Deciding on the right filament for your 3D printer can be a tricky process especially if you are new to 3D printing or if you don’t know much about the materials.
In this article, you’ll be able to gain more knowledge on 3D filaments and how to pick the right one for you. In order to decide which 3D filament is best for you; it is important to know exactly what they are and the different types because there are a lot and they are used in different ways. Without 3D filaments, you cannot create anything.
What is a 3D filament?
Before we dive into which 3D filaments are best for you, it’s crucial to know a bit about what they are and their purpose.
3D filaments are the main building blocks when it comes to 3D printing, think of them as 3D printer ink, so to speak. They are thermoplastics which melt rather than burn. When the plastic cools down, they can be used to manipulate, shape and create an object.
The process used to create a 3D object is called Fused Filament Fabrication. It is also known as Fused Deposition Modelling. Both of these terms can be used interchangeably.
Types of 3D Filaments
There are countless types of 3D filaments out on the market today. Each filament has its own purpose. Whether you want to create containers, adhesives, instruments, paper or just anything in general; it’s important to know which filament is best for the creation you are going for.
Listed below are the most common types of filaments you can find here at Go 3D:
ABS filament is one of the most commonly used filaments on the market. It is a very strong and long-lasting material which is slightly flexible and strongly resistant to heat. The downside to using ABS filaments is that it can release an odour; so make sure that the room with the printer is well ventilated.
ABS filament is great for many 3D printings. Its commonly used to make sports equipment, jewellery, phone mounts, cases and many other things of the kind.
PLA is another frequently used filament when it comes to printing. What stands out most about this filament is the fact that it’s so versatile and biodegradable. PLA is derived from corn starch or sugar cane. This is a great option if you are conscious of the environment.
PLA filament is used for plastic containers, wrappers and prototypes. It is also good for medical materials as it is not harmful to the body.
HIPS is a dissolvable filament that is mostly used for figurines, costumes and support materials. HIPS is fantastic support for ABS filaments. Just like ABS filaments, it can produce styrene odours so it is good to have a well-ventilated space.
PA or more commonly known as nylon is a very popular choice for people when it comes to 3D printing. Like ABS it is a very strong, reliable and durable filament. PA or nylon is a versatile filament and is used mostly for mechanical purposes.
Nylon is used to prints materials such as machine parts, gears and bearings, tools, structural parts and even kids toys.
Nylon opposed to ABS and HIPS has little to no odour when printing. It is, however, not as durable as them.
Polycarbonate is an awesome material that is used widely in the medial industry and is even used for parts in our smartphones. It is even sometimes used in the production of CD’s and DVD’s. Polycarbonate is even used in the production of bulletproof glass.
PC slowly softens when heated, unlike PLA and ABS which have a high-temperature transition. It is slightly flexible like hard rubber. It’s not entirely flexible because too much flexing will cause it to break. It is best to store this filament in an airtight container when not in use.
PVA or Poly Vinyl Alcohol is another great option for those who value the environment. Just like HIPS, it is dissolvable after the printing process. It is used to create complex support objects. Just like PLA filaments, it is biodegradable, environmentally friendly and non-toxic. It is also odourless.
PVA is used to make a wide range of print outs such as film packaging, women’s hygiene products, putty and dough for children.
PETG is a 3D printing filament that stands out from the rest. It is famous for its flexibility and durability. It is similar to ABS in the sense of its strength, but unlike it, it produces no odour; making it safe to use indoors. PETG is similar to PET but is glycol-modified.
PETG filament has a wide range of uses and is popular amongst 3D printer users. Its primary use is to make plastic containers for beverages like water bottles. It is also used for the production of credit cards and containers for holding medical instruments.
Pom (polyoxymethylene) is also known as Acetal and Polyacetal. POM is used in the production of strong and durable materials. It is the go-to choice for the engineering industry. It produces materials of high stiffness. It’s extremely strong and resistant to wear and tear.
POM filaments are used to create strong materials used to hold things together. It can be used to create bearings, lock systems, gears, screws, and nails.
Whatever you intend on creating using your 3D printer, rest assured that there are countless types of filaments with different properties suited for whatever it is you wish to produce.