We use FDM Filament for 3D printing, to create affordable, strong and durable parts for hobbyist projects, prototyping, production and to replace old components.
What is needed from the customer? The 3D/CAD file of the part in a STL format.
What are the most common filament materials for 3D printing with FDM?
Some of the most common filament materials for FDM include ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), PETG (polyethylene terephthalate), TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane), PLA (polylactic acid), PEEK (poly-ether-ketone) and PC (polycarbonate).
We mainly use ABS, PLA and PETG for 3D printing.
What are the differences between filaments?
PLA – PLA is the easiest polymer to print and provides good visual quality. It is very rigid and actually quite strong, but is very brittle.
PLA is bio-sourced and biodegradable, has good UV resistance and can be post-processed with sanding paper and painted with acrylics. It’s also distinctly odorless. On the flip side, PLA does have low humidity resistance and can’t be glued easily
ABS – ABS is usually picked over PLA when higher temperature resistance and higher toughness are required. It has good abrasion resistance, can be post-processed with acetone vapors for a glossy finish and can be post-processed with sanding paper and painted with acrylics.
ABS is sensitive to UV and potentially comes with high fume emissions. It develops an odor during the printing process.
PETG – PETG is a slightly softer polymer that is well rounded and possesses interesting additional properties with few major drawbacks.
Aside from its high resistance to humidity and chemicals, PET is also safe to come into contact with foods, is recyclable and has noteworthy abrasion resistance. Like the materials listed previously, it can be post-processed with sanding paper and painted with acrylics.
The only notable drawback is that it’s heavier than PLA and ABS.
Nylon – Nylon possesses great mechanical properties, and in particular, the best impact resistance for a non-flexible filament. It has excellent chemical resistance and is very strong.
For Nylon, layer adhesion can be an issue. The material absorbs moisture and printing with it has the potential to release emissions.
TPU – TPU is mostly used for applications where material flexibility is required, though it also sports very high impact resistance. It’s quite abrasion-resistant and isn’t affected significantly by coming in contact with oil and grease.
However, TPU is difficult when it comes to post-processing and cant’ be glued easily.
PC – PC (polycarbonate) is one of the strongest materials of all for FDM 3D printing and can be an interesting alternative to ABS as the properties are quite similar.
The material can be sterilized and is easy to post-process, though it is UV sensitive.