3D printer filament is a hot topic these days. With so many different types and brands of filament available, it can be difficult to decide which one to purchase for your 3D printer.
In this blog post, we will compare the best and worst materials for 3D printing. We will also provide information on how to choose the right filament for your needs. Stay tuned!
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Below is a full comparison chart with 15 3D printer filament materials. We’ll go into detail on each one, discussing the pros and cons of 3D printing with each type of filament.
PLA, or Polylactic Acid, is one of the most extensively used filaments worldwide, especially for desktop 3D Printing. It is also one of the most eco-friendly filaments that are now available on the market since it is produced from renewable resources corn starch, which makes it non-toxic. And Because of this, less energy is required to process it in comparison to plastics that are based on petroleum.
Due to the fact that PLA has a significantly lower melting point than ABS, it is possible to print it at a lower temperature and does not require a heated bed.
And this is the reason why PLA might be a good choice for those users who use 3D printers that are extruder-based.
PLA Technical Specifications & Properties
Special Properties: Withstand temperatures of up to 80°C without losing strength
Strength: High | Flexibility: Low
Print Temperature: 180-230°C
Heated Bed Temperature: 20-60°C
Extruder Temperature: 190 – 220°C
Water Resistant: No
What is PLA filament Best for?
1. Medical Implants
PLA is widely used in medical implants such as suturing and various surgical instruments and food container due to its biodegradable properties and it doesn’t release any harmful chemicals when heated.
Because of that many companies use PLA for its “green” credentials – it’s a renewable material that doesn’t require fossil fuels to produce.
2. Prints Quickly
And since PLA has a lower temperature, that is, a lower melting point than ABS, it does not require a heated bed and prints quicker than ABS.
Another good thing about PLA is that it doesn’t produce any bad smell when it’s being printed, unlike ABS or most plastic materials.
Most people think that PLA filament doesn’t have a smell. I mean odourless, but some people have said that, depending on the type of PLA, it produces a sweet aroma, like a candy smell.
Common Application of PLA
Not only medical equipment PLA is extensively used in a variety of low-stress applications, including food packaging and wrapping, cosmetics, infant toys, tableware, decorative parts and many more.
PLA filament is normally available on the market in both 1.75mm and 3mm diameters and in a wide range of colors.
Some Drawbacks of PLA Filament
There are a few drawbacks that you should keep in mind when purchasing PLA, such as:
1. Low Heat Resistant
Since PLA has the tendency to deform at temperatures of 60-65°C and it’s not as heat-resistant as other materials, So, we recommend avoiding it if you are making any item that needs to withstand high temperatures.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that PLA is brittle when compared to other types of 3D printer filament like ABS. So we advise avoiding using it to make items that will be bent or dropped frequently, such as phone covers and infant toys.
Overall, PLA is a versatile material that is well-suited for a wide range of applications. Whether you need a strong prototype or a food-safe print, PLA is likely to be a good choice for beginners.
Popular Brands of PLA
ABS filament is a 3D printing material made from petroleum. ABS stands for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene. It is a strong, durable 3D printing material that is commonly used for 3D printed objects that will be used or handled frequently.
What is ABS filament good for?
- It can be printed at a lower temperature than other materials, making it less likely to warp during the printing process.
- ABS is easy to sand and paint, so it can be easily customized to meet your needs.
- While ABS filament is not suitable for every application, it is a versatile material that can be used for a wide range of projects.
What is ABS filament not good for?
ABS filament has many desirable properties, including its strength, durability, and ease of use. However, it is important to recognize that ABS is not suitable for certain applications.
- ABS can produce hazardous fumes when melted. Therefore, it should not be used in enclosed spaces or with materials that are sensitive to smoke or fumes.
- While ABS is typically used as a prototyping material due to its low cost and availability, it can warp more easily than some other 3D printing materials, making it more challenging to fabricate functional parts.
- This filament is not recommended for certain projects where higher precision or stability is required.
Nevertheless, for many typical 3D printing applications, ABS remains an excellent choice for bringing designs to life.
NYLON filament is a strong and lightweight plastic that is often used in 3D printing. It is known for its durability and resistance to wear and tear. NYLON filament is available in a variety of colors, and it can be used to create a wide range of 3D objects.
What is Nylon filament good for?
Nylon filament is a strong and versatile material that can be used in a variety of applications. One of its most common uses is in the production of 3D printing filament.
