What 3D Printing Material Should You Use?

What 3D Printing Material To Use

Choosing the right 3D printing material for your application can be difficult. Even for experienced engineers struggle with material selection. This guide will help you better understand the types of materials that can be used for 3D printing your designs. All the materials covered in this guide are offered to you when using our 3D printing service.

All the materials listed here have undergone mechanical testing to determine their individual strengths and weaknesses. The materials include ABS, ABS+, PLA, PLA+, PETG, NYLON, TPU (Flexible), PLA WOOD and ABS CONDUCTIVE. The results are summarized as images so everyone will understand what material would be best for their application.

How Are These Tests Done?

To better understand the strengths and weaknesses of additive manufacturing, we conduct research studies to expand our knowledge and share the findings within the community. This article will give you guidelines and explain the different material types available at 3DWhip and their suited applications. All the results here are based on mechanical testing and properties of the material, the final aesthetic quality, and the final process. The evaluation criteria used for the different material types include:

Visual Quality
Ease of Printing
Heat Resistance
Maximum Stress (The Largest Amount of Force it can Handle Before Breaking)
Elongation at Break (Material Stretches Before Breaking)
Impact Resistance
Layer Adhesion
Post-Processing Capabilities

The evaluation criteria used in this guide are grouped into two main applications. We suggest when selecting a material that these fall within the application. The table below shows you the two applications.

General Application Engineering Application
Visual Quality Heat Resistance
Post Processing Capabilities Maximum Stress
Elongation at Break
Impact Resistance
Layer Adhesion

What Does the Evaluation Criteria Mean?

We understand that many of the terms may seem foreign or might not make sense. Each criterion is briefly explained here to help you better understand the different categories.

Ease of Printing: Determines how easy the material is to 3D print.

Maximum Stress: The maximum stress (depends on the force applied) the part can handle before breaking.

Elongation at Break: The percentage at which the 3D printed part stretches before breaking.

Impact Resistance: The amount of energy needed to break apart when a sudden impact is applied. Example, Falling on the floor.

Layer Adhesion: Determines how good the layers are bonded together. The better the layer adhesion, the more isotropic (material uniformity) and the stronger the part will be.

Heat Resistance: The maximum temperature the part can withstand before melting. For this guide, the glass transition temperatures for the different materials are used.

Visual Quality: How good the final print looks.

Results From the Different 3D Printing Material Tests

The results presented here are based on our systems and materials available to use. We have ranked each material based on the evaluation criteria on a 1 (Low) to 5 (High) scale rating for everyone to understand. The scale can be used to select the best material for your 3D print application. The table below illustrates the rating of the different materials.

Evaluation Rating

We have compiled a graphic representation of the final results from the tests done. This can be seen below.

Graph

We present examples of 3D printed Pikachus in the various different materials, radar graph plots and some of the benefits associated with that material.

ABS 3D Printed Material

In determining the recommended applications for ABS material, mechanical and aesthetic tests were done. A 3D printed Pikachu is used to display the final look (aesthetics) when using ABS material. We have also compiled a Radar plot of the strengths and weaknesses associated with using this material based on the mechanical tests.

3D printing material in ABS plastic
3D Printed Pikachu in ABS Plastic
Radar Plot for ABS Plastic
Radar Plot for ABS Plastic

ABS+ 3D Printed Material

In determining the applications for ABS+ material, mechanical and aesthetic tests were done. A 3D printed Pikachu is used to display the final look (aesthetics) when using ABS+ material. We have also compiled a Radar plot of the strengths and weaknesses associated with using this material.

3D printing material in ABS+ plastic
3D Printed Pikachu in ABS+ Plastic
Radar Plot for ABS+ Plastic
Radar Plot for ABS+ Plastic

ABS Conductive 3D Printed Material

In determining the applications for ABS Conductive material, mechanical and aesthetic tests were done. A 3D printed Pikachu is used to display the final look (aesthetics) when using ABS Conductive material. We have also compiled a Radar plot of the strengths and weaknesses associated with using this material.

3D printing material in ABS Conductive plastic
3D Printed Pikachu in ABS Conductive Plastic
Radar Plot for ABS Conductive
Radar Plot for ABS Conductive

PLA 3D Printed Material

In determining the applications for PLA material, mechanical and aesthetic tests were done. A 3D printed Pikachu is used to display the final look (aesthetics) when using PLA material. We have also compiled a Radar plot of the strengths and weaknesses associated with using this material.

PLA plastic Pikachu
3D Printed Pikachu in PLA Plastic
Radar Plot for PLA Plastic
Radar Plot for PLA Plastic

PLA+ 3D Printed Material

In determining the applications for PLA+ material, mechanical and aesthetic tests were done. A 3D printed Pikachu is used to display the final look (aesthetics) when using PLA+ material. We have also compiled a Radar plot of the strengths and weaknesses associated with using this material.

PLA+ plastic Pikachu
3D Printed Pikachu in PLA+ Plastic
Radar Plot for PLA+ Plastic
Radar Plot for PLA+ Plastic

PETG

In determining the applications for PETG material, mechanical and aesthetic tests were done. A 3D printed Pikachu is used to display the final look (aesthetics) when using PETG material. We have also compiled a Radar plot of the strengths and weaknesses associated with using this material.

PETG plastic Pikachu
3D Printed Pikachu in PETG Plastic
Radar Plot for PETG Plastic
Radar Plot for PETG Plastic

PLA WOOD

In determining the applications for PLA WOOD material, mechanical and aesthetic tests were done. A 3D printed Pikachu is used to display the final look (aesthetics) when using PLA WOOD material. We have also compiled a Radar plot of the strengths and weaknesses associated with using this material.

 PLA Wood plastic Pikachu
3D Printed Pikachu in PLA WOOD Plastic
Radar Plot for PLA WOOD Plastic
Radar Plot for PLA WOOD Plastic

NYLON

In determining the applications for NYLON material, mechanical and aesthetic tests were done. A 3D printed Pikachu is used to display the final look (aesthetics) when using NYLON material. We have also compiled a Radar plot of the strengths and weaknesses associated with using this material.

 NYLON plastic Pikachu
3D Printed Pikachu in NYLON Plastic
Radar Plot for NYLON Plastic
Radar Plot for NYLON Plastic

Final Remarks

This guide is aimed to share the possible applications of the various materials offered by 3DWhip. These applications are based on the mechanical and aesthetic properties of the final 3D printed part. A final summary of the 3D printing material and applications offered by 3DWhip is presented in the table below.

Material General Applications
ABS – Cases or Project Enclosures.
– Toys or Action Figures.
– Automotive hardware.
ABS+– Cases.
– Mechanical toys.
– Automotive replacement parts.
PLA– Test and calibration items
– Dimensionally accurate assemblies.
– Decorative Parts.
– Cosplay Props.
PLA+– D&D Miniatures and Terrain.
– Vases.
– Table Accessories.
– Planters
PETG– Waterproof applications.
– Snap-fit components.
– Planter Pot.
– Cooking Accessories.
NYLON– Plastic Gears.
– Screws, nuts, bolts.
– Cable ties.
PLA WOOD– Household decorations.
– Cosplay props.
– Toys.
ABS Conductive– Low voltage electronic cases.
– Wearable Electronic Circuits.
– Custom Circuit Designs.
TPU (Flexible)– Vibration dampening.
– Grip Sleeves.
– Phone cases.

Would You Like Something Printed?

Contact us if you want things 3D or have a specific model or part you would like 3D printed. We hope that this introduction to fused filament fabrication helped you understand the basics of additive manufacturing.

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