3D printer filament is a hugely important part of the 3D printing process because you can’t print anything without filament. But there are so many different kinds of filament available right now that 3D printing beginners often find it hard to know what kind to get. I’m here to help, and in this guide, you’re going to learn everything you need to know about 3D printer filament.
In this guide, you are going to learn everything you need to know about 3d printer filament. You will learn what’s available, e.g.: PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU, and more. I give a summary of each type with the most popular products in the category listed below each type of filament. This way it’s easy for you to do your research and narrow down the best filament for you.
What is 3D printer filament?
If you work in the 3D printing industry, you should be familiar with 3D printer filament—one of the essential elements of your job. FFF 3D printers use 3D printer filament, a type of printing medium. It is now one of the most commonly used 3D printing materials on the planet. The filament comprises one continuous narrow plastic thread that is hundreds of meters long and spooled into a reel for storage and printer feeding, unlike powder and liquid resin used in other 3D printing technologies. The most widely used plastics in life and specific formula materials for a particular purpose are the raw materials of filament, as determined by the thermal extrusion process of FFF printers.
Filaments now come in two different radius sizes: 1.75mm and 3mm. The former has a significant market share due to its superior printing performance, such as extrusion flow uniformity. Most 1.75mm plastic filament comes in 1KG spools with lengths up to 330 meters. The maximum printing temperature of consumable FFF printers is typically around 260 degrees Celsius, sufficient for basic plastic filament printing. For more sophisticated filament and printing efficiency, we require professional FFF printers with a printing temperature of 300 degrees Celsius.
PLA, ABS, PETG, NYLON, a carbon fiber filament composite, PVA, HIPS, Flexible filament (TPU), and Polypropylene are some 3D printer filaments.
How does 3D printer filament work?
Thermoplastics (also known as polymers) are plastics that melt rather than burn when heated. We can shape it and then solidify it when cooled. The printer’s extruder assembly heats the filament to the melting point; then, the extruder assembly squirts the molten filament through a metal nozzle to trace a programmed path to produce a 3D object layer by layer. Although most 3D printers only have one extruder, some dual-extruder devices can print an object in several colors or filament types.
Fused filament fabrication (FFF) or fused deposition modeling are two terms used to describe printing with plastic filament (FDM). Stratasys Corp patented the FDM abbreviation. Thus, other manufacturers used acronyms to characterize their printers’ technique; FFF became the most popular. They still used the names interchangeably today, except for some manufacturers’ brochures.
They sell the filament in 0.5 kg to 2 kg spools. 1.75 millimeters and 3 millimeters of filament thickness are available. (In truth, the latter is 2.85 millimeters thinner.) The bulk of filament is 1.75 millimeters thick; Ultimaker and LulzBot are two of the few companies that employ the thicker size. Most producers use metric units to measure weight
Production based on filaments
Fused filament fabrication is perhaps the most well-known type of additive manufacturing (FFF). An FFF 3D printer creates an object by squeezing melted thermoplastics through a tiny nozzle using STL files. It’s similar to squeezing toothpaste out of a tube to cover a toothbrush. The printer uses melted plastic to form layers of an object that can cool to room temperature in minutes. FFF is also known as fused deposition modeling (FDM), a trademarked name by Stratasys.
The thermoplastic utilized in this 3D printer is typically offered in thin filament spools with widths of 1.75mm and 3.00mm. Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) polymer, polylactic acid (PLA) bioplastic, water-soluble polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), nylon, or composite materials can all be used to make this filament. One experimental wood/plastic composite filament can be sanded and painted like wood, and they can be achieved a grainlike pattern by altering the temperature at which it is squeezed out.
What are the applications of 3D printer filament?
You must first learn how to use an excellent 3D printer filament before you can find one for your project. The printer’s extruder assembly heats the filament to melting temperature. When extruding (squirting), the metal nozzle moves along a defined path. It traces a path programmed into a 3D object file to build the printed part layer by layer. Although most 3D printers only have one extruder, a few dual-extruder machines can print in multiple colors or filament types.
Researchers have used 3D printed parts from the filament in various applications. Polymeric Filaments are ideal for prototyping and light-duty applications, despite their thermoplastic nature limiting their mechanical dimension. The most common use that demands a material with weak mechanical characteristics is prototyping. For similar reasons, they used the filament in many businesses and professions for props, jigs and fixtures, toys, assembly components, and instructional models. The flexible filament is one of a kind. Since its introduction, they have utilized this category for the functional portion, primarily TPU, mainly in the footwear sector. Its rubber-like qualities appeal to footwear manufacturers since it fits their primary requirement for material mechanical properties.
Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE) are a hybrid of hard plastic and rubber used to make flexible filaments. As the name implies, this material is elastic; we can stretch and flex it easily. TPE comes in various forms, with TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) being the most prevalent among 3D printing filaments. The producers frequently interchange These phrases, as well as prominent brand names like Ninjaflex. The elasticity of the plastic is determined by the type of TPE utilized and the manufacturer’s chemical composition. Like a vehicle tire, some filaments are partially flexible, while others, like a rubber band, are elastic and entirely flexible. This post will provide you with tips for these types of flexible filaments.
