We often receive questions about which materials are the best filaments for outdoor use. The most used filaments in 3D printing are PLA, PETG, ABS and to a lesser extent ASA. These materials are wide spread and used across all industries which are utilizing the 3D printing technology. The question ”which material to use”, depends on the application of the 3D printed part.
In certain industries, for example sign & graphics and construction (incl. architecture), 3D printed objects are placed outdoors. This can differ from a cold and rainy environment to a very hot climate with high humidity. Luckily there are filament materials available which can handle such kind of weather conditions.
PETG and ASA are 3D printing materials for outdoor use and durable (hold over time). Both filaments are insensitive to changing temperatures and UV rays. They are perfect to use in extreme conditions without deforming shape or appearance.
Thanks to the high resistance to deformation these filaments remain solid in wind and sun. Despite the sun’s UV rays, 3D printed parts made from PETG and ASA do not significantly change or fade color.
The filaments for outdoor use can also be perfectly utilized for indoor use. Filaments in general can all be used for inside applications, depending on the requirements (for example the pressure applied on the part once printed).
The aforementioned materials PLA or ABS are perfectly suitable for indoor use. These materials are less suitable for outdoor use because PLA deforms when exposed to heat like the sun. ABS on the other hand withstands the heat, but yellows when exposed to the sun’s UV rays over time.
If you don’t care about the color, or if you are finishing the 3D print by painting it, ABS would still be a viable choice. Although, the other materials are a little bit more easy to 3D print with a smaller risk of warping.