Over the years, 3D printing has grown more popular and it is now widely accessible. These days, many public libraries and institutions provide free 3D printing services. Materials for this type of printing are now also widely available, either online or in specialised brick-and-mortar stores.
Many 3D printers utilise Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM), which aids design models by stacking heat and thermoplastic filaments from the bottom up. These devices make use of a range of materials, either premium and economical. But how do you know which material to use for your purposes? Keep reading to find out.
Plastics are most certainly the most often used element in 3D printing. It is used for its adaptability, as you can use it for a wide range of products. Plastic materials can be used to produce anything from glossy and matte textures to projects with distinctive hues. While the post-processing for plastic materials may be more robust, the cost and potential strength often exceed the small drawbacks.
Things 3D printed using plastic are manufactured layer by layer using thermoplastic filaments that include are usually derived from:
- Polyamide – Because of its versatility, polyamide is a popular material for 3D printing, both at home and in big industries. It is inexpensive, has interlinking and interlocking components, and can be painted and coloured.
- Polylactic Acid (PLA) – Biodegradable PLA, made from corn starch and sugar cane, is a prominent 3D printing medium since it is more environmentally friendly than others. It also leads to more durable products in general. PLA is the most affordable 3D printing material, and it is also utilised both at home and on big industrial productions.
- Polyvinyl Alcohol Plastic (PVA) – PVA is regularly used since it is inexpensive. While it lacks sturdiness, it is still a good option for seldom-used objects and for people who are new to 3D printing.
- Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) – ABS is popular among makers because it provides strength via filaments style like spaghetti. Often referred to as Lego plastic, ABS is available in various colours and is perfect for 3D printing at home.
Metal is the 2nd most common element for 3D printing. It is often used in additive manufacturing and speeds up production processes. It can retain an aesthetic suitable for high-quality jewellery and a sufficiently robust base for industrial uses. Convenience is a factor as well, as metal is in the form of dust when utilised as a printing material.
Metals such as gold, titanium, and stainless steel may all be used in 3D printing. Gold is mainly used in jewellery and may be an exciting but pricey choice. On the other hand, titanium is utilised for structures that must be tough and durable while also being exceptionally heat resistant. Stainless steel is a less expensive metal choice often used to 3D print kitchenware, cutlery, and waterproof items.
Graphite and Graphene
Graphite and graphene are ideal materials for 3D printing because they are durable and transmit heat effectively, particularly for devices that need flexibility. They are probably one of the most versatile 3D printer materials and are extremely light.
Carbon fibre is a composite material that serves as a coating on plastic parts to strengthen them. It is a quicker and less expensive material than metal, yet just as effective when developed.
Although it is not suitable for applications requiring strength, paper is an excellent medium for 3D printing since it offers high-quality prototypes. Paper when used in 3D printing provides great detail. Moreover, it is inexpensive and readily available for a wide range of applications.
Finding the best material for your 3D printing needs will be determined by your preferences and the item you want to create. Furthermore, you have to note that the proper material may make or break your project. Therefore, you owe it to yourself to explore several materials that best suit your requirements.
If you are looking for the best 3D printing services in London, 3D Quick Printing is the place for you. We provide high-quality FDM 3D printing and rapid prototyping projects. Get in touch with us today to learn more!