The Complete Guide to HDPE Filament

Overview of HDPE

HDPE is the abbreviation of high-density polyethylene (high-density polyethylene). HDPE material is a kind of recyclable plastic. The common products in our lives include milk, detergent, soda water and other millions of products in different industries. They are all filled with containers made of this kind of plastic-one of the reasons why this kind of plastic is common is its high strength-to-density ratio. As a thermoplastic polymer made of ethylene, it is very strong and light enough to be used in various scenarios. In addition to preserving consumer goods, it is often used in corrosion-resistant pipes, liquid permeable membranes used in biological environments, and wood made from recycled plastics.

This also highlights another advantage of HDPE and the reason why it is becoming more and more popular as a 3D printing material: it is easily converted into new materials through recycling. Using recyclable HDPE as a 3D printing filament can bring benefits to users and the global environment at the same time.

What can HDPE plastics 3D print?

1.floating objects

Due to the low density of HDPE, it can be 3D printed into objects that can maintain buoyancy even in large sizes. Coupled with its non-absorbent advantages, you can even use it to make your own boat!

In addition, you can use it to 3D print anything you want to put in the water and don't want it to sink.

2. Complex objects

HDPE can be dissolved in limonene, which means it can be used as a filling material for geometrically complex objects. When you immerse the entire printed object in a vat of limonene, you can save yourself the trouble of removing hard-to-reach supports.

3. Food containers and lids

If you are struggling to find a matching storage solution, HDPE material is undoubtedly a good choice. It is non-toxic and will not dissolve or absorb water, so you can use it to print food containers and beverage accessories like coasters and lids according to your needs.

4. Medical object

The multifunctional material HDPE is changing the medical field. It has been proven to be a good medical container material for the same reason that it is a high-quality food container filament-it is certified by the FDA as non-toxic and water-absorbent. However, industrial medical supplies suppliers are also trying to use it to make implantable medical supplies, such as replacements for missing bones. Its strength and light weight make it an ideal choice for meeting medical needs, and its sustainability as a material reduces costs and improves its availability.

Pros

1.Waterproof:

One reason HDPE is used as a liquid container is that it is insoluble in water. This characteristic makes it a good container material.

2.Light and strong:

The composition of HDPE prevents it from "branching" or splitting at the molecular level, which is why it is light and strong. As a 3D printing material, HDPE provides you with extensive design support without worrying about it being overwhelmed.

3.can dissolve:

HDPE can be dissolved by limonene, which makes it an ideal choice for 3D printing support materials. If your design requires a lot of overhanging details or there are gaps between parts, HDPE can be used as a temporary support for printing. Once the object is finished and cooled, you can immerse it in the limonene. The HDPE will dissolve, leaving only the perfect design.

4.FDA approved:

This filament is rated as food safety grade, which means it is non-toxic. FDA approval also means that it can be used to 3D print medical objects without worrying about filaments contaminating biological materials.

5 Recyclable:

The most famous advantage of HDPE is that it is easy to recycle. It is made into 3D printing filaments, which creates new uses for millions of tons of waste generated when humans use such plastics. When using HDPE for 3D printing, waste products can also be recovered immediately, so that it will not cause waste and pollute the environment, and use it for any other useful purposes.

Cons

1.Rasy to warp

HDPE is difficult to print because it is easily deformed during printing. This is an unfortunate side effect of low self-adhesiveness-the layers do not stick together very well. If the printing process is not carefully supervised, this problem may cause the design to get out of control.

2.Poor self-adhesiveness

The low self-adhesiveness of HDPE will also affect the final printed object. Since these layers are not held together like other 3D printing materials (such as PLA or ABS), you may need to apply a layer of glue on the outer plane of the project to give them extra support. However, this step may affect the non-toxicity of HDPE. Before you surface it, it’s best to think about what you want to use it for.

3.Easy to shrink

As a 3D printing filament, HDPE also shrinks when it cools, which may cause major problems in the final project if you don't think about it in advance. It is best to design and print the test object using HDPE first, then measure the amount of shrinkage and adjust your design accordingly. This will help you combat some of the warping properties of HDPE.

Requirements

Now HDPE is often printed by FDM 3D Printers. Let’s see what is the requirements of printing HDPE?

1.High nozzle temperature

HDPE needs a slightly higher temperature (between 230 and 260°C) in order to flow continuously in the extruder. If the temperature is too high, the material will emit a toxic smell. Therefore, when using HDPE filaments, please precisely control the temperature of the extruder.

2. heated print bed

Since it has self-adhesion and shrinkage problems when it is cooled, the HDPE filament has the best printing effect on the heating bed. This keeps the material stable and warm enough to maintain its shape throughout the printing process and also makes the base of the printed object more sticky.

3 .used as a support

If you need a lot of support materials when printing complex designs, I highly recommend HDPE. Because it will not dissolve in any liquid. And when you are ready to make your design independent, limonene can easily take away all traces of support.