High-impact polystyrene(HIP), is one of the more memorable acronyms. HIPS is a low-cost, lightweight material that we can sand, glue, and paint with acrylic paints. It’s comparable to ABS, except that HIPS is soluble in Limonene, a citrus-based solvent, making it an ideal candidate for a support material that can be dissolved after printing with a dual-extruder printer when printing with a second material (such as ABS or PLA). It also prints nicely on its own, and LulzBot recommends it for their LulzBot Mini 3D Printer, which won our Editors’ Choice award. They also used hIPS in MakerBot Dissolvable Filament.
PVA (polyvinyl alcohol) is another soluble filament that dissolves easily in water. PVA is harmless, odorless, and biodegradable. It has a low melting point and when overheated, can jam an extruder nozzle. It’s frequently used as a support material in dual-extruder printers, and I put the Ultimaker 3 to the test by producing a test object—a box within a box—with PLA for the boxes and PVA for the support. After printing, I soaked the thing in warm water, and the PLA gradually dissolved, leaving the pair of nested boxes.
Composite filaments start with a PLA or other thermoplastic foundation and then add particles, powders, or flakes of additional materials. They made some of wood mixes, while others contain sandstone or limestone and other metals such as iron, aluminum, brass, bronze, and copper. When we mixed these filaments with other materials, they take on some of the characteristics of those materials. Carbon fiber is another popular composite; items printed from it have some of the fiber’s strength. The cost of composite filaments is significantly higher than non-composite filaments.
What do you need to know before buying 3D printer filament?
If you are on the market for some new filament for 3D printing, consider a few additional aspects to ensure that you purchase high-quality material.
The filament is the material that’s melted by your printer’s hot end and then extruded layer by layer. There are hundreds of different brands out there, and they aren’t all the same. Filaments have a wide range of qualities, depending on the material and several other factors.
Filament composition is essentially the ingredients list that makes up the end product wound around the spool. All FDM filaments, including PETG, ABS, and PLA, are made similarly. Additives are typical and might seem like a compromise on quality, but this is not necessarily the case.
Additives in a filament’s composition can impact the final product differently. Additives are generally intended to give unique filament properties to optimize them for a specific function. Manufacturers use some “filler” materials to use less of a primary material per filament spool, reducing the production cost. For example, MakerBot gives a reasonably comprehensive chemical breakdown of their PLA, while Prusa Research lists only that their Prusament PLA is composed of PLA “with additives”. While it’s difficult to find and name each additive in filaments, some manufacturers publish the composition of their products.
The “purity” and precise composition of a filament can significantly affect the printing process and the properties of a printed part. A more diluted substance will demonstrate the named material’s properties to a lesser extent, but that might be the manufacturer’s intention. This is the case when materials that are challenging to print are combined with more straightforward filaments for a more accessible final product. One example of the impact of filament composition is that a less-concentrated ABS filament is not as receptive to being acetone smoothed.
Different materials are suitable for various purposes, so consider whether your part has a functional or aesthetic purpose. If your printer takes 1.75-mm diameter filament, that’s the only size you can print with (unless you’re willing to upgrade your printer’s hardware). Regarding printer compatibility, the essential consideration is whether your printer has a heated bed.
Filament width tolerance refers to the maximum variation in width throughout the spool. The manufacturer commonly provides this value, usually expressed as an approximate number. A reasonably standard filament width tolerance is ±0.05 mm, but some brands do better (e.g. Hatchbox’s Hatchbox Prusament).
How can you compare and choose between different types of 3D printer filament?
Prints of high quality require the appropriate materials. It would be best if you decided which 3D printing filament will be able to satisfy your intended product durability, look, and applications before beginning another project. This comparison guide will show you the nuances that differentiate each filament to make sure you are using the appropriate material for the item you are 3D printing.
WHY CHOOSING THE RIGHT 3D PRINTER FILAMENT IS IMPORTANT?
What characteristics are most important in your printer components and your finished products will determine which filaments you choose for your 3D printer. Some prioritize include you may decide to the following: Uses and desired results and cost and quality of the finished products.
how much does 3d printing filament cost?
PLA & ABS (Generic Formulations)
If your manufacturer insists on selling you their brand of filament, your expenses will be higher, often significantly more, than if they use an ‘open source’ or ‘open materials’ mindset. Your material costs could range from $45 per kilogram (for basic materials like ABS and PLA) to over $250 per kilogram (for speciality nylons and other engineering-grade plastics) in those cases.
Open materials / open-source materials 3D printers like our F410 provide more alternatives and sources, fostering competition and innovation.The cheapest materials to print with are generic PLA and ABS. The average cost of generic PLA and ABS for 3D printers is around $25 per kilogram from reputable providers.
PLA & ABS (Specialty & Infused Formulations)
Prices in this category vary since many different versions of PLA and ABS are custom manufactured to meet specific requirements or use materials like ceramics, metals, wood, or other materials to achieve specific visual effects. The cost of materials in the specially prepared PLA and ABS categories ranges from $40 to $75 per kilogram.
