Home3D PrintingGuide to Select 3D Printing Filaments

Guide to Select 3D Printing Filaments

Hello Machine Bros
Today we are bringing you this amazing guide to select 3D printing filaments!

If you already have your own 3D printer, you have already taken a great step. But there is still a long way to go, for example, the knowledge that you must acquire in order to produce quality 3D prints.

One of the things you must know how to do well is to be able to correctly choose the 3D printing filament with which you intend to materialize your 3D designs.

The appropriate choice of filament depends on which your 3D printed object satisfactorily fulfills the function for the quality we intend to manufacture it.

So, you will find here the descriptions, technical specifications, prices, and much more of the most popular 3D printing filaments you can find in the marker

Material used in 3D printing
3D print

Consequences of not Choosing Good Quality 3D Printing Filaments

On certain occasions, for the simple fact of lowering costs, we choose to buy filaments of dubious origin.

Filaments that, sometimes we find a quite significant price difference. For which we should ask ourselves, why is one filament cheaper than another, if both are PLA (for example)?

It is quite likely that what I am about to tell you did not know. There is the possibility of mixing other components with the material they intend to sell.

For example, in the case of PLA filament, it can be mixed with defective material with other different plastics and not natural ones, or even with sawdust.

In the case of ABS filament, it could be mixed with calcium carbonate.

I mention this to you so that you have a small idea of how they could scam you by selling you a filament that is not really what they offer.

Not satisfied with this, 3D printing filament sellers are looking for more alternatives to take advantage of customer needs.

Another trap they apply is to allegedly sell you 1Kg of the material, but in reality, they only sell you 800g of filament since the spool weighs 200g. This is just an example, but the number of grams of filament and the weight of the spool can vary.

In the end, the goal is the same, to charge you an amount of filament that they are not really giving you.

3D printing filament being extruded
Impresión 3D

Another important aspect of buying poor quality filament is that it often comes poorly packaged.

This influences more than you think. A poorly packaged filament carries a greater probability of absorbing moisture, which you will easily notice when 3D printing when you hear small bubbles exploding in the extruder, this not only affects the 3D print quality but also contributes to the deterioration of your nozzle.

Poor quality filaments usually also come with high diameter tolerances, that is, if you bought a 1.75mm filament, that same filament in some parts could have diameters as high as 1.85mm or as low as 1.65mm.

3D printing filament tolerance is important, good quality filaments usually come with very low tolerances.

High tolerances adversely affect 3D printing as inconsistent extrusion occurs (which affects the dimensional accuracy of the part), and not only does this also cause filament jams in the extruder.

Types of 3D printing filaments
Filaments for 3D printing

And last but not least, we know that there are filaments that, when melted, give off toxic odors.

Therefore, when 3D printing on this type of material, it is important to have good ventilation (we will tell you later in the article which filaments are these ones).

PLA has the advantage of not giving off toxic odors, because of this, there are people who 3D print on this material without taking into account the issue of ventilation.

Now, imagine that you are one of those people and you are confident that you are 3D printing on a material that theoretically does not emit toxic vapors, but it turns out that you were scammed and sold a PLA mixed with other plastics that give off toxic emissions when melted and can affect your health.

In summary, these are the main problems when choosing a bad quality 3D printing filament:

  1. Issues when 3D printing
  2. Poor finish of the models 3D printed
  3. The 3D printed model does not support the temperature that theoretically should be able to withstand
  4. The 3D printed model does not support the mechanical stress that theoretically should be able to bear
  5. Possible filament jams in the extruder during 3D printing
  6. Possible damage to the extruder
  7. Not having enough material, since they could have given you less material than they supposedly sold you
  8. Moisture in the filament
  9. Possible release of toxic vapors, of which you are not aware
  10. Low filament dimensional quality (very high filament diameter tolerances)

Tips When Buying 3D Printing Filaments

  1. Find additional information about the supplier you want to buy from, search the web for comments or reviews that past buyers have made of their products, search forums, see if they have good customer service.

    All of the aforementioned could give you a clearer idea of how good a filament supplier the company is.
  2. Companies that sell good 3D printing filaments also offer samples of it. Sometimes the samples can be paid or free, but regardless of this, when you go shopping from a new filament supplier it is a good idea to request or buy a sample first.

    It can be tested by yourself and thus choose whether you buy more material or not.
  3. A good 3D printing filament supplier offers consumers clear instructions and settings on how to use their products.
  4. Good packaging is a good indicator that the material sold has good quality. At least inside the packaging should come one bag of silica gel to absorb moisture.

    The best suppliers vacuum seal their filament spools, and after that, they put the material in boxes where even brochures or instructions come.
  5. Finally, remember to test your samples well. Check that the filament diameter is consistent and constant, that is, that the filament diameter has a low tolerance.

    The tolerance equal to or less than 0.05mm +/- gives us a good signal.

    Try to verify that the 3D printed model supports the temperature indicated by the manufacturer.

    Check that the filament does not break so easily.

    Check that the 3D print layers adhere well to each other, that the print finish is as desired, and that no nozzle pops occur while 3D printing, as this would be a clear sign that the filament is damp.
3D printing filament Colours
Various 3D printing filaments

Find Here a list with the main 3D printing filament manufacturers of the world market.

Description and Technical Characteristics of Filaments for 3D Printing

Note: The indicated prices may vary, according to your location and the store.

Common 3D Printing Filaments

1. PLA Filament (Polylactic acid)

The PLA filament is one of the most common and easy to 3D print.

It has the quality of being biodegradable and practically all 3D printers can manufacture models using this material.

PLA Filament FeaturesValues
Maximum strength it supports (Mpa)65
Deformation temperature (°C)52
Rigidity (Scale from 1 to 5)3,75
Durability (Scale from 1 to 5)2
Printability (Scale from 1 to 5)4,5
Impact resistance (YES or NO)NO
UV resistance (YES or NO)NO
Water resistance (YES or NO)NO
Resistance to a wide variety of chemicals (YES or NO)NO
Fatigue resistance (YES or NO)NO
It is recommended to print with a hot bed (YES or NO)YES (But it is not essential)
It is recommended to use with closed printers (YES or NO)YES (But it is not essential)
It is recommended to use with a layer fan (YES or NO)YES
It is necessary to use a stainless-steel nozzle (YES or NO)NO
It is necessary to use a fully metallic hotend (YES or NO)NO

Find next different prices of PLA filament:

2. ABS Filament (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Stirene)

The ABS filament is the second most common filament for 3D printing.

It is more flexible than PLA, it can withstand higher temperatures, it is more durable, but it is more difficult to 3D print with this material.

ABS Filament FeaturesValues
Maximum strength it supports (Mpa)40
Deformation temperature (°C)98
Stiffness (Scale from 1 to 5)2,5
Durability (Scale from 1 to 5)4
Printability (Scale from 1 to 5)4
Impact resistance (YES or NO)YES
UV resistance (YES or NO)NO
Water resistance (YES or NO)NO
Resistance to a wide variety of chemicals (YES or NO)NO
Fatigue resistance (YES or NO)NO
It is recommended to print with a hot bed (YES or NO)YES
It is recommended to use with closed printers (YES or NO)YES
It is recommended to use with a layer fan (YES or NO)NO
It is necessary to use a stainless-steel nozzle (YES or NO)NO
It is necessary to use a fully metallic hotend (YES or NO)NO

Find next different prices of ABS filament:

3. PETG Filament (Polyethylene terephthalate)

The PETG filament has been gaining ground in the latest years.

The number of users of 3D printers that use this material to manufacture their parts is increasing, this is because we could say that this material is somewhere in between the two filaments mentioned above (PLA and ABS).

PETG Filament FeaturesValues
Maximum strength it supports (Mpa)53
Deformation temperature (°C)73
Stiffness (Scale from 1 to 5)2,5
Durability (Scale from 1 to 5)4
Printability (Scale from 1 to 5)4,5
Impact resistance (YES or NO)NO
UV resistance (YES or NO)NO
Water resistance (YES or NO)YES
Resistance to a wide variety of chemicals (YES or NO)YES
Fatigue resistance (YES or NO)YES
It is recommended to print with a hot bed (YES or NO)YES
It is recommended to use with closed printers (YES or NO)YES (But it is not essential)
It is recommended to use with a layer fan (YES or NO)YES
It is necessary to use a stainless-steel nozzle (YES or NO)NO
It is necessary to use a fully metallic hotend (YES or NO)NO
Approximate price per Kg (USD)42.99 (Amazon)

Find next different prices of PETG filament:

4. TPU Filament (Thermoplastic polyurethane)

The TPU filament is the most flexible of all the types of filaments that you will see in this article.

It is widely used to build parts that require this property, such as phone covers.

However, we must mention that the TPU is not a material that allows it to be 3D printed easily.

TPU Filament FeaturesValues
Maximum strength it supports (Mpa)35
Deformation temperature (°C)67
Stiffness (Scale from 1 to 5)1
Durability (Scale from 1 to 5)4,5
Printability (Scale from 1 to 5)3
Impact resistance (YES or NO)NO
UV resistance (YES or NO)NO
Water resistance (YES or NO)NO
Resistance to a wide variety of chemicals (YES or NO)NO
Fatigue resistance (YES or NO)YES
It is recommended to print with a hot bed (YES or NO)YES (But it is not essential)
It is recommended to use with closed printers (YES or NO)YES (But it is not essential)
It is recommended to use with a layer fan (YES or NO)YES
It is necessary to use a stainless-steel nozzle (YES or NO)NO
It is necessary to use a fully metallic hotend (YES or NO)NO

Find next different prices of the TPU filament:

5. Nylon Filament

3D prints made with Nylon Filament turn out to be very resistant, both at high temperatures and with high mechanical stresses.

It is also a very durable material, but it is not so easy to 3D print with it.

The Nylon Filament is also prone to warping problems, and 3D printers capable of higher temperatures are often required to fuse this material.

Nylon Filament FeaturesValues
Maximum strength it supports (Mpa)70
Deformation temperature (°C)88
Stiffness (Scale from 1 to 5)2,5
Durability (Scale from 1 to 5)5
Printability (Scale from 1 to 5)4
Impact resistance (YES or NO)YES
UV resistance (YES or NO)NO
Water resistance (YES or NO)NO
Resistance to a wide variety of chemicals (YES or NO)NO
Fatigue resistance (YES or NO)YES
It is recommended to print with a hot bed (YES or NO)YES
It is recommended to use with closed printers (YES or NO)YES
It is recommended to use with a layer fan (YES or NO)NO
It is necessary to use a stainless-steel nozzle (YES or NO)NO
It is necessary to use a fully metallic hotend (YES or NO)YES (with certain filaments)

Find next different prices of Nylon filament:

6. ASA Filament (Acrylonitrile styrene acrylate)

The ASA Filament could be considered as an alternative to ABS, since it has very similar characteristics, with the exception that it is resistant to ultraviolet light.

It should be noted that compared to ABS, ASA is generally a more expensive material and it is also not so easy to 3D print.

ASA Filament FeaturesValues
Maximum strength it supports (Mpa)55
Deformation temperature (°C)95
Stiffness (Scale from 1 to 5)2,5
Durability (Scale from 1 to 5)5
Printability (Scale from 1 to 5)3,5
Impact resistance (YES or NO)YES
UV resistance (YES or NO)YES
Water resistance (YES or NO)NO
Resistance to a wide variety of chemicals (YES or NO)NO
Fatigue resistance (YES or NO)NO
It is recommended to print with a hot bed (YES or NO)YES
It is recommended to use with closed printers (YES or NO)YES
It is recommended to use with a layer fan (YES or NO)NO
It is necessary to use a stainless-steel nozzle (YES or NO)NO
It is necessary to use a fully metallic hotend (YES or NO)NO

Find next different prices of ASA filament:

7. PC Filament (Polycarbonate)

The PC Filament is a very durable material, quite resistant to mechanical stress and high temperatures.

It is not a filament that can be easily 3D printed with, that is, it is not recommended for beginners.

In addition, the use of 3D printers with good features is required to be able to print with it.

The PC Filament is a slightly more expensive material.

PC Filament FeaturesValues
Maximum strength it supports (Mpa)72
Deformation temperature (°C)121
Stiffness (Scale from 1 to 5)3
Durability (Scale from 1 to 5)5
Printability (Scale from 1 to 5)3
Impact resistance (YES or NO)YES
UV resistance (YES or NO)NO
Water resistance (YES or NO)NO
Resistance to a wide variety of chemicals (YES or NO)NO
Fatigue resistance (YES or NO)YES
It is recommended to print with a hot bed (YES or NO)YES
It is recommended to use with closed printers (YES or NO)YES
It is recommended to use with a layer fan (YES or NO)NO
It is necessary to use a stainless-steel nozzle (YES or NO)NO
It is necessary to use a fully metallic hotend (YES or NO)YES

Find next different prices of PC filament:

Soluble Filaments

1. HIPS Filament (High impact polystyrene)

HIPS Filaments are usually used as support material since they can be easily removed from the base piece and it is advisable to use HIPS with ABS.

For the use of this type of material, 3D printers with double extruders are usually used, in order that one nozzle deposits the base filament (ABS is recommended), and the other nozzle extrudes the support material (HIPS).

The HIPS Filament is dissolved in limonene.

HIPS Filament FeaturesValues
Maximum strength it supports (Mpa)32
Deformation temperature (°C)100
Stiffness (Scale from 1 to 5)5
Durability (Scale from 1 to 5)3,5
Printability (Scale from 1 to 5)3
Impact resistance (YES or NO)YES
UV resistance (YES or NO)NO
Water resistance (YES or NO)NO
Resistance to a wide variety of chemicals (YES or NO)NO
Fatigue resistance (YES or NO)NO
It is recommended to print with a hot bed (YES or NO)YES
It is recommended to use with closed printers (YES or NO)YES
It is recommended to use with a layer fan (YES or NO)NO
It is necessary to use a stainless-steel nozzle (YES or NO)NO
It is necessary to use a fully metallic hotend (YES or NO)NO

Find next some prices of HIPS filament:

2. PVA Filament (Polyvinyl alcohol)

As the HIPS, the PVA Filament is used also as support material.

