. They additionally guarantee workability of the filament for at least 12 months and recommend keeping the reel in its protective bag, when not in use.
ColorFabb, in collaboration with Eastman Chemical Company, has developed a range of co-polyester materials for use in FDM 3D printing. All of the available filaments are low-odor and styrene-free, and has been made with Amphora AM1800 to give the following key characteristics:
ColorFabb XT comes in 13 different colors, including clear, and has also been reinforced with specially-sourced carbon fibers to create parts with a very high stiffness along with an aesthetically pleasing matte black surface finish. These fibers make up 20% of the filament’s composition.
XT is best printed using a heated print bed at around 70 °C but can be printed using a “cold” build plate through the use of blue painters’ tape, making sure it is perfectly level and the distance from the nozzle tip to the bed is correct for the first layer. It is then best to print with a brim or raft and disable the cooling fan for the first one to two centimeters to minimize warping.
Amphora AM3300, a low-odor and styrene-free material with good melt stability through the printer nozzle, even at lower temperatures.uses
Also in the nGen range are:
Taulman3D’s high strengthis derived from PETT (Polyethylene co-Trimethylene Terephthalate), which is slightly more rigid than PETG. T-Glase’s name (shortened from “tough glass”) suggests a key characteristic: It produces prints that are colorless with good reflectivity.
It’s even possible to process T-Glase to make it look more like glass!
CPE filaments are becoming increasingly popular across a wide range of applications, from aesthetic models to flexible joints and functional parts. This is thanks to its durability and strength combined with excellent optical properties.
Check out other exotic filament types to expand your library:
Feature image source: ColorFabb
License: The text of "CPE Filament – Simply Explained & Brands Compared" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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