Material Guide

3d Material guide

Polylactic Acid, commonly known as PLA, is one of the most popular materials used in desktop 3D printing. It is the default filament of choice for most extrusion-based 3D printers because it can be printed at a low temperature and does not require a heated bed. PLA is a great first material to use as you are learning about 3D printing because it is easy to print, very inexpensive, and creates parts that can be used for a wide variety of applications. It is also one of the most environmentally friendly filaments on the market today. Derived from crops such as corn and sugarcane, PLA is renewable and most importantly biodegradable. As a bonus, this also allows the plastic to give off a sweet aroma during printing.

Technology: FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling)

Properties: Biodegradable, Food safe

Applications: Concept Models, DIY Projects, DIY Projects, Functional Models, Manufacturing

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Produce durable parts with a clean finish and high break resistance. Nylon (Polyamide) is made with the same thermoplastic family widely used to manufacture automotive components, industrial machinery and sporting goods.

Technology: FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling)

Properties: Strong, Smooth surface (polished), Somewhat flexible, Chemically resistant

Applications: Concept Models, Functional Models, Medical Applications, Tooling, Visual Arts

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Standard resins produce high stiffness, high resolution prints with a smooth injection molding-like finish. Their low-cost makes them ideal for prototyping applications. The color of the resin affects its properties. For example, grey resin is better suited for parts with fine details and white resin for parts that require a very smooth surface.

Technology: SLA/DLP

Properties: Smooth surface, Rigid

Applications: Conceptual Models, Functional Models, Visual Arts, Tooling (Prototypes)

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PET and PETG filaments are known for their ease of printability, smooth surface finish, and water resistance. PETG is a Glycol Modified version of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), which is commonly used to manufacture water bottles. It is a semi-rigid material with good impact resistance, but it has a slightly softer surface which makes it prone to wear. The material also benefits from great thermal characteristics, allowing the plastic to cool efficiently with almost negligible warpage.

Technology: FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling)

Properties: Strong, Food-safe, Weather Resistant, Chemical & Water Resistant

Applications: Concept Models, DIY Projects, Functional Models, Manufacturing

Carbon fiber filaments contain short fibers that are infused into a PLA or ABS base material to help increase strength and stiffness. This also means that the 3D printed parts will be much lighter and more dimensionally stable, as the fibers will help prevent shrinking of the part as it cools.

Technology: FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling)

Properties: Rigid, Composite, Lightweight

Applications: Drones, R/C Vehicles, Props, Interior Design

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Rubber-like resin allows engineers to simulate rubber parts that are soft to the touch. This material has a low tensile modulus and high elongation at break, and it is well-suited for objects that will be bent or compressed. It can also be used to add ergonomic features to multi-material assemblies, like packagings, stamps, wearable prototyping, handles, overmolds and grips.

Technology: SLA/DLP

Properties: Flexible, Soft, Elastic, Fatigue Resistant

Applications: Wearables, Prototyping, Multi-Material Assemblies, Handles, Grips, Overmolds

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Flexible filaments are made of Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE) which are a blend of hard plastic and rubber. As the name suggests, this material is elastic in nature allowing the plastic to be stretched and flexed easily. There are several types of TPE, with Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) being the most commonly used among 3D printing filaments.

Technology: FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling)

Properties: Flexible, Soft, Elastic, Fatigue Resistant

Applications: Concept Models, Vibration Damping, Grip Sleeves, Phone Cases

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Wood filaments combine a PLA base material with cork, wood dust, or other derivatives, giving the models a real wooden look and feel. This filament is also less abrasive compared to other composite filaments such as carbon-fiber filled and metal filled, since wood particles are much softer.

Technology: FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling)

Properties: Rigid, Composite, Aromatic

Applications: Toys, Props, Home Decorations

Castable Resin is a high-resolution material optimized for the accurate and automated production of patterns and master molds for jewelry manufacturing and provides extreme resolution for high end lost-wax casting of fine-detail items.

Technology: SLA/DLP

Properties: High Resolution, Smooth Surface

Applications: Jewelry, Automotive, Architectural Hardware, Dentistry