3D printers, which are capable of constructing 3-dimensional
molded objects, have been adopted widely not only in
industrial applications but also for home use by hobbyists. The
mainstream molding method in 3D printers is a technique
called fused deposition modeling (FDM), in which a continuous
resin filament is melted by heat and then deposited in layers.
Filaments for 3D printers are made from thermoplastic resins,
and various types have now been developed. Although the
main filament materials are ABS resin and PLA resin, other
materials include not only engineering plastics but also super
engineering plastics and composites made by adding glass fiber
or carbon fiber to a thermoplastic resin.
Because 3D printers utilize the characteristic that the filament
material softens when heated and then hardens when cooled,
the differential scanning calorimeter (DSC), which enables
detailed analysis of fusion and crystallization, is extremely
effective in material selection and setting of the molding
conditions. This article introduces an example in which the
thermal properties of several composite filaments for 3D
printers were measured with Shimadzu thermal analyzers.