- Nylon filament is ideal for 3D printing due to its strength and dimensional stability.
- It also has a low coefficient of friction, which makes it easy to work with and print with.
- In addition to 3D printing, nylon filament can also be used for a variety of other applications such as rope, webbing, and fabric.
If you are looking for a versatile and easy-to-use 3D printing material, NYLON filament may be the right choice for you.
What is Nylon filament not good for?
There are certain applications that Nylon filament is not well-suited for.
- It requires a higher printing temperature than some other 3D printing materials, which can make it more challenging to work with.
- Nylon is very expensive, so it may not be the best choice for budget-conscious consumers.
- Nylon is somewhat fragile and can be prone to breaking down over time due to exposure to moisture or other environmental factors.
Overall, while nylon filament is great for many uses, there are some situations where its properties fall short.
PETG filament is a 3D printing material made from petroleum and glycol. PETG stands for Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol-Modified.
What is PETG filament good for?
- PETG is also dimensionally stable, meaning that printed parts will not warp or deform over time.
- It has good chemical resistance, making it an excellent choice for applications where parts will be exposed to harsh environments.
- PETG filament is food safe, making it a great choice for printing items that will come into contact with food or beverages.
Whether you are looking to create sturdy functional parts or printed objects that will be used in food-related applications, PETG filament is a great option to consider.
What is PETG filament not good for?
There are a few things that PETG filament is not particularly well-suited for.
- PETG is not UV resistant, so it should not be used for applications where parts will be exposed to direct sunlight or other strong UV light sources.
- It is also not good for applications where transparency is important, as it tends to be somewhat cloudy.
- PETG tends to warp more easily than some other filaments, so it may not be the best choice for larger prints.
Overall, PETG is a decent filament that can be used for a variety of purposes, but it’s not the best option for everything.
PVA filament is a type of 3D printing filament that is made from polyvinyl alcohol. PVA is a water-soluble synthetic polymer that is often used as a woodworking adhesive. It is also used in a wide range of other applications, including as a food additive, cosmetics, and medical devices.
What is PVA filament good for?
- PVA is often used as a support material because it can be easily removed by dissolving it in water.
- It is also biodegradable, making it a more environmentally friendly option than other support materials such as ABS.
- In addition, PVA has a low melting point, which means it can be used with PLA to create objects with different textures and colors.
- PVA is also frequently used in food-safe applications, such as 3D printed candy molds.
What is PVA filament not good for?
While PVA (polyvinyl alcohol) filament is generally considered to be a good choice for many applications, there are some situations where it is not well-suited.
- This type of filament is not particularly strong or durable, making it unsuitable for heavy-duty applications that require a lot of wear and tear.
- PVA filament does not bond well with certain materials, such as wood or metal. As such, It cannot be used effectively in situations where adhesion is essential.
- It is also not a good choice for prints that need to be very precise, as it is somewhat brittle and can break easily.
However, despite these shortcomings, PVA filament remains a very useful and popular material for 3D printing due to its many other positive qualities.
ASA stands for acrylonitrile styrene acrylate. It is a 3D printing filament made from a thermoplastic copolymer of acrylonitrile, styrene, and acrylate. ASA is similar to ABS in terms of its properties and applications.
What is ASA filament good for?
- It is known for its good dimensional stability, making it a good choice for applications where precise tolerances are required.
- Additionally, ASA filament is resistant to UV light and has a good surface finish, making it an ideal material for outdoor applications.
- ASA filaments are also available in a variety of colors, allowing you to create prints that are both functional and stylish.
- This filament is commonly used in the automotive and aerospace industries due to its good mechanical properties.
What is ASA filament not good for?
- Some materials such as paper and cardboard may not bond strongly to the plastic surface, which can result in layers that are weak or that fail completely.
- Additionally, regions with high temperatures or sudden changes in temperature can degrade the filament over time, affecting print quality and integrity.
Ultimately, while ASA filament has many excellent properties, it is important to be aware of its limitations when choosing a material for 3D printing projects.
TPE, TPU, TPC
3d printer filament is typically made of plastic. However, there are a variety of other materials that can be used as well. TPE, for example, is a 3D printing filament made of a thermoplastic elastomer. TPU and TPC are the two variances of TPE.
- TPE is a softer material than both TPU and TPC, making it ideal for applications where flexibility and cushioning are desired.
