FDM printing has quite a few different 3d printing material options and more being developed every year. The 3D printing material options available range in price, strength, flexibility, and ability to print. Here at SD3D Printing, we have standardized to 16 material options, though this will likely change as more selection becomes available.
Commonly Selected 3D Printing Material Options
The two most commonly used materials are PLA and ABS. This is mainly due to their low cost and high availability. One of these two materials often can be selected as an adequate material for most applications we run into. However, it is important to understand that these are not necessarily the most optimal 3D printing materials for most end-use production applications.
PLA is a biodegradable material derived from corn starch and is the most cost effective material to print in. 3D Printed PLA has a very high tensile strength. However, it’s low elongation to break and the fact it can deform at 120°F make it a very brittle 3d printing material at low infill. This is not a suitable 3D printing material option for outdoor use. That said, shrinkage rates are minimal when 3D printing PLA, making it perfect for 3D printing large parts, molds, and rapid prototypes.
ABS is a much more mechanically strong 3d printing material due to it’s high glass transition temperature and bend before breaking. Legos are made of ABS and this is the go to material for the majority of mechanical applications.
3D printed ABS can also be acetone vapor finished since it is soluble in acetone. This process costs a little more, but will make your part more water tight and give it a smoothness and shine that is comparable to injection mold quality.
Aside from these two most common materials, all of our unique materials have their own application. We offer PETG for parts that need to be mechanically strong but would otherwise have a high probability of warping in ABS.
Polycarbonate ABS is available for 3D printing parts that require a high glass transition temperature.
We then have a few nylons which have a very high strength, with varying degrees of elongation, and one even being FDA approved.
Carbon Fiber Reinforced Blends
Up next we have a wide array of carbon fiber reinforced blends, all the way up to our strongest material, carbon fiber reinforced nylon.
Finally we have quite a few flexible materials, each with their own degree of flexibility and shore hardness.
Nylons and Flexible 3D printing material options
3D printing in Nylons and flexible materials comes with a hidden cost of being quite difficult to print. These advanced 3D printing materials require a PVA mixture be painted onto the print bed in order for proper adhesion and they cannot print very complex parts. These materials are more likely to ooze which results in a hairy and less precise print. Lastly, support material is also difficult to remove due to the strong layer adhesion associated with these 3D printing materials. This means cosmetic scarring will be far more common on these materials once supports are removed.
Pricing on 3D printing materials varies drastically because of this difference in difficulty to 3D print. Therefore, these materials are inherently more costly to 3D print. SD3D Printing will go over pricing on these 3D printing materials a bit more in a future video.
If you have further questions, be sure to visit our general 3D printing materials page. Here we go over each material option, along with their tensile strength, elongation, and glass transition temperatures. We then compare each of these options via graphs and charts
Thanks for watching, and I hope this helped you to figure out the material that is best for your project. If you have any further question, leave them in the comments below. And don’t forget to subscribe for even more 3D printing tips and tutorials