Complete 3D Printing Filament Comparison Guide

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With the recent expansion of exciting new 3d printer filament types to choose from, deciding which material you need to print with can be a daunting task. It basically boils down to you understanding what application you need it for. Theres no need to overcomplicate things by getting confused with the huge selection of 3D printing filament types if you just want to print low poly Pokmon.Likewise, you want to make sure that the home-weather station concept youre mocking up wont crack and yellow overtime in strong sunlight, like some 3D printer materials will. So selecting the right 3d filament types is important. Hopefully this 3D printing filament guide (a sort of filament wiki, if you will) can eliminate the guess-work before you buy printer filament.This is not just a list of 3D printing materials; we explain the uses for that plastic, and specifications. Well also link to any helpful guides for further info or if youre looking where to buy 3D printer filament – a link to Shop Now. We could be the most comprehensive 3D filament shop in the UK.Just looking for 3Doodler Filament? Thatll be PLA youll need, just below. For reviews on different products, click through to the product page to see them. Were not just a 3D printing store, we have a comprehensive resource center.And if after reading through all the materials used for 3D printing youre still not sure, get in touch our support ninjas are here to help you out.

Vibration absorbing and less brittle version of PLA

Extremely durable and flexible, low friction.

Extremely durable and flexible, low friction.

High impact or high stress parts fantastic all-rounder

Strong, UV resistant alternative to ABS

Strong, UV resistant alternative to ABS

Outside casings, covers and devices.

Rigid components, strong alternative to glass.

High impact resistance & soluble support

High impact resistance & soluble support

Alternative to ABS, or used as a limonene dissolvable support structure

A no mess alternative to dissolvable support materials products

Excellent abrasion resistance and low friction

Cleans out residue and carbon buildup

Cleans out residue and carbon buildup

Saves time, prevents nozzle blockages

PLA or PolyLactic Acid is the go-to 3d filament for most makers. PLA filament is an eco-friendly biodegradable material made from cornstarch. Its easy to print with because its one of the lowest printing settings of any 3d printer materials and generally doesnt warp. Youll find PLA is also non-toxic and doesnt smell much when printing.There are a large range of PLA filaments available, with a huge variety in quality and strengths. Generally, its considered to not be as strong as ABS but higher quality 3D printer PLA can result in a surprising amount of finished part strength. Due to the purity of the raw materials used, higher quality PLA also yields better results with post print finishing, such as sanding or drilling if required.If youre not sure what material to use, and just want something easy to 3d print (forgiving on settings) with respectable strength and usability A high quality 3d printer filament; PLA is worth trying out.Dont be fooled by gimmicky names for other premium PLAs our standard PLA is a world-class filament. Top 3D printing mogul Thomas Sanladerer voted this the best PLA hes tried, mostly due to its easy printing, printed strength and finish quality.Its worth noting that PLA is typically brittle in comparison to most other durable filaments, if you need something just like regular PLA but more durable, or with a higher temperature resistance our special blend PLA Plus (below) could be your answer.We stockPLA filament 1.75mmand3mm (2.85mm)sizes to fit any open source 3d printer. And of course, PLA in 1KG spools and 10m lengths to test.

PLA or PolyLactic Acid is the go-to 3d filament for most makers. PLA filament is an eco-friendly biodegradable material made from cornstarch. Its easy to print with because its one of the lowest printing settings of any 3d printer materials and generally doesnt warp. Youll find PLA is also non-toxic and doesnt smell much when printing.There are a large range of PLA filaments available, with a huge variety in quality and strengths. Generally, its considered to not be as strong as ABS but higher quality 3D printer PLA can result in a surprising amount of finished part strength. Due to the purity of the raw materials used, higher quality PLA also yields better results with post print finishing, such as sanding or drilling if required.If youre not sure what material to use, and just want something easy to 3d print (forgiving on settings) with respectable strength and usability A high quality 3d printer filament; PLA is worth trying out.Dont be fooled by gimmicky names for other premium PLAs our standard PLA is a world-class filament. Top 3D printing mogul Thomas Sanladerer voted this the best PLA hes tried, mostly due to its easy printing, printed strength and finish quality.Its worth noting that PLA is typically brittle in comparison to most other durable filaments, if you need something just like regular PLA but more durable, or with a higher temperature resistance our special blend PLA Plus (below) could be your answer.We stockPLA filament 1.75mmand3mm (2.85mm)sizes to fit any open source 3d printer. And of course, PLA in 1KG spools and 10m lengths to test.

