There is a large variety of 3D printer filament to choose from so it may be tough to decide on the most appropriate filament for a particular project. All 3D printing materials have their own distinctive features, strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, there are necessary factors like texture, durability, resistance, cost, etc. that need to be considered to avoid mistakes in 3D printing.
An industrial 3D printer will enable you to print a with a wide range of 3D printing materials, also called filaments. The materials that you want to use determine the temperatures that you have to print with. Some 3D printing materials require high temperatures while others need a lower temperature. If you want to print with a number of different 3D printing filaments then you will need to look at a printer with more functionalities, affecting the industrial 3D printer price. There are a few features like a closed chamber and heated build platform which are required to be able to handle the more demanding 3D printing materials. Where do you exactly have to look for when choosing 3D printing materials?
First you need the consider the properties of the 3D printing materials based on the end result you want to get.
When you want to create durable objects, the strength of the material is important. It is an indication for the maximum of stress a 3D printing material can withstand before breaking. This is important to know when you are considering 3D printing products that may experience sudden or sustained stress, such as protective components, prosthetic devices, jigs and fixtures and mechanical parts.
When a 3D printing filament is durable, it will not weaken over time. That said, be sure to check the specifications of the filament manufacturer in question.
Flexibility has to do with how easy it is to bend the 3D printing materials. A flexible filament allows you to create complex elastic designs that would otherwise be impossible. When you want to create cables or wires for instance, the 3D printing filament needs a certain amount of elasticity.
Depending on your experience level you might want to know more about the ease of printing. This is an indicator of how simple it is to print with a particular 3D printing material. It is measured, among other things, by the frequency of failed prints, flow accuracy and ease to feed the filament into the printer.
There are multiple types of resistance you may want to consider when it comes to choosing your best 3D printing material. Let’s discuss the most important ones.
First you need to consider the heat resistance of the filament. This is the maximum temperature the object can sustain before softening and deforming. The exact temperatures a printed part can withstand, will depend on the specific polymer blend which varies by manufacturer. So please first check this out before you start on your project.
This indicates if a 3D printing material is resistant to solvents, bases, acids or other harsh environments. For instance, in semiconductor processing harsh chemicals are used. The 3D printing material has to be able to tolerate these. Note that the chemical resistance of each polymer is mainly determined by the chemical structure of the material and the strength of the weakest link in this specific structure. Actual properties may change due to processing method, compound type, extruded dimensions and other variables.
This is an indicator for the amount of water a 3D printing material will absorb. When you want a 3D printing object to be placed outdoors, it is important that the filament is insensitive to extreme conditions without deforming shape or appearance.
Some filaments require some extra 3D printer features like a heated bed or closed chamber.
Some 3D printing filaments need a heated bed to print the material effectively. A heated build platform improves the adhesion of the first layers to the build plate. Each 3D printing material requires a particular build platform temperature for optimal adhesion.
A closed chamber preserves the heat inside the 3D printer so the temperature inside stays at the required level. Because temperature fluctuations are kept to a minimum, the risk of warping is minimized. Some 3D printing materials require a stable temperature so you have to make sure your 3D printer has an closed chamber.
To obtain optimal results for your prints you need to take into account the 3D printer’s nozzle temperature. All 3D printing materials are different so make sure that on forehand you know what works and what doesn’t.
We’ve made a 3D printing materials comparison for you and summed the main things to consider about the 3D printing filaments.