Filaments for your 3D printer

The Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D Printer

The most commonly used materials in 3D printing include PLA , PETG and ABS thermoplastics. The selection of filaments in a variety of colours, thicknesses and materials is huge. Choose the right product for your application. Nylon , polycarbonate , carbon filaments and many more are available.

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Filament for 3D printing

For a long time, many experts have seen the potential for a true industrial revolution in the idea of 3D printing. Sooner or later, according to the prognosis, every house will have a 3D printer. Spare parts and everyday objects are then produced directly on site, ie at home. Because so fewer goods need to be transported over long distances and thus CO 2 is saved, this benefits the environment. 3D printing could play a crucial role in the fight against climate change.

Do you already have a 3D printer at home? Then you are among the pioneers preparing this industrial revolution of sustainability, which will gain pace in the next few years.

In plastic FDM printing, filament is used as a material for modelling 3D designs. Essentially, filaments for 3D printing are plastic threads on rolls. The 3D printer melts these threads using chemical and physical processes. This works because these filaments are thermoplastic. This means that they change their state when exposed to heat, from a solid consistency to a viscous liquid. The liquid filament can then be applied layer by layer by the heated printhead and used to model detailed designs. As a result, filament is much more similar to concrete in terms of processing than ink.

The filament actually only emerges during the printing process. This happens with the help of extrusion. The thermoplastic material is pressed out of the nozzle thanks to pressure and high temperature.

Already today there are many different types of filaments. All well-known manufacturers offer the widest variety of variants. The filaments differ not only in terms of colour and strength but the type of plastic can be chosen for each personal requirements. The range of possible filaments is wasteful and therefore often confusing. Here is a brief overview of the most important parameters.

Diameter

All popular 3D printers can use filaments of 1.75 mm or 2.85 mm. So basically there is no wrong size, the filament just has to fit into the printer. Filaments with a diameter of 1.75 mm are more flexible and load the extruder of the printer less. But processing with 2.85 mm diameter is more precise and brings more grip.

Colour

The question of whether a printer can create colour models or not depends on the technology used. With the right printer, one can use three or four PLA or ABS filament cartridges to create any colour mix.

Filaments

  • PLA filament
    PLA is a synthetic polymer. It can be processed by almost all 3D printers. The synthesis uses organic raw materials such as corn starch, which is why PLA filament is sustainable and environmentally friendly. It is perfect for beginners because it prints at low temperatures and produces almost no distortion when cooled but it is also popular with advanced users due to its reliability.
  • ABS filament
    This filament is almost as widespread in 3D printing as PLA. ABS has a high load capacity. The printed models are not so brittle and may have higher heat resistance. But ABS is not that easy to work with, because it does not like to cool down. Therefore, it is less suitable for beginners. In addition, a heated build plate is necessary to achieve good results.
  • PVA filament
    This is water-soluble filament. It is mostly used for printing support materials. For 3D printers with dual extruders, this filament offers the ability to print complex models with moving structures without having to manually remove support material afterwards.
  • HIPS-filament
    This filament type has similar properties to ABS. However, it is soluble in limonene extract, which is why it is also mainly used as a material for printing support structures.
  • TPE
    Thermoplastic elastomers are a very interesting solution for 3D printers. They remain flexible even when printed, thus creating very robust models.
  • Laybrick & Laywood
    These are special filaments, which mostly consist of sandstone or wood particles. This allows you to print models that are haptically and visually different from other printing materials. You can even change the surface texture by adjusting the print temperature accordingly, creating an even more realistic impression.
  • Bronze, copper and brass
    These filaments allow the printing of 3D models with metallic surfaces. These filaments have a high proportion of metal particles, which give the models a realistic shine by grinding and polishing. The metal filaments are three times as heavy as PLA filaments and give each 3D model a higher value. So you have completely new possibilities in the design of jewellery or sculptures.
  • Resin or resin
    These materials are used in stereolithography 3D printers. The photosensitive resin can be cured by laser or light and thus transformed into a solid model. Resin, on the other hand, has the advantage that it has several material properties. So you can use the right Resin for every need whether it be super hard or flexible.