Perhaps the second most commonly used filament is ABS (or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene on Sundays) this is a common plastic used in a lot of casings and consumer products that require a durable material. Your phone case or keyboard is likely made from, or has some components in ABS.ABS filament is stronger than good PLA (and considerably stronger than cheaper varieties) and has a higher temperature resistance (it wont go soft in a hot car on a sunny day) but takes a little more care when printing. This is because it has a tendency to warp if your heated bed is not hot enough (as it contracts when cooling), and requires a hotter extruder temperature. However, once your abs plastic filament settings are tuned in and everything is at the correct temp printing it is no harder than any other material.This material can also be smoothed with acetone. This means you can make it look more like a non 3d print, but thats usually at a cost to detail.Is ABS filament transparent? Not naturally, like PLA and some other materials (see below) but we do a modified ABS that is, also it prints more translucent unless you acetone smooth.As with all 3d printing filaments its extremely important to only print in a well-ventilated area. ABS is no different. The very process of printing can release micro particles into the air during the heating and extruding process so always read the guidelines from your printers manufacture.Want to make more durable parts than regular PLA? TryABS filament 1.75mmor in3mm (2.85mm).

Perhaps the second most commonly used filament is ABS (or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene on Sundays) this is a common plastic used in a lot of casings and consumer products that require a durable material. Your phone case or keyboard is likely made from, or has some components in ABS.ABS filament is stronger than good PLA (and considerably stronger than cheaper varieties) and has a higher temperature resistance (it wont go soft in a hot car on a sunny day) but takes a little more care when printing. This is because it has a tendency to warp if your heated bed is not hot enough (as it contracts when cooling), and requires a hotter extruder temperature. However, once your abs plastic filament settings are tuned in and everything is at the correct temp printing it is no harder than any other material.This material can also be smoothed with acetone. This means you can make it look more like a non 3d print, but thats usually at a cost to detail.Is ABS filament transparent? Not naturally, like PLA and some other materials (see below) but we do a modified ABS that is, also it prints more translucent unless you acetone smooth.As with all 3d printing filaments its extremely important to only print in a well-ventilated area. ABS is no different. The very process of printing can release micro particles into the air during the heating and extruding process so always read the guidelines from your printers manufacture.Want to make more durable parts than regular PLA? TryABS filament 1.75mmor in3mm (2.85mm).

We were excited to release this. The benefits of PLA yet more durable than ABS? We made it possible: this is essentially PLA with our blend of additives to make a much more durable and less brittle (but still as strong) version.Printing temperatures are a little higher than our regular PLA (which tends to print better at a slightly lower temperature than most due to its pure formula) but otherwise is shares the same easy to print settings.Due to the special additive in the blend, our PLA Plus has a nice sheen to it in the various colours available. This is hard to notice in the photos, but our customers have mentioned its a really nice effect.If you dont want to commit to a full KG roll, you can always just try a 10 meter sample of1.75mm filamentor2.85mm filament.

We were excited to release this. The benefits of PLA yet more durable than ABS? We made it possible: this is essentially PLA with our blend of additives to make a much more durable and less brittle (but still as strong) version.Printing temperatures are a little higher than our regular PLA (which tends to print better at a slightly lower temperature than most due to its pure formula) but otherwise is shares the same easy to print settings.Due to the special additive in the blend, our PLA Plus has a nice sheen to it in the various colours available. This is hard to notice in the photos, but our customers have mentioned its a really nice effect.If you dont want to commit to a full KG roll, you can always just try a 10 meter sample of1.75mm filamentor2.85mm filament.

New on the scene, ABS Plus is a blend of Nylon and ABS to create an extra durable yet still easily printable material. Nylon 3d print filament is typically known for its immensely durable properties, but can require a little more fine tuning to print perfectly.This takes higher printing temps than regular ABS plastic, but the extra strong qualities are worth it. Currently we only have ABSplus filament 1.75 available. If you need 2.85mm filament, please ask we might be working on it already!

New on the scene, ABS Plus is a blend of Nylon and ABS to create an extra durable yet still easily printable material. Nylon 3d print filament is typically known for its immensely durable properties, but can require a little more fine tuning to print perfectly.This takes higher printing temps than regular ABS plastic, but the extra strong qualities are worth it. Currently we only have ABSplus filament 1.75 available. If you need 2.85mm filament, please ask we might be working on it already!

We couldnt mention Nylon filament above, without explaining exactly what Nylon is straight afterwards. Nylon is Polyamide, sometimes referred to as PA for short. This is, hands down in our opinion the more versatile printing material currently available.Its an amazingly strong filament.Outside the 3D printing world its commonly used in clothing, when printed thinly its flexible (think living hinges) and when printed thick its got a good level of stiffness to it.Ultimately Nylon is very durable, has a low friction coefficient (often used in low RPM gearboxes and bushings) and in our Nylon 12 blend has an increased resistance to chemical and thermal influences than the more common grades such as Nylon 6.It these properties that make Nylon so suitable for blending with other materials to create filament types with a range of excellent benefits.Its worth noting that this material is extremely sensitive to moisture, so as with other hydroscopic filaments its important to keep it dry. Luckily we provide metallic grip-seal bags and desiccant with every order so moisture in your filament wont ever be an issue. Currently you can viewNylon filament 1.75 here, were working on 3mm (2.85mm) soon.

We couldnt mention Nylon filament above, without explaining exactly what Nylon is straight afterwards. Nylon is Polyamide, sometimes referred to as PA for short. This is, hands down in our opinion the more versatile printing material currently available.Its an amazingly strong filament.Outside the 3D printing world its commonly used in clothing, when printed thinly its flexible (think living hinges) and when printed thick its got a good level of stiffness to it.Ultimately Nylon is very durable, has a low friction coefficient (often used in low RPM gearboxes and bushings) and in our Nylon 12 blend has an increased resistance to chemical and thermal influences than the more common grades such as Nylon 6.It these properties that make Nylon so suitable for blending with other materials to create filament types with a range of excellent benefits.Its worth noting that this material is extremely sensitive to moisture, so as with other hydroscopic filaments its important to keep it dry. Luckily we provide metallic grip-seal bags and desiccant with every order so moisture in your filament wont ever be an issue. Currently you can viewNylon filament 1.75 here, were working on 3mm (2.85mm) soon.

One of our favourite materials to print with, PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) is an extremely strong filament. Think plastic bottles and other food containers. Our version is Glycol modified for even better durability. It is effectively almost unbreakable layer adhesion is excellent and it it will just keep bending, rather than snapping like more brittle plastics might.Other benefits include hardly any warp and virtually no smells or fumes when printing. It also bridges well. When printed optimally for transparency, PET is one of the most clear. Our colours are vibrant, and were working on opaque colours to add to the range.Although easy to print with, you want to make sure your PETG filament settings are dialled in properly. We cover this in more under learn more below. Youll find a complete 3D Printer filament review on PETG & compared with more common materials like PLA and ABS. PETG has a density of 1270kg/m³.You can viewPETG filament 1.75mm herenow ourPETG 2.85mm filament (3mm)is also available.

One of our favourite materials to print with, PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) is an extremely strong filament. Think plastic bottles and other food containers. Our version is Glycol modified for even better durability. It is effectively almost unbreakable layer adhesion is excellent and it it will just keep bending, rather than snapping like more brittle plastics might.Other benefits include hardly any warp and virtually no smells or fumes when printing. It also bridges well. When printed optimally for transparency, PET is one of the most clear. Our colours are vibrant, and were working on opaque colours to add to the range.Although easy to print with, you want to make sure your PETG filament settings are dialled in properly. We cover this in more under learn more below. Youll find a complete 3D Printer filament review on PETG & compared with more common materials like PLA and ABS. PETG has a density of 1270kg/m³.You can viewPETG filament 1.75mm herenow ourPETG 2.85mm filament (3mm)is also available.

Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate is a very specialist material, which is new on the scene. Its very similar to ABS, but with one key difference its resistant to UV light. That means it wont crack or yellow when left out in the sun over time. If you print practical outdoorsy things, or print for business this printing material is invaluable.ASA filament otherwise has similar properties to ABS; its slightly denser, and slightly more durable and harder wearing. If youd like to learn more about the differences between this and regular ABS 3d print filament, check out our comparison article here.Something to note when printing ASA though is that it needs to cool really slowly, or it can crack. This is easily solved by turning your cooling fans right down, to about 5% or 10%. If you have an enclosed printing chamber, thats even better but otherwise try keep the ambient temperature warm and no drafts and your prints will come out a dream.We stockASA filament 1.75mmand2.85mm (3mm) here.

Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate is a very specialist material, which is new on the scene. Its very similar to ABS, but with one key difference its resistant to UV light. That means it wont crack or yellow when left out in the sun over time. If you print practical outdoorsy things, or print for business this printing material is invaluable.ASA filament otherwise has similar properties to ABS; its slightly denser, and slightly more durable and harder wearing. If youd like to learn more about the differences between this and regular ABS 3d print filament, check out our comparison article here.Something to note when printing ASA though is that it needs to cool really slowly, or it can crack. This is easily solved by turning your cooling fans right down, to about 5% or 10%. If you have an enclosed printing chamber, thats even better but otherwise try keep the ambient temperature warm and no drafts and your prints will come out a dream.We stockASA filament 1.75mmand2.85mm (3mm) here.

Polycarbonate (PC) is a very tough, hard plastic with a good impact resistance. To put that in context, this is the material used to layer with toughened glass to make bullet proof glass. Not all 3d printers can handle it though, because your hot-end needs to run at around 300C for it to print nicely.One of the benefits of such a high printing temperature though is its thermo-stability polycarbonate filament takes a bit of heat to soften it up. But thats not to say its brittle when cold, far from it. This thermoplastic is also durable and takes quite a force to break it.If your printer can handle the heat, we think this is one material well worth keeping in your arsenal. Currently we only doPolycarbonate filament 1.75although were working on 3mm (2.85mm).

Polycarbonate (PC) is a very tough, hard plastic with a good impact resistance. To put that in context, this is the material used to layer with toughened glass to make bullet proof glass. Not all 3d printers can handle it though, because your hot-end needs to run at around 300C for it to print nicely.One of the benefits of such a high printing temperature though is its thermo-stability polycarbonate filament takes a bit of heat to soften it up. But thats not to say its brittle when cold, far from it. This thermoplastic is also durable and takes quite a force to break it.If your printer can handle the heat, we think this is one material well worth keeping in your arsenal. Currently we only doPolycarbonate filament 1.75although were working on 3mm (2.85mm).

Flexible filaments are any material that can be easily bent out of shape, and then returns to its original (post printed) shape once released. These are different, but share similarities to semi-flexible, extremely durable materials like PETG and Nylon.Flexi filaments have various vibration dampening, impact absorbing and shape restoring properties. Excellent uses involved model car tyres (or tank tracks), bouncy objects and custom printed stress balls but the uses are limitless.Theyre available in different hardnesss, often referred to on the Shore D hardness scale. Lower numbers are softer, and higher are firmer materials.It is commonly advised when 3D printing soft material to do so at half the usual speed, at least to start with. You may also want to check the extruder you use is compatible with flexible materials as some extruder designs can cause problems, especially with softer grades of flex.

Flexible PLA filament, or sometimes called Soft PLA is an all-natural Biopolymer. OK, so its not technically PLA but its similar, and biodegradable.Things to note with this material that providing you get a good quality version of it, the prints are exceptionally durable when printed. Layer adhesion is excellent (but then again, this is true with most high quality filaments), and when printed very thin the material is very flexible. Printed thick though and youve got something that keeps its shape well. Think a softer version of Nylon, as it shares some similar properties.One being that our Flexible PLA also has a low friction coefficient. OK so maybe not that great if youre printing car tyres for your Open Source RC Car project (unless you want a drift car) but it does make it easier to print with.See, on some printers that use a rear feeding extruder mechanism (like the Ultimaker series printers) they have to push the filament down the Bowden tube. With our low friction blend of biopolymer, it slides down the tube easier, and the filament is fed nice and consistently. A lot of flexible filaments can be like pushing string in some extruder setups, causing clogs and jams.One thing to note with all flexible printing filament though is to ensure that you print at a slower speed, depending on your printer.As youd expect with this flexible Ultimaker (and similar) compatible filament we do it in2.85mmand1.75mmand in a range of strong colours.

Flexible PLA filament, or sometimes called Soft PLA is an all-natural Biopolymer. OK, so its not technically PLA but its similar, and biodegradable.Things to note with this material that providing you get a good quality version of it, the prints are exceptionally durable when printed. Layer adhesion is excellent (but then again, this is true with most high quality filaments), and when printed very thin the material is very flexible. Printed thick though and youve got something that keeps its shape well. Think a softer version of Nylon, as it shares some similar properties.One being that our Flexible PLA also has a low friction coefficient. OK so maybe not that great if youre printing car tyres for your Open Source RC Car project (unless you want a drift car) but it does make it easier to print with.See, on some printers that use a rear feeding extruder mechanism (like the Ultimaker series printers) they have to push the filament down the Bowden tube. With our low friction blend of biopolymer, it slides down the tube easier, and the filament is fed nice and consistently. A lot of flexible filaments can be like pushing string in some extruder setups, causing clogs and jams.One thing to note with all flexible printing filament though is to ensure that you print at a slower speed, depending on your printer.As youd expect with this flexible Ultimaker (and similar) compatible filament we do it in2.85mmand1.75mmand in a range of strong colours.

ThermoPlastic Polyurethane, not to be confused with the more common TPE filament (ThermoPlastic Elastomer) is a serious multi-use flexible filament. TPU filament is the newer, lower shrinkage, higher chemical resistance, and higher abrasion resistance version of its TPE ancestor.With excellent layer adhesion and its slightly stretchy properties, TPU makes really durable end-use prints. Perfect for usable prototypes, or even the finished article. Its taken us a while to really perfect the formula we use, were now proud to offer TPU filament 1.75 in a range of colours. And soon, well be offering it in 2.85mm (fits 3.0mm) too.Please send in some pics of anything you make with this extremely versatile material its a filament weve personally had a lot of fun with.

ThermoPlastic Polyurethane, not to be confused with the more common TPE filament (ThermoPlastic Elastomer) is a serious multi-use flexible filament. TPU filament is the newer, lower shrinkage, higher chemical resistance, and higher abrasion resistance version of its TPE ancestor.With excellent layer adhesion and its slightly stretchy properties, TPU makes really durable end-use prints. Perfect for usable prototypes, or even the finished article. Its taken us a while to really perfect the formula we use, were now proud to offer TPU filament 1.75 in a range of colours. And soon, well be offering it in 2.85mm (fits 3.0mm) too.Please send in some pics of anything you make with this extremely versatile material its a filament weve personally had a lot of fun with.

