3D Printer Filament Types and Uses

3D printers use materials called filaments, and we have created a list of all the different types of filaments.
Carbon Fiber, Metal, Wood, Magnetic, Conductive, PLA, ABS, PETG, NYLON, are some examples of materials we go through.

If you are going to buy material (filament) for 3D Printers , it is good to know and learn the properties of the different materials.

What is filament?

Filament is the raw material that 3D Printers use to create a 3D model.
Want to learn what filament is, what sizes it is, and how it works in a 3D Printer?
We recommend that you read: “What is filament?” .

If you want to dive straight into the properties of each filament / material for 3D printers, just keep reading.

Which filament brand should you buy?

We recommend filaments from our top list based on customers ‘and users’ own reviews and reviews: “Best PLA Filament for 3D Printers” .

We have compiled a comprehensive list of all the important details and properties of each material (filament) for 3D printers .
The list includes the most common materials such as PLA, ABS, PETG or NYLON, but also the more exclusive materials such as CARBON FIBER, LIGHTING, METAL, CERAMIC, or WOOD.

Here you will learn what each material (filament) is made of, the most common areas of use, and their most common properties.
You will also learn the advantages and disadvantages of each material.

You can easily compare and see which filament is best suited before a purchase!

The list is continuously updated.

We have divided the materials into four sections:

  • Standard Filament
  • Flexible Filament
  • Support Filament
  • Special Filament

STANDARD FILAMENT

COMPARISON OF FILAMENT
PLA

PLA (Polylactic Acid) is one of the most common filament materials for 3D printers on the market today (the other is ABS filament) and for good reason – PLA has a very wide range of uses, is odorless, has low warping ability and does not require a heated building board. PLA filament is also 100% degradable, recyclable and made from renewable resources such as corn starch. These are just some of the benefits of PLA plastic.

PLA Filament is available in sizes 1.75mm, 2.85mm and 3.0mm, as well as in different colors.

PLA FILAMENT SCOPE

PLA filament is a rigid and at the same time fragile material that is used mainly in “low-to-medium stress” environments, decorations, prototypes, etc.
Outside of 3D printing, PLA is widely used in candy-paper and biodegradable medical implants.

PLA FILAMENT PROPERTIES

  • – Stiff, strong and slightly brittle
  • – Easy to print
  • – Does not require heated building board
  • – Environmentally friendly
  • – Not suitable for outdoor climate or high stress

COMPARISON OF FILAMENT
ABS

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) is another very common filament for 3D printers. Unlike PLA, ABS is more suitable for functional products, or products that must withstand outdoor climates and higher temperatures.

ABS also has good finishing properties – for example, you can get a glossy surface on the 3D print with acetone.

ABS filaments require a 3D printer that has a heated building board, as this material needs to cool down slowly to avoid problems. It is also necessary to be careful with the toxic gases that are created when printing, and thus need good ventilation.

ABS Filament is available in sizes 1.75mm, 2.85mm and 3.0mm, as well as in different colors.

ABS FILAMENT SCOPE

This material is quite strong, stress resistant and withstands high temperatures better than PLA.
Outside of 3D printing, ABS filaments are widely used in everyday things such as mobile phone cases, toys, keyboards etc.

ABS FILAMENT PROPERTIES

  • – Pretty strong
  • – Can be used outdoors and in high temperatures
  • – Good finishing properties
  • – Requires heated building board
  • – Requires good ventilation
  • – Slightly more difficult than PLA to print

COMPARISON OF FILAMENT
PLA + / PLA PRO

PLA + or PLA PLUS or PLA PRO is a PLA filament for 3D printers that has the same good properties as PLA, but with less fragility and more intense color shade. This color shade is difficult to see in pictures, but once you have printed out your 3D model, you can see a fairly obvious difference compared to regular PLA. This material is actually plain PLA, but with additives.

