3D printing filament material choices

3D printing, where a computer-based model can be changed into a physical object by ‘printing’ it layer by layer. Choosing the right 3D printing material – known as ‘filament’ – helps create better products. To help with making the best choices, a high-level guide covering the filament materials Verbatim currently offers has been recently given out.

ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), a petroleum-based plastic, has long been a popular choice for 3D printers, thanks to its low cost, toughness, durability and ability to withstand higher temperatures. PLA (Polylactic acid) is the other mainstay of the 3D printing world. Compared to ABS, it’s easier to work with and eco-friendlier, because it’s made from plant material. PLA doesn’t require a heated printbed.

TPE (Thermoplastic elastymer), where both ABS and PLA are rigid, TPE filaments are soft and elastic. This is a relatively new area for 3D printing, and an interesting product is Verbatim’s PRIMALLOY. PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) – the material many plastic drinks bottles are made from – is growing in popularity for 3D printing.

PP (Polypropylene), a long-standing staple of plastic containers, PP 3D print filament enables you to create durable, flexible, transparent, heat- and chemical-resistant containers for food packaging, medical equipment, IT kit and other appliances. BVOH (Butenediol vinyl alcohol co-polymer), unlike the other filament materials we’ve looked at, BVOH is water-soluble. That completes the round-up of some of key 3D printer filament material choices. Successful printing requires choosing the right 3D printer filament material for the job.