Pick the right 3D printer filament
When choosing a proper 3D printer filament, we need to consider the different features of its materials.
Filament diameter of 3D printer
Before starting your search, you need to know the filament diameter of your 3D printer. The most common diameters for printers are 1.75mm and 3.00mm. Each model of printer is designed to work with one diameter only so please check what your filament diameter is before ordering.
Most common filament material
Choose the proper type of filament. There are several types that can be found on the market. The best-known and most common are: ABS, PLA, and PVA:
ABS (short for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)
It is a very long-lasting and strong material, usually slightly flexible and relatively resistant to heat. Printers who are able to process ABS plastics normally require heated bed and extrude at a temperature around 225 centigrade degrees. ABS 3D printer filaments are considered to be the cheapest and most popular in the 3D printing industry. This material is suitable for a big variety of purposes but being a petroleum-based non-biodegradable plastic it produces fumes during printing and printers need to be placed in a good ventilated room or area when using it.
PLA (full name Polylactic Acid)
On the contrary, it's a biodegradable thermoplastic material derived from renewable resources, which makes it more environmentally friendly. Another great feature of PLA is its bio-compatibility with human bodies. It does not present any adverse effect when in close contact with human body, therefore, widely used in medical industry. It is also significantly more shatterproof and flexible than the others. The only disadvantage is that this type of plastic becomes soft around 50 centigrade degree. Thus, PLA material filament is a good choice for your 3D printer.
PVA (Polyvinyl Alcohol)
PVA is used in printers with multiple-extruders to provide a support structure to objects that do not have any layers below. Once the object is finally printed it can be put into the water until PVA structure is completely dissolved. Drawback? It requires special storage conditions, has difficult sourcing and relatively high price.
Things to consider
Other minor features to know before purchasing are: filament grade, printing conditions, color, packaging, etc.
Notice that there are a lot of different 3D printing materials to use in your projects. Remember to learn about their features before purchasing them.
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