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Filament Comparison

PLA Polylactic Acid

EXTRUDER TEMP

190-230 °C

BED TEMP

60-80°C

PLA (Polylactic Acid) is one of the two most commonly used desktop 3D printing filaments (with the other being ABS filament). It is the "default" recommended material for many desktop 3D printers, and with good reason - PLA is useful in a broad range of printing applications, has the virtue of being both odorless and low-warp, and does not require a heated bed.

PLA 3D Printing Filament Properties:

  • PLA filament is a stiff but brittle 3D printing material.
  • Best used for cosmetic prints, prototypes, desk toys, low-stress applications.
  • Best 3D printer material for beginners due to ease of printing and minimal warp.

 

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ABS Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene

EXTRUDER TEMP

190-230 °C

BED TEMP

80-100 °C

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) is another commonly used 3D printer material. Best used for making durable parts that need to withstand higher temperatures. In comparison to PLA filament, ABS plastic is less "brittle" and more "ductile." It can also be post-processed with acetone to provide a glossy finish. When 3D printing with ABS filament, a heated printing surface is recommended, as ABS plastic will contract when cooled leading to warped parts. 


ABS 3D Printing Filament Properties:

  • ABS filament is strong, ductile material with wear resistance and heat tolerance.
  • Common 3D prints with ABS are Interlocking parts like gears, parts exposed to UV and heat like a car cup holder, or prototyping.
  • Wide selection of methods for excellent post-processing.

 

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PET (PETG, PETT) Polyethylene Terephthalate

EXTRUDER TEMP

200-240 °C

BED TEMP

75-85 °C

You'll be hard pressed to find true PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) filament, as most PET filaments are actually copolymers - PET with an extra molecule. The most common, PETG filament, is an industrial strength filament with several great features. Figuratively speaking, it combines the ease of use of PLA filament with the strength and durability of ABS filament. First, its strength is much higher than PLA and it is FDA approved for food containers and tools used for food consumption. Unlike ABS filament, it barely warps, and produces no odors or fumes when printed. PET filament is not biodegradable, but it is 100% reclaimable. It's known for its clarity and is also very good at bridging. 


PLA 3D Printing Filament Properties:

  • PET filament is a durable and flexible 3d printing material with a glossy finish and is impact and heat resistant.
  • Best used for mechanical parts and snap fit enclosures.
  • Sticks incredibly well to blue painters tape.

 

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ASA Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate

EXTRUDER TEMP

200-250 °C

BED TEMP

80-100 °C

Acrylonitrile styrene acrylate (ASA) was developed as an alternative to ABS. With a number of additional features, like improved weather resistance and resistance to yellowing from UVs, making it an excellent choice for parts or prints meant for outdoor use. Where white ABS will turn a pale yellow over time, ASA will remain a bright white for much longer. ASA has print settings very similar to ABS with only the printing temperature being different. 


ASA 3D Printing Filament Properties:

  • ASA filament is a UV, weather, and temperature resistant material in addition to regular ABS properties.
  • Best used for outdoor clips, planters, fixtures, other outdoor parts.
  • If you're printing something designed for outdoor use, ASA should be your go to 3D printing material.

 

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TPE

EXTRUDER TEMP

220-240 °C

BED TEMP

80-90 °C

TPE filament is a flexible 3D printing material that feels and acts much like flexible rubber. TPE filament can be used to make parts that can bend or must flex to fit their environment: stoppers, belts, springs, phone cases, and more. This extremely flexible 3D printer material will allow you to create 3D prints that will have the properties of a soft rubber, making it even more flexible and elastic than Soft PLA filament. Due to its flexibility, much slower print speeds must be used to keep the filament from binding in the extruder. 


TPE 3D Printing Filament Properties:

  • TPE filament creates rubbery, elastic, and impact resistant parts.
  • Best used for stoppers, belts, caps, phone cases, bumpers and more.
  • The less infill you use, the more flexible your finished print will be.

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TPU Thermoplastic Polyurethane

EXTRUDER TEMP

250±10 °C

BED TEMP

50±10 °C

TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) is an elastic, oil/grease resistant, and abrasion-resistant material with a shore hardness of 95A. TPU Plastic has several applicable uses including automotive instrument panels, caster wheels, power tools, sporting goods, medical devices, drive belts, footwear, inflatable rafts, and a variety of extruded film, sheet and profile applications. It is also commonly used in mobile phone cases. 


TPU 3D Printing Filament Properties:

  • TPU filament creates rubbery, elastic, and impact resistant parts.
  • Best used for stoppers, belts, caps, phone cases, bumpers and more.
  • The less infill you use, the more flexible your finished print will be.

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PC (Polycarbonate)

EXTRUDER TEMP

290±20 °C

BED TEMP

130±15 °C

Polycarbonate (PC) Polycarbonate is strong and very resistant to impact - this material is used when making bullet-proof glass. Not only is polycarbonate an extremely tough and durable thermoplastic material it is also very restistant to temperature. This material is malleable when cool and can bend without cracking.


PC 3D Printing Filament Properties:

  • PC filament extremely high temperature resistant and impact resistany.
  • Potential uses in printed RC parts or drone parts.
  • An all-metal hotend for this high-temp material is required.

 

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PVA Polyvinyl Alcohol

EXTRUDER TEMP

190-220 °C

BED TEMP

none

PVA (Polyvinyl Alcohol) filament prints translucent with a slightly yellow tint and is primarily used as a 3D printing support material because it is water-soluble, meaning that it will dissolve when exposed to water (and so MUST be kept dry prior to use). PVA is most often used with 3D printers capable of dual extrusion: one extruder printing a primary material (such as ABS or PLA) and the other printing this dissolvable filament to provide support for overhanging features. 


PVA 3D Printing Filament Properties:

  • PVA filament is a stiff, water soluble 3d printing support material.
  • Best used for models with internal supports or supports for incredibly detailed models with many overhangs.
  • Best 3D printer support material for PLA because of similar printing temperatures

 

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HIPS High Impact Polystyrene

EXTRUDER TEMP

190-240 °C

BED TEMP

60-80 °C

High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) is very similar to ABS. The main difference is that HIPS plastic can be dissolved using Limonene as a solvent, therefore making it a great option as support material when printing ABS with dual extrusion printer. HIPS filament is as easy to 3D print with as ABS but is much less likely to warp. 


HIPS 3D Printing Support Filament Properties:

  • HIPS filament is a rigid, support material that dissolves away in limonene.
  • Best used for models with internal supports or supports for incredibly detailed models with many overhangs.
  • Best 3D printer support material for ABS because of similar printing temperatures

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Metal Fill BrassFill, BronzeFill, CopperFill, AluminiumFill, TungstonFill PLA

EXTRUDER TEMP

190-230 °C

BED TEMP

60-80 °C

These metal infused PLA filaments are tougher to print than MH Build PLA filament, but because of the metal blended with the plastic, prints are heavier and thus, feel more authentic. Finished 3D prints can be sanded and polished to create beautiful and unique pieces. Unpolished, the filament looks like cast metal fresh from a mold, with a dull, matte, gritty appearance. With just a little finishing and polishing, however, you can easily create any look like you desire. 3D Printing with these metals is perfect for printing jewelry, props, costumes, figurines, and robots. These filaments are great not only for hobbyists looking to make faux metal prints, but serious designers as well. 


3D Printing Filament Properties:

  • These filaments print like PLA but slower, with finished prints being hard and heavy.
  • Best used for cosmetic prints of busts, jewelry, or sculptures.
  • Best results can be achieve by rock tumbling, polishing, or wet sanding to achieve a super smooth surface finish.

 

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Wood Filaments

EXTRUDER TEMP

200-250 °C

BED TEMP

90-110 °C

Woodfill PLA are wood-like 3D printer materials that give 3D printed objects the look and feel of fiberboard. They imbue parts with other wood-like attributes, such as the ability be cut, painted, and sanded. These filaments use PLA as their base, and mix other materials (usually in powder form) into them. The PLA gives the 3D printer compatibility and ease of use while the material contributes to the look, feel, and properties of the filament. With Woodfill, you get the color and texture of real wood with your finished prints, but with Corkfill, you get the added benefit of its light weight. With these organic fills, be cautious of too high of a temperature, as it will result in the wood burning which will give you a darker colored print. It is important to remove the filament from the extruder fairly soon after finishing a print, as the filament will begin to burn in the nozzle and start to clog it. 


Wood PLA 3D Printing Filament Properties:

  • Wood filaments looks and feels similar to actual wood with printing properties of PLA.
  • Best used for wooden busts, sculptures, or tikis. Anything really complex to chisel.
  • Different extruder temperatures produce different colors; the hotter, the darker.