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Technical Specifications

Cross section PTFE, or Polytetrafluoroethylene, is a synthetic polymer commonly used as a coating for non-stick pots and pans. It is the slipperiest substance known to man, and is said to be the only surface to which a gecko cannot stick. Although Bowden tubes can be made from several different polymers, PTFE is generally considered the best because of its high melting point and low coefficient of friction.

1.75mm Bowden tubing, because of its small diameter, is made with an expensive paste extrusion process. Very precise equipment is needed to obtain a consistent shape and internal diameter. Additives such as colorant are difficult, because the PTFE doesn't readily want to mix with anything. Plain white PTFE is the cheapest and most common.

Our tubing is manufactured using the most sophisticated equipment currently available. It always comes out perfectly round, and the diameter stays as consistent as possible.

Our TL Bowden Tubing is made from pure virgin Japanese PTFE resin. This resin is not only translucent, it is also slightly softer and more flexible than average PTFE.

Our TL tubing features a 2.0mm nominal inner diameter. This makes it well suited for printing larger or uneven diameter filaments such as wood and metal flake filaments. Higher end wood filaments especially have a tendency to be "chunky," containing large bits of real wood.

Image credit: E3D
Our XS Bowden Tubing is also made from the highest quality pure virgin Japanese PTFE, and formed using the paste extrusion process. However, we have added a "Secret Sauce" which lowers the coefficient of friction. This additive also makes the tubing dark and opaque.

Our XS tubing has a nominal internal diameter of 1.9mm. This smaller diameter makes it ideal for printing flexible filaments, because there is no room for the filament to bind up inside the tube. The low friction coefficient allows any filament to glide through the tube with ease.

For mor information about the differences between our two lines of tubing, please see our How to Choose page.

Data Sheet

  Our Competitor's Opaque White Tubing Our Competitor's Translucent White Tubing Our Premium TL Series Light Blue Tubing Our Premium XS Series Dark Blue Tubing
Additives None None Blue Color Blue Color and Secret High Lubricity Additive Mixture
Best For Chunky Filaments NO NO YES YES
Best For Flexible Filaments NO NO NO YES
Can See Through NO YES YES NO
Pulling Friction 1.0 0.9 0.8 0.8
Color White White, Clear, or Translucent Blue, Translucent Dark Blue
Density (kg/m3) 2100-2200 2100-2200 2100 +/-100 2300 +/-100
Hardness 50-70 50-70 55 60-65
Inner Diameter (mm) Typically 2.0 to 2.1 Typically 2.0 to 2.1 2.05 +/- 0.05 1.90 +/- 0.05
Linear Thermal Expansion at 250 °C No data No data 3.4-3.6% 2.2-3.3%
Material Cheapest PTFE, FEP, or Other Polymers Better PTFE, PFA, or Other Polymers Highest Quality Pure Virgin PTFE Highest Quality Pure Virgin PTFE
Melting Point (°C) Variable, as low as 220 Variable, as low as 220 around 300 up to 340
Outer Diameter (mm) Typically 3.9 to 4.1 Typically 3.9 to 4.1 3.95 +/- 0.05 3.95 +/- 0.05
Roundness (ϵ) Variable Variable < 0.1 < 0.1
Stiffness§ High High Medium Medium High
Thermal Conductivity (W/m-k) no data no data 0.25 0.25
Wear Rate (gm/s) No data No data 0.01 0.01
Young's Modulus (GPa)¥ Variable Variable 0.5 0.53

Pulling Friction is calculated as the average force required to pull 1.2 meters of 1.75mm PLA filament through 1 meter of tubing at a constant speed, relative to 1 meter of cheap white reference tubing. Note that although we observed the friction of the TL series to be about the same or even slightly lower than our XS series, it also has a larger internal diameter.
§Other Bowden tubes may vary significantly in stiffness, depending on the material from which they're made. Our tubing generally tends to be more flexible than most, with the TL being more flexible than XS, partly because of the difference in additives, and partly because the XS has a greater cross-sectional area (XSA) due to the smaller internal diameter.
¥Young's Modulus (YM) is the measure of elasticity of the material. Our XS Series additives give the PTFE a slightly greater YM than the TL Series.
Temperatures were approximated by heating samples of all tubing simultaneously, observing how quickly each one began to deform. Printer failures may happen at significantly lower temperatures.
Printing high temperature materials may create dangerous off-gassing. Please refer to the Safety Page.

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