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3D Printing Materials Guide: An Introduction to Common 3D Printing Materials

3D printing relies on a diverse range of materials, each with distinct attributes and applications. The selection of the appropriate material plays a pivotal role in determining the quality, longevity, and functionality of your 3D-printed items. It's essential to grasp the unique characteristics and practical uses of each material. In this article, we will explore the most prevalent and optimal materials in 3D printing, delving into their properties and real-world applications.

General Properties of 3D Printing Materials

Material

Advantages

Disadvantages

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)

Impact- resistant, wear-resistant, low cost

Difficult to print due to warping, poor bed adhesion

ASA (Acrylic Styrene Acrylonitrile)

UV-resistant, impact-resistant, wear-resistant

High cost, dangerous fumes during printing

PP (Polypropylene )

Impact-resistant, fatigue resistant, good surface finish, good chemical resistance

Difficult to print due to warping and poor bed adhesion

PLA (Polylactic Acid)

Cheap and easy to print

Brittle, degrades in outdoor environments

Carbon Fiber Filled

High-strength parts

Can block nozzles, high cost

Nylon (Synthetic Polymers)

Excellent mechanical properties, low friction

Absorbs moisture

HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene)

Low weight, can be dissolved with a solvent

High printing temperature

PC (Polycarbonate)

One of the strongest 3D printer filaments, transparent

Difficult to print, high cost

PVA (Polyvinyl Alcohol)

Dissolves in water

Can only be used for support material

Resins

Smooth surface, versatile

Design limits, high cost

Nitinol

Withstand substantial bending, one of the strongest materials

Difficult to print

Flexible (made of Thermoplastic Elastomers)

Rubber-like behavior

High cost, difficult to print

Wood-Based Filament

Aesthetically pleasing finish

Poor overall strength, can block nozzle

Metal Filled Filaments

Aesthetically pleasing finish

Poor overall strength

PETG (Glycol Modified version of PET)

Excellent mechanical properties, easier to print than ABS

Imperfect interlayer adhesion

Graphite and Graphene

High strength, remarkable electrical conductivity

High cost, poor efficiency

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