- It has a very low-weight product studio melting point, making it easy to work with.
- TPU is an elastic material that is often used in 3D printing because it can be easily flexed and stretched.
- It is also resistant to chemicals and has a high resistance to wear and tear.
- TPC is similar to TPU in terms of its flexibility and resistance to chemicals and wear and tear.
- However, it has a lower melting point, making it easier to print with.
What are TPE, TPU, and TPC filaments not good for?
- They are very difficult to print with and require a 3D printer that is specifically designed for working with these materials.
- TPE, TPU, and TPC filaments require a 3D printer that has a heated build platform and an enclosed chamber to maintain consistent temperatures.
All three of these materials have their own unique properties that make them suited for different applications.
HIPS filament is a 3D printing material that is frequently used as a support material.
What is HIPS filament good for?
- It is strong and durable, yet easy to remove thanks to its dissolvability in limonene.
- HIPS also has very good dimensional stability, meaning it is unlikely to warp or shrink during the printing process. This makes it an ideal material for complex prints with delicate features.
- HIPS filament is available in a wide range of colors, making it a versatile choice for both functional and aesthetic applications.
What is HIPS filament not good for?
- It may require the use of a heated build platform in order to achieve optimal results.
- HIPS filament can be difficult to work with if it is not properly stored or handled.
- It also requires post-processing in order to remove any remaining support material.
This filament is a type of 3D printing filament made from, you guessed it, wood. It is typically made from pulverized wood that has been combined with a binding agent, though some filaments are made entirely from wood fiber. Unlike other 3D printing filaments, the wood filament can be sanded and stained just like regular wood. This makes it ideal for creating prototypes or final products that need to have a wood finish.
What is Wood filament good for?
Wood filament is a type of material that has become increasingly popular in recent years. Its many uses include a wide range of applications related to construction and manufacturing.
- The wood filament can be used to print beautiful custom furniture, engrave intricate patterns on wooden surfaces, or build sturdy structures using its impressive strength and durability.
- Overall, this versatile material has become an essential tool for professionals working in many different industries.
What is Wood filament not good for?
Wood filament is not ideal for a number of reasons.
- It is difficult to work with and can be very messy.
- Due to its natural origin, the wood filament can be susceptible to fluctuations in heat, moisture, and humidity levels.
- The wood filament is better suited for decorative or artistic purposes rather than functional ones.
So if you need to create something durable or long-lasting with your 3D printer, it’s best to stick with other materials instead.
The metal filament is a very unique type of material that has many interesting properties. The filament is made of metal powder that has been combined with a binding agent. This gives the filament its ability to be 3D printed into metal objects.
What is Metal filament good for?
- First and foremost, it is extremely durable, making it ideal for use in applications where high levels of stress or wear might be present.
- In addition, metal filament exhibits excellent thermal properties, meaning that it can withstand both high temperatures and rapid changes in temperature with ease.
- What’s more, this material is highly malleable and can be manipulated into a variety of different shapes and forms to suit the needs of the user.
Overall, the metal filament is an extremely versatile and useful material that has wide-ranging applications in many different industries.
What is Metal filament not good for?
- It is difficult to print with and requires special equipment.
- The material does not perform well in extremely dry or humid conditions.
- It tends to corrode easily and can be difficult to recycle at the end of its life.
- The metal filament is not ideal for use in high-heat settings such as foundries or blast furnaces.
That said, this type of filament is still a popular choice among makers and engineers due to its versatility, strength, and durability. Overall, there are many uses for a metal filament that make it an ideal material in a variety of settings.
Carbon fiber is a material consisting of extremely fine fibers of carbon. The fibers are produced from precursors such as PAN, pitch, or rayon. Carbon fibers are used in various composite materials, including carbon fiber reinforced plastic and carbon fiber reinforced concrete. They are also used in aerospace and automotive engineering applications.
The properties of carbon fiber depending on the manufacturing process, the type of precursor, and the orientation of the fibers. However, in general, carbon fibers are characterized by high tensile strength, high stiffness, and low density. Additionally, they are resistant to high temperatures and chemical attacks. Carbon fibers are typically used in applications where strength and weight are critical considerations.
What is Carbon Fiber filament good for?
- Carbon fiber filament is a strong, lightweight material that has a wide range of applications.
- It is popular for use in 3D printing due to its stiffness and durability. This makes it ideal for creating objects with precise or intricate shapes, as well as structures or components that might be subjected to high stress or wear and tear.
- Carbon fiber filaments are also used in composite materials such as carbon fiber reinforced polymers, which can be molded into many different forms while maintaining their mechanical strength and flexibility.
What is Carbon Fiber filament not good for?
- Carbon fiber is very expensive, so it is not always cost-effective.
- It can be difficult to work with, and it is not always as strong as other materials such as steel or aluminum.
- Carbon fiber filament is not recyclable, so it creates waste that must be disposed of properly.
Magnetic Iron PLA
Magnetic Iron PLA is a 3D printer filament that consists of iron particles suspended in a PLA matrix. The addition of iron gives the material magnetic properties, making it ideal for use in applications where magnets are required. Magnetic Iron PLA is a relatively new 3D printer filament and it is not yet widely available. However, it has already shown great promise for use in a variety of applications, including 3D printing of magnetic objects and structures.
What is Magnetic Iron PLA good for?
- It is ideal for 3D printing of magnetic objects and structures, as well as for use in applications where magnets are required.
- Magnetic Iron PLA is also a strong and durable material that can be used for 3D printing of objects and components that will be subjected to high stress or wear and tear.
What is Magnetic Iron PLA not good for?
- Magnetic Iron PLA is a relatively new 3D printer filament and it is not yet widely available.
- Magnetic Iron PLA is also not recyclable, so it creates waste that must be disposed of properly.
Polycarbonate filament is a type of 3D printing material that is strong and durable. It is often used for products that need to withstand high temperatures or harsh conditions. Polycarbonate filament is also one of the most expensive types of 3D printing materials, but it is worth the investment for many printers.
What is Polycarbonate filament good for?
- One of the benefits of polycarbonate filament is that it can be used with multiple colors. This means that you can create products with multiple colors without having to use different filaments.
- Polycarbonate filament is also easy to print with and has a low melting point. This makes it ideal for complex designs that require precise printing.
- It is often used to create parts that will be subject to high stress or repeated impact, such as protective gear or automotive components.
- Polycarbonate is also clear, making it a popular choice for creating lenses and other optical components.
What is Polycarbonate filament not good for?
- It is not well suited for applications that require high temperatures.
- PC filament can be difficult to print with, as it tends to clog printers and produce stringy, uneven prints.
Polypropylene filament is a type of thermoplastic polymer that is used in a variety of applications. It is made up of long chains of repeating units, which give it a wide range of properties.
What is Polypropylene filament good for?
- Polypropylene filament is strong and lightweight, making it ideal for use in 3D printing.
- It is resistant to heat and chemical damage, making it an ideal material for use in medical implants and other biomedical devices.
- Polypropylene filament is also used in the manufacturing of textiles, carpeting, and ropes.
What is Polypropylene filament not good for?
Polypropylene filament is not good for everything. While it is useful for some applications, there are better materials to use for others.
- It is not heat resistant, so it cannot be used for applications that require high temperatures.
- Polypropylene filament is not UV resistant, so it may fade or discolor over time when exposed to direct sunlight.
- It is very difficult to print with, so it is not recommended for use by beginners.
Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) is a clear, strong, and lightweight plastic that is often used in 3D printing. It is commonly known by its trade name, acrylic. PMMA filament is made from tiny PMMA pellets that are melted and extruded through a 3D printer nozzle to create the desired shape.
What is PMMA filament good for?
- PMMA is an ideal material for 3D printing because it can be easily molded and shaped into a wide variety of objects.
- It is a relatively inexpensive material, which makes it a popular choice for budget-conscious consumers.
What is PMMA filament not good for?
There are also some disadvantages to using PMMA filament.
- It requires high temperatures to 3D print properly
- PMMA is also a toxic material, so it should be handled with care
Overall, PMMA filament has some unique advantages, but it also has some distinct disadvantages that you should keep in mind before deciding whether or not to use it.
It is difficult to choose the best 3D printer filament because there are so many different types of materials available. Each material has its own unique set of properties that make it better or worse for specific applications. We highly recommend doing your own research to determine which 3D printer filament is best for your needs.
This 3D printer filament comparison article should help you get started on your search for the perfect 3D printing material. We hope you found this article helpful and informative. Happy 3D printing!