Carbon fibre 3d printer filament

Ultimate Materials Guide - 3D Printing with Carbon Fiber


Carbon fiber filaments use tiny fibers that are infused into a base material to improve the properties of that material. Several popular filaments can be bought with carbon fiber fill including PLA, PETG, Nylon, ABS, and Polycarbonate. These fibers are extremely strong and cause the filament to increase in strength and stiffness. This also means that the 3D printed parts will be much lighter and more dimensionally stable, as the fibers will help prevent shrinking of the part as it cools. Print settings, such as printing temperature, speed, bed adhesion, and extrusion rates will be very similar to the normal settings used for the base material that the fibers were added to (for example, the stock PLA settings would be a good starting point for PLA-based carbon fiber filament). However, due to the added fibers, these specialty materials are more likely to clog and can require special hardware to avoid damaging the printer.

  • Increased strength and stiffness
  • Very good dimensional stability
  • Lightweight
  • Abrasive and requires hardened steel nozzle
  • Increased oozing while printing
  • Increased brittleness of filament
  • Higher tendency to clog

Hardware Requirements

Carbon fiber filled filaments have the same requirements as the base filament it is infused with. The hardware requirements listed below are for carbon fiber filled PLA filament.


Temperature: 45-60 °C
Heated Bed Optional
Enclosure not required

Build Surface

Painter’s tape
Glass plate
Glue stick


Temperature: 200-230 °C
Requires Wear Resistant Hardened Steel Nozzle


Part Cooling Fan Required

Best Practices

These tips will help you reduce the chances of common 3D printing issues associated with carbon fiber filled filaments such as clogging and the nozzle wearing down.

Upgrade to Hardened Steel Nozzle

The carbon fibers in these filaments can be extremely abrasive. In many cases, the carbon fibers are actually harder than the brass nozzles used on most 3D printers, so trying to print these materials with a stock nozzle could damage the printer. Instead, plan on upgrading to a hardened steel hotend. These hotends can resist the added wear from the fibers, however, they also tend to be less thermally conductive than their brass counterparts. You may need to set the extruder temperature as much as 40° hotter than usual, which also helps with reducing the chance of a clog. Reducing the fan speed can also be useful to prevent thermal issues with the steel nozzles.

Adjust Retraction Settings to Avoid Clogs

Since the filament is full of small fibers that won’t melt, the chances of a nozzle clog are greatly increased over the base material. We recommend reducing your retraction distance or disabling retractions all together, as the retractions can increase the change of a buildup of fibers inside the extruder assembly. If you want to minimize the number of retractions that are performed, Simplify3D includes a very useful setting that will actually adjust the travel path of the extruder to stay within the interior of the part so that no retraction is needed. You can enable this setting by turning on the “avoid crossing outline for travel movements” option on the Advanced tab of your process settings.

Reduce the Print Speed for Consistent Results

Using a slower print speed can be a big benefit for carbon fiber filled materials, as the extruder will be under less stress, and has a higher chance of pushing small clogs through the nozzle if they start to form. Try reducing your print speed by 25-50% to see what value works best for your specific brand of plastic. If you still experience clogs after making these changes, we have an entire section on our Print Quality Guide dedicated to this issue that includes several other tips to help troubleshoot this issue: How to Fix a Clogged Extruder.

Use a Guided Filament Path

Carbon fiber filled filaments tend to be far more brittle than the base filament and can snap easily if they are forced through tight corners, or rub on sharp edges of the printer frame. Make sure that the entire filament path, from the spool to the nozzle, consists only of gentle curves, with no sharp turns or areas where the filament will be dragged along a surface. Using a PTFE guiding tube, or ensuring that the filament spool is in a strategic place with regards to the extruder can help reduce the chance of filament breakage.


  • Nozzles with larger diameters (0.5mm or more) are far less likely to clog, as the fibers will fit through the larger nozzle hole much more easily.
  • If the nozzle seems to clog right away after printing the first layer or two, try increasing the first layer height. If the nozzle is too close to the bed, this will create increased back-pressure while printing these layers that can cause the fibers to build up and clog the nozzle temporarily.

Get Started with Carbon Fiber Filled

There are many unique applications for this speciality material. We’ve compiled a few tips below to help you get started.

