It is no question that there is a vast number of 3d filament types available. We have previously covered other filaments such as ABS, PLA, and Nylon.
What is TPE filament?
TPE is not just like every other filament. It has something that separates it clearly from the rest and that’s its elastic properties.
TPE or thermoplastic elastomer is a type of plastic that comes in handy when something needs a sort of resistance whether it be impact resistance or vibration.
TPE filament is also good for its non-slip properties and its most famous characteristic, which is, of course, its flexibility.
TPE plastic has been used for a range of different reasons. It has been used for flexible phone cases and even for non-slip shoes.
Seeing as TPE filament is very durable and elastic plastic, you can print models that have the potential to stretch to double in size and retract back to their original size with no problems at all. The best part about its elasticity is that stretching it and bending it will have no negative effects on the 3d model.
Here’s some important information you should know before printing with a TPE filament:
-TPE filament is a very durable plastic and is great for creating models that are designed to be strong, but flexible.
-The flexibility that comes with TPE filament can prove to be useful, but also can be equally frustrating if it buckles or squeezes through any gaps in the filaments path. To avoid this commonly frustrating problem, make sure that you have the filament path well constrained and under control, so there are no gaps or anywhere else the filament can make its way into.
We recommend that you use a direct- drive style extruder in order to get the best results.
-Be careful when printing with TPE filament because it has been known to adhere to surfaces relatively quickly, it’s important to remember this and have something on hand in case the filament glues itself to where it is not supposed to.
How should I store my TPE filament?
It is best to store TPE filament in a dry area because it is hygroscopic, which means that it absorbs the moisture in the air. We recommend that you store the filament in an environment that is quite dry so it cannot absorb moisture which will cause the plastic to degrade.
It is best to store it in an airtight bag or a well-sealed airtight container.
What are the recommended printing settings?
When you are printing with a TPE filament, it is recommended that you print with a nozzle temperature ranging between 210-230 degrees Celsius.
The bed temperature also varies, in some cases, you do not need the bed temperature on.
Make sure that you minimize or disable retraction because of TPE’s ability to stretch and bend.
What about TPU filament? Aren’t they similar?
TPU or thermoplastic polyurethane is another type of plastic which I see gets more often than not confused with TPE plastic. One who is planning on printing a flexible 3D model might ask what the difference between the two is seeing as they are very similar plastics with very similar properties.
To put it simply, the difference between TPE and TPU is that TPE plastic is softer and more tedious to print with and TPU is firmer and prints similar to PETG filament.
Where can I find TPE filament?
That’s an easy one for you to find because you can find TPE filament right here at Go 3D. We have a wide range of not just TPE filaments but also other popular types ranging from ABS to Nylon.
Not ready to commit to a whole roll? Then, feel free to give one of our samples a go.