Exploring the Different Types of Plastic for 3D Printers
3D printer plastic
3D printers can be used to create all kinds of things, from toys and tools to medical devices and even food. The materials used by 3D printers are divided into two main categories: thermoplastics and thermosets.
Plastic filament is the most common material used in 3D printing. It comes in various colors and materials that can be mixed and matched to create unique combinations. The most common type of filament is ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), which is used by many 3D printers because it's strong, lightweight and flexible. ABS is also known for its high impact resistance compared to other plastics like PLA or POM. PLA (Polylactic Acid) is another common type of plastic filament used in 3D printing, which is stronger than ABS but not as durable or flexible. Other types of plastic filament include PVA (Polyvinyl Alcohol), PETG (Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol), HIPS (high-impact polystyrene) and PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate), Nylon and PCL (polycaprolactone).
3D printers use different types of plastics to create objects. The most common types include ABS, PLA and PVA.
ABS is a strong plastic that is used in the automotive industry and in toys. It is also very popular with 3D printer users because it can be dissolved in acetone.
PLA is made from corn starch or sugar cane and has been used for years in the food industry. It is biodegradable, meaning that it will break down over time at the end of its useful life. Many people use this type of plastic because it has a low melting temperature which makes it easy to print with.
PVA is an absorbent material that absorbs moisture easily and can be used as an adhesive or sealant. It’s also used in wood products like particle boards and plywood panels because it adds strength and durability to them.
3D printers are becoming increasingly popular, and there is no doubt that they will continue to grow in popularity. The ability to make an object from scratch is revolutionary, and it can be a lot of fun. The most common type of plastic for 3D printing is ABS, but there are many other options available.
FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) uses thermoplastic extrusion technology to produce parts with high resolution details, making it ideal for small-scale production runs. FDM works by melting a spool of ABS or PLA and extrusion through a heated nozzle onto a build platform.
Nylon - Nylon is strong and flexible, but not as easy to use as PLA or ABS. It also tends to have more fumes when heated up, so take care when working with this material in an enclosed space or without proper ventilation.
ASA is similar to ABS in that they both come from petroleum sources, but they have different properties. ASA has a lower melting point than ABS and doesn't smell like burning rubber when printed with. It also has better heat resistance, so it's good for parts that will be exposed to high temperatures like in engines or brakes.
POM, or polyoxymethylene, is the most common plastic used in 3D printing. It's a rigid, high-impact material that's often used in high-stress applications. POM has a very low friction coefficient and high abrasion resistance. It also has good thermal stability, making it suitable for parts that will be exposed to high temperatures.
Polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) is a type of 3D printer filament that is made from PET, which is a polymer resin that contains glycol groups (hence the name). It has higher impact strength, lower shrinkage and greater transparency than regular PETG.
High-impact polystyrene (HIPS) is a 3D printer filament that is similar to ABS but has a lower coefficient of thermal expansion and greater impact resistance. HIPS was introduced by DuPont in 1966 as an engineering thermoplastic and has since been used in many consumer products such as toys, electronics cases and medical equipment.
Polycarbonate (PC) is another thermoplastic that can be used to print with on your desktop FFF/FDM printer. PCL has high impact strength, good dimensional stability and excellent clarity, making it an ideal choice for applications like protective covers and safety glasses where strength and durability are required without sacrificing clarity or flexibility.
PET (polyethylene terephthalate) is a thermoplastic resin of the polyester family. It is a synthetic polymer made from combining ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid. PET has been used to make bottles and containers for soft drinks, water and other liquids since the 1970s.