The difference is that the PVA Filament dissolves in water.

We recommend using PVA (support material) with PLA (base material).

PVA is a more expensive material than HIPS.

PVA Filament FeaturesValues
Maximum strength it supports (Mpa)78
Deformation temperature (°C)75
Stiffness (Scale from 1 to 5)1,5
Durability (Scale from 1 to 5)3,5
Printability (Scale from 1 to 5)2,5
Impact resistance (YES or NO)NO
UV resistance (YES or NO)NO
Water resistance (YES or NO)NO
Resistance to a wide variety of chemicals (YES or NO)NO
Fatigue resistance (YES or NO)YES
It is recommended to print with a hot bed (YES or NO)YES
It is recommended to use with closed printers (YES or NO)YES (But it is not essential)
It is recommended to use with a layer fan (YES or NO)YES
It is necessary to use a stainless-steel nozzle (YES or NO)NO
It is necessary to use a fully metallic hotend (YES or NO)NO

Find next some prices of PVA filament:

Composite Filaments

1. Filament Filled With Wood Particles

The Wood Filament is generally nothing more than a mixture of PLA with wood particles.

They also mix wood dust with ABS, although it is less common. The mix usually contains approximately 30% wood particles, but, this will also depend on the manufacturer.

The sole objective of the Wood Filament is to give an aesthetic finish to the 3D printed pieces so that they appear to be made of wood.

It is extremely important to mention that this type of filament can be somewhat abrasive for common nozzles, so it is recommended to use more resistant nozzles.

WOOD Filament FeaturesValues
Maximum strength it supports (Mpa)46
Deformation temperature (°C)52
Stiffness (Scale from 1 to 5)4
Durability (Scale from 1 to 5)1,5
Printability (Scale from 1 to 5)4
Impact resistance (YES or NO)NO
UV resistance (YES or NO)NO
Water resistance (YES or NO)NO
Resistance to a wide variety of chemicals (YES or NO)NO
Fatigue resistance (YES or NO)NO
It is recommended to print with a hot bed (YES or NO)YES (But it is not essential)
It is recommended to use with closed printers (YES or NO)YES (But it is not essential)
It is recommended to use with a layer fan (YES or NO)YES
It is necessary to use a stainless-steel nozzle (YES or NO)YES (It is recommended)
It is necessary to use a fully metallic hotend (YES or NO)NO

Find next some prices of Wood filament:

2. Filament Filled With Metal Particles

The Metal Filament is a mixture of PLA with metallic particles (for example, copper, bronze, brass, stainless steel).

Metal particles can also be mixed with ABS, although it is less common.

Most often, between 30% and 50% of this filament is made up of metal, of course, these numbers will vary depending on the manufacturer.

The Metal Filaments are usually quite abrasive when extruded by common nozzles, therefore, it is almost mandatory to use more resistant nozzles such as stainless steel.

METAL Filament FeaturesValues
Maximum strength it supports (Mpa)30
Deformation temperature (°C)52
Stiffness (Scale from 1 to 5)5
Durability (Scale from 1 to 5)2
Printability (Scale from 1 to 5)3,5
Impact resistance (YES or NO)NO
UV resistance (YES or NO)NO
Water resistance (YES or NO)NO
Resistance to a wide variety of chemicals (YES or NO)NO
Fatigue resistance (YES or NO)NO
It is recommended to print with a hot bed (YES or NO)YES (But it is not essential)
It is recommended to use with closed printers (YES or NO)YES (But it is not essential)
It is recommended to use with a layer fan (YES or NO)YES
It is necessary to use a stainless-steel nozzle (YES or NO)YES
It is necessary to use a fully metallic hotend (YES or NO)NO

Find next, prices of PLA filled with metal particles filament:

3. Carbon Fiber Filled Filament

The Carbon Fiber Filaments come from mixing a base material (PLA, ABS, PETG, Nylon, ASA, PC) with carbon fibers. Thus, achieving more resistance and rigidity to the base material, but with the disadvantage that carbon fiber is usually not resistant to impacts.

The filaments that have carbon fiber are very abrasive for common nozzles, so it is strictly necessary to use stronger nozzles such as stainless steel.

CARBON FIBER Filament FeaturesValues
Maximum strength it supports (Mpa)48
Deformation temperature (°C)52
Stiffness (Scale from 1 to 5)5
Durability (Scale from 1 to 5)1,5
Printability (Scale from 1 to 5)4
Impact resistance (YES or NO)NO
UV resistance (YES or NO)NO
Water resistance (YES or NO)NO
Resistance to a wide variety of chemicals (YES or NO)NO
Fatigue resistance (YES or NO)NO
It is recommended to print with a hot bed (YES or NO)YES (But it is not essential)
It is recommended to use with closed printers (YES or NO)YES (But it is not essential)
It is recommended to use with a layer fan (YES or NO)YES
It is necessary to use a stainless-steel nozzle (YES or NO)YES
It is necessary to use a fully metallic hotend (YES or NO)NO

Find next, different prices of Carbon Fiber filaments:

4. Conductive Filament

The Conductive Filaments are usually nothing more than the result of mixing PLA with small carbon particles, thus making this filament capable of conducting electricity.

