Sly's Collection of Interests
3D Printing Materials
3D Printing Materials
3D Printing Materials
I would like to thank you for the lovely support on the previous task, I honestly didn't expect it. As I mentioned before, today I want to share different materials you can 3D print out of.
The most conventional material is PLA. While its enviromental resistance is pretty weak, it is fairly cheap and you can get a decent roll of 1kg PLA for $20. It is often created by processing cornstarch. This is the reason of its degradation - it's a bioplastic. While the final product is strong, burying it in the ground decays it in a few years. To print with PLA, it needs to be heated up to around 200°C but it softens around 50°C, so its uses can be often limiting.
If the model needs to withstand certain conditions, a good compromise is to use PETG. It is based on PET, one of the most used type of plastic, be it bottles or textiles for example. The price of 1kg spool is almost identical as PLA. Its durability is pretty higher - to print PETG, it has to be heated up to 240°C and it softens around 80°C. Because of its decent temperature resistance, many parts on a 3D printer are actually printed as well and the material used is none other than PETG. Another benefit of PETG is that it is food safe, same as PLA. So why not switch to PETG altogether? It is not as forgiving material as PLA, consumes humidity and printing with it is a bit harder.
Another common material is ABS. It has some pretty interesting attributes. While the printing temperature is same as PETG, it softens up around a 100°C. Unlike PETG and PLA, it is a bit flexible, but not too much. It has a nice matte finish and it is soluble in acetone, so it can render the layers pretty much invisible. It costs same as the previous materials, $20 for a 1kg. As grand as ABS sounds, it has its caveats. It produces unpleasant smell while prinitng and the material is very prone to warp and shrink while printing, like this:
To combat warping, the printer must be in a closed space and the ambient temperature must not drop too quickly. It is also not food safe as consuming ABS is toxic.
The absolute beast in resistance is Nylon. It is durable both mechanically, as it bonds layers together very well, and chemically. Now comes the price increasement as 1kg of nylon costs around $30-$40. It is more flexible than ABS and absorbs humidity even more than PETG so it is incredibly essential to keep it dry.
Printing with different colors of the same material is no probles as it has the same properties, but what if you could combine different materials? It is possible to combine PLA with tiny wood particles and it can create around 30% wood material called Woodfill. It has a nice warm, wooden feel to it and you can surprisingly use wood stains on it to give it more wooden look. Combining metal and plastic is also possible. You can find mixes of iron, aluminium, copper, bronze and many more with plastic. If a model made out of this material is a bit brushed, it creates amazing metal look. It can even corrode the same way to make the model look older! These special materials can cost $30 per kilo.
And finally, the last material I would like to mention is Flex material. As the name suggest, it is very flexible and feels like a rubber. It is also one of the hardest material to print and not every printer can handle it. It is the most expensive material on this list, because a 0.5kg spool costs $30. It can be used to print wheels or phone cases for example.
And that's it! I know this article was a bit longer than the previous one, but there are many materials you can print out of and these only scratched the surface, the rabbit hole is much deeper.
My questions for you are:
- Now that you know different properties of these materials, what are some unique cases where they could some of them be used?
- Is there other material you would like to see things made out of?
- Knowing there are so many materials, did it open your eyes about the uses of 3D printers a bit more?
Disclaimer: This task was posted by our Users. If you also want to post tasks, create a Contributor project here and use your YUP!
Crowdholding is not responsible for the quality and content of the contributor tasks