3D Printing With a Variety of Materials
The world of 3D printing has come a long way recently and with it the variety of materials available to use. In addition to PLA, materials for 3D printing include PETG, ABS, TPU, polycarbonate, and carbon fiber-infused PA. Every material type has distinctive qualities of its own making it the best choice for specific tasks and applications. Here’s what you need to know about these five commonly used materials for 3D printing:
PETG (or Polyethylene terephthalate glycol-modified) is a thermoplastic that offers flexibility and strength similar to PLA but with improved chemical resistance and heat tolerance. It's also non-toxic and more enjoyable to print with than ABS because of its low odor. PETG is a great choice if you're looking for a durable material that won't break when handled or stretched.
ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is another popular thermoplastic used both in 3D printing and traditional manufacturing processes due to its resistance to heat and impact while still being lightweight. It’s also relatively easy to print with compared to other materials so it’s great if you're a beginner looking for some extra stiffness. However, ABS does require higher temperatures for printing than PLA and should not be cooled rapidly so be sure to have an enclosed 3D printer and to turn off the cooling fan before attempting this material.
TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) provides excellent flexibility compared to other materials like PLA or ABS. This makes it ideal for soft parts or any designs that involve complex curves since it can handle stronger deformation without breaking or losing shape over time. Keep in mind though that TPU requires slower speeds for printing than most other materials so make sure to tune your settings well before printing with it.
Polycarbonate offers superior strength compared to other types of plastic while still remaining lightweight enough for use in 3D printing projects. It’s also transparent which makes it useful aesthetically. Along with its high rigidity comes a relatively high cost, however, making it not always the best option depending on your budget considerations.
Carbon Fiber Infused PA
Carbon fiber-infused PA provides an incredible combination of strength and durability coupled with a light weight, which makes it perfect for any application requiring ultimate strength along with portability. This material often costs more than other types of plastic but can be well worth the investment if you need something super strong that won’t break down easily over time or under strain from heavy weights or impacts from falls. As an added bonus, carbon fiber-infused PA is also flame resistant making it suitable in situations where fire hazards may exist such as aircraft-inspired projects.
As you can see there are many different materials out there for 3D printing, all offering their own advantages based on your particular application needs. Be sure to do plenty of research or feel free to ask for our techs' recommendations before investing your money into supplies, as each material has its own strengths and weaknesses which should be weighed carefully before coming to any conclusions.