A Comprehensive Guide to 3D Printing Materials

3D printing is a revolutionary technology that has enabled the creation of complex objects with a variety of materials. From ABS and PLA to carbon fiber and nylon, there are a wide range of materials available for 3D printing. In this article, we'll take a look at some of the most common 3D printing materials and their properties. The most popular FDM 3D printing materials are ABS, PLA and their various blends.

More advanced FDM printers can also print with other specialized materials that offer properties such as increased heat resistance, impact resistance, chemical resistance and stiffness.


is a low-cost material, ideal for printing strong and durable parts that can withstand high temperatures. Flexible filaments, commonly referred to as TPE or TPU, are known for their elasticity, which allows the material to stretch and bend easily.


is the reference material for most users due to its ease of use, dimensional accuracy and low cost.

HIPS is a lightweight material that is most commonly used as a soluble support structure for ABS models.


and PETG filaments are known for their ease of printing, smooth surface finish, and water resistance.


is a hard, semi-flexible material that offers high impact and abrasion resistance. It's an ideal choice for printing durable parts.

Carbon fiber filaments contain short fibers that are infused into a PLA or ABS base material to help increase strength and stiffness.


is a common alternative to ABS and is ideal for outdoor applications due to its high resistance to UV rays, temperature and impacts.


is ideal for high cycle and low strength applications due to its fatigue resistance, semi-flexible and lightweight characteristics.

Wood filaments

combine a PLA base material with cork, wood powder or other derivatives, giving the models a real wood look and feel. One of the most widely used printing materials, PLA (polylactic acid), is very versatile.

It is made from renewable sources such as sugar cane, which helps keep the price low. It is a very tolerant material with a low probability of deformation and good reuse. As an added benefit, it produces a sweet popcorn smell when melted.

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)

is the second major plastic used in 3D printing. It is more heat resistant than PLA, but can be melted and reused if necessary.

Its melting point is approximately 221°F, so you don't have to worry about your creations melting in most cases. Now, there are a couple of limitations. First of all, you will need a thermal printing bed so that it does not stick. Second, you'll need a well-ventilated print area.

This is because HIPS vapors can give you a real headache if allowed to build up.

HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene)

, with a transition temperature of 212°F, is very similar to ABS. Like HIPS, PVA (polyvinyl alcohol) is most commonly used as a support material. Not so good at creating objects since it's soft and biodegradable. The main difference between PVA and HIPS is that PVA dissolves completely in warm water.

This means that you don't need to get any additional solutions or products and you can simply continue with the work at hand. The main drawback of this material is that it tends to clog the nozzle if you keep heating it without actually printing. In addition, you'll need to store any additional amount of PVA in an airtight container to prevent moisture from entering.


, if you want to create objects that can withstand shocks, is the right material for you. It's tough, abrasion resistant, and has a good degree of flexibility that most others don't have. For example, nylon can be used to create cable ties without them breaking.

The main problem is that nylon tends to absorb moisture from its environment. This can deform the finished product and compromise its structural integrity. As such, you'll need to store it in an airtight container when you're not using it. In addition, its transition temperature is quite high around 250° F so you may need a special extruder.

Carbon fiber filament

, usually PLA or ABS with strong fibers that improve its stability, is very light but manages to greatly improve the stiffness and stiffness of an object. In addition, these fibers help prevent shrinkage as the article cools.

Required print settings hardly differ from those of ABS or PLA filament.

Polycarbonate (sometimes called PC)

, filament is a transparent tough material that is suitable for high temperature applications due to its very high transition temperature (around 302°F). The PC is naturally flexible so it can be used in a variety of circumstances including those where printing is subject to stress. However, the PC filament absorbs moisture from its environment which can cause warping or even layer separation in some cases so you'll want to store it in an airtight container whenever possible. Due to the high temperatures involved you will also need some type of heat protection when printing models with it.

ASA (Acrylic Styrene Acrylonitrile)

, commonly used in outdoor applications because it is highly resistant to high temperatures and UV rays, is also tough so you don't have to worry about it breaking unless you're really hard on it. So far so good but what's the catch? Well ASA is expensive. In addition it emits fumes that can be hazardous to health so we recommend that you open all the windows in your print room and maybe even wear a mask just to be safe. With a transition temperature of around 210°F you'll also need to run the extruder quite hot.Plastic polymers , are the most commonly used material in 3D printing For example there are dedicated metal 3D printers but these are a niche compared to polymer printers And large machines based on 3D printing technology are starting to be developed for construction materials such as concrete. The list of materials used in 3D printing is getting longer and much more interesting day by day. If you are going to frequently use glow-in-the-dark 3D printing material be sure to install a hardened steel nozzle The growth and popularity of 3D metal printing holds the potential to manufacture and create more efficient machine parts that currently cannot be mass-produced on-site. Here we have created an objective description of some of the most commonly used 3D printing materials While there are many more materials available each one has its own unique properties making them suitable for different applications depending on your needs.