ASA & PETG
ASA, a cousin of ABS, is ideal for outdoor use and is relatively affordable. For ASA 3D printing filament, you should anticipate paying between $30 and $45 per kilogram. PETG became a very popular 3D printing filament in 2017 due to its inexpensive cost and several industrial benefits. I price pETG between $30 and $40 per kilogram for generic versions and $45 to $70 per kilogram for specialized formulations.
NYLON & FLEXIBLE
Nylons are proprietary plastic formulas. Hence there are no generic variants available. Nylon is relatively expensive due to its specialist nature, and you could anticipate paying between $80 and $110 per kilogram. Everyone enjoys seeing a 3D item printed using flexible materials, and they make the majority of flexible materials of TPU and TPE. Quality suppliers sell generic TPU flexible 3D printing materials for roughly $35 per kilogram. Speciality formulations from NinjaTek are more expensive, costing between $90 and $110 per kilogram.
CARBON FIBER BLENDS & POLYCARBONATE
Many filament manufacturers are introducing carbon fibre-infused blends of various plastics. Carbon fibre improves some features of the underlying material, such as weight reduction and increased strength. The cost of carbon fibre-infused products ranges from $45 to $90 per kilogram. Even with an enclosed 3D printer like the F400, generic polycarbonate (PC) offers remarkable strength and temperature resistance, but it is challenging to print. You may anticipate paying around $100 per kilogram if you want to try printing PC. There are also polycarbonate blends with other materials that are easier to print and cost less (PC-ABS, for example). These formulations range in price from $75 to $95 per kilogram.
Buy 3D Printing Filament Online
Amazon is still a fantastic choice for filaments because it can fill orders for various popular 3D printer filament manufacturers. However, several well-known businesses, such as MatterHackers, ProtoPasta, and Makerbot, have online stores.
When you start 3D printing, you’ll hoard dozens of filament spools. One of the most appealing aspects of this craft is the low cost of these filaments and the variety of varieties available. However, it would be best if you were cautious about where you purchase your filaments — here are some of our favourites:
Amazon is one of our favourite places to buy 3D printer filaments. Amazon’s mainstays include eSun, Sunlu, and Overture. If there’s a disadvantage to shopping on Amazon, many less reliable brands are available. If you have a Creality 3D printer, it’s a no-brainer to test Creality filaments. Hatchbox is one of the more well-known and well-respected filament companies offered on Amazon.
Southern California-based. MatterHackers runs their online store for 3D printing filaments. The company also sells 3D printers, resins, adhesives, 3D printer components, and laser cutters. MatterHacker offers free shipping for orders that cost at least $35.
MakerBot is a brand of 3D printers and filaments that are more well-known for quality than low prices. Despite the high prices, these filaments are well worth the investment. If you work with the MakerBot ecosystem, buying MakerBot filaments is a no-brainer.
Proto-Pasta manufactures a wide variety of 3D printing filaments, including signature cardboard spools. They have filaments that are conductive, metal-filled, ultra-rigid, abrasive, heat-treatable, magnetic, high-density, matte, glossy, and translucent.
For those based in Canada, we highly recommend the online store of Filaments.ca. This is probably the best Canada-based online store for 3D printing filaments. They carry many brands, including 3DFuel, COlorFabb, NinjaTek, Proto-pasta, Taulman3D, and about a dozen others. Next to Amazon, this site probably has the broadest range of filament brands.
History Behind Filament
3D printers that use filament have been around for almost 20 years, but they are costly and specialized equipment. The standard of 3mm filament was one of the few things that stayed in 3D printing over the years. When hobbyists were first making 3D printer filaments, the appearance of 3mm filament was simply a lucky process via supply networks.
The diameter of a product called a plastic welding rod, which has a melting device and a source of filler material, was 3mm, making it easier to make. Because this was already in use in the plastic welding business, 3D printer manufacturers took advantage of existing 3mm plastic filament sources. It was a perfect fit because the product already met the technical standards for 3D printing. Another advantage is that the filament was readily available. Therefore it was embraced.
As a result, most consumer-level 3D printers used only 3mm filament a few years ago. In the 3D printing sector, techniques and equipment have undergone extensive research and development over time. It got to the point where 3D printing material could be manufactured specifically for the industry. The initial thermoplastic extruders were made to work with 3 mm filament alone. However, that changed in 2011 with the advent of 1.75 mm filament.
We’ve been using 1.75mm filaments more and more as 3D printing has improved because they’re easier to create and use.RepRap was the firm that made 3D printers affordable to the average person, but it took a lot of research, development, and hard work to get there!
A guidebook on preparing the material for printing would start like this back when extruders were big and print speeds were slow: “Get a glue gun and some hot-melt adhesive…”
The first 3D printing fans came across the 3-mm-diameter rod used to weld plastic while looking for suitable materials. The 3-mm diameter was the industry standard for amateur 3D printing for a long time.
However, operating with this diameter has a disadvantage: it puts a lot of pressure on the extruder, necessitating the installation of the additional reduction gear.
To keep equipment as affordable as possible, the filament diameter was decreased to 1.75 mm, now the industry standard. Because of its small diameter may be pushed using a gear mounted directly on the extruder motor.
3-mm filament is still popular among manufacturers of high-end 3D printers with Bowden extruders due to its improved stiffness. It’s used in the design of Ultimaker printers, for example.
