Featured image of Makerbot’s New Tough Filament Offers a Mechanically Superior Alternative to ABS
Tested and Tough

Makerbot’s New Tough Filament Offers a Mechanically Superior Alternative to ABS

Picture of Hanna Watkin
by Hanna Watkin
Jun 28, 2018

The 3D printer manufacturer Makerbot has recently unveiled Makerbot Tough, a filament that is designed for 3D printing functional prototypes. This new material seems to be an upgrade over ABS, offering twice the impact strength and reduced warping.

The New York City-based 3D printer manufacturer Makerbot has recently announced the release of its new Makerbot Tough filament. This advanced material is engineered for production of durable and strong 3D printed prototypes and fixtures, aiming to provide users with the ability to print “with confidence.”

What’s so tough about this filament? Well, Makerbot claims that it’s twice as strong as ABS making, it extremely resilient and durable. It also promises the same tensile and flexural structure as ABS, but without requiring a heated build plate. On top of that, Makerbot Tough will ensure that your prints will incur  less warping and curling. Due to this, “you can print your parts reliably without excessive adjustments or tweaking.”

The company points out that 3D printing has a dramatic impact on the product development and design cycle. By using 3D printing and advanced materials, it’s easier for designers and engineers to quickly iterate and test functional prototypes.

With this filament, it’s possible to test an expansive range of mechanical features for various applications. For example, Makerbot Tough is ideal for parts the require tapping and threading, impact-resistant assemblies, high tension springs and clips. The material is also highly machinable, making it compatible with a wide range of post-processing techniques.

MakerBot Tough Filament

Testing out the Mechanical Abilities of Makerbot Tough

Currently, there are four colors of Makerbot Tough available, including slate grey, safety orange, stone white and onyx black. All can be pre-ordered from the Makerbot website.

To showcase what this filament is capable of, Makerbot recently shared a case study involving the automotive 3D printing pioneers Local Motors, which started using the filament for prototyping needs. With the Makerbot Tough, the company’s engineering team was able to develop durable and high-impact strength prototypes and fixtures on-demand.

“We like Tough Filament because we can thread directly into the part and mount other components to it. In the time it would have taken to order a metal part and have it shipped here, we already finished the entire project,” explains mechanical engineer Tony Rivera.

To test out the filament themselves, the Makerbot team has designed and printed a poly-wheel system (a popular mechanism used in robotics with multi-axis rotations). With this functional model, they were happy to discover that Makerbot Tough excelled at points where PLA usually fractures and ABS warps.

Other in-house projects involving Makerbot Tough included printing a side-release buckle with high-tension prongs that snap into place, as well as a mountain bike shock absorber that simulates variable tension. Makerbot explains that both designs take advantage of the filament’s elasticity.

One 0.9kg spool of Tough Filament costs $65, and can already be pre-order from the website. If you’re still unsure whether this mechanically enhanced material is the right choice for your project, you can speak to a Makerbot expert and receive a sample part, demo or quote directly from the manufacturer.

MakerBot Tough Filament

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