PLA + Filament is available in sizes 1.75mm, 2.85mm and 3.0mm, as well as in different colors.

PLA + FILAMENT SCOPE

PLA + filament is a popular material used in “low-to-medium stress” environments, decorations, prototypes, etc.

PLA + FILAMENT PROPERTIES

  • – Stiff, strong, not as fragile as PLA
  • – Easy to print
  • – Does not require heated building board
  • – Environmentally friendly
  • – Not suitable for outdoor climate or high stress

COMPARISON OF FILAMENT
ABS + / ABS PRO

ABS + or ABS PLUS or ABS PRO is an ABS filament for 3D printers that is stronger than ordinary ABS, and is mainly used when 3D printing and the product require extra stress resistance and strength. This material is made of ordinary ABS, but with additives.

ABS + Filament is available in sizes 1.75mm, 2.85mm and 3.0mm, as well as in different colors.

ABS + FILAMENT SCOPE

ABS + plastic filaments are used in high-stress environments, outdoors or indoors, which should also be able to withstand fairly high temperatures.

ABS + FILAMENT PROPERTIES

  • – Pretty strong
  • – Can be used outdoors and in high temperatures
  • – Requires heated building board
  • – Requires good ventilation
  • – Slightly more difficult than PLA to print

COMPARISON OF FILAMENT
NYLON

NYLON (Polyamide or PA) is a very strong filament material for 3D printers that can handle very many applications. It is one of the strongest filaments for 3D printers, and is very suitable for high-stress functional products, and products that will withstand a lot. The disadvantage is that it is quite difficult to print with if you are not experienced, and that this material is hygroscopic, which means that it absorbs moisture from the air very easily. Therefore, you also need to keep the coil free from moisture, in a dry and preferably slightly colder space.

NYLON Filament is available in sizes 1.75mm, 2.85mm and 3.0mm, as well as in different colors.

NYLON FILAMENT SCOPE

NYLON filaments are used for high-stress 3D prints, such as functional prototypes, where strength and flexibility are requirements of the product.

Outside of 3D printing, NYLON is very well used in the textile industry. If you print NYLON thinly, it will be flexible and yet strong.

NYLON FILAMENT PROPERTIES

  • – Very strong
  • – Handle stress
  • Requires heated plate
  • – Risk of warp
  • – Hygroscopic
  • – Requires a little more effort for good results

COMPARISON OF PETG
/ PET / PETT FILAMENT

PET-G (Polyethylene Terephthalate + Glycol) is a popular filament in 3D printing. The material is basically from the plastic PET, but with a modification with glycol. PET plastic is the most common plastic material globally, best known for use in plastic bottles or in food containers. This material is thus liquid-repellent and FDA approved, which makes it possible to use this material for food-consumption products. In addition to PETG filaments, there are also PET and PETT filaments, although they are not as common. PET or PETT filaments are mainly used if you need high transparency in the product.

PET plastic is not degradable, however, it is recyclable.

PETG Filament is available in sizes 1.75mm, 2.85mm and 3.0mm, as well as in different colors.

PETG / PET / PETT FILAMENT SCOPE

This material is quite strong, stress resistant and withstands high temperatures better than PLA.
Outside of 3D printing, ABS filaments are widely used in everyday things such as mobile phone cases, toys, keyboards etc.

PETG FILAMENT PROPERTIES

  • – Pretty strong
  • – Handle stress
  • – Water repellent + FDA approved
  • – Requires heated building board
  • – Requires high print temperatures
  • – Requires a little more effort for good results

COMPARISON OF FILAMENT
ASA

ASA (Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate) is very similar to ABS plastic, but with one difference, it can withstand UV light. This means that the plastic does not crack, or become discolored, when it is out in the sun. ASA filament as said very similar to ABS, and can be used in the same work areas. A clear difference is that the fan of the 3D printer should be turned down so that the cooling takes place very slowly, as ASA plastic can crack during rapid cooling.