What you intend to print with your prints is one of the most crucial things to consider when picking filament. Apart from the filament diameter, the melting point, rigidity, and the presence (or lack) of a heated bed and enclosed chamber are all significant aspects to consider, as not every type of plastic is suitable for every printer.
Does 1.75mm or 3mm filament matter?
Many 3D printers use diameters of 1.75 mm and 3 mm (3mm filament is the same diameter as 2.85 mm). This is because the extruder motor has to work much less in machines with a 3 mm diameter filament, using a Bowden System on the axis of the HotEnd. As technology has evolved, manufacturers have demanded the change to 2.85 mm (nº 4 inch) for being a standard measure in industrial manufacturing. This change also favors the 3D printers with Bowden System Direct System that use PTFE tubes of 1/8 (3.175 mm) of inner diameter.
With the Direct System, the filament is introduced in the HotEnd immediately, and therefore, this problem does not occur, regardless of the use of 2.5 mm or 3 mm. With a nozzle of a smaller diameter than usual, using a 3 mm filament is an inconvenience. The best option is to use a 1.75 mm filament that can obtain minimal and detailed models in combination with small nozzle diameters.
Fused filament fabrication (3D printers) printers employ an extruder to feed filament into the extruder chamber. Extruders for 3D printers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. A Bowden extruder is a type of extruder that feeds filament to the hot end through a long, flexible PTFE (Teflon) tube.  The direct drive extruder, also known as a direct extruder, sits closer to the extruder hot end and is widely used in filament 3D printers.
Unlike a direct drive setup, the extruder is situated in the printer’s frame in a Bowden system. It uses a long PTFE tube called a Bowden tube to push and pull filament into the hot end. This strategy, of course, has advantages and disadvantages.
The carriage has much less weight in a Bowden arrangement since the extruder is located on the printer’s frame rather than the print head. Faster, quieter, and higher-quality prints result from less weight.
Larger build volume: While this isn’t always the case (depending on the printer), a Bowden arrangement can allow for a more miniature printhead carriage, allowing for more build volume.
Extruder with a more powerful motor: The extruder must push and draw filament through a long tube, so there is some friction between the two. To manage the filament well, higher torque is required.
Friction in the Bowden tube causes a longer delay between extruder and nozzle, resulting in a slower response time. These extruders require higher acceleration in extrusion and retraction to deposit properly and eliminate stringing.
Material issues: Some flexible and abrasive filaments can readily bind or wear in Bowden tubes, especially in older printer models.
Advantages of 1.75mm Filament
1.75mm filament is much easier to use than 3mm filament and has a broader range of materials that you can access, and many exclusive ranges of filaments made just for 1.75m. Some extruders use gears to push your filament through the hot nozzle.
- 1.75mm filament is easier to find and more popular than 3mm.
- You may access more materials and special 1.75mm filaments.
- Use a Bowden tube.
- You have greater control over extruded filament.
- Printing faster
- A smaller melt zone means more minor leaking.
- Increased flow potential
Advantages of 3mm Filament
If you do not take further measures and have certain modifications to make printing more accessible, a 1.75mm printer for flexible plastics like NinjaFlex can give you difficulties. This is especially true if you do not have specific improvements. The Bowden-type setups use a 3mm filament. The bigger size filament can extrude faster due to being able to use a bigger nozzle.
- Works well with bigger nozzle sizes, allowing for faster extrusion.
- Flexible plastics are more rigid, making printing easier.
- Increased bending resistance
- It’s advisable to use a 3D printer designed for business or industry.
- It’s less likely to clog because it’s more difficult to bend.
How to choose a 3D printer filament?
As you may be aware, different projects will use different materials for 3D printing models. Different types of 3D printer filament and materials determine the quality of your work. That is why you must choose while purchasing filament carefully.
After selecting a 3D printer, you’ll have to decide which filament to utilize. There are several dozen different varieties, even without considering the various tints. You’ll come across many chemical-sounding names like polylactic acid, polyvinyl alcohol, carbon fiber, and tongue-twisting thermoplastic elastomers when you wade through them. A few of the acronyms they use are ABS, PLA, HIPS, CPE, PET, PETT, TPE, PVA, and PCTPE. Don’t let the alphabet soup of filament types turn you off. Most producers use Only a few kinds, and manufacturers prefer to use descriptive names that relate to a significant attribute of the filament, such as flexibility or strength, rather than technical nomenclature.
Types of 3d printer filament
ABS 3D Printing Filament
ABS, or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, is the most popular 3D printer material. Because of its toughness and excellent impact resistance, it is employed in a wide range of applications.This filament is also robust and slightly flexible, making it an excellent 3D printing material. It may also be easily extruded, making it very simple to print.It comes in 3.0mm and 1.75mm diameters on 2-pound, 5-pound, and 10-pound spools. If you desire, there are additional ABS engineering-grade filaments on the market.
ABS is an excellent material for printing plastic car parts, moving parts, musical instruments, household appliances, electronic housings, and various toys such as LEGO. Aside from 3D printing, it has a variety of other uses. Traditional manufacturers, for example, employ ABS to make the plastic wrap, water bottles, and cups, to name a few applications. ABS is not the most fabulous filament for most home users, despite its prominence in 3D printing. This is because of its high melting point, which necessitates printing on a hotbed. A heated printer bed isn’t something you’ll find on many low-cost 3D printers. ABS printing also emits toxic gases that can offend certain people. Enough ventilation is required. These factors combine to make ABS a material preferred by professionals over amateurs.
- A sturdy, long-lasting 3D filament
- The cheapest thermoplastic
- Quite flexible and lightweight
- The material most liked by expert 3D printers and sharp armatures.
- ABS is a petroleum-based material that is non-biodegradable
- requires a high temperature to melt
- Produces toxic vapors, which are especially noticeable in poorly ventilated areas
|Elongation at break||6%|
|Flexural strength||41 MPa|
|Tensile strength||22 MPa|
|Elastic modulus||1,6 HPa|
|Flexural modulus||2,1 HPa|
|Glass transition temperature||105°C|
|Printing accuracy||± 1%|
|Shrinkage during production||up to 0,8%|
What is ABS 3D printing?
ABS plastic 3D printer filament is similar to all 3D printer manufacturers. ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) has a long history in 3D printing. This material was one of the first polymers used in industrial 3D printers. People still use ABS today because of its low cost and excellent mechanical properties. We know ABS for its hardness and impact resistance, allowing you to print things that will survive for years. The ABS filament is one of today’s most popular 3D printing materials. We use ABS 3D printing filament in traditional manufacturing in a variety of industries and 3D printing aficionados because it can take on a variety of shapes while maintaining its quality.
ABS also has a higher glass transition temperature, which can withstand much higher temperatures without deforming. Because of this, ABS is a good choice for outdoor or high-temperature applications. If you’re printing with ABS, be sure to do so in a well-ventilated location because the material has a slight odor. ABS has a propensity to compress as it cools, so keeping an eye on the temperature of your build volume and the item inside could be pretty valuable.
A raw version of ABS material is white in hue. Because of its neutral hue, it can be dyed to your desired color throughout the manufacturing process.
ABS 3D print benefits
ABS is a durable and long-lasting material. It’s resistant to heat and chemicals. It can handle higher stress, heat, and pressure than conventional 3D printing materials. As a result, ABS is an excellent material for 3D printing with “wear and tear.”
You will get good results as long as the parameters are correct when using 3D printed ABS filament. With this material, you can even print 45-degree overhangs. This filament has a smoother finish on things since it oozes and strings less than other filaments.
ABS is an explicit material to work with when utilizing acetone and bonding components together. We can also file away and paint parts of the features with acrylic paint.
PLA 3D Printing Filament
Both amateurs and experts widely use PLA (Poly Lactic Acid). It’s a form of thermoplastic created from organic components like cornstarch and sugarcane. The key advantages of PLA include its safety and ease of use, and the absence of hazardous emissions. The sweet scent of the sugar-based filament is even appealing to some users. PLA produces 3D parts that are more aesthetically pleasing than ABS. This is due to the gloss and smooth appearance of the surface.
Although it may appear to be the ideal solution, there are some disadvantages. PLA has a lower melting point than ABS, making it weaker for starters. This is critical if you’re printing moving parts or exposing them to high temperatures. Both of these things can cause 3D objects to crack, warp, or even melt. PLA should be your filament of choice if none of the above apply to you and your 3D projects. It will give you better print details and make the build process less prone to printing errors.
PLA has a wide range of applications. PLA filament is used in medical suturing on a professional level (stitching). PLA can also be found in surgical implants such as pins, rods, screws, and surgically implanted mesh. The applications work because the substance is biodegradable. All of the previously described 3D printed parts degrade in the human body. Depending on the part and its purpose, they can take six months to two years. PLA filament is ideal for making a wide range of consumer goods at the hobbyist level. PLA also has the advantage of printing faster than ABS and not requiring a heated printer bed. The finished goods are reasonably strong, long-lasting, and impact resistant. Aside from 3D printing, PLA is used in various products, including food packaging, disposable tableware, and diapers, to name a few.
- For novices, this method works nicely.
- When heated, it emits a delicious aroma reminiscent of waffles or sweets.
- The simplest to work with material
- When contrast to ABS, it is less prone to warping.
- Translucent and glow-in-the-dark options are available.
- The printer nozzle is prone to clogging or jamming.
- Water molecules are attracted to it, which causes it to become brittle and difficult to print.
- PLA that has been saturated with water requires a higher extrusion temperature.
|Operating temperature of parts||-20+40°C|
|Elongation at break||3,8%|
|Flexural strength||55,3 MPa|
|Tensile strength||57,8 MPa|
|Elastic modulus||3,3 HPa|
|Flexural modulus||2,3 HPa|
|Glass transition temperature||60-65°C|
|Minimum wall thickness||1 mm|
|Printing accuracy||± 0,1%|
|Shrinkage during production||no|
What do you know about PLA-based 3D printing?
PLA material, PLA filament, and PLA filament are all created from renewable green sources such as starch, maize, and sugar cane. It is better for the environment than other materials because we can be recycled it, the best material for 3D printing prototypes and models. PLA filament is a popular 3D printing material, especially when using FFF technology.