Many makers use this filament in 3D printers with double extruders, for one nozzle they deposit the insulating material (PLA for example) and for the other nozzle they use the conductive filament.

CONDUCTIVE Filament FeaturesValues
Maximum strength it supports (Mpa)43
Deformation temperature (°C)52
Stiffness (Scale from 1 to 5)4,5
Durability (Scale from 1 to 5)1,5
Printability (Scale from 1 to 5)4
Impact resistance (YES or NO)NO
UV resistance (YES or NO)NO
Water resistance (YES or NO)NO
Resistance to a wide variety of chemicals (YES or NO)NO
Fatigue resistance (YES or NO)NO
It is recommended to print with a hot bed (YES or NO)YES (But it is not essential)
It is recommended to use with closed printers (YES or NO)YES (But it is not essential)
It is recommended to use with a layer fan (YES or NO)YES
It is necessary to use a stainless-steel nozzle (YES or NO)YES (It is recommended)
It is necessary to use a fully metallic hotend (YES or NO)NO

Find next, different prices of the Composite Conductive PLA filament:

Advantages and Disadvantages of Each Filament

1. PLA Filament

Advantages of the PLA Filament

  • It is biodegradable
  • Easy to print
  • Low cost
  • It is rigid and has good resistance
  • It has good dimensional precision
  • Less energy is required to process this filament

Disadvantages of the PLA Filament

  • Offers very low heat resistance
  • No chemical or water-resistant
  • The fact of being a rigid material, also makes it a brittle material
  • Not good for uses where it must be exposed to the sunlight and/or water

2. ABS Filament

Advantages of the ABS Filament

  • Offers good heat resistance
  • High durability
  • Good impact resistance
  • Has some flexibility

Disadvantages of the ABS Filament

  • Tends to produce a lot of warping
  • The layers do not usually adhere to each other as well as PLA
  • Not as easy to print as PLA
  • The pieces tend to shrink during printing, so it does not offer very good dimensional precision
  • It is counterproductive to inhale the vapors released from this material, so it is advisable to print in ventilated environments
  • Requires the use of a hot bed

3. PETG Filament

Advantages of the PETG Filament

  • Offers some flexibility
  • Resistant to mechanical stresses
  • It is a durable material
  • Produces a good surface finish
  • Adheres well to impression bed
  • Produces very little warping
  • Prints are generally odorless
  • Resistant to water and various chemicals
  • Recyclable

Disadvantages of the PETG Filament

  • It is not easy to make bridges (cantilevers, bridging) with this material
  • Requires the use of a hot bed
  • It is necessary to adjust the temperature of the nozzle and the bed well
How to select a 3D printing Filament
3D printing filaments

4. TPU Filament

Advantages of the TPU Filament

  • It is a very flexible material
  • Soft material
  • Good to dampen vibrations
  • It has a long useful life
  • Offers good impact resistance

Disadvantages of the TPU Filament

  • It is difficult to 3D print with this material
  • May not work very well with Bowden type extruders
  • It is not easy to make bridges (cantilevers, bridging) with this material
  • Usually prints at slow speeds

5. Nylon Filament

Advantages of the Nylon Filament

  • Offers good mechanical resistance
  • Has some flexibility
  • Long service life
  • Good impact resistance
  • Good resistance to abrasion
  • Does not give off unpleasant odors during printing
  • Good heat resistance

Disadvantages of the Nylon Filament

  • Usually, it is an expensive filament
  • Is quite prone to warping
  • Is susceptible to moisture
  • High temperatures of both the bed and the nozzle are required
What types of filaments for 3D printing are

6. ASA Filament

Advantages of the ASA Filament

  • Offers resistance to ultraviolet rays, making it an excellent material for the manufacture of parts that will be exposed to the sun
  • It has a good impact resistance
  • Good heat resistance
  • This material is less likely to suffer from warping and cracking than ABS

Disadvantages of the ASA Filament

  • It is usually a somewhat expensive material
  • Requires high bed and extruder temperatures
  • It is necessary to print in a ventilated room due to the odors and vapors that this material gives off when being melted

7. PC Filament

Advantages of the PC Filament

  • It is resistant to mechanical stress
  • Withstands high temperatures
  • Impact-resistant
  • Long service life
  • Good flexibility

