3D Printing Filaments

Finding the right material for your application

The applications of 3D Printing have rapidly expanded thanks to innovations in material science. Today users can 3D Print in a vast array of materials, everything from education & hobby friendly materials like PLA to rigid & tough engineering-grade PolyCarbonates, soft and flexible TPU materials and even industrial aerospace-grade materials like PEEK.

Quality 3D Printing materials are critical when producing high quality prints. Symptoms of poor quality filament are inconsistent colouring and melting temperature between batches along with inconsistent filament diameter which leads to poor quality surfaces, nozzle blockages and compromised part strength.

At 3D Printing Solutions we supply only quality 3D printing materials that we have tested in house. We also stock the full range of Polymaker filaments. Polymaker are industry leaders in quality control and product innovation. All Polymaker filaments go through 8 steps of quality control to ensure customers receive only the most innovative and reliable 3D printing filaments

Finding the right material for your application is as important as finding a high quality 3D Printer. You can read through our material summary below to learn about the different types of materials.

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PLA Filament

General Purpose 3D Printing Plastic

PLA is one of the most popular and easiest to print 3D Printing materials. Infact many PLA 3D Printers are only capable of printing PLA. PLA filaments are really popular among hobbyists, prototypers and schools. 

  • Typically prints between 190-220°C, with no heated bed required (For good adhesion 55°C is recommended)
  • Mechanically, standard PLA materials have a high tensile strength, low heat resistance (60°C), low UV resistance, and parts exhibit low impact resistance.
  • There are modified PLA plastics that improve mechanical performance. The strongest; Polymakers PolyMax PLA is nano-reinforced, improving impact strength up to 9 x times stronger than PLA and even 20% stronger than ABS.
  • Prints with near-zero warping and low printing odor.

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PETG Filament

General Purpose 3D Printing Material

PETG is becoming an increasingly popular material, often favored by users who have experienced difficulty printing ABS. PETG filaments are a great material for hobbyist and education applications.

  • Typically prints between 230-240°C, with a heated bed required (For good adhesion 80°C is recommended)
  •  PETG exhibits mechanical properties that sit between ABS and PLA.
  • Prints with near-zero warping and low printing odor.

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ABS Filament

General Purpose 3D Printer Plastic

ABS is the most popular general purpose 3D printing filament for low cost parts that require mechanical strength.

  • Typically prints between 240-270°C, with a heated bed required (90-105°C), enclosure recommended for large models.
  • Mechanically ABS filaments have a good tensile strength, medium-high heat resistance (90-95°C), low UV resistance, and parts exhibit good impact resistance. Wgen comparing ABS vs PLA, ABS plastic has more give and flex compared to standard PLA.
  • ABS tends to warp when printing large parts or parts with high infil. Good bed adhesion and an enclosed printer will ensure minimal warping. With ABS 3D printers active heating will result in near-zero warping.
  • We recommend good ventilation when printing with ABS filament, as the smell can be unpleasant. 

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TPU

Flexible Plastic

TPU or TPE are flexible materials, useful for 3D Printing live hinges, grommets, pumps or even fun trinkets. Flexible materials are generally considered harder to print than rigid materials like PLA and ABS.

  • Typically prints between 220-240°C, with no heated bed required.
  • The flexibility of the final 3D Printed part will vary based on the infil chosen, number of shells / perimeters and the materials Shore A hardness.
  • The more flexible a material is, the harder it will be to 3D Print; requiring special printer modifications. A filament with a Shore A hardness of 95A (like PolyFlex) will print on most 3D Printers without modifications.
  • Removing support material from flexible parts is very difficult, often requiring the use of cutting tools.

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Nylon Filament (PA)

Engineering Grade Material

Nylon is a high performance 3D Printing material. Due to it's excellent mechanical properties, Nylon is one of the best materials for functional end use parts and products. There are a variety of different Nylon filaments from Nylon 6, Nylon 12. and filled filaments.

