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Types of 3D Printer Filament and What They're Used For

Posted by 3D Printer Universe on

3D printing is usually the process of creating physical objects from a three-dimensional digital model by using multiple thin layers of continuous material. When adding material layer by layer, a digital object (its CAD representation) is entered in its physical form.3D printing filaments are thermoplastic raw materials for fused deposition modeling 3D printers. There are many types of filaments that have different properties and require different temperatures for printing.  The thread is available in two standard diameters: 1.75 and 2.85 mm / 3 mm.

Following are the most popular types of 3D printer filaments:


ABS Filament

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) usually ranks second after PLA. But this only means that he is the second most popular. In terms of material properties, although ABS is a bit more difficult to print, it is actually more moderate than PLA. As a result, ABS is found in many household and consumer products, including Lego blocks and bicycle helmets

Properties:

  • Strength: High | Flexibility: Medium | Durability: High
  • Difficulty to use: Medium
  • Print temperature: 210°C – 250°C
  • Print bed temperature: 80°C – 110°C
  • Shrinkage/warping: Considerable
  • Soluble: In esters, ketones, and acetone
  • Food safety: Not food safe

Applications:

ABS is an excellent option for printing plastic parts for cars, sports parts, musical instruments, kitchen appliances, electronic housings and various toys such as LEGO. In addition to 3D printing, it has other applications. For example, traditional manufacturers use only ABS to make a plastic wrap, water bottles, and cups. Although ABS is popular in 3D printing, it is not the best filament for most home users. This is because it has a high melting point and requires printing on a heated surface or bed. Many cheap 3D printers are not equipped with a heated printer bed. ABS printing also produces annoying fumes that can irritate some people. Needless to say, good ventilation is essential. These combined factors make ABS a material that professionals prefer to amateur users.

 

PLA Filament

In the field of consumer 3D printing, polylactic acid (PLA) is indigenous. Although PLA is often compared to ABS in ABS, which may be the next product, PLA is the most popular filament type in 3D printers for good reasons.

Properties:

  • Strength: High | Flexibility: Low | Durability: Medium
  • Difficulty to use: Low/li>
  • Print temperature: 180°C – 230°C
  • Print bed temperature: 20°C – 60°C (but not needed)
  • Shrinkage/warping: Minimal
  • Soluble: No
  • Food safety: Refer to manufacturer guidelines.

Applications:

PLA is widely used. On a professional level, the use of PLA filaments includes medical sutures (sutures).PLA can be used for a variety of surgical implants, including bolts, rods, screws, and meshes that are surgically implanted. Because the material is degradable, the application works. All 3D printed parts described above are destroyed in the human body. Depending on the part and its use, it can take six months to two years.

 

PETT & PET Filament

PETT (commonly known as poly (trimethylene terephthalate)) is a filament called T-Glaze. Like PET ("T"), it is also a popular material for 3D printers and is ideal for food products. The threads, although recyclable, are not biodegradable.

Properties:

  • Strength: High | Flexibility: Medium | Durability: High
  • Difficulty to use: Low
  • Print temperature: 220°C – 250°C
  • Print bed temperature: 50°C – 75°C
  • Shrinkage/warping: Minimal
  • Soluble: No
  • Food safety: Refer to manufacturer guidelines.

Applications:

PETT is on a list of FDA approved polymers. This makes it completely ‘food safe’, meaning it’s safe for products like cups, and plates, etc. Needless to say, common applications for PETT filament include food containers and various kitchen utensils.

Nylon Filament

 Nylon is a family of synthetic polymers that are widely used in many industrial applications and is a heavyweight champion in the field of 3D printing. Compared to most other types of filaments used in 3D printers, it ranks first in terms of strength, flexibility, and durability.

Properties:

  • Strength: High | Flexibility: High | Durability: High
  • Difficulty to use: Medium
  • Print temperature: 240°C – 260°C
  • Print bed temperature: 70°C – 100°C
  • Shrinkage/warping: Considerable
  • Soluble: No
  • Food safety: Refer to manufacturer guidelines.

Applications:

Nylon filament has strength, elasticity, and durability, which is very suitable for use in many different fields. It is particularly suitable for various consumer products, tools, mechanical parts, mechanical parts, construction parts, containers, etc.

PVA Filament

PVA (long name polyvinyl alcohol) is a good 3D line and is often used as an auxiliary material when printing with ABS or PLA. When printing 3D parts with significant overhangs, support materials are required. Without support, these details will not be printed or corrected.

Properties:

  • Diameter: 1.75mm.
  • Weight: 1kg.
  • Print temperature: 220 – 250°C.
  • Melt temperature: 163°C.
  • Storage: cool & dry (15-25°C), away from UV light.

Applications:

 In 3D printing, PVA is used as an auxiliary material. In addition to 3D printing, PVA has many other uses. We find it useful as paper glue, thickener, release agent in personal care products, baby putty, and freshwater fishing products, etc.



Filled Filaments (PLA + Filler)

Sandstone, Carbon Fiber, Steel, Copper etc are made by injecting extremely fine powdery solids into PLA. In this case, this solid powder is a very fine chalk powder. Imprints of sandstone threads can mimic the appearance of sandstone or ceramic, depending on how they are printed and processed.

Properties:

  1. Density: 1.05 – 1.10 g/cm3
  2. Diameters: 1.75 mm or 2.85 mm
  3. Printing temperature: 210-230 °C
  4. Printing speed: 40-90 mm/s
  5. Storage temperature: 0 – 38 °C
  6. Food safety: not safe.

Applications:

The creative use of 3D sandstone filaments has few limits, though it’s fair to say that it has a pretty niche usage. It’s most popular for things like landscapes and architectural display models.

 

PC Filaments

In addition to being one of the strongest filaments in a 3D printer on this list, polycarbonate (PC) is also very durable, resistant to physical and thermal effects, and able to withstand temperatures up to 110 ° C.

Properties:

  • Strength: Very High| Flexibility: Medium | Durability: Very High
  • Difficulty to use: Medium
  • Print temperature: 270°C – 310°C
  • Print bed temperature: 90°C – 110°C
  • Shrinkage/warping: Considerable
  • Soluble: No
  • Food safety: Not food safe.

Applications:

Polycarbonate is used to store data on optical discs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs. It is used as a component in many medical applications and in modern mobile phones. Commonly used to protect the eyes and to make bulletproof glass to protect the back.

 

TPE, TPU, TPC (Flexible)

TPE (thermoplastic elastomers) is plastics with rubber-like qualities, making them extremely flexible and durable.

TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) is a particular variety of TPE. Compared to TPE, TPU is slightly more rigid, making it easier to print. It’s a little more durable and can better retain its elasticity in the cold.

TPC (thermoplastic copolyester) is not as commonly used as TPU. Similar in most respects to TPE, TPC’s main advantage is its higher resistance to chemical and UV exposure, it heats (up to 150°C).

Properties:

  • Strength: Medium | Flexibility: Very High| Durability: Very High
  • Difficulty to use: Medium (TPE, TPC); Low(TPU)
  • Print temperature: 210°C – 230°C
  • Print bed temperature: 30°C – 60°C (but not needed)
  • Shrinkage/warping: Minimal
  • Soluble: No
  • Food safety: Not food safe.

Applications:

When creating objects that require a lot of wear, use TPE or TPU. If your 3D printing details are bent, stretched or compressed, these 3D printer fibers should be ready. Examples of prints may include toys, telephone booths or socks (for example, bracelets). TPC can be used for similar applications, but it works especially well in more demanding environments, such as outdoors.

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