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igus® inc.

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Wear-resistant polymers: 3D-printed components in the test lab

Low-friction parts proven to last up to 50 times longer than standard 3D-printing materials

igus® continuously tests the tribological properties of its 3D-printed parts based on DIN ISO 7148-2 inside our 41,000-square-foot lab in Cologne, Germany. We cover linear, pivoting and rotary movements on different types of shafts to ensure that our self-lubricating iglide® materials will last up to 50 times longer than standard 3D-printing materials inside moving applications. Our iglide® J260-PF filament, for example, exhibited low friction and low wear values in all tests. The standard ABS material quickly failed the rotary test on a stainless-steel shaft. Additionally, our 3D-printed plain bearings made of iglide® special filament had similar wear rates to standard injection-molded parts on all test rigs. All igus® 3D-printed components are low-friction, wear-resistant and maintenance-free. We produce printed parts for prototypes and small batches, no minimum order quantity required!


Wear test: linear long stroke

iglide® I3 beats ABS material by factor 33

Linear tests (long stroke)

Test parameters:

  • Surface pressure: 0.11MPa
  • Surface speed: 0.34m/s
  • Stroke: 370mm
  • Shaft materials: alu hc
  • Duration: 3 weeks

Wear test linear graph

     Y = wear rate [μm/km]
 
     1. ABS (FDM)
     2. iglide® I180 (FDM)
     3. iglide® I3 (SLS)
     4. iglide® J injection-molded

Abrasive wear of linear sliding bushes after test

Test result:
The long stroke test shows a lower coefficient of wear by factor 15 for iglide® I180 (FDM) and by factor 33 for iglide® I3 (SLS). These materials are ideal for long-stroke applications, such as XY gantries for pick-and-place applications, plain bearings, and guide bars in a 3D printer.


Wear test: linear short stroke

Tribological properties of 3D-printed plain bearings almost identical to injection-molded ones

Wear test linear short stroke

Test parameters:

  • Surface pressure: 1MPa
  • Surface speed: 0.3 m/s
  • Stroke: 5mm
  • Shaft materials: CF53 (left bar) and 304 SS (right bar)
  • Duration: 1 week

Wear test linear graph

Y = wear rate [μm/km]
 
1. ABS (FDM)
2. iglide® J260 (FDM)
3. iglide® J260 (FDM)

Wear test linear short stroke

Test result:
Injection-molded plain bearings and 3D-printed plain bearings made of iglide® J260 were tested with the same load and surface speed. The bearings have similar wear rates, regardless of manufacturing method. The test also shows that our material’s coefficient of friction and wear rates are much lower than standard ABS materials.


Wear test: pivoting

Up to 50 times higher abrasion resistance thanks to iglide® polymers

Wear test swivelling

Test parameters:

  • Surface pressure: 20 MPa
  • Surface speed: 0.01m/s
  • Pivoting angle: 60°
  • Shaft materials: 304 SS
  • Duration: 4 weeks

Wear test swivelling graph

Y= wear rate [µm/km


1. PA12 (SLS)
2. PA12 + glass balls (SLS)
3. iglide® I3 (SLS)
4. iglide® W300 injection-molded

Abrasive wear of plain bearings in the swivelling wear test

Test result:

The swivel test shows that iglide® filaments are 50 times more abrasion resistant and offer a much longer service life than standard 3D-printing materials (e.g. ABS).


Wear test: pivoting heavy load

Comparable tribological properties of 3D-printed and injection-molded plain bearings

Swivelling heavy load wear test

Test parameters:

  • Surface pressure: 10, 20 and 45MPa
  • Surface speed: 0.01m/s
  • Pivoting angle: 60°
  • Duration: 1 week

Swivelling heavy load wear test graph

      Y= wear rate [µm/km] 

      1. iglide® I3 (SLS)
      2. iglide® I180 (FDM)
      3. iglide® G injection-molded
      4. iglide® W300 injection-molded

      Wear-resistant polymer in swivelling heavy load wear test

      Test result:
      We tested plain bearings with a diameter and length of 20mm (i.e., the 3D-printed plain bearing was loaded with 1,800kg). The results show SLS 3D-printed plain bearings can withstand loads of up to 45MPa surface pressure and that their tribological properties are just as good as injection-molded bearings, making them suitable for heavy-duty applications. 


      Wear test: drive nut

      iglide® materials more durable than standard materials by factor 6 to factor 18

      Wear-resistant drive nut

      Test parameters:

      • Torque: 129Nm
      • Stroke: 370mm
      • Speed: 290 [rpm]
      • Duration: two weeks

      Drive nut wear test graph

      Y = wear rate [mg/km]
       
      1. ABS (FDM)
      2. iglide® I180 (FDM)
      3. iglide® J260 (FDM)
      4. iglide® I3 (SLS)
      5. iglide® J injection-molded

      Wear-resistant drive nut

      Test result:
      The test shows that iglide® offers higher wear resistance by factor 6 to factor 18 compared to conventional materials, depending on which 3D-printing material and method are used. Printing drive nuts in low quantities is a cost-effective alternative to injection molding since the thread can be produced directly in the 3D printer without expensive tooling.
       


      Friction test: rotating

      iglide® vs. standard ABS material - lower coefficient of friction with iglide®

      Friction test rotating

      Test parameters:

      • Surface pressure: 1MPa
      • Surface speed: 0.1m/s
      • Shaft material: Cf53

      Friction test rotating graph

      Y = coefficient of friction [-]
      X = duration [h]

       
      1. PA12 (SLS)
      2. iglide® I3 (SLS)
       

       

      Abrasive wear in the test: coefficient of friction rotating

      Test result:
      The tribological properties of iglide® I3 are better than standard 3D-printing materials by factor 2. That’s because iglide® materials contain solid lubricants, which lower the coefficient of friction and significantly increase wear resistance. The tribological properties of iglide® polymers are beneficial for designing motors and drive forces, as half the friction only requires half the drive force.


      Gears made of wear-resistant polymer

      POM vs. iglide® I6: downtime at POM, iglide® I6 hardly any abrasive wear

      Test parameters:

      • Torque: 4.9Nm
      • Speed: 12 [rpm]
      • Counter partner: hard anodized aluminum
      • Duration: 2 months
      1. POM: 321,000 cycles: High wear
      2. POM: 621,000 cycles: downtime
      3. iglide® I6: 1 million cycles: low wear
       
      Test result:  
      We tested a variety of 3D-printed and mechanically manufactured polymers in the worm gear test. No other polymer reached as long of a service life as our wear-resistant iglide® I6 material (in SLS 3D printing). Worm gears made of iglide® I6 are also used inside our robolink® robotic arm modular system.


      Application Assistance

      For further questions or product information, please contact:

      Photo
      Preston Souza

      Dry-tech Product Specialist

      Email

      Customer Service:

      Monday to Friday from 8 am - 8 pm

      Online:

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