3D printing filaments with carbon fibre superpowers have been reinforced with carbon fibre to give enhanced strength and stiffness.
Carbon Fibre filaments are composites, meaning they are a mixture of a carrier polymer (like PLA or ABS) and an additive that alters or enhances the 3D filaments aesthetic and physical properties.
The ratio of carbon fibre to polymer will vary between manufacturers and is usually given as a percentage. Carbon fibre filaments are particularly abrasive by nature.
An important consideration when selecting a carbon fibre 3D printing filament is that the higher the percentage of carbon fibre, the more abrasive the filament will be. This can lead to damaging the nozzle of your 3D printer. Printing with carbon fibre filaments will nearly always require the use of hardened steel nozzles.
Carbon fibre filaments often use copolyesters as a carrier polymer. Copolyesters are durable, impact resistant 3D printing filaments that also demonstrate great thermal and chemical stability. Carbon fibre filaments composites are also used with PLA, PETG, Nylon, ABS, and Polycarbonate. As well as significantly improving the strength and stiffness of the carrier polymer, carbon fibre reinforcement will also lower the weight of the final product and reduce shrinkage during printing.
The printing requirement for carbon fibre reinforced filaments will vary depending on what carrier polymer has been used. In general, the print settings will be mostly similar to the carrier polymer, so a copolyester-carbon fibre filament will be printed with similar settings to copolyester. The major change will mostly be the need for a hardened steel extruder but always check the technical data sheet for specific requirements.