3D Printing materials (filaments)

Updated 4 months ago ​by Tomáš Chvalina

There are plenty of 3D printing filaments you can choose from. Each of them has its benefits and downsides. They gererally come in 2 different dimensions, 2.85 (known as "3mm" filaments) and 1.75mm (used on Original Prusa i3 MK2/S and MK3) 

In general, we can say, the better mechanical properties they have, the higher temperature is needed to put them into a malleable state. Which also increases the difficulty of printing. 

Main filament groups 

PLA group

In the PLA group you can find the best materials for printing large detailed objects. It is well known for being easy to print and good looking (print details up to 50 microns). Generally, we can say this is the material you shall consider using if you are new to 3D printing. As there is not much hassle you should worry about. 

  1. Easy to print, no warping at all.  
  2. Great details up to 50 microns.
  3. More information to be found in the PLA article.

PET group

Offers great thermal resistance for both indoor and outdoor use. It is reasonably easy to print. Does not warp and in general is really great for mechanical parts. In comparison to ABS, it is good looking and a little more flexible. 

  1. Great thermal resistance for outdoor and indoor use.
  2. Offers high endurance and a little flexibility.
  3. More information to be found in the PETG article.

ABS group 

In comparison to the PET group. ABS offers even higher thermal resistance up to 98°C. Also, it is impact resistant and can be dissolved with Acetone (which is great for connecting separate objects and making your prints smooth). However, it tends to warp and is quite difficult to print.  Last but not least it produces an unpleasant smell when printing, that many people can't stand.

Flex group 

This is the only group with which you can achieve almost perfect flexibility. Which make it great for all kinds of shopping bag handles, phone cases or even RC car wheels. Flex has very good abrasion resistance, remains flexible in cold environments, and is resistant to many solvents. Although at times it is quite difficult to print.

Support materials

So-called "support materials" are used as dissolvable supports. With which you can achieve perfectly looking objects with odd shapes. Unlike basic supports, you can just easily dissolve them in water or limonene. Keep in mind that you can use these filaments only with the additional Multimaterial upgrade.


Composites 

    Composite materials consist of a main plastic base and a second material in the form of dust. This way it can simulate wood, steel, brass etc. like finish. The only problem is that most of these filaments are very abrasive. Therefore you will need to use a hardened steel nozzle for long-term printing. 

Overview of 3D printing materials


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