How to Choose the Right 3D Printer Filament
WHICH 3D PRINTER FILAMENT IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
Standard PLA is a good starting point for most 3D printing projects, as it is inexpensive, bio based/ non toxic, low emissions, has good bed adhesion, and resists warping and splitting, and comes in a rainbow of nice colors. You should select a different filament if you need the print to hold up to to the heat equivalent to of a hot car interior, or if more strength or dimensional accuracy is desired. PLA variants include HTPLA (High Temperature PLA), which improves strength and temperature resistance, and PLA blends that include other materials like carbon fiber, metals, wood, and aromatics for different cosmetic or performance attributes.
PETg and co-polyesters are stronger, and more temperature resistant than standard PLA, and are the most dimensionally accurate (minimal swelling or shrinking) filaments we carry, while maintaining easy printability, low warping and splitting, and low emissions.
It’s good to have PETg or a co-polyester on hand as your regular “step up” filament.
ABS and High Impact ABS are a good mixture of heat resistance, strength, and price. If you need high heat resistance at a moderate price or the ability to solvent weld or solvent smooth, ABS is a good choice. ABS can be prone to warping and splitting, making PETg and co-polyesters a better choice day to day, as they are easier to print, and approach ABS in heat resistance.
Nylon is a great choice for parts that need to be durable and wear resistant. We carry a variety of Nylon blends from Taulman with different combinations of stiffness, flexibility, and strength
Tauman has a useful Material Selection chart that compares their materials to each other and also to other materials. Many Nylons can be dyed with fabric dye for custom colors and
Flexibles are a group of filaments with greater flexibility.
Ninjaflex and Semiflex are flexible and incredibly tough and wear resitant. Semiflex is moderately stiffer that Ninjaflex. Both require a toolhead that is compatible with flexible filaments
PCTPE can print on most any 3D printer, and can be dyed with fabric dye. It’s combination of toughness and flexibilty make it a great choice for printing phone cases.
HIPS is High Impact Poly Styrene- the same material plastic forks are made of. HIPS is an inexpensive filament that used to be very popular, but we typically only suggest it as a soluble support material that can be dissolved in D-Limonene for dual filament 3D printing applications.
PVA is a water soluble filament used primarily as support material for dual filament 3D printing applications. The E-Sun PVA we carry is soft enough to print through a Flexystruder without eroding the PTFE tube, making it a viable option to print as soluble support material for Nylon in a FlexyDually V2 toolhead
Here’s more detail on our filament options. Click IT-Works 3D printer filament guide for a pop-out of the whole chart below: