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What is Carbon Fiber and other composites 3D Printing ?

3D Printing technology has advanced leaps and bounds in recent times.One of the key areas of development that has gained momentum is 3D Printing with Carbon Fiber and other composites. 

Composite fibers are used to enhanced specific properties of traditional 3D Printed parts, namely, strength, stiffness, heat resistance, durability and better strength to weight ratio. This gives them advantage over the standard 3D Printing materials like ABS, PLA etc. Composites material from engineering view point refers to composites with reinforcing fibers. The three commonly used reinforcing fibers are Carbon Fiber, Fiber Glass and Kevlar. In 3D Printing fibre including carbon fibre and other fibers can take two forms – Chopped Fiber and Continuous Fiber .

Chopped Fibers are short-length fibers chopped into small segments that are less than a millimeter and mixed with base thermoplastics like Nylon. FDM process can be used for printing these materials.

With Continuous Fibers, a different method called Continuous Fibre Fabrication (CFF) is used in which continuous fibre stands are coated in curing agent and laid down in thermoplastic matrix extruded via secondary print nozzle.

In general, continuous fibre is stronger than chopped fibre. Using the above advanced composite material options 3D Prototyping is able to offer high end material options listed below:

  • Onyx - Nylon mixed with chopped carbon fibre.
  • Carbon Fibre – Highest strength to weight.
  • Fiberglass – Highest strength to cost.
  • Kevlar® – Abrasion resistance. (additional information to come)
  • HSHT-High Strength High Temperature.
  • Nylon – Tough engineering plastic.


Onyx is a chopped carbon fiber reinforced nylon.  It is 1.4 times stronger and stiffer than ABS and can be reinforced with continuous fiber such as Carbon Fiber, Fiberglass , HSHT and Kevlar®. Onyx sets the bar high for surface finish,chemical resistivity and heat tolerance. The Flexural strength is 81 MPa and the Heat Deflection Temperature is 145°.


Carbon Fiber CFF Filament

Prints like plastic, but stiffer than aluminum. This patent pending composite is 20x stiffer than ABS and is stronger than Al 6061-T6 by weight. Carbon Fiber CFF™ is perfect for fixture , jigs and parts that need the highest strength-to-weight ratio.

Carbon Fiber:

  • Best strength-to-weight
  • Stiffer than 6061 Al

Fiberglass CFF Filament

Fiberglass filament is the perfect alternative when the strength of Carbon Fiber Filament is needed, but the stiffness and weight are less critical. This patent pending Fiberglass CFF filament uses the same Continuous Filament Fabrication process for impressive strength, but at a much lower cost.


  • Best strength-to-cost
  • Electrically Insulating

Kevlar CFF Filament

Kevlar filament is a tough and hard like material five times as strong as steel! Kevlar has many applications, ranging from bicycle tyres, racing sails to body amour because of its high tensile strength-to-weight ratio; It is also used to make modern drum heads that withstand high impact and even underwater applications.


  • high tensile strength-to-weight ratio;
  • 5 times stronger than steel, temperate resistance

HSHT Fiberglass Filament

High Strength High Temperature(HSHT) exhibits aluminum strength and high heat tolerance.It is 5 times stronger and 7 times stiffer than Onyx. It is best suited for parts to be used in high temperature application.


Nylon CFF Filament

Fantastically flexible, but tough as nails. This nylon filament has great fatigue and impact resistance. Nylon is also a great outer protective layer to keep your fixtures and tooling from scratching sensitive parts. It’s also a great choice for tabs, clips, and mechanical fasteners.


  • Tough engineering plastic
  • Low-friction
  • Flexible


Printing Technology:

  • Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF)
  • Composite Filament Fabrication (CFF)

Build Size:

  • 320mm x 132mm x 160mm (12.6″ x 5.2″ x 6.3″, 412ci)

Material Compatibility:

  • Onyx , Carbon Fiber, Fiberglass, HSHT, Kevlar®, Nylon

Highest Layer Resolution:

  • FFF Printing: 100 Microns
  • CFF Printing: 200 Microns

Anatomy of a Composite Filament Fabrication Part

3D Prototyping can help accelerate your design cycle. Printed parts add incredible strength to traditional FFF parts by reinforcing them with embedded continuous strand composites using the Composite Filament Fabrication™ (CFF™) process. This example shows a 3D printed functional prototype “foot” for an Aeromotions wing that is capable of producing 860 lb. of down force at 200mph. Our unique software will allow added reinforcement where you need it, creating a robust, fibre reinforced part.

1. Nylon base + 3 carbon fibre layers

The nylon base provides a tough, non-abrasive outer shell. Next, three layers of carbon fibre are added to provide strength. In this example, we’re using 3 x 200 micron layers of carbon fibre on the top and bottom for a total of 6 layers.

2. Nylon honeycomb structure

The software automatically generates the honeycomb core between the composite layers. This sandwich panel construction enables great efficiency in part weight and cost.

3. Final Carbon Fiber CFF + nylon case

The top layers of carbon fibre reinforcement are printed, capped off with a few layers of nylon – no post curing or vacuum bagging required.

For further information, please explore our FAQ, or contact us on the form below.

Composite 3D Printing Enquiry Form