ESD Safe 3D Printing Options

Initial 3D Printed Part ESD Test Results:

ESD safe materials are those that prevent electrostatic charges from building up in a component. When you are shocked by a doorknob that is an ESD (Electrostatic Discharge). Those charges can damage electrical components. So all material in a facility that manufactures electronics have to be ESD Safe. This can be achieved with various ESD Safe 3D Printing Options we will cover on this page. But first lets go through some terms and there definitions.

When evaluating materials for ESD performance, the most important property is usually the surface resistance, measured in ohms. Conductive materials – typically metals – have a surface resistance generally less than 103 ohms, insulators such as most plastics are rated at greater than 1012 ohms, and ESD materials fall in the mid-range, at 106 to 109 ohms.

The best way to fully grasp ESD safe 3D printing materials, is to understand where ESD safe plastics have been used. There are three primary uses for ESD safe plastics:

The biggest demand is usually found in the electronics manufacturing industry where lots of new electronic devices are being developed and manufactured each day. Every one of these devices requires a multitude of custom jigs, fixtures, pallets, nests and assembly aids to produce. Traditionally these components are made in medium to low volumes with traditional subtractive manufacturing techniques (CNC milling). This results in long lead times and very expensive tooling charges. Additive Manufacturing is changing all of this by allowing manufacturers to design jigs and fixtures to be 3D printed with advanced engineering-grade materials that meet ESD surface resistance requirements. Lead times can be reduced from weeks to days and multi-component assemblies can be reduced into a single 3D printed part.

Options for ESD Safe 3D Printed Parts

There are 3 options for making ESD safe 3D printed parts, ABS-ESD7 material printed on an FDM machine, ESD Resin material printed on an Formlabs SLA, or Nylon 12 material printed on and HP MJF machine and coated in an ESD safe coating. Each of these options has its pros and cons which we will cover here.

Need help determining what is the best ESD Safe 3D Printing option for your project? Feel free to reach out to our sales engineers for a free evaluation of your project:

Extreme Wear Testing of Nylon 12 With a ESD Safe Coating Applied

Curious about using 3D Printing for pogo pin nests? Check out this page that outlines all the pogo pin related testing work we have done.

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