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How is 3D Printing Filament Made?

As 3d printing becomes more common, makers are starting to demand more from their filament. Early adopters of 3D technology were satisfied in seeing their creations come to life. Now, makers are creating everything from tools to machine parts that must last. Texture, finish quality and strength are becoming more important in the performance of filament.

Each filament begins with pellets made from a unique combination of raw materials, such as Acrylonitrile, Butadiene Latex, and Styrene (ABS). The clear pellets are mixed with pigments to form the final color. The pellets are dried from 60ºC - 80ºC, and then placed into an extruder which forms a solid monofilament. It is cooled in a water tank, and this forms a rounded filament. The filament is pulled at a constant pressure in order to create the various diameters of filament. 

Each type of filament has its own unique properties and raw material manufacturers can manipulate those properties by adjusting the composition of raw materials. For example, the strength and heat resistance of ABS can be improved by increasing the amount of Acrylonitrile. However, the quality controls in the manufacturing process and impurities in the raw material will reduce the quality of the filament. Some manufacturers use recycled materials which contain impurities. This allows them to offer lost cost filament but it results in a poor print for makers.      

GL Robotics’ filament is made in the USA using virgin materials. This means fewer impurities in your print, a stronger layer bond, and a better finish.  Each filament has been subjected to rigorous testing for strength, heat resistance, and hardness. The data is published on our site under each filament listing!   

 In the coming weeks, we will explore this subject more.  What makes our PLA, PETG, etc. a better choice?

Until we speak again, know you can trust in GL Robotics’ filament for all your important prints.