PLA is an excellent choice for industries and businesses where 3D printing is still a relatively new addition. Because it is widely acknowledged as the industry’s easiest filament to print, it’s ideal for people who want to undertake quick prototyping, making it an excellent choice for brief projects. On the other hand, PLA is a biodegradable thermoplastic derived from renewable resources that is more environmentally friendly than ABS and PVA.
PLA is a recyclable plastic, which sets it apart from other 3D printing materials. Decomposition of traditional plastic takes hundreds of years, especially if they end up in a landfill with no air or sunshine to help them decompose. On the other hand, PLA material can break down into natural elements in commercial composting facilities.
It is well known that when plastics melt, harmful and deadly chemicals are produced, creating a health risk. On the other hand, PLA is a biologically derived polymer that does not emit toxic gases when burned. Rather than being disposed of in a landfill, we will be composted them.
Another great feature of PLA is its biocompatibility with the human body. It has no detrimental effects when it comes into direct contact with the human body. As a result, we can widely use filament in the medical industry. It’s also more flexible and shatterproof than the competition.
3D printing PLA
Because of its mechanical properties and its made from renewable resources, PLA filament has become very popular in additive manufacturing. Because it’s a simple material to deal with, it’s a popular choice for 3D printing beginners. This semi-crystalline polymer melts at 180 degrees Celsius, lower than ABS filament, which melts between 200 and 260 degrees Celsius. This melting point means that while printing with PLA, neither a heated printing bed nor a closed chamber is necessary. The one drawback is that PLA filament has a higher viscosity than ABS filament, which can cause the print head to become clogged if not appropriately handled.
This filament does not have the same mechanical properties as 3D print-ABS filament; the latter is far more strong and more flexible. On the other hand, PLA is more heat resistant and is frequently we use it in the food industry. Even if the project does not require much mechanical intricacy, we usually recommend employing it.
How do PLA and ABS differ?
If you’re still unsure about the two types of 3D printer filament, here are some distinctions to consider:
- Printing dimensionally precise objects with details as fine as 0.8 mm and minimum features as small as 1.2 mm is possible with PLA and ABS. The recommended tolerance when joining or interlocking parts is 0.5 mm. And for wall elements, a minimum wall thickness of 1-2 mm will ensure appropriate strength.
- Because of its lower printing temperature, PLA is less prone to deformation (making it easier to print with) and can print more delicate edges and features than ABS.
- ABS and PLA are ideal for numerous prototype applications because of their equal tensile strengths. Because of its higher ductility, we typically select ABS over PLA. We may utilize aBS for end-use applications because of its superior flexural strength and elongation before breaking; however, PLA is still famous for fast prototyping when the form is more important than function.
More technical points
- The print layers for ABS and PLA will be visible after printing due to the nature of FDM printing. PLA prints with a semi-transparent finish, resulting in a glossier look, whereas ABS prints with a matte finish. ABS is routinely sanded and machined after printing (for example, drilled). PLA can also be sanded and machined, but with more caution.
- ABS 3D printing filament (glass transition temperature of 105°C) is superior to PLA (glass transition temperature of 60°C) for high-temperature applications. PLA loses structural integrity and tends to droop and distort as the temperature rises beyond 60°C, especially when loaded.
- 3D print PLA filament is stable in most settings, degrading in 50 days in industrial composters and 48 months in water. ABS is recyclable. However, it is not biodegradable. PLA is widely used to construct food-related items; however, it is advisable to check with the filament manufacturer to ensure that it is safe.
- Because of their low cost and ease of printing, PLA and ABS are suitable thermoplastics for beginners. If you want to start 3D printing for industrial purposes, there are two prominent types of 3D printer filament.
PVA 3D Printing Filament
PVA (Polyvinyl alcohol) is an excellent 3D filament commonly used as a support material for ABS or PLA printing. When printing 3D components with significant overhangs, support materials are required. These pieces would be impossible to print or perfect without the support. PVA works well as a support material in printers with dual extruders. This is a non-toxic, biodegradable substance that dissolves quickly in tap water. PVA can be used with a heated build platform on all major desktop FDM printers to reduce warping during the build process. The print bed temperature should not exceed 200 °C for best performance as a support material.
PVA 3D printing filament is often used in feminine hygiene, adult incontinence products, and children’s play putty or slime. This filament is ideal for freshwater sports fishing, where PVA bags stuffed with bait are tossed into the water. The bag dissolves quickly, releasing the bait and attracting the fish.
- Biodegradable and non-toxic
- Fantastic support material
- Easily soluble in water
- Low flexibility and food safety
- It isn’t easy to print because it attracts so much water.
- Sources are difficult to come by.
- When compared to other materials, it is more expensive.
|Extrusion temperature||185-200 °C|
|Bed temperature||45-60 °C|
|Air cooling||Part Cooling Fan Required|
|Melting point||200 °C|
|Operating temperature of parts||220°C|
|Elongation at break||236.1- 385.6%|
|Glass transition temperature|
|Minimum wall thickness|
|Shrinkage during production|
PET 3D Printing Filament
Another common 3D filament made from plastic bottles is polyethylene terephthalate or PET. PET filament is a non-toxic plastic that has no unpleasant scents. It is entirely recyclable, has no unpleasant smells in its natural form, and is colorless and transparent. However, when subjected to heat or cold, the material loses its transparency.
If you allow it to cool slowly after printing, it will have a crystalline structure. PET comes in a variety of forms, including food-safe PETG. This modification is a transparent thermoplastic that may be thermoformed and molded after printing. You can also use a flame to polish it.
The vapor barrier and durability of PET filament make it perfect for packaging reasons. This 3D filament is frequently used in phone cases and other mechanical components requiring elasticity and impact resistance.
- Printing is simple.
- Unlike the generally used materials, it is more flexible.
- ABS and PLA can withstand temperatures ranging from 160°C to 210°C with no problems.
- Hard and impervious to shock
- For beginners, this is a complex material to work with.
- You’ll need to adjust the temperatures at your nozzle and on your printer bed for the best results.
- Water from the air is absorbed (store this properly)
PETG 3D Printing Filament
PETG filament is a variant of the widely used PET filament that has been “glycol-modified,” hence the term PETG. It’s a potent, long-lasting substance that prints without leaving an odor.
PETG filament outperforms PET in durability and impact resistance, while PET becomes hazy and brittle when heated. The inclusion of glycol eliminates these drawbacks, resulting in PETG filament with low shrinkage, no warping, and a robust but not brittle texture.
PETG filament is ideal for printing protective components (mobile phone cases) and mechanical parts subject to sudden or persistent stress. For use in food and drink containers and cups and plates, this material is FDA-approved.
- Safe for food
- Durable, adaptable, and recyclable
- Not fragile or warp-prone
- It will not shrink and can be printed on glass without glues.
- Not absorbent of atmospheric moisture nor degradable in water
- Impact-resistant and more durable than PET
- Printing is difficult.
- Bridging features are poor.
- Fine-tuning of bed and nozzle temperatures is required.
- Stringing can cause thin hairs to appear on the surface.
|Interlaminar adhesion||very high|
|Elongation at break||50%|
|Flexural strength||76,1 MPa|
|Tensile strength||36,5 MPa|
|Elastic modulus||2,6 HPa|
|Flexural modulus||1,12 HPa|
|Glass transition temperature||80°C|
|Printing accuracy||± 0,1%|
|Shrinkage during production||no|
PETT 3D Printing Filament
PETT, or PolyEthylene Trimethylene Terephthalate, is a T-Glase filament with a long name. It’s a common food-safe 3D printer material, like PET (with one ‘T’). Although it is easy to recycle, the filament is non-biodegradable.
PETT is a polymer that the FDA has approved. As a result, it is suitable for use with food. The vast majority of uses for PETT include a variety of containers for food and other implements for the kitchen.
- Biocompatibility, strength, and flexibility It is not fragile or warp-prone.
- It will not shrink and can be printed on glass without glues.
- Not absorbent of atmospheric moisture nor degradable in water
- FDA-approved and effective in bridging the gap
- PETT prices are also falling, with some being as low as ABS.
- Beginners should avoid this material because it is challenging to work with.
- Optimizing the temperature of the printer’s nozzle bed necessitates fine-tuning.
HIPS 3D Printing Filament
HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene) is a biodegradable substance with a dazzling white tint. It has no negative consequences when it comes to close touch with humans or pets.HIPS is highly similar to ABS, except it is made with Limonene as a solvent. Furthermore, HIPS filament, like PVA filament, is an excellent 3D support material. When printing ABS with a dual extrusion printer, HIPS would be an excellent support material.
The purpose of HIPS filament is not to create the thing itself. This 3D printer filament is used as secondary material in dual extrusion 3D printers to sustain a complicated object’s structural integrity. HIPS is also widely used for packaging in the food business. HIPS is also employed in the packaging of CD platters and the production of pharmaceutical trays.
|Operating temperature of parts||-40+70°C|
|Elongation at break||64%|
|Flexural strength||37,6 MPa|
|Tensile strength||16,4 MPa|
|Elastic modulus||0,93 HPa|
|Flexural modulus||1,35 HPa|
|Glass transition temperature||55°C|
|Printing accuracy||± 0,5%|
|Shrinkage during production||0,4%|
Nylon 3D Printing Filament
Nylon is a highly flexible synthetic material. The producers have used nylon in everything from toothbrushes to parachutes to tires to stockings, and now 3D printer filament. It was first developed in the 1930s. It’s a polymer, or plastic, at its core (or, more precisely, a family of plastics). It is robust and durable while remaining flexible, and it is one of the most affordable 3D printing filaments. It melts at a higher temperature than other filaments (about 240 degrees Celsius). Some regularly used compounds in the extruder release fumes at that temperature; therefore, not all 3D printers are constructed to handle it. Objects produced with nylon, like ABS, are prone to warping. They can reduce us This problem by employing a hot print bed.
Nylon is employed in many applications because of its strength, durability, and flexibility. Mechanical components, gears, bearings, dynamic loads, and containers are just some applications for engineering-grade Nylon.
- Nylon is resistant to water and chemicals.