ASA Filament is available in sizes 1.75mm, 2.85mm and 3.0mm, as well as in different colors.

ASA FILAMENT SCOPE

ASA material is quite strong, stress resistant and can withstand high temperatures just like ABS does, but with the difference that this material can also withstand UV light.

ASA FILAMENT PROPERTIES

  • – Pretty strong
  • – Can be used outdoors and in high temperatures
  • – UV resistant
  • – Good finishing properties
  • – Requires heated building board
  • – Requires good ventilation
  • – Slow cooling is required
  • – Slightly more difficult than PLA to print

COMPARISON OF FILAMENT
PP

PP (PolyPropylene) is a filament with flexible properties and is widely used in food boxes and packaging. This filament is extremely moisture sensitive and needs to be dehumidified in a separate process before 3D printing. It is also extremely difficult to print with this filament, as it easily warps and has poor adhesion.

PP Filament is available in sizes 1.75mm, 2.85mm and 3.0mm, as well as in different colors.

PP FILAMENT SCOPE

PP plastic is used today in lunch boxes, and also some flexible products that are also functional, such as plastic lids that you snap up.

PP FILAMENT PROPERTIES

  • – Can be used for food containers
  • – Pretty strong
  • – Semi-flexible
  • – Requires heated building board
  • – Very hygroscopic
  • – Difficult to print with
  • – Poor adhesion

COMPARISON OF FILAMENT
PC

PC (Polycarbonate) is the strongest filament for 3D printers in this list. This material is used in areas where the products have high demands on temperatures or physical strength. PC filament is transparent, and the material is used, for example, in bulletproof glass or plastic visors for helmets. This material should not be confused with plexiglass or acrylic glass, which breaks and cracks under stress.

PC filament is hygroscopic and easily absorbs water from the air.

PC Filament is available in sizes 1.75mm, 2.85mm and 3.0mm, as well as in different colors.

PC FILAMENT SCOPE

PC filaments are used where you have high demands on physical strength and / or temperatures, for example for parts for drones or radio-controlled cars.

Outside of 3D printing, this material is used for bulletproof glass, plastic visors for helmets, etc.

PC FILAMENT PROPERTIES

  • – Very strong and somewhat flexible.
  • – Withstands temperatures up to about 110 degrees
  • – Semi-flexible
  • – Requires heated building board
  • – Hygroscopic
  • – Requires slow cooling

 

FLEXIBLE FILAMENT

FILAMENT FLEXIBLE PLA / FLEX-PLA COMPARISON
COMPARISON

FLEXIBLE PLA for 3D printers is used when more flexibility is needed than what regular PLA offers. Also called soft-PLA. This material is suitable if, for example, you want to print parts for your radio-controlled car such as bumpers, wheels, or if you just want to print a mobile cover.

FLEX-PLA Filament is available in sizes 1.75mm, 2.85mm and 3.0mm, as well as in different colors.

FLEX-PLA FILAMENT SCOPE

Flexible PLA filament is used at times where ordinary PLA is too stiff, and you need more flexibility. The less infill you use, the more flexible 3D printing becomes.

FLEX-PLA FILAMENT PROPERTIES

  • – Strong and somewhat flexible
  • – Easy to print
  • – Does not require heated building board
  • – Not suitable for outdoor climate / high temperatures

COMPARISON OF FILAMENT
TPU

TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) filament for 3D printers is an elastic oil and grease-repellent plastic that is widely used in industries for its good properties. This material is durable, and is also not very difficult to print. This plastic material should not be confused with TPE or TPC, which you can read about below. It can be said that the predecessor to this material was TPE.

TPU Filament is available in sizes 1.75mm, 2.85mm and 3.0mm, as well as in different colors.

TPU FILAMENT SCOPE

TPU filaments are used in 3D prints where elasticity and durability are important. Examples of applications can be covers for mobile phones, wheels for RC cars, or the like