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How to choose the right 3D Printer Filament?

01. 02. 2021.

How to choose the right 3D Printer Filament?

In 3D printing, filaments are crucial and as such, it is important to have an insight of how one filament differs from another. These filaments vary in size, shape, color, texture, style, and material. The choice of a filament should be dependent on the intended purpose of the object. This article gives an insight of some the most important aspects to consider when selecting a filament.

When choosing a proper 3D printer filament, we need to consider the different features of its materials.

Just like size, the 3D filament material used is also important.The widest spread filament materials available include: 

  • Polylactic acid (PLA): It is thermoplastic aliphatic polyester known to be bioactive and biodegradable. It is derived solely from renewable resources such as corn starch and sugarcane.PLA is easy to extrude at lower temperatures and is easy to break if hit. It is a good choice for those preferring an environment-friendly Unlike ABS, it has no odor.
  • ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene): This particular material requires heated bed and high printing temperatures. This thermoplastic material is durable and cheap.
  • PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)/ CPE (copolyester): This material can be recycled and is easy to work with. CPE is made of the same plastic that makes disposable water bottles. It is however much flexible and stronger than ABS.
  • PVA (Polyvinyl alcohol) – PVA material is used together with ABS or PLA filaments in double extraction 3D printers. This type of printer generates support structures from PVA at the same time printing the main model from ABS and PLA.
  • Nylon: It is considered to have a long life in comparison to PLA and ABS. It is a lightweight, flexible and cost-effective. 

Determine what properties you need the filament to have.

Determine the properties you desire on your final print because the available wide ranges of filaments in the market today have different properties. For instance, PLA is biodegradable while other exotic filaments can be more flexible. Also, consider the safety of the plastic of your filament choice. 

Determine what your printer is designed to handle.

Most 3D printers can handle ABS and PLA filaments with little or no complications. However, if high temperatures are involved, then you may opt for the polycarbonate or nylon filament. It is also important to ensure the heated bed is appropriate. 

Choose what is affordable.

As much as you should consider the affordability of filaments before purchase, it is also crucial to keep in mind the fact that cheap can be expensive at times. You don’t want to purchase a filament that you will keep spending money and time on repairing and solving problems. Time is as important as money. 


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