In today’s Polymaker PolyMAX PLA review, find out our experience with this material. See the quality of print we managed when we tested the filament.
In this article, we are reviewing the PolyMax PLA filament for 3D printers from Polymaker. You probably have heard of this brand, but may not have tried printing their filaments. Here is our experience with the material.
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Polymaker was founded in 2013 by 4 friends with PhD in polymer science at Changshu Innopark, China. The group set an ambitious goal – to create the best filament for 3D printers on the market.
From the looks of things, they have somewhat achieved this goal. The small Chinese company started by the friends has become one of the world’s largest manufacturers of the highest quality 3D printing plastic.
Polymaker is respected and used all over the world by large companies and home 3D printer users. Filaments from the company stand out for their stable diameter, high quality raw materials, rich beautiful colors and unique patented technologies.
The first technology that led to the founding of the company was the so-called Jam-free technology for PLA plastic. Here is how it works:
Conventional PLA filament for 3D printers has an amorphous (non-crystalline) structure and softens at about 60 °C:
If the heat from the hotend spreads higher to the coldend and raises its temperature more than 60°C, the plastic begins to soften before reaching the nozzle.
This results in a plug in the extruder.
Using Jam-free technology, it was possible to achieve a semi-crystalline PLA structure:
Thanks to this, the softening temperature of the bar increased to almost 140°C. Thus, even if the colddend temperature rises above 60°C, the plastic in it does not soften. This means that you to print stably without fear of jams, even with all-metal extruders.
This technology is used in all PLA plastics from Polymaker. It is worth noting that this property of the material extends precisely to the bar itself. After printing, the parts already have a softening point usual for PLA, since the structure of the material changes after melting.
The next development of the company was the PolyMax line, which uses Nano Reinforcement Technology (nano-reinforcement technology).
This technology significantly increases the strength of materials. We will describe in more detail below using the example of PolyMax PLA.
Later, Polymaker developed PolyFlex, PolyWood, PC-max, PolySmooth and other materials, both original and already known but improved. All Polymaker products are manufactured under strict control from the highest quality materials. These materials provide trouble-free printing.
Polymaker PolyLite PLA Print Quality
Now back to the highlight of our article, the PolyMax PLA, which is the subject of this review.
Polymaker PolyMAX PLA Review
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In addition to Jam-free technology, excellent print quality and stability, one of the important features of PolyMax PLA is its high strength that is comparable to ABS. This high strength is achieved thanks to the Polymaker nano-reinforcement technology.
PolyMax PLA has a Charpy impact strength of 12.2 ± 1.03 kJ/m2. This is comparable to ABS (test method ASTM D256 (ISO 179, GB / T 1043).
Initially, we planned to repeat several tests that we’ve seen on PolyMax PLA reviews from other makers. However, during research, it turned out that most of their tests were not very objective and indicative. Therefore, we decided to conduct our own tests.
Our tests cannot also be called the most accurate. However, through them, we were able objectively confirm or deny the unique features of PolyMax PLA as indicated by the manufacturer.
Let’s get started with this Polymaker PolyMAX PLA review.
The packaging, like of all Polymaker materials, is excellent. The filament comes in a convenient box with a nice design, which can be further used for various little things.
The boxes are delivered sealed in polyethylene. This means that even the box is protected from damage.
The coils are well vacuumized, while the package has a zip-lock that allows you to reliably close the coil after opening. The colors are dense and saturated and the winding is ideal, turn to turn.
The spool is transparent and has many holes for fixing the filament. The diameter of the bar is very stable. However, it is not 1.75 mm, but 1.77 mm uniform along the entire length. Once you configure the flow in the print profile, you will never have to think about it again.
|Impact strength||12.2 ± 1.03 kJ/m2|
|Thread density||1.17-1.24 (g/cm3 at 21.5°C)|
|Elongation at break||1.4±0.3%|
|Tensile modulus||1879 ± 109 MPa|
|Tensile strength||28.1 ± 1.3 MPa|
|Flexural strength||48.0 ± 1.9 MPa|
|Modulus of elasticity||2119 ± 60 MPa|
|Melt index||5~8r/10 min (210°C 2.16 kg)|
|Glass transition temperature||61°C|
|Recommended site heating temperature||25°C-60°C|
|Recommended printing speed||40 mm/s- 60 mm/s|
|Coil width||45 mm|
|Outer diameter of the coil||220 mm|
|Plastic Coil Weight||0.75 kg|
See the current price of a coil of Polymaker PolyMax PLA.
Polymaker PolyLite PLA Review Tests
Now, let’s test the properties of the materia.
Test #1: Checking the bar for break
First, we decided to check the bar for fracture. As a rule, regular PLA plastic will withstand no more than 4-6 folds. Esun PLA (yellow) withstood only 5 and then broke:
PolyMax PLA in black is surprisingly very difficult to break. It took as many as 27 kinks for the bar to break off completely.
In the place of inflection, the plastic brightens, like ABS.
Test #2: Jam-free technology test
Polymaker has specified a bar softening point of 140˚C before printing. We compared how much the PolyMax PLA would soften versus Esun’s regular PLA.
For this, the table of the Raise3D printer was heated in a closed heat chamber to 100 degrees.
Esun’s PLA is completely soft. It looks like a rope, stretched out into a thin string when stretched. But Polymax PLA passed this test. It became just a little more flexible but also remained firm and did not stretch at all when stretched.
Apparently, Jam-free technology really works. And with PolyMax PLA plastic, you can not be afraid of thermal plugs, both with poor cooling of the cold and with an all-metal extruder.
Test #3: Flexibility
The next test was to test the flexion resistance. To do this, we printed 4 identical parallelepipeds from different plastics: Esun ABS (black), Esun PLA (orange), PolyLite PLA (blue) and, of PolyMax PLA (white).
The model size was 130 x 10 x 3 mm and the filling was 100%.
After printing, we tried to bend them.
The first test subject was ABS. The material withstood a fairly strong bend. However, at the very end, it broke but without breaking completely into two parts.
image: https://cvetmir3d.ru/images/Bend_Esun_ABS.gif Caption: Esun ABS (cant find the gif)
Normal PLA withstood the bend slightly less, then burst and shattered in two.
image: https://cvetmir3d.ru/images/Bend_Esun_ABS.gif Caption: Esun PLA
Polylite PLA lasted slightly longer than previous test subjects. It only broke after the third bend.
image: https://cvetmir3d.ru/images/Bend_PolyLite_PLA.gif Caption: Polylite PLA
And PolyMax PLA was the last to be bent, and it was a pleasant surprise. The material withstood almost full flexion without any problems, even without a hint of kink. It also withstood the bend in the opposite direction. In the place of the bend, the plastic just stretched a little, while not bursting or breaking.
image: https://cvetmir3d.ru/images/Bend_PolyMax_PLA.gif Caption: PolyMax PLA
Only after a couple of dozen bends did signs of destruction began to appear on the part. At the same time, the part did not break until the end. It was possible to break it a little only when twisting it.
Test #4: Impact test
And the last test was devoted to checking the impact strength. Polymaker says PolyMax PLA should have roughly the same toughness as ABS.
Since we do not have specialized equipment for measuring this mechanical characteristic, we had to improvise. We dropped the sledgehammer on the printed models (100% coverage). It is difficult to call this test absolutely objective, but we still managed to obtain comparative data.
Printed models of different plastics used in this test were originally planned for the flexion test. But bending them proved to be extremely difficult. So, they came in handy in this testing.
Esun PLA (yellow) was the first to go under the sledgehammer.
From the blow, a rather strong dent was formed. The plastic at the impact site collapsed and even crumbled a little.
Then Esun ABS (black) was the next to be tested.
The model took the blow much better. The impact dent was much smaller than PLA. Also, the plastic did not collapse but rather sold out. A small crack formed on one side.
And the last test was on the PolyMax PLA (black).
The dent on it turned out to be almost the same as on the ABS. The plastic did not collapse. The depth of the dent was exactly the same as on ABS. Even a small crack formed exactly in the same place.
Of course, this test is approximate. But it is obvious that in terms of impact resistance, PolyMax PLA is indeed significantly better than conventional PLA and is very similar to ABS. We believe that the impact strength declared by the manufacturer can be considered confirmed.
Polymaker is positioning PolyMax PLA as comparable to ABS in terms of strength. This sounds very tempting. And even if we did not doubt the quality of the printed models and the absence of problems when printing with this plastic, we still wanted to test its impact resistance.
We were pleased with the results of the comparative tests. In the impact test, PolyMax PLA proved to be identical to ABS plastic, and even outperformed the latter in the bending test. Of course, we failed to verify the accuracy of mathematical calculations .Still, the comparative test turned out to be quite indicative.
We also tested the proprietary Jam-free technology, which protects against thermal plugs. PolyMax PLA also successfully passed it.
As for the quality of printed models from PolyMax PLA: since this plastic is only available in black and white, the quality of printed products is not easy to evaluate from photographs. But it can be clearly seen on models from a more budgetary polymaker filament PolyLite PLA in blue.
Of course, PolyMax PLA is far from identical in all technical parameters to ABS material. Like any PLA, models made of it certainly should not be used at high temperatures.
But if you need to create functional products that will be subjected to mechanical shock in the future, you can safely use PolyMax PLA instead of ABS. Its benefits include low shrinkage, no toxicity and odor when printing, and trouble-free printing.
The developers, most likely, had a goal to create a kind of mix that combines the advantages of PLA and ABS plastics together. And from our tests, they succeeded.
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