When it comes to 3D printing, it comes in a vast array of forms, and there are different printing materials that you can use. Each material has different designs, applications, and functionalities you can choose from to suit your specific needs. Most 3D printed products are made from thermoplastics.
Widely adopted as a 3D printed material, plastics come in the filament, resin, granule, and powder forms. These materials have a variety of uses and applications, whether it’s for home 3D printing or professional technology. That said, below are the six common types of filament used for 3D printing and other technologies.
Ceramic 3D prints can be created into solid pottery and can be done by using fine particles of clay combined with certain minerals and water. Once the pottery has been established, it can be glazed for a glossy finish. Using fused deposition modelling (FDM) or stereolithography (SLA), ceramic 3D prints are made to be heat resistant and durable. They can be used for art projects, tableware, and dental implants.
2. Carbon fibre mix
Carbon fibre filaments can be combined with other materials to produce firm, durable, yet low-weight products. Know, however, that carbon fibre is extremely abrasive, which is why proper caution in printing is required. A carbon fibre mix is ideal for structural prints with a balance between strength and lightweight.
3. Metal filaments
Metal filaments are made of very finely ground metals. However, they are combined with polylactic acid (PLA) and a polymer, which allow them to be bound and printed. With a polished final print, they look like and feel like actual metals. They come in different versions, such as steel, brass, bronze, and copper. Metal filaments are ideal for printing metal sculptures and figurines.
4. Conductive filament
The conductive filament is graphene, which is a form of carbon conducting electricity. When graphene is combined with PLA, it allows the printing of electrical circuits without the need for adding wires. When printing, utmost care is required. Conductive filaments are perfect for printing items such as touch buttons, wearable electronics, or electrically conductive styluses.
5. Flexible filament
Flexible filaments come in when strength and rigidity aren’t always the goal as they usually produce rubber-like, flexible prints. They become flexible when placed in hot water, which is why they can be reshaped or moulded into a tight-fitting spot before it cools and becomes rigid again. Flexible filaments are excellent for producing wearable prints, flexible joints, phone covers, and toys.
6. Wood filament
Contrary to the name itself, the printer filaments are not necessarily made of wood. However, they consist of very fine wood particles combined with PLA and a polymer glue. Different types of wood can be used, from bamboo to ebony down to mahogany. Wood filaments are often used for sculptures or wood-like carvings.
The array of 3D printing materials is endless, and so are the possibilities in coming up with finished products or models. The six types of filaments mentioned above are some of the common ones used for 3D printing. It’s incredibly amazing how anyone with 3D printing and modelling can now perform tasks artisans only used to do. This technology has revolutionised the way we create, design, and finished items!
If you’re looking for a 3D printing service in the UK, get in touch with us today to see how we can help today!