Disadvantages of the PC Filament

  • It is usually a somewhat expensive material
  • Is susceptible to moisture
  • High temperatures are required to print with this material
  • A fully metallic hotend is required to print with this material
  • Is prone to warping
  • Has a high tendency to suffer from oozing during printing
Advantages and disadvantages of 3D printing Filaments

8. HIPS Filament

Advantages of the HIPS Filament

  • It is an inexpensive filament compared to PVA
  • It is good to print the supports of a piece printed with ABS
  • This material can be dissolved in limonene

Disadvantages of the HIPS Filament

  • The use of a hot bed is necessary
  • It is recommended to print on closed printers
  • Hard to print

9. PVA Filament

Advantages of the PVA Filament

  • It is good to print the supports of a piece printed with PLA
  • It can be dissolved in water, which is easier to obtain and at the same time cheaper than limonene

Disadvantages of the PVA Filament

  • Susceptible to moisture
  • It needs to be stored in airtight containers
  • It is an expensive material
  • Hard to print
  • Usually has a high probability of clogging the nozzle when the material is no longer extruded

10. Filament Filled With Wood Particles

Advantages of the Wood Filament

  • Its main advantage is the aesthetic finish it gives to printed parts, which appear to be made of wood
  • This material is less abrasive than metal, carbon or carbon fiber filled filament
  • The use of stainless-steel nozzles is not strictly necessary, as it is in the case of filaments filled with metal, carbon or carbon fiber
  • Does not give off unpleasant odors

Disadvantages of the Wood Filament

  • It is a more abrasive material for the nozzles than common filaments
  • Has a high tendency to suffer from oozing during printing
  • This type of filament is more prone to produce stagnation
  • It is not recommended to print with this type of filament with nozzles less than 0.5mm in diameter
  • It usually reduces the maximum effort supported and the flexibility of the base material (PLA for example) with which the wood particles are mixed

11. Filament Filled With Metal Particles

Advantages of the Metal Filaments

  • Its main advantage is the aesthetic finish it gives to printed parts, which appear to be made of metal
  • If you need a heavy printed piece, with this type of filament you can get it

Disadvantages of the Metal Filaments

  • It is a very abrasive material so stainless-steel nozzles are required
  • Printed models are usually more brittle
  • It is not easy to make bridges (cantilevers, bridging) with this material
  • This type of filament is more prone to produce stagnation
  • It is not recommended to print with this type of filament with nozzles smaller than 0.6mm in diameter

12. Carbon Fiber Filled Filament

Advantages of the Carbon Fiber Filament

  • Increases the rigidity of the base material (PLA for example), so that more rigid impressions or parts are obtained
  • It has good dimensional precision
  • Allows some printed parts in matt black color

Disadvantages of the Carbon Fiber Filament

  • It is a very abrasive material so stainless-steel nozzles are required
  • High tendency to suffer from oozing during printing
  • Increases the fragility of the filament, therefore it is advisable to handle the filament with care
  • This type of filament is more prone to produce stagnation
  • It is not recommended to print with this type of filament with nozzles less than 0.5mm in diameter
What's the best filament

13. Conductive Filaments

Advantages of the Conductive Filaments

  • The main advantage of this type of filament is its ability to conduct electricity, we recommend that you carefully investigate the limitations of the conductive filament that you want to acquire, such as the maximum voltage, the electrical resistance (Ohm) of the filament, among other technical characteristics. These data must be given by the provider. In this way, you will know if the filament meets the necessary requirements to be functional in your project

Disadvantages of the Conductive Filaments

  • The filament tends to be brittle, so it is advisable to handle it with great care
  • It is not recommended to print with this type of filament with nozzles less than 0.5mm in diameter
  • It is usually somewhat abrasive, therefore it is recommended to print with stainless steel nozzles
  • Normally it is a fairly expensive filament
  • This type of filament is more prone to producing stagnation
Conductive material to 3D print
Conductive Filament

Example of a 3D Printer That Can 3D Print on That Material

Today, the 3D printers you find on the market have all kinds of specifications and features.

Some are more robust than others, and therefore some can 3D print some filaments and others cannot.

Below, for each listed filament, you’ll find a printer that can print it.

Type pf Filament3D Printer
PLA
ABS
PETG
TPU
Nylon
ASA
PC
HIPS
PVA

Wood, metal, carbon fiber and conductive filaments

Any of the aforementioned composite materials can be used with 3D printers capable of fusing the base material (PLA, ABS, PETG, Nylon, ASA, PC), with the exception that it is necessary to use nozzles resistant to the abrasion produced by these filaments (normally stainless steel nozzles), in turn, the use of nozzles with diameters equal to or greater than 0.5mm or 0.6mm is required depending on the filament used and the recommendations given by the manufacturer of said material.