- High-strength, long-lasting, and adaptable
- Unlike PLA or ABS, it is less brittle.
- 100 percent thermoplastic
- It’s possible to re-melt and use it without losing its bonding characteristics.
- A melting temperature of at least 240°C is required.
- Hot-ends include materials such as PEEK and PTFE.
- When heated, it will decompose and release hazardous gases.
|Elongation at break||300% phosphorescent|
|Flexural strength||70 MPa|
|Tensile strength||66-83 MPa|
|Elastic modulus||2,7 HPa|
|Flexural modulus||2,6 HPa|
|Glass transition temperature||50-70°C|
|Minimum wall thickness||1 mm|
|Printing accuracy||± 3%|
|Shrinkage during production||1%|
Wood 3D Printing Filament
Suppose you are tired of producing plastics and want to see something new in your next 3D printing project. In that case, you can let your creativity run wild with wood-like outputs by using FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) filament, also known as Wood Filament. If you are sick of producing plastics and want to see something new, you can see something new in your next 3D printing project.
Wood Filament is comprised of a combination of repurposed wood and a polymer that acts as a binder. Therefore, assisting you in producing a three-dimensional object that has the appearance and odor of wood.
It is impossible to identify that the object was created using 3D printing because it is wood. Therefore, if you want to obtain that wooden appearance, you should acquire some wood filament for your 3D printer. The use of a thermoplastic filament like ABS or PLA is comparable to a filament made of wood.
When working with this kind of 3D printer filament, the optimal temperature range is between 175 and 250 degrees Celsius. If you don’t do this, the final product of your 3D printing won’t have the appearance of wood.
Wood filament users are only limited by their imaginations regarding the things they can make with it. You can put it to use as ornamentation, in elaborate boxes, on tables and chairs, in figurines, and for anything else that sparks your imagination.
- Contain actual fibers derived from wood.
- Create a variety of brown hues that are reminiscent of wooden surfaces.
- When the temperature is higher, the brown color becomes more intense.
- Changing the temperature at which the printing is done will stimulate the tree’s growth ring effect.
- You then post-process it by cutting, grinding, and painting.
- When compared to PLA, it is softer and weaker.
- Flexibility and tensile length are both reduced.
- It is easily breakable.
Sandstone 3D Printing Filament
Sandstone 3D printer filament is yet another excellent material that, when used, will provide results that are one of a kind. The combination of fine chalk powder and PLA gives the product color and texture comparable to that of stone. In addition to this, it adheres nicely to the print bed and can be used without a hot surface.
Adjusting the temperature at which the filament is extruded during the 3D printing process enables users of the Sandstone 3D printer filament to manufacture objects with a surface that is either smooth or rough. This material is exactly what you need if you search for printing filaments with a distinctive sandstone finish.
Although there aren’t many restrictions on how 3D sandstone filaments can be used creatively, it’s safe to assume that their application is minimal. Landscapes and architectural display models are among the most common applications for this material.
- Excellent adhesion to the printing bed
- Finish and look that is distinctively sandstone
- It does not need to be performed in a warm bed
- It does not contract and does not warp when cooled.
- Not durable and less flexible
- Fragile and liable to shatter or snap when handled roughly
- Material is not suitable for use with food
|Flexural modulus||3,5 HPa|
|Minimum wall thickness||1 mm|
|Shrinkage during production||0,5-1,2%|
Metal 3D Printing Filament
Metal filaments are in a class of their own, providing stunning, one-of-a-kind finishes to 3D printed parts. PLA is mixed with a higher ratio of fine metallic particles in the components. The 3D printed parts have the same look and feel as if they were constructed entirely of metal. Aluminum, brass, bronze, copper, and stainless steel are popular possibilities. Anyone who desires a more creative effect can work on the final artwork. You can, for example, polish the finished component or tarnish / weather it to make it look more authentic. They’re not exact replicas of 3D metal pieces, but they’re near enough.
Hardware, jewelry, statues, relic replicas, and much more can benefit from the 3D metal filament. What you can print with 3D metals is highly dependent on the filaments that you use.
- Extremely durable
- It is not soluble.
- During the cooling process, there was minimal shrinkage.
- The temperature of the nozzle must be fine-tuned.
- Requirements for flow rate control and post-processing
Magnetic Iron 3D Printing Filament
Finely powdered iron powder is infused into a base material to create a magnetic filament. Any material, even PLA, can theoretically be used as a basis. When PLA is employed, it is commonly referred to as Magnetic PLA.
Another excellent 3D printer filament that you will love is Magnetic Iron PLA. It’ll come in handy if you want to 3D print magnet-like objects. Magnets such as neodymium iron boron (NdFeB) and samarium cobalt (SmCo) magnets are highly attracted to this filament. It is contained in a vacuum-sealed container with a desiccant pack and iron.
Conductive PLA 3D Printing Filament
Conductive PLA filament in your next 3D printing project offers up new possibilities. A conductive carbon particle is included in this material, allowing you to 3D print low-voltage electronic circuits for simple devices like LEDs and sensors.You may combine this 3D printer filament with ordinary PLA filament on a dual-extrusion machine to create a rudimentary circuit board right on the print bed.