Common Applications

  • R/C Vehicles
  • Functional prototypes
  • Decorative pieces
  • Lightweight Props

Sample Projects

  • F16
  • Formula 1 Car
  • Quadcopter
  • Darth Revan’s Mask

Popular Brands

  • Proto-Pasta Carbon Fiber Reinforced PLA
  • Matterhackers NylonX

Carbon filament for 3D printers

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  • Extrudr Green-​TEC PRO Carbon 4 Model types

    • Fibre-reinforced BIO material
    • Exceptional mechanical properties
    • High thermal resistance up to 165 °C
  • colorFabb XT-​CF20 2 diameters

    • Extreme stability
    • High melting capacity
    • Low odour
  • Fiberlogy Nylon PA12 + CF15

    • Reinforced with carbon fibres
    • High tensile strength
    • High rigidity
  • Fillamentum Nylon CF15 Carbon 2 diameters

    • High strength
    • High thermal resistance
    • High chemical resistance
  • Polymaker PolyMide PA6-​CF Black 4 diameters

    • Excellent thermal properties
    • High mechanical resistance
    • Good layer adhesion
  • Formfutura CarbonFil™ Black 6 Model types

    • High impact strength
    • Unique mix
    • Excellent viscoelasticity
  • Fiberforce NYLFORCE Carbon Fibre 2 diameters

    • Reinforced carbon
    • Abrasive
    • For extra strong parts
  • Fillamentum CPE CF112 Carbon 2 diameters

    • Long-term stability
    • Chemical resistance
    • High durability
  • colorFabb PA-​CF 2 diameters

    • Special polyamide formula
    • Nearly without warping
    • Carbon fibre content
  • Polymaker Polymide PA12-​CF Black 2 Model types

    • Excellent mechanical properties
    • High thermal resistance
    • Carbon fibre reinforced
  • AddNorth Rigid X Black 4 Model types

    • Carbon fibre reinforced PETG
    • Chemical, heat and UV resistance
    • Perfect for vehicle parts
  • Phaetus aeCarbon Ease PA-​CF Black

    • Very consistent
    • High heat resistance
    • Low sensitivity to moisture
  • Spectrum Carbon PLA 2 Model types

    • Improved Hardness & Stiffness
    • Improved abrasion resistance
    • Significantly higher compressive strength
  • eSUN ePA12-​CF Natural

    • Low moisture absorption
    • High strength & toughness
    • Temperature resistant
  • eSUN ePA-​CF Natural

    • High rigidity & toughness
    • High impact resistance
    • High abrasion resistance
  • eSUN ePAHT-​CF Natural

    • High strength & rigidity
    • High toughness & impact resistance
    • High chemical resistance
  • AddNorth Adura X Black 4 Model types

    • Carbon fibre reinforced nylon
    • Strong prints for heavy-duty applications
    • Excellent surface finish
  • Phaetus aeCarbon Ultra PA-​CF Black

    • Carbon fibre reinforced
    • Heat resistant
    • Low sensitivity to moisture
  • Recreus PET-​G CF 2 Model types

    • Impact-resistant and wear-resistant
    • Chemical resistance
    • High heat resistance
  • AzureFilm PAHT Carbon Fibre

    • High-temperature resistance
    • Excellent mechanical properties
    • Lightweight
  • Spectrum PA6 CF15

    • Low moisture absorption
    • High mechanical strength
    • High-temperature resistance (up to 180 °C for short periods)
  • AzureFilm PET Carbon Fibre

    • Easy to print
    • High Z-layer strength
    • Excellent mechanical properties
  • R3D Carbon Black

    • Superior rigidity
    • Improved dimensional stability
    • High UV resistance
  • Spectrum Carbon PETG 2 Model types

    • Increased stiffness, hardness & tensile strength
    • Matt surface
    • Low shrinkage

All prices incl. VAT.

Everything you need to know about 3D printing carbon fiber

First produced by Joseph Swan in 1860, carbon fiber is made up of a long chain of carbon atoms bonded together. The chain is typically 5 to 10 micrometers in diameter and varies in length depending on the application. Over the years, carbon fiber has become popular in many sectors because it offers interesting properties, including high stiffness, high tensile strength, light weight, high chemical resistance, high temperature resistance, and low thermal expansion. Pure carbon fiber is actually five times stronger than steel and twice as stiff but lighter. As you can imagine, these characteristics make carbon fibers suitable for applications in sectors such as aerospace, automotive, military or civil engineering.

As some of you may already know, carbon fibers are rarely used on their own. They are usually combined with other materials to form what we call a composite material - in this particular case, these are materials reinforced with carbon fiber. These composites are made from a matrix material, usually a polymer, although it is possible to use non-polymer materials such as ceramics to which carbon fibers are added. The main advantage is that you end up with a stronger but lighter plastic with a higher level of stiffness.

The body of this bike frame is made of carbon fiber | Source: Arevo

Traditionally, carbon fiber composites have been used for structural design, where added weight results in increased life cycle costs or unsatisfactory performance. Carbon fiber composites can be used to create many products such as bicycle frames, aircraft fenders, propeller blades, automotive components, etc. As you can imagine, given the many benefits of carbon fiber, it is already being used by more than just traditional manufacturing systems. In recent years, more and more 3D printing companies are offering carbon fiber reinforced materials or technologies. They are designed to work with this composite to provide better performance. So how is carbon fiber being used in additive manufacturing?

3D Printing Applications

In its 3D Printing Composites 2020 - 2030 report, IDTechEx reports that the global market for 3D printing composites will reach $1.7 billion by 2030. This figure also includes other composite materials, such as materials reinforced with fiberglass or plastic. However, this trend clearly demonstrates that the 3D printing industry is increasingly using all composites, including carbon, in their manufacturing activities. There are essentially two ways to use carbon fiber in 3D printing, the first is carbon fiber reinforced filaments and the second is continuous carbon fiber reinforcement.

Carbon fiber filament

Carbon fiber filament uses short carbon fibers composed of segments less than one millimeter long, which are mixed with a thermoplastic known as a base material. There are a number of popular filaments available with carbon fiber fill, including PLA, PETG, nylon, ABS, and polycarbonate. These fibers, being extremely strong, cause an increase in the strength and stiffness of the thread, and also reduce its overall weight. The requirements for 3D printing carbon fiber filaments should be the same as for the base material they were added to. The main difference is that fibers can clog 3D printer nozzles, so experts recommend using a hardened steel nozzle. In addition, when a certain threshold of fibers is exceeded, the part printed on a 3D printer loses its surface quality.

Carbon fiber segments embedded in thread for reinforcement | Source: Markforged

Some companies have developed carbon fiber fibers for more technical applications. These yarns use high performance polymers (HPPs) such as PEEK or PEKK as the base material. Consequently, they not only offer the benefits of HPPs such as durability and high mechanical and chemical performance, but also an improved strength to weight ratio. Print settings need to be adjusted as HPPs require extruders that can heat up to 400°C and systems that have heated chambers and build plates. Some of the carbon fiber filament manufacturers are: Roboze, 3DXTech, ColorFabb, Markforged, Kimya, Intamsys, Zortrax, etc.

Continuous carbon fiber reinforcement

Carbon fiber thread is definitely stronger than thread that has not been reinforced. However, to get an even stronger part, another method called continuous carbon fiber reinforcement can be used. Since carbon fiber is not cut into smaller pieces, it retains much more strength. In fact, continuous printing on carbon fiber is strong enough to be half the weight of aluminium. 3D printer manufacturers claim that they can replace metal 3D printing for some applications. And the main advantage is that it is cheaper than metal. Finally, by placing carbon fiber according to DfAM techniques, it is possible to increase the strength of the part while reducing material consumption.

Using DfAM methods, it is possible to strengthen a part using carbon fiber | Source: Anisoprint

There are several players on the market that offer technologies that can continuously print carbon fibers. They can be divided into two main types, depending on when the carbon fiber is added (it can be added before the 3D printing process or during). When added earlier, continuous fiber 3D printing is known as backing prepreg, while when added during extrusion, it is called co-extrusion. In the prepeg technique, you also get a composite thread (or tape), but the carbon fibers have not been cut, instead they have been impregnated with a polymer through a pultrusion process.

Members offering continuous fiber 3D printing include Markforged, Anisoprint, CEAD, etc. More recently, Desktop Metal has also joined the race with a new system called Fiber. Fiber uses Micro Automated Fiber Placement (µAFP). In addition, 9T Labs has developed additive synthesis technology (AFT) to mass-produce carbon composites at a lower cost.

Carbon 3D printing: other technologies

A departure from the better known extrusion process, an interesting technology is the patented AREVO process, based on directed energy deposition technology, in which a laser is used to heat filament and carbon fiber simultaneously as a roller presses them together. Impossible Objects and EnvisionTEC have also added carbon fiber 3D printing systems to their machines, but the technology is slightly different. They weave sheets of carbon fiber using a lamination process. Last but not least, Continuous Composites uses a hybrid technology where a strand of fiber is impregnated with resin and then cured with UV light, similar to SLA 3D printing.

This part demonstrates how continuous carbon fiber 3D printing can increase the strength of a plastic part | Source: Markforged


carbon fiber, composite materials, 3D printing, carbon fiber composites. additive manufacturing, PLA, ABS, polycarbonate, nylon, 3D printing filament, 3D printer, Anisoprint, additive synthesis, 9T Labs, carbon 3d printing, 3D SLA



Before you get started with carbon fiber 3D printing, here are some basic information we've put together just for you. Read on and learn about the advantages, disadvantages, history and applications of carbon fiber 3D printing.


Carbon fiber comes in many shapes. Can be used together with resin and molds; it can be combined with polymers in composite form. It has been used for everything from light bulbs to high-performance racing cars - and has even been tested on rockets flying to Mars. Despite its wide range of applications, the most obvious advantage of carbon fiber is its high strength to weight ratio.


Carbon fibers were first discovered by Thomas Edison in the late 19th century for use as the filament in early light bulbs. In the late 1950s, the Union Carbide Corporation first recognized the strength advantages that could be achieved with additional processing methods. Over the next 50 years, manufacturing technology advanced further, and today carbon fiber has become a ubiquitous high performance product, from racing cars to airplanes.


Generally, all carbon fiber is produced using a six step process. PAN (polyacrylonitrile) is obtained as a by-product of petroleum and is generally the material of choice for carbon fiber production. PAN is mixed with other ingredients and converted into fibers up to 10% of the thickness of a human hair. The fibers are then oxidized to stabilize the bond before undergoing carbonization, during which the fibers are heated to 1000°C to remove impurities. The surface is then treated to improve adhesion before the final sizing step, in which the fibers are coated and spun into threads of varying thicknesses.

These yarns can then be further processed in a variety of ways, depending on the end use. The yarn can be woven into sheets or, in the case of 3D printing, it can be cut into short fibers, mixed with a base polymer, and then extruded into a filament for a 3D printer.

Pre-cut carbon fiber for 3D printing resin


3D printing with carbon fiber means choosing the right composites. The base polymer can determine the final properties of the part, as well as considerations that need to be taken into account when 3D printing. Below you will see various carbon fiber 3D printer composites and some of their strengths and weaknesses.

Nylon Carbon Fiber PA CF

Nylon Carbon Fiber is one of the most popular composites when it comes to 3D printer. This is because nylon already has desirable properties for engineering applications. It has a high degree of strength and high temperature resistance. It also has a high degree of strength that balances out the brittleness of the carbon fiber itself. A potential disadvantage of nylon is its hygroscopicity, which makes it even more important to have a protected environment for nylon carbon fiber spools such as a mylar bag and a sealed material compartment.

Carbon fiber ABS. ABS CF

ABS is a well known material due to its wide application in injection molded consumer products. In carbon fiber 3D printing, ABS works as a solid base polymer due to its properties. ABS carbon fiber also tends to have a very nice surface finish, which is almost always welcome whether the application is a prototype or part of a final product. One disadvantage of this connection is that it requires a heated 3D printer chamber, which is usually only found in higher end 3D printers.

Carbon fiber PETG CF

PETG is a material known for its resistance to chemicals and moisture in general, making it a good composite resin for 3D printers under exposure conditions. Examples of such applications include parts that may come into contact with coolants or simply products that will be used outdoors in rainy climates.

Carbon fiber PEEK CF

PEEK is one of the most efficient thermoplastics ever invented.

PEEK-CF thread includes carbon fibers for added strength. Chopped carbon fiber gives printed parts high rigidity and dimensional stability. This material provides long term performance up to 240°C including exceptional chemical resistance. These properties make it particularly suitable for metal replacement in critical end-use applications such as oil and gas, aerospace and automotive. The flammability of PEEK-CF is low, as well as the emission of smoke and toxic gases.

Due to its high mechanical properties, PEEK-CF is used for critical applications, in some cases even allowing the replacement of metal parts of the structure.

(Alternative) Fiberglass

Carbon is not the only filler for 3D printer composites. Fiberglass is an alternative to carbon fiber 3D printing when a more flexible end product is required. It can be combined with many materials of the same type and can provide high strength in the same way as carbon fiber.


Strong and lightweight: Carbon fiber's best known property is its strength to weight ratio, so it is often used in high performance products.

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