Aug 9, 2016 | By Alec

Just how strong is strong? When browsing the web for new and exciting material solutions, you are often bombarded with terms like ‘very high toughness’ and ‘excellent material properties’, but that means little until you see a filament in action. US developer of engineering-grade filaments Avante Technology must have been all too aware of that, because they just exposed their recently released FilaOne Gray Carbon Nanotube filled 3D printer filament to a grueling strength test during which it supported 1,000 times its own weight and easily withstood 90 degree bends. Now that’s strong.

This remarkable FilaOne Gray filament was released back in April, and already looked promising at the time. Praised for its extensive list of properties that included water and chemical resistance, high strength and excellent resilience, it looked like everything you could dream of for an FDM 3D printer filament. What’s more, it is one of the lightest filaments available – approximately 20% lighter than ABS and 40% lighter than Polycarbonate and fiber filled Nylon. It is the result of a proprietary Advanced Composite Filament system, on which Avante Technology has been working for a few years now – with the aim of bringing desktop 3D printing to commercial design and manufacturing.

The key to FilaOne Gray’s high strength is its Carbon Nanotube filling, which can significantly strengthen any 3D printed part. CNTs are large molecules of pure carbon that have the benefit of being stronger and lighter than steel, while also being efficient conductors of electricity and heat. When used in 3D printing applications, CNT’s can thus produce extremely strong, lightweight, and conductive components quickly and cost-effectively. Almost acting like iron rebars in concrete, these microscopic carbon tubes make the filament perfect for performance, end-use 3D printed components – from automotive parts to drone landing gear.

While that sounds great on paper, these properties are further underlined with the strength test visible in the clip below. Despite its very low weight, a test bar 3D printed with FilaOne Gray easily held on to 1,000 its own weight. What’s more, it took great difficulty to drill a hole in the thin bar, while even multiple 90 degree bends were made without cracking or crazing the bar. In short, it easily withstood the strength test.

It’s a fascinating result because it underlines the current state of the 3D printing industry. While often criticized for its inability to produce functional parts, engineering materials have clearly grown to a point where they can be widely applied in numerous fields and applications. While ABS and PLA are obviously not suitable for engineering purposes, other 3D printable plastics like FilaOne Gray are ready to take over the world. But of course you do pay for the quality you receive, with a single 500g spool costing $199. Even then, however, it should easily compete with other non-3D printable engineering-grade materials out there. For more info, check out Avante Technology’s website here.



Posted in 3D Printing Materials



Maybe you also like:


Caligula wrote at 12/15/2016 8:43:51 PM:

Their website's 'comparison' table isn't just ambiguous with descriptors like 'high' and 'low' rather than actual values, it's also inaccurate. PLA has much higher tensile strength than, say, ABS or PETG, while ABS has impact strengths that can nearly compare to polycarbonate. And claiming that polycarbonate is 'not resilient' is ridiculous. PC has high ductility, malleability, and impact and tensile strength, excellent resistance to creep, and has great layer adhesion when printed. How is it not resilient?

A Curious Mind wrote at 9/22/2016 10:03:17 AM:

Investigations with a scanning electron microscope show that they use glas spheres in the material and no traces of CarbonNanoTubes could be found. Also there are quite many air bubbles/pores in the material. Is this a scam?

A Curious Mind wrote at 9/22/2016 10:02:03 AM:

Investigations with a scanning electron microscope show that they use glas spheres in the material and no traces of CarbonNanoTubes could be found. Also there are quite many air bubbles/pores in the material. Is this a scam?

Greg Wojak wrote at 8/18/2016 11:46:06 PM:

If it's really an engineering material then perhaps they should have provided real engineering data on tensile strength, modulus, specific gravity, toughness, etc.

Erik Haugaard wrote at 8/13/2016 2:13:16 AM:

Can I use it with my Maker Bot?

bob wrote at 8/10/2016 11:31:21 PM:

In response to John Dee: FilaOne™ GRAY is 48% stiffer than ABS (ASTM flexural test), but it is also RESILIENT. This means that it can absorb a great deal of energy from deformation and remain in an "elastic" state, so it can recover and maintain its mechanical properties. Some materials, such as Polycarbonate are very strong and stiff, but tend to be less resilient. Under similar deformation, the part might crack or break. So to answer your question, FilaOne™ GRAY is actually quite stiff. Making a rigid part is a function of the material and how you design and print the part. If you would like more information on this kindly email me at: thanks again for a good question!