  • Typically prints between 240-270°C, with no heated bed required. An enclosure is recommended for large models.
  • Mechanically Nylon materials have a high tensile strength, high heat resistance (Polymaker Polymide CoPA can handle over 175°C), low UV resistance, and parts exhibit high impact resistance. Nylon exhibits less rigidity than ABS or PC.
  • Due to the semi-crystalline structure of Nylon, some brands of Nylon will tend to warp more than others. By lowering the degree of crystallinity, filament manufacturer Polymaker have developed 'Polymaker Polymide CoPA', a new Nylon material which prints with minimised warping. It is recommended to print Nylon on a glue stick treated bed with a raft to help ensure near-zero warping.
  • Nylon is a highly hygroscopic filament, absorbing moisture from the air. It is important to store Nylon in a drybox during printing and a resealable bag with desiccant during storage.

Innovative Nylon Filaments coming early 2018

PolyCarbonate Filament (PC)

Engineering Grade Material

PC is the strongest 3D Printing material that can be printed on consumer desktop 3D Printers. Due to it's excellent mechanical properties, PC is one of the best materials for functional end use parts and products.

  • Typically prints between 240-270°C, with a heated bed required (90-105°C), enclosure recommended for large models.
  • Mechanically PC materials have a very high tensile strength, high heat resistance (110+°C), low UV resistance, and parts exhibit a very high impact resistance. PC is a more rigid material when compared to ABS & Nylon.
  • PC tends to warp when printing large parts or parts with high infil. Good bed adhesion and an enclosed printer will ensure minimal warping. With Industrial 3D printers active heating will result in near-zero warping.
  • We recommend good ventilation when printing with PC filament.

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Ultem

Industrial-Grade Material

Ultem (also known as PEI) is an industrial aerospace-grade material used for demanding applications in aerospace, automotive, oil and gas, advanced research and medical industries.

  • An industrial-grade PEEK 3D Printer is required due to its high printing temperature (340°C).
  • Ultem displays very high mechanical strength, toughness, chemical resistance and self-extinguishing properties, making it the ideal solution for demanding applications.

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PEEK

Industrial-Grade Material

PEEK is an industrial aerospace-grade material used for demanding applications in aerospace, automotive, oil and gas, advanced research and medical industries.

  • An industrial-grade 3D printer capable of PEEK 3D Printing is required due to its high printing temperature (400°C).
  • PEEK superior high mechanical strength, toughness, chemical resistance and self-extinguishing properties, making it the best material for demanding applications.

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PolySmooth™

Specialty 'Polishable' Material

PolySmooth™ is a first of its kind 'polishable' material which can be polished with Isopropyl Alcohol to acheive an attractive glossy and smooth surface.

  • PolySmooth™ prints between 190-230°C, with no heated bed required (For good adhesion 60-70°C is recommended)
  • Mechanically, PolySmooth™ exhibits a good tensile strength, low heat resistance (70°C), low UV resistance, and parts exhibit good impact resistance. PolySmooth has improved mechanical properties when compared to ABS.
  • PolySmooth™ can be polished in the Polysher™ (via Polymaker’s patented Micro-Droplet Polishing™ technology), eliminating the layers from filament-based printing processes and resulting in a very smooth part surface.
  • Prints with near-zero warping and low printing odor.
  • PolySmooth™ is a hygroscopic filament, absorbing moisture from the air. We recommend storing PolySmooth in a moisture protection storage box during printing and a resealable bag with desiccant during storage.

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PolyCast™

Specialized Investment Casting Material

PolyCast™ is a unique material designed specifically for investment casting (also known as lost-wax casting) of metal. You can use it with 3D printing to replace the wax patterns used in industrial investment casting processes.

  • By using 3D printing and PolyCast™, you can eliminate the need for tooling, expediting the manufacturing process and decreasing costs.
  • PolyCast™ can be polished in the Polysher™ (via Polymaker’s patented Micro-Droplet Polishing™ technology), eliminating the layers from filament-based printing processes and resulting in a very smooth part surface. This is critical to ensure the quality of metal parts.
  • Most polymers leave residues when they decompose – this is a problem for investment casting and can lead to defects on the metal parts. Polymaker have engineered the material to ensure that it decomposes completely at T > 600 C, leaving a clean mold ready for casting.

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Dont know where to start? Or which filament will suit your application?

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