How to Choose the Right 3D printer Filament
3D printer filament is a crucial component in the 3D printing process. It is the material that is used to create the object that is being printed. With a wide range of options available, it can be challenging to choose the right filament for your project. In this blog, we will explore the different types of 3D printing filaments, their properties, and how to select the best filament for your project. From ABS and PLA to TPU and Nylon, we will cover everything you need to know to make an informed decision and achieve the best results with your 3D printer.
The most important factors to consider while choosing the filament for your 3D printer
Type of 3D printing Filament materials
When it comes to 3D printing, the filament material you choose has a big impact on how your final design looks and works. Here are some of the most common materials used for filament:
PLA 3D printing filament
PLA, which stands for Polylactic Acid, is a biodegradable thermoplastic made from corn starch or sugarcane.
It's one of the most used 3D printing filaments because it's easy to print and doesn't smell bad.
Cons are that it has a low melting point and is not strong or durable.
ABS 3D printing filament
ABS is a thermoplastic that is often used in 3D printing. It stands for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene.
It is a strong and long-lasting material that works well for making parts that do things. ABS is strong and lasts a long time. It is also resistant to chemicals and impacts.
Its con is that it has a strong smell, and you need a heated bed and a high printing temperature to use it.
PETG 3D printing filament
Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol, or PETG, is a thermoplastic that is strong and lasts a long time. It is a great choice for people who want the strength and durability of ABS but don't like the smell and want to print at a lower temperature.
The good things about PETG are that it is strong, flexible, and easy to use.
Cons are that it is expensive and could be strung to the filament.
TPU 3D printing filament
TPU, or Thermoplastic Polyurethane, is a flexible and strong filament that is great for printing parts that need to bend and move.
TPU's pros include that it is flexible and lasts a long time.
Cons are that it is expensive and hard to print.
Exotic 3D printing filament
Exotic 3D printer filaments are a group of filaments that have special qualities, like a finish that looks like metal, a finish that looks like wood, or carbon-fiber reinforcement. Most of the time, these filaments are more advanced and need special tools and knowledge to print with.
The benefits of exotic filaments include their unique properties and finishes, which can be used to make models with a lot of detail and realism.
Cons are that they are expensive, hard to print, and need special equipment and knowledge to make.
3D printing for fun? Choose these filament materials
When first getting into 3D printing, it's best to utilize simple materials so you can have a feel for the process.
PLA and PET-G are the most widely used materials for beginners.
Among novices, PLA is highly recommended due to its low price and ease of printing using a default setup.
Many manufacturers and designers also use it for prototyping and tooling, so it's not just for newbies.
PET-G is another suitable option for beginners; it is also easy to print and displays properties similar to ABS, which is a mid-level material.
Using 3D printers for Commercial Needs? Choose these 3D printer filament materials
Commercial products should be made from more advanced materials like PA, PAHT CF15, or TPU.
TPU's pliability and longevity make it a good choice for items that need to be adjusted to different uses.
The carbon fiber material is great for creating a professional look and feel because it is both lightweight and strong.
When choosing a filament material for high-stress applications, it's important to consider how they react to high-stress situations like extreme weather conditions and chemicals.
For outdoor use, PP is a suitable option as it can withstand unfavorable environments.
PP, PA, PAHT CF15, and PP GF30 are suitable options if you require a filament that is resistant to corrosive substances, with PP and PP GF30 being the strongest materials for this use.
ABS, PET-G, and PAHT CF15 are ideal for prints that need to withstand high temperatures.
If your 3D printed product is exposed to water, consider using PP, PA, or PAHT CF15, as they are water-resistant materials.
Choosing the Filament according to the type of 3D printer that you will be using
We can classify 3D printers as open and closed 3D printers.
An open 3D printer has an open frame design, which allows for easy access to the print bed and the print head. This type of printer is commonly used for prototyping and small-scale production.
On the other hand, a closed 3D printer has a fully enclosed structure, which provides a controlled environment for printing. This type of printer is commonly used for larger-scale production and for printing with more advanced materials.
When it comes to selecting filament materials for open 3D printers, ABS, PLA, and Nylon are popular choices due to their easy printability and durability.
For closed 3D printers, materials such as PVA, PC, PP, and TPU are recommended.
Test the 3D Printer Filament
Testing your 3D printer filament is one of the most important things you can do to make sure your prints are good and consistent. Here are some ways to test filament:
This test measures the diameter, how round the 3D printing filament is, and how its diameter changes along its length. A digital micrometer or a caliper can be used to do this. By measuring the size of the filament, you can make sure it is the same size and will feed into the extruder correctly.
Winding precision test
This test measures how well and consistently the 3D printing filament is wound. The filament should be wound tight and evenly, with no layers that stick out or overlap. You can do this by looking at the filament or by using a winding machine to check the tension and quality of the winding.
Check the quality of printing
This test shows how well the filament works when it is printed. The test piece should be printed at different temperatures, layer heights, and percentages of infill to see how well the filament sticks, how well the layers stick together, and how smooth the surface is overall. This can be done by printing test pieces and looking for problems like stringing warping or poor adhesion between layers.
It is best to do these tests before using a filament for a big or important project.
Overall, the choice of filament material will depend on the specific requirements of your project, the capabilities of your 3D printer, and the level of precision and control you need in the printing process. If in doubt, it's best to ask the experts. At Argyle materials, we have proven expertise in delivering the most appropriate 3D printer filaments to our clients. So buy your 3D printing filament from us and experience high-quality 3D printing at affordable costs.