bob wrote at 8/10/2016 11:26:48 PM:

in response to Drew Peacock: Thank you for your comment. We don't divulge our costs or formula, but I can assure you that your cost estimates are completely inaccurate. Considering the street price of other high performance materials, such as Ultem and PEEK, FilaOne™, with a density of 0.86 grams/cubic cm is quite reasonably priced. PEEK has a density of 1.31 grams/cubic cm and Ultem 1.27 grams/cubic cm. At current web prices, PEEK costs more than 2x than FilaOne™ GRA;. and Ultem cost 40% more per cubic cm than FilaOne™ GRAY. As with any material, it only makes sense if it exhibits the appropriate mechanical, chemical and heat characteristics for a specific application. Conventional materials such as ABS, Nylon and even Polycarbonate fill the needs for most hobbyists and for some engineering applications. But they fail to meet the needs for many other engineering requirements. We developed the FilaOne™ line of high performance composites to expand the range of mechanical and chemical properties available to engineers and manufacturers for FDM printing. No one material is ideal for all applications. Industry needs hundreds of formulations to meet their growing range of applications for 3D printing. We are working to expand the range of materials as best we can. Others are doing a fine job developing new materials as well. We welcome the variety. The more the better for everyone. If you have a specific application and need guidance on what material to use, please email me at: If we don't have what you need, I may be able to point you to the right supplier.

bob wrote at 8/10/2016 10:42:47 PM:

to kb: The ASTM test bar that was used in this video weighed 2.1 grams. The printed density works out to 0.86 grams/cubic cm, so this material is very light weight. The 7 lb dumbbell equates to 3.182 Kg or 3,182 grams. Add in the 22 grams for the steel, this totals 3,204 grams. Total suspended weight is 1,456x the weight of the test bar. We suspended the weight at the weakest point, where the drilled 1/4" hole and multiple 90º flexes placed the most stress on the test bar. This massive deformation and energy would typically create an unrecoverable condition for the plastic. When we ran the test using ABS, for example, the test bars snapped in two at the first flex at an estimated angle of 15%. If you are interested in obtaining a technical data sheet on FilaOne™ GRAY, please email me a request and we will promptly reply.

bob wrote at 8/10/2016 10:23:53 PM:

To XXFoe: We warrant that carbon nanotubes are used as part of the formulation of FilaOne™ GRAY high performance composite. Our formulation and supplier relationships are confidential. You pro forma estimates are not accurate. If you have a commercial interest and would like to test the material for yourself, please email me

Bob wrote at 8/10/2016 10:17:33 PM:

Richard asks a very good question: why not publish ASTM test results? Here is why: there are no ASTM test procedures published for 3D printed parts. The traditional ASTM tests for flexural modulus, tensile, notched impact, etc. assume homogenous test material that is specified to be injection molded or cut from a rolled sheet. We have conducted a great deal of ASTM tests and have verified what three research universities and a number of third parties have discovered: the non-specified printing parameters (layer, heigh, print speed, orientation of test bar print, infill patter, % infill, number of outer shells, to name a few...), can lead to variations in test results approaching +/- 50%. Therefore, we decided to NOT publish our ASTM tests, but use them only for comparison purposes with other materials. If you are seriously interested and have a commercial interest, please email me and I will be happy to share some of our test results. Until the F42 committee at ASTM decides to act(and I have inquired about forming new test spec), we consider publishing ASTM test data misleading. If you are a member of an ASTM F42 committee, I would love to speak with you about this issue. thanks again for commenting. regards,

Richard wrote at 8/10/2016 9:16:34 AM:

Here's a thought, rather than claim mechanical properties of "moderate" or "high" we actually use real values, such as MPa for the tensile strength. There's a reason we spend so much time and effort creating ASTM/ISO/DIN standards for testing, it's so we have a standardised comparable set of data that we can trust.

XXFoe wrote at 8/10/2016 2:04:00 AM:

I highly doubt theses are carbon nanotubes, The cheapest that can be produced that can be qualified as such is quoted to be at $15/g and at 20% mix would easily be $3000 this is likely a graphene based filament or something similar, or it could be fake for all i care.

kb wrote at 8/9/2016 11:53:44 PM:

1000 time its weight? Really? haha What weight, on which section? They make it sound like a scam! If this material had good mechanical properties they would show a proper datasheet containing all of the normalized mechanical and chemical tests usually practiced on plastics.

Drew Peacock wrote at 8/9/2016 10:50:19 PM:

500g spool costing $199... Nanotubes are only $60 a kilo and I imagine this stuff has tops 5% CNTs. They saw you mugs coming from a mile off.

RobinLeech wrote at 8/9/2016 10:40:50 PM:

Notice they put the weight in the middle, not on the end of it. It's probably so flexible it would have bent at 90 degrees from the 7lb weight. So it's strong, but maybe not rigid enough for a lot of engineering applications. Like rebar, it might work for composites, but you might need to make it pretty thick to make something like the supports of a chair. Probably excellent stuff to make flexible handles and things like that which might see a lot of wear but doesn't need to be too rigid.

John Dee wrote at 8/9/2016 7:53:29 PM:

Seems to bend quite easily, what if you want a rigid part?

Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive