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3D Filament Defined

3D filaments are special types of plastics called thermoplastics. Once heated to the right temperature, thermoplastics become flexible. It’s this pliability that allows the printer to sculpt the filament to create your shapes before it cools down. In 2017, the two common types of 3D filaments are:

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ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)
PLA (Polylactic Acid)

1. ABS 3D Filament

PRICE STARTING FROM: $20 for 1.75 mm, 1kg spool

ABS is popular for good reasons. It’s tough, and has impact-resistant properties. It’s this strength and moderate flexibility that makes it such a great choice for printing in 3D. It’s also easy to extrude from the printer’s nozzles, which makes it an easy material to work with. 3d printing service in mumbai pune,delhi india

Don’t Miss: Best ABS Filaments.

ABS print temperature range: 210°C – 250°C (high)
Applications

ABS is a great choice for printing plastic automotive parts, moving parts, musical instruments, kitchen appliances, electronic housings, and various toys, like LEGO. It has other applications too, aside from 3D printing.


2. PLA 3D Filament

PRICE STARTING FROM: $20 for 1.75 mm, 1kg spool

PLA (Poly Lactic Acid) is popular for amateurs and professionals alike. It’s a special type of thermoplastic made from organic materials, namely cornstarch and sugarcane. The main benefits of PLA are that it’s safer and easier to use, and with no toxic fumes to worry about. Some users even find the sweet smell of the sugar-based filament pleasant. Compared to ABS, PLA produces 3D parts which are more aesthetically pleasing. This finish is thanks to its unique sheen and smooth appearance.

PLA has wide-ranging uses. At the professional level, PLA filament uses include medical suturing (stitching). We can also see PLA used for various surgical implants, including surgically implanted pins, rods, screws, and mesh. The applications work thanks to the material’s degradable properties. All the aforementioned 3D printed parts break down in the human body.


3. T-glase Filament

Applications:

PETT is another of those FDA-approved polymers. This makes it safe for use with food. The majority of PETT applications are various food containers and other kitchen utensils.

4. Nylon Filament
Nylon filament, also called polyamide, is another popular choice. This is a synthetic polymer that’s stronger and more durable than ABS and PLA—and cost-effective. It’s also flexible, light, wear-resistant, and less brittle than both ABS and PLA. There are different kinds of nylon filament available, and what you choose will depend on which one suits your budget and needs. The difference between them is in the filament’s layer bonding abilities, tensile strength, and water absorption. You can also choose nylon filament that has a translucent or opaque finish and reduced shrinkage.

Nylon print temperature range: 210°C – 250°C (high)
Applications

Nylon filament is great to use in a whole variety of applications thanks to its strength, flexible properties, and durability. It’s particularly suited for various consumer products, tools, mechanical components, machine parts, structural parts, containers, and a much more.

5. PVA Filament

PVA (long name Polyvinyl alcohol) is a good 3D filament that’s typical use is as a support material when printing with ABS or PLA. Support materials are necessary when printing 3D parts with notable overhangs.

Applications

In 3D printing, PVA works as a support material (see above). Aside from 3D printing, PVA has many other applications. We can find it used as a thickener in paper adhesives, in personal hygiene products, as a mold-release agent, kid’s putty, and freshwater fishing products, to name a few.

6. HIPS Filament

High Impact Polystyrene, HIPS for short, is a bright, white colored 3D biodegradable material. It’s safe to use, meaning it has no harmful effects for users who are in close contact with the filament. It’s safe with pets too.

Applications

For 3D printing, the most common application for HIPS is as a support material for other filaments (see above). Aside from 3D printing, other industries use HIPS because it’s a strong, ridged plastic that they can manipulate to suit their needs. The food industry uses it widely for packaging. Other uses include medicinal trays, signs, all kinds of kid’s toys, and much more.

7. Magnetic Iron PLA Filament
As the name suggests, magnetic iron PLA filament has magnetic properties. This unique filament is PLA material infused with a powdered iron. It’s these iron particles that give the 3D parts their grainy gunmetal type finish

Applications

If you want to produce custom made fridge magnets, and other such novelties, magnetic iron PLA is for you. For home users, this is pretty much a novelty material. For more serious uses, magnetic filament is useful for making various DIY projects, sensors, and educational tools, etc.

8. Conductive PLA

Anyone wanting to broaden their horizons in 3D printing may want to look to conductive PLA 3D printer filament. It’s a special type of 3D material that includes a conductive carbon particulate. Without getting too technical, this means the material is able to print low-voltage electrical circuits. These will typically include sensors and light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

Applications

Conductive PLA filament is perfect for open-source electronics platform Arduino projects. If you want to create circuits, LEDs, sensors, and various low-voltage projects, you’ll want explore this filament.

9. Carbon Fiber 3D Printer Filament
Carbon Fiber PLA is an impressive 3D filament. The material contains tiny strands of carbon fiber which results in a material that has an excellent structure. It’s also rigid and has superior layer adhesion. Carbon Fiber PLA shares similar properties with standard PLA but it’s stiffer.

Applications

Carbon fiber PLA filament is a great choice for producing high quality and strong objects. This includes items like protective casings, various mechanical parts, and many other high durability uses.

Polycarbonate (PC)

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Alloy 910 Material

Choosing the Right 3D Printer Filament

This guide gives you a good insight into the different 3D printer filaments on the market. There are others, but the ones listed here are the most widespread, easy-to-source materials at the time of writing. Before you choose the right filament for your next job, you need to check a few boxes. For example, as well as knowing what you intend to build, you also need to understand your printer’s capabilities. Not all 3D printers are able of printing in all 3D materials.

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