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For getting a finished product it is very necessary to first construct a 3D image of the required model in the STL format, which is then sent to a 3D printer for a print out. There are four popular techniques that are used for printing your 3D models.

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Fused Deposition Modeling(FDM)

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
Poly jet/ink jet 3D printing
Stereolithography (SLA)

Plastic:

At present the most commonly used printing technology is Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). The FDM printers use thermoplastic filament which is heated till the melting point and then the molten plastic is placed layer by layer to form the model. These printers tend to use the following materials.

Polylactic Acid (PLA)

It is probably the easiest to work as well as environment friendly. It is basically bio degradable plastic that has been derived from sources such as corn starch and sugar canes. This is available in soft and hard grades. With the increase in the popularity of PLA, this material is expected to overtake ABS in the near future.

Polylactic acid (SOFT PLA)

It belongs to the softer version of the PLA that was discussed in the earlier point. It is rubbery and quite flexible but is available in limited colors and sources.

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)/ Home printers

It is popularly known as Lego plastic and is considered to be the best material to work with as it is strong and very safe. It is made from spaghetti like filaments. It is available in a wide range of colors and is used for making of toys, bumper stickers etc.

Polyvinyl Alcohol Plastic (PVA)

It is a type of plastic that is used as dissolvable support materials or is used for special applications. Makerbot and Shapeways are manufacturing lower-cost desktop printers like the Makerbot replicator 2; the material that these printers are using is PVA.

Polycarbonate (PC)

It requires a high temperature nozzle design and is not widely used.

Polymide (Nylon)

It is a strong and flexible material that allows a high level of detailing on the model. It is commonly called as white, strong & flexible / durable plastic / white plastic. It is a very strong and highly flexible plastic that is very fine and is basically a white granular powder. Due to these characteristics it is used in the interlocking and moving parts of the model.

Resins

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Resins are used in 3D printing though the freedom of designing by this material is very limited. It is a bit rigid and delicate. Liquid polymer is cured with UV light to give the end product. The typical colors of this material are white, black and transparent. There are principally three different types of resins.

High detail resins

Models that use this material are constructed from a photo polymeric liquid. This material is apt for models that require fine detailing and are small.

Paintable resin

Models that have been constructed using this material have a very smooth surface and are beautifully painted.

Transparent resin

Models are made of hardened liquid so the material is very strong, hard, stiff and water resistant by nature. This makes it an ideal material for 3D models. This material is suitable for models that require a smooth surface along with a transparent look.

castable resin

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Other new materials:

TitanX : ade, high-performance and FFF/FDM-optimized ABS based engineering filament. TitanX is the evolution of ABS into a warp-free filament with unsurpassed mechanical properties and is extremely suitable for 3D printing large scale and high precision engineering objects.

ApolloX Material : ApolloX is a professional high-performance engineering filament, which is based on an uniquely industrial-grade modified ASA (Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate) compound.

PC - Plus : Parts made with Polymaker PC show significantly improved mechanical strength compared to ABS and PLA under almost any deformation mode. Polymaker PC Plus shows good optical clarity, rendering parts with an attractive crystal shine!Polymaker PC offers outstanding fracture toughness that is simply unobtainable from other 3D printing materials of similar stiffness.

PCTPE : PCTPE stands for "Plasticized Copolyamide TPE" or a substance co-polymer of very adaptable nylon and TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) . PCTPE has several unique features that allow any user to print a highly flexible part with the added durability of our nylon polymers.

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