3D printing is an industrial mainstay that’s an accurate and efficient way for prototyping and manufacturing industries. However, the past few years show an interest in the market for everyday consumers to use the technology in various ways. It has endless applications from small-scale engineering projects to hobbyists.
Since it’s still a young technology for the consumer market, plenty of vendors provide their own filament for their 3D printers. Besides compatibility issues, different filaments offer unique properties that will help people find the best material for the product they want to develop.
Finding the right filament to fill your 3D printing needs
Like your standard ink cartridges, a 3D printer will also vary in output depending on its filaments. Understanding the variation of these different products will help you find the appropriate product to meet your needs.
In this article, we will compare three different filaments for your 3D printer.
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)
Engineers usually prefer ABS since it fits better for more complex projects. It will require a heated print bed or a 3D printer enclosure. If you fail to do so, there’s a tendency for plastic to warp and contract. This will create uneven and inaccurate printing output.
Additionally, using ABS requires you to print in a well-ventilated area. The emissions from this material can cause acute migraines if you remain in an enclosed printing zone. Although ABS comes with several requirements, there’s a reason why professionals prefer to use it for specific projects. Its increased durability in contrast to the other two filaments makes it ideal for particular parts that need to handle varying levels of stress. These are usually for enclosures or functional prototype models.
Nylon, or polyamide, is a repeating molecule linked together with amide bonds. It’s a niche filament that’s more popular with high-end engineering projects. The filament on its own is strong and flexible, but it does come with strong resilience against continual use. It’s a preferred material for industrial applications since it can work well to replace machine or automobile parts.
Another feature it has is that it can bond with itself easily. This allows you to make components that require tapping, screwing or drilling. It’s also great for dyeing any range of potential colours. However, keep in mind that you need to apply the dye before printing.
Although it has plenty of positive features, it still has some considerable printing requirements. Nylon is vulnerable to humid environments. This means that you should keep your spool dry and away from dry temperatures to prevent damaging your mould.
Polylactic acid (PLA)
The most common filament in the market for consumer use is PLA. It’s a biodegradable thermoplastic that makes it possible for beginners to make mistakes without harming the environment. Its material contains food starches, so it doesn’t induce harmful emissions if you choose to print in indoor settings.
PLA is an all-around filament for amateurs, especially if your 3D printer setup is a starter kit. Managing the bonds between layers is manageable, even If your printer doesn’t have a heated bed. However, it does come at the cost of being more brittle than ABS or nylon.
3D printing continues to be a growing industry on its own, with many people considering its use for small and medium-sized enterprises. As demand for the item and its products rise in the market, the development of more effective printers and filament brands are sure to come next as well.Sometimes, it’s best to let professional printing service providers handle your first prototype. If you need 3D printing in Birmingham, UK, we can provide you with an expertly executed output. Upload your file with us and we’ll send you a free quote that matches your budget.