Unfortunately 3D printers cant print in thin air. Support filaments are used when you need to print overhangs or bridges larger than a couple of cm wide (under this size you might be able to get away without using them). This keeps the underside of these areas neat and looking how they should do instead of drooping strands of filament coming down from underneath, had you printed without supports.Usually if youre printing a large or complex print, youll need some sort of support material. A lot of Slicers are good at creating supports from the same material youre printing with. The idea that these just snap off after printing. However this never really works exactly to plan, because although with increased accuracy of 3d printers has improved a lot recently, youll always have areas of residual unwanted material youll need to remove with sandpaper or a scalpel.And of course, if youre printing something where the supports might be hard to get to youll want something that easily breaks away without sticking too hard, or just dissolves when submersed in an appropriate liquid. Lets delve into these support 3D filament types, because this wouldnt be a great 3D printer filament guide without mentioning them!

High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) filament is often regarded as just a support material, which it works as very well. However it also works great as a standalone printing filament due to the fact its easy to print and generally regarded as quite strong and low warp. In fact, it will actually print nicely as a higher impact alternative to PLA.HIPS is a copolymer combining the hardness of polystyrene with the elasticity of polybutadiene rubber to create a high impact thermoplastic thats pretty tough and strong without the typical brittle properties. Its for this reason alone we feel HIPS filament is a really underrated 3d print material in its own right.As a support material, HIPS dissolves using Limonene solution which is an easily obtained solvent thats made from the skin of lemons. Once submerged for 24 hours, the HIPS will have dissolved and youll be left with the print with clean, crisp overhangs. HIPS is often used as a support filament for ABS due to its similar printing temperature.

High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) filament is often regarded as just a support material, which it works as very well. However it also works great as a standalone printing filament due to the fact its easy to print and generally regarded as quite strong and low warp. In fact, it will actually print nicely as a higher impact alternative to PLA.HIPS is a copolymer combining the hardness of polystyrene with the elasticity of polybutadiene rubber to create a high impact thermoplastic thats pretty tough and strong without the typical brittle properties. Its for this reason alone we feel HIPS filament is a really underrated 3d print material in its own right.As a support material, HIPS dissolves using Limonene solution which is an easily obtained solvent thats made from the skin of lemons. Once submerged for 24 hours, the HIPS will have dissolved and youll be left with the print with clean, crisp overhangs. HIPS is often used as a support filament for ABS due to its similar printing temperature.

Would you prefer a support material that dissolves in a solution you already have to hand? Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA) filament dissolves in water.With lower printing temperatures than HIPS, PVA is ideal for using as a support for lower temperature filaments. Its worth considering though its extremely hydroscopic that means youve got to keep it dry and sealed with desiccant to preserve it.Theres quite a bit worth noting when printing with PVA, so for more details well steer you towards our PVA guide here so you can get the best out of this material.

Would you prefer a support material that dissolves in a solution you already have to hand? Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA) filament dissolves in water.With lower printing temperatures than HIPS, PVA is ideal for using as a support for lower temperature filaments. Its worth considering though its extremely hydroscopic that means youve got to keep it dry and sealed with desiccant to preserve it.Theres quite a bit worth noting when printing with PVA, so for more details well steer you towards our PVA guide here so you can get the best out of this material.

This is our newest addition to the support filaments range. Its perhaps the easiest support to actually print with, and after your model is finished (as the name suggests) the support areas simply break away.Specially formulated to adhere well to your main print material when hot, but break off easily when cool this is for most people the best support to date. Leaving a smooth finished print, and not requiring submerging your model in any liquids for extended periods of time after printing.Wed recommend this support for all prints where you can access the required support areas. However if theres some support necessary deep inside a complex model you may prefer to use a soluble support.

This is our newest addition to the support filaments range. Its perhaps the easiest support to actually print wit.