16 Pieces Stainless Steel 3D Printer Nozzles 0.2 mm, 0.3 mm, 0.4 mm, 0.5mm, 0.6 mm, 0.8 mm, 1.0 mm

Aspects to Consider Before Selecting the 3D Printing Filament

Depending on the 3D printing filament you choose, your 3D printed model will have certain mechanical and thermal properties, which is why you need to carefully analyze the conditions that the object you manufacture will be subject to.

It is necessary to know what temperature the model will be exposed to, if it will be subject to mechanical stress or not, under what environmental conditions will the object work, among other things.

Therefore, I leave you a list of the aspects that you should ask yourself, and then keep in mind when choosing the right filament for your 3D print.

Aspects to Take Into Account Depending on the 3D Model

  • What temperature will your model be exposed to? Based on the answer to this question, you should choose a filament that is capable of withstanding such a temperature.
  • Will your part be subjected to mechanical stress? If the answer is yes, you need to choose a filament that is capable of withstanding mechanical stress (be it traction, compression or other) that meets the needs that your prototype demands, of course, that the design and structural shape of your print will be highly influential in the maximum effort supported by the model.
  • Will your 3D print be exposed to moisture? If the answer is yes, remember to choose a filament that does not deteriorate rapidly under these conditions.
  • Will your 3D print be exposed to a chemical? If your piece needs to be in contact with a chemical, remember that each filament is susceptible to certain products or substances, therefore, choose the material that supports the exposure of said chemical.
  • Will the model you plan to build be exposed to sunlight most of the time? If so, you may want to choose a UV resistant material, although you might also consider applying some UV resistant varnish or resin to your model.
  • Do you need to apply any specific post-processing to your model? o Do you need your model to have a specific surface finish? Depending on the answer to this question, you will have to choose a material that you are able to do the post-processing you want, or you could also choose a filament that gives the required surface finish (for example, a wood-like surface finish).
  • Does your 3D print have to be flexible? Remember that there are more flexible materials than others, so you can choose the right filament based on this requirement.
  • Do you need a soluble material for your supports? In case you need any soluble material, the PVA will work well for you to print your supports for PLA, and the HIPS will work for you to print together with ABS.
  • Will your model be subject to impact or fatigue? Please note that they sell filaments made of impact and/or fatigue-resistant materials.
How to choose a 3D printing filament

Aspects to Take Into Account Depending on Your 3D Printer and Work Environment

  • Is the environment where you will 3D print well ventilated? It is important to keep in mind that there are materials that release toxic odors and vapors when melted, which are harmful to health, therefore, ventilation is a factor to consider when choosing a certain filament.
  • What is the diameter of the filament you intend to use? 3D Printers can generally work with one of the two filament diameter types, or work with 1.75mm diameter filaments, or work with 2.85mm diameter filaments (there are people who refer to this filament as 3mm).
  • Does your 3D printer support the filament spool of the filament you want to buy? There are filaments that come on special spools that work well only on certain printers.
  • Does your 3D printer have a hot bed? There are materials for which it is almost mandatory to use a hot bed so that your prints come out well.
  • Is your 3D printer capable of reaching the desired temperature to melt the filament? Even if your 3D printer is capable of reaching the desired temperature, remember that normally printers that do not have extruders with an all-metal hotend, their extruders usually come with a PTFE (Teflon) tube.

    This PTFE tube will deteriorate faster if you 3D print at higher temperatures, for example, the PTFE tube will deteriorate faster if you print at 250°C than if you print at 220°C, that is why at higher temperatures you should be replacing this PTFE tube more often (this tube when deteriorating causes the filament to stagnate, its deterioration also produces inconsistent extrusions) therefore I advise you to take into account if your 3D printer has a completely metallic hotend or not, this when printing with filaments that require high temperatures (for example Nylon and PC).
  • Is the filament you plan to use abrasive? If so, you need a sturdy nozzle (you will generally need a stainless steel one), since otherwise your original nozzle (surely made of brass) will be damaged quite quickly, so you will have to be replacing it very frequently.
  • Do you have a nozzle of the necessary diameter to extrude the filament you want to use? There are filaments that are more likely to stagnate in the extruder than others, that is why you should review the recommendations given by the manufacturer.

    In them they must mention the diameter that the nozzle must have, to print with its filament without major inconveniences.
  • Does your 3D printer have a double extruder? For example, to 3D print supports with soluble materials, this is usually done with double-extruder printers, since on one extruder you deposit the base filament (PLA or ABS), and on the other, you deposit the support material (PVA or HIPS).
  • Is the filament you intend to use prone to warping and/or cracking? In order to print more easily with these filaments, it is always advisable to do it with closed printers.
  • Do you have a layer fan? There are filaments (for example the PLA) for which it is necessary that your printer has a layer fan, in order for your print to look good.
Aspects to take into account when choosing a 3D printing filament

Overview of When to Use a Particular 3D Printing Filament

1. PLA Filament

This material is ideal to produce parts or models at low cost, if you need to 3D print something that will not be exposed to extreme conditions (high temperatures, impacts, humidity, UV rays, etc.) this would be the right material.

