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3D Filament Options and Their Uses

Although 3D printers are fairly straight forward when it comes to usability, there is a complexity to understanding which filament to use with each different 3D printing application. Simply stated, there is no one-size-fits-all approach, and each project will vary. The good news is, creating the object you want to make can be easily done with a CAD (computer aided design) program. The following should help you better understand how common types of filaments can impact the outcome of your project.

3D filament at GL Robotics

PLA Filament

Polylactic acid or PLA, is essentially the king of 3D printing filament because it is so common. Often compared to ABS, it is among the most popular for its cost, versatility, and ease of use. With a lower printing temperature than its counterparts, this filament very rarely warps and won’t give off an unpleasant odor during the printing process. The abundance of colors and styles of PLA filament make it an extremely popular choice. PLA is often used as a base when infused with metal or wood. Another perk of PLA filament is it is more environmentally friendly than other common filaments. It is biodegradable, unlike other filament choices.

When to Use PLA Filament

It’s important to note that PLA is somewhat fragile and shouldn’t be used for projects that require a lot of bending, twisting, or high-wear usage. Tool handles, high-wear toys, or phone cases are best made with a different filament. That said, PLA filament is a great choice for prototype parts, models, containers, and toys that are lower wear. Avoid using PLA filament with items that may require withstanding high temperatures. 

ABS Filament

Less popular than PLA, ABS or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, is arguably superior. Yes, it is a little harder to use due to the susceptibility to warping, but its durability more than makes up for it. The ability to tolerate extremely high temperatures is another selling point for ABS filament.

When to Use ABS Filament

Bicycle helmets, block-like toys such as LEGO bricks, and other injection modeling projects are best done with ABS filament. Keep in mind that ABS filament is not food safe and shouldn’t be used to make food containers or anything that will be associated with edible items.

3D prints

PET, PETT, PETG Filaments

Because these filaments are similar and the most common types of plastic, they are in the same category in terms of use. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) along with variants Polyethylene coTrimethylene Terephthalate (PETT) and Polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) are very often used for food containers, water bottles, and can even be found in clothing fibers. All are becoming increasingly popular for use in 3D projects.

When to Use PET, PETT, PETG Filaments

PETG is more durable and flexible than PLA and naturally clear and easier to print than ABS. For those reasons, it is a good choice to go with when you want a durability and clarity in your 3D print. PETG is sticky, making it a great choice when an adhesive layer is needed. Mechanical parts, protective components, tool handles, toys, printer parts, and other objects that need to withstand stress and sustained impact, these filaments get the job done. When you need function, strength, flexibility, and resistance to extreme temperatures, look no further than PET, PETT, and PETG.

GL Robotics uses reputable sources for our PETG 3D printing filament and we test it on various machines for printability and performance. Quality is our promise to our customers regarding our 3D filament!

Conclusion: How Can GL Robotics Help You

You have numerous options for 3D filaments but understanding where to start can ensure that your project turns out exactly how you want – and lasts. Keep in mind that the options listed here are just a few of the dozens of filament choices available. If you have any questions regarding your 3D print and which filament to use, please contact us! We are here to help you create the best 3D print each time, every time! And remember, we keep popular filament colors in stock!

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