Create Custom, End-Use, 3D Printed Bike Parts with NylonX
With a background in engineering, Dave sets out to design, model, and 3D print custom made bike pedals using NylonX.
Despite being renowned for the traffic and sprawling cities that blend together, there are a lot of parks and hiking trails throughout Southern California. Not too far from our office is a bike trail, where you can often find Dave doing a quick circuit around it on his lunch break. With most consumer goods, it's common to find something that fits most of your criteria, but not all of them, and bike pedals are not different. With an engineer's modeling toolbelt, Dave set out to create the bike pedal that was perfect for him using NylonX.
While other materials might print well enough, they don't usually have enough strength to hold up to major forces; a hat hook is easy, something you stand on isn't. NylonX is a composite blend of a nylon 6 base infused with chopped carbon fiber strands, creating a material that's as durable as nylon but as strong and rigid as carbon fiber. When you need something that is going to be facing some strain and has to be tough, NylonX is our material of choice. Depending on the terrain of a trail or the desired workout, at times Dave may need to stand on his pedals while biking, so he needs something rock solid to support him.
What Printer Can Handle NylonX?
There's only one printer that can print NylonX out of the box without damaging the machine: The Pulse XE. Most other 3D printers on the market will need some modification, from minor changes like a new nozzle to major changes like a new extruder and hotend system, but the Pulse XE has been designed and tailored specifically to be the best possible experience when 3D printing with NylonX. Most 3D printers have a brass nozzle for thermal conductivity, but it's also very soft and wears quickly with the abrasive chopped carbon fiber stands, whereas the Pulse XE has an Olsson Ruby nozzle which has an actual ruby in the tip of it for wear-free printing. If you're interested in learning more about the Pulse XE, check it out here.
The Olsson Ruby solves the problem of abrasiveness, but what about bed adhesion? Nylon is notoriously warpy (although not as bad as ABS), so bed adhesion is extremely important to keep the proper shape and dimensions once your modeled part is printed. Garolite solves that problem; an interwoven glass fiber fabric impregnated with epoxy resin, creating a build plate just textured enough to grip onto your nylon or NylonX print. And when you pair garolite with the Flexplate system, you can be absolutely certain that your part will stick and release with ease.
Creating the Bike Pedals
Once the material and printer were determined, Dave started modeling the pedal for his specific design constraints, like the bearings, shaft, and threaded studs it would need to attach to it. With a couple test prints to make sure the shape and functionality were right, he printed a pedal out and assembled all the parts and took it out for a test spin.
At the basics, Dave printed NylonX with an extruder temperature of 255C, a bed temperature of 70C, 50mm/s, and the layer cooling fan completely off.
NylonX and the Pulse XE were the perfect combination of material and machine to handle what Dave needed.
To read about the specific settings, recommendations, and best practices when printing with NylonX, read more in our article all about Succeeding with NylonX.