This filament is ideal for beginners, due to how easy it is to 3D print with it.

It could also be used to make the first prototype, and if it meets the desired dimensional conditions, then proceed to 3D print on a more durable and/or resistant material.

2. ABS Filament

If you are looking for a more flexible, impact-resistant, durable material that withstands higher temperatures than PLA, this filament could be your best option.

It is certainly more difficult to 3D print due to warping, so you will need a hot bed.

3. PETG Filament

This is a very versatile material, if you are looking for a material that is more resistant than PLA, a more durable material, resistant to fatigue and chemicals, that withstands humidity, that supports more temperature than PLA (although not as much as ABS). PETG is a good option.

This filament has become increasingly popular among makers, it is not so difficult to 3D print with it and you will also need a hot bed.

4. TPU Filament

are 3D printing filaments solid

The TPU is ideal for people who need to print very flexible parts, this material is able to withstand fatigue very well.

5. Nylon Filament

With Nylon you will be able to produce parts resistant to temperature, mechanical stress, fatigue and impact, which makes it a very suitable material to produce 3D prints that will fulfill mechanical functions.

6. ASA Filament

The filaments manufactured with ASA have very similar characteristics to those of ABS and, additionally, it is resistant to UV rays.

Therefore, if you need to 3D print a model that will be exposed to sunlight for a long time, you should consider printing it on this material.

7. PC Filament

If you need an even stronger material (mechanically and thermally speaking) than Nylon, you may want to consider using PC for your printing.

Of course, you must bear in mind that 3D printers with better features are required to use this type of filament, with which it is not very easy to 3D print.

What's a 3D printing filament

8. HIPS Filament

If you need a soluble material to produce the supports for your prints made of ABS, HIPS is your best option.

9. PVA Filament

If you need a soluble material to produce the supports for your prints made in PLA, PVA is the option you should consider.

Material used for supports in 3D printing
PVS supports

10. Wood Filament

Choose this type of filament if you need your 3D prints to have a surface finish similar to that of a piece made of wood.

Remember that this filament is usually abrasive for brass nozzles.

11. Metal Filament

Choose this type of filament if you need your 3D prints to have a surface finish similar to that of a piece made of metal (generally copper, bronze, brass or stainless steel).

Remember that this filament is usually abrasive for brass nozzles.

12. Carbon Fiber Filament

Generally, this type of filament improves the stiffness of the base filament (PLA, ABS, PETG, Nylon, ASA or PC), which in turn improves the dimensional precision of the 3D printed parts.

Therefore, if you are looking for any improvement of this type, you can decide on this type of filament.

Remember that this filament is usually abrasive for brass nozzles.

13. Conductive Filament

You should choose this type of filament if what you require is that your whole piece or part of it (using a double extruder) conduct electricity.

Remember that this filament is usually abrasive for brass nozzles.

Choosing a Material to 3D Print in FDM is the Same as Choosing a Material for Plastic Injection?

The answer to this question is no.

Because 3D printing by FDM is influenced by a very important factor that is not present in plastic injection, we are talking about the adhesion capacity between layers.

This factor is highly relevant, since the structural resistance to mechanical stress that the 3D printed part will have largely depends on it, which is why filaments with a predisposition to poor adhesion between layers are more prone to fracture, on the contrary, filaments that tend to adhere well between layers are usually structurally more resistant to stress.

In general, a part made by plastic injection in ABS will be more resistant than a part made in a 3D printer by FDM in that same material (ABS), this because, in the previous example, ABS tends to be a material which its layers do not usually adhere very well to each other.

Filaments with low adhesion between layers are usually prone to cracking (this occurs when layers of the 3D print are separated).

Now, it is true that the same principles could be used to select a material to 3D print in FDM, to a certain extent, as those used for plastic injection, but always keep in mind that in 3D printing by FDM you must take into account the adhesion capacity between layers of the filament.

3D Printing Filament Selection Infographic

To facilitate the correct selection of filaments, we have made an infographic that will make this process much easier, to access it you only have to click on the image that we present below.

Guide to select a 3D printing Filament
Guide to Select a 3D Printing Filament

We know that there is a great variety of 3Dprinting filaments, both in colors and materials, and the correct choice of it is essential, since the thermal and mechanical properties of the model to be 3D printed will largely depend on it.

Conclusion

It is extremely necessary to know what function or application will be given to the object that we want to manufacture since from this point we must start to choose the material with which we materialize our design.

It is essential to know at what temperature, at what mechanical stresses, at what environmental conditions, among other variables, will the 3D printed model be subject, otherwise, we cannot guarantee that the 3D printed object fulfills its function correctly, without damaging, breaking or deteriorate unexpectedly.

Cheers.

See you soon Machine Bros!

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