Your guide to 3D printer filament

At ReprapWorld we have a lot of different types of 3D printer filament in our webshop. You can now easily navigate through our filament, but we would take a moment to help you with the differences between the types of filaments and the different brands we have available. This page will help you understand in general terms what to use filament, for details on printing speed and temperatures you should take a look at the respective product pages.

PLA - Polylactic acid

This is the most used and easiest print material and great for 3D printer novices to start with. It's made from organic materials and is biodegradable, which makes it one of the more environmentally friendly thermo plastics available. In neutral form the filament is semi-translucent with a brownish color and you can print at around 200 degrees. After printing the material is more brittle than other types of filament, making it break instead of bend when pressure is applied.

PLA+ enhances some of the properties of PLA like toughness and printing overhang

More information on PLA filament Show all PLA

ABS - Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene

ABS used to be a very popular filament type used for 3D printing, but it's rather hard to work with. This material is also used to make LEGO-blocks and is regularly used in injection molding. Also the smell during printing is at least unpleasant making it a filament used today for only specific purposes like higher temperature conditions or when the material comes in contact with gasoline. Due to high shrinkage the material may warp during print and create great inner forces, which could lead to layers tearing apart. For most properties PETG can replace this material resulting in a far easier print experience. In neutral state this filament is milk-white and prints at around 240 degrees. Also you can use acetone(vapor) to 'meld' the abs a bit, softening the layers and making them blend into each other, creating the illusion of a injection molded part.

ABS+ tends to solve a few of the problems with ABS, because additives were added. Generally the shrinkage will be reduced a lot, resulting in less warping. This however no longer allows the material to be used with gasoline.

PETG - Polyethyleentereftalaatglycol

Only available much more recent compared to the other filaments, PETG has become a popular product combining much of the properties of both PLA and ABS. This material is also used as soda bottle, so you are already familiar with this material. The filament is transparent in neutral state, giving you the ability to print with a lot of translucent colors in our assortment as well as opaque colors. Although it prints best at 245 degrees, it has much less shrinkage compared to ABS, making it almost as easy to work with as PLA. Other important properties include great layer adhesion and because of he nature of the material the print will rather bend than break.

HIPS - High Impact Polystyrene

This material is not much used in 3D printing, but it does have some interesting properties. It's mostly used as support material for ABS as it bonds wells with ABS and is dissolvable in d'limonene. But besides that, it's also easier to print with than ABS with still a lot of the same properties. In pure form this product is milk-white and prints at 240 degrees.

TPE - Thermoplastic elastomer

Very flexible, rubber like material which prints well at 200 degrees. Used only for specific prints where the elastic and flexible properties are required. The material is rather hard to work with as it does not allow to be pressured much through tubing, it's pretty much useless in a bowden system. Even in direct drive systems you have to reduce speed a lot and you cold-end should not allow for any space where the filament can escape or you will find that it will rather go through that hole instead. Adhesion to the bed is fair, but may require a large brim to avoid warping.

TPU - Thermoplastic polyurethane

Compared to TPE this material is much less flexible, making it easier to work with and can work in bowden systems. This material will work great for tires of RC cars for example.

PVA - Polyvinyl alcohol

This material is only used as support material for PLA as it bonds well with PLA and is water soluble. It prints at 200 degrees and is translucent-brownish. For printing it behaves rather like PLA actually. If you put it in warm water for a while the material will slowly dissolve leaving you with only PLA. The material is rather expensive though, making it only applied in situations where you cannot go without support.

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