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Is Polymaker PolyMax PLA strong enough for a racing quad frame?

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Hi. I have made some parts like camera brackets and antenna holders for my quads so far. I've used PLA for some of it, and PETG for the more exposed parts. But even PETG breaks pretty easily in hard crashes. How do you think Polymaker PolyMax PLA (which is a strong PLA type) holds up? Is it tough enough for a frame? Is it stiff enough for a frame?

Carbon fibre is a must for any frame worth having. For accessories (camera mounts, antenna mounts, fins, etc.) use TPU or nylon.

PLA & PETg have very weak stress limits in both torque and twist, the material makes excellent structural parts but only when non-supportive so in essence it makes for a very poor choice in terms of frame building, in simple terms its far to brittle in all aspects regardless of infill/ layer height.

however aslong as you keep your frame design relatively small and compact (200 max overall size) ABS is a very viable material, this much I can vouch for from long term experience as I still regularly throw about my own "project sparkie" racing frame design which is entirely made from ABS and sized at 180 (the original version) and 190 (its XL big brother version), its proven over and over again to be a very tough ickle fecker...
https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2757910
https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2971494
both versions also under-go post print acetone vaping treatments which vastly increase their parts overall strength.

If however your after a more chunkie larger sized frame then my suggestion is to use a mixed material build style with Carbon fibre used in areas were the frame will likely suffer the greatest amount of flight/crash stresses, similar to...
https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2429235
https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3438207
https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3065911

all the above are to date still air worthy and regularly flown..... and often erm..... "landed" in less than careful or even fully intended manners lol.

150mm quadcopter (Project sparkie)
Project Sparkie v2
Twinboard250 quadcopter
250 slimbuild (zmr rework)
250 gLowRider frame

Thank you. That was very interesting. The PolyMax PLA has been reported to have properties close to ABS (with some exceptions, temperature tolerance being a major difference), especially regarding strength. Your experiences with ABS makes me want to try something similar with the PolyMax PLA.

Love your designs, and may try to adapt one of them. I have only got a very small build area, and probably have to redesign for printing the arms separately.

all those designs are printable on a 200x200 printbed, the twinboard leans more heavily on CF parts with smaller printed parts that can be printed on something as small as a HobbyKing Mini Fab.

Thanks again. I have only 120x120x120 build volume, so I need to think. Maybe I'll do a new design where I use a carbon fiber frame like you do on the zmr250, and just add parts to enclose stuff and build it as low as it gets. I think I may go for a 4inch setup, though, and your sparkie designs are great inspirations.

TPU for quad parts is usually best (especially canopies and mounts). I do use PETG on some stuff, but I print many copies because I know they will break. You can experiment with slightly higher temps with PETG and you will get stronger parts. There is a limit. You do not want to use PLA! There are different Carbon Fiber filaments that some people have had some success with, but like one of the comments already states, I would only use it for smaller sized frames (Think 65mm prop frames). PLA shatters on impact -- that's just the nature of the material.

I print small whoop style frames and anneal (bake) them afterward. Annealed pla is super strong. You have to get the temp and time just right to prevent warping. Hope this helps!

Have you tried increasing the infill, layer heights or wall thickness?

Waste of your time. For small parts use TPU. It seems to be the only viable solution for racing quads. Damps vibration. Bends under heavy load and saves your equipment. The layer bond is extreme vs any other "stiff" plastic.

Printed frame? I tried couple times. even printed from Nylon. Again - for true 5" racing quad - NO GO!
Small 65mm indoor fliers - ABS - yes. Holds pretty well. I've seen couple printed frames - they will fail in any kind of hard crash...

u are so right. Even carbon fiber will break on hard crashes. Dont waste time on printing Frames. Other parts can be made from pla and abs or tpu. As long as they are not subject to bad crash damag