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Best Carbon Fiber 3D Printer in 2022

Top recommendations for those that need strong yet lightweight prints
Last Updated on February 1, 2022
best carbon fiber 3d printer

From Formula 1 parts to road bike frames by way of aerospace applications, carbon fiber manufacturing techniques have come a long way from their origins as a novel solution for light bulb filament over one hundred years ago.

Prized for being as strong as metal but considerably lighter, carbon fiber has unsurprisingly found its way into the world of 3D printing, where it’s used alongside traditional 3D printing materials to drastically improve the stiffness, heat resistant qualities, and ruggedness of everything from prototypes to functional parts.

Whether you’re a professional outfit looking to level up your manufacturing with a carbon fiber 3D printer or a solo designer with some cash to spare, you’ve come to the right place. While carbon fiber printing is relatively niche, not to say expensive, there are quite a few options to choose from, and there are naturally concerns about choosing the right one when so much money is involved. Nothing stings quite as much as spending thousands on a dud.

Not to worry, in today’s guide, we’re laser-focused on showcasing some of the best carbon fiber 3D printers.

Products at a Glance

Our Recommended

Best Carbon Fiber 3D Printer in 2022

1.
PROS
  • Compatibility with a huge range of materials including carbon fiber
  • Superb print quality
  • 20 to 600-micron resolution
  • Dual extruders
  • Auto active bed leveling
CONS
  • Expensive
  • Slow print speeds
2.
PROS
  • Desktop form factor
  • Industrial-grade results
  • Support for carbon fiber, fiberglass, kevlar, nylon
  • Slicing software
CONS
  • Expensive
  • Build volume is small for industrial printers
3.
PROS
  • Large 305 mm x 305 mm x 605 mm build volume
  • Versatile
  • Dual extrusion printing
  • Broad material support for temps up to 300-degrees
  • 10 micron resolution
CONS
  • Expensive
  • Inconvenient spool holder design
4.
PROS
  • All-in-one cabinet-style design
  • Interchangeable hardened steel nozzles
  • Fast print speeds
  • 20 micron resolution
  • Material compatibility
CONS
  • No wireless connectivity
5.
PROS
  • Two interchangeable extruders
  • Works with numerous materials
  • Affordable price point
  • Decent quality prints
CONS
  • No auto bed leveling
  • Small build volume compared to pro-grade printers

What 3D printers can print carbon fiber?

While you might think that a 3D printer as the potential to print with whatever material you like this is not the case and in fact, most 3D printing machines are quite limited in terms of what filaments can be used. When it comes to carbon fiber this is especially true as there are specific requirements that your 3D printer needs to make a successful print.

It will first need a high extrusion temperature, one that reaches at least 200 degrees to be precise, as lower temperatures will be ineffective against carbon fiber. It will also need special nozzles to get the job done. Brass nozzles simply won’t make the cut here and you’ll need to look further out of the norm to get the nozzles that are needed.

Is carbon fiber PLA stronger than regular PLA?

While you might think that adding carbon fiber to anything will automatically make it stronger, it’s not quite as simple as that. Carbon fiber PLA might appear to be stronger than the regular PLA you’re used to but in fact it’s just more ‘stiff’, making you’re 3D prints less flexible. This means it’ll take probably more force but because of it’s rigidity, it is more brittle. So, the word using ‘stronger’ to describe carbon fiber PLA isn’t what we would choose, it’s certainly more attractive to look at and is stiffer but overall, not stronger.

Can the Creality Ender 3 print carbon fiber?

Yes, the Creality Ender 3 can in fact 3D print carbon fiber but not with the stock machine. If you want to use your Ender 3 as a carbon fiber printer, you’re going to need the right nozzle for the job. A hardened steel nozzle is what you’re looking for here and there a bunch on the market that can be picked up relatively cheaply. Head to our best 3D printer nozzles page where you can find our pick for the steel variant you need.

What is the strongest filament?

The strongest filament for 3D printing on the market right now is Polycarbonate without question. In some tests, users have seen Polycarbonate sporting huge tensile strength with hooks made from this material easily suspending over 600 pounds in weight. To put this in the perspective of comparative materials, premium PLA can only take around half of that, coming in between 250-300 pounds.

Polycarbonate is, unfortunately, a little tricky to 3D though. This is due to the fact that it warps quite easily so can only really be created in an enclosed environment. While this won’t be an issue for those that already have this setup, those with open 3D printers will be left in the lurch.

Our Verdict

Boasting compatibility with a broad array of materials, including carbon fiber with a simple nozzle swap, superb print results, and plenty of quality of life features that score points for ease of use, the Ultimaker S5 takes the crown as our top pick for the best carbon fiber 3D printer.

A close second is the Markforged Mark Two, which offers an industrial-grade print in a footprint that fits in more modest office setups. The print quality is nothing short of phenomenally, and the printer can tackle everything from functional parts to intricate prototyping.

For larger builds, the Raise3D Pro2 Plus offers a massive build volume, broad material support, including carbon fiber, fine-detail 10-micron resolution, and top-quality prints to match. The price tag sees this one suitable for professional outfits that want consistent results with all the quality of life trimmings.

The Fusion3 F410 delivers an attractive mix of precision, speed, and reliability, all at a very reasonable price point for a professional-grade 3D printer suitable for carbon fiber composite materials. The all-in-one cabinet design and interchangeable hardened steel nozzle system are highlights. The printer delivers on virtually all fronts making it a top choice for designers, engineers, and small businesses.

Lastly, you don’t need to spend a fortune to dabble in carbon fiber printing and obtain good results. The QIDI TECH X-plus is a top choice in that respect.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch in the comment section below with any questions, concerns, or suggestions.