There is an ever-growing number of materials used in 3D printing and the more the technology is developed the more will appear. Materials from thermoplastics all the way to chocolate can be printed, and so with such a variety available this page aims to help you find which material is best for your 3D printing needs, starting with the most popular….TBC
|Material||Image||Use||Tech||Multiple Colour/Finish||Min Detail (mm)||Min Thickness (mm)||Heat Res||Average Price per 1kg
ABS or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene is
A common thermoplastic available in a range of colours.
ABS is a strong, flexible durable plastic and so is preferred above PLA for mechanical purposes
ABS is the plastic Lego is made from, is perfect for heated plastic extrusion 3D printing.
Smells like hot plastic when heated which can be quite off putting
High temperature resistance
PLA or Polylactic Acid is
PLA is a thermoplastic aliphatic polyester derived from renewable sources such as corn starch.
PLA is biodegradable and can be used as an alternative to high-impact polystyrene as and so is more ‘Earth friendly’
Sweet smell when heated due to being derived from sugar
Higher maximum printing speed than ABS due to lower temperature resistance
Will melt if left in hot temperatures after printing e.g. car back seat on a hot day, so not suitable for some applications
Can react with water, causing bubbles and spurting at the nozzles. At high temperatures with water can cause de-polymerization.
PVA or Poly Vinyl Alcohol is
Makerbot Dissolvable Filament
- Highest stiffness-to-weight ratio of any 3D Printed plastic
- Highest strength-to-weight ratio of any 3D Printed plastic
- Temperature resistance up to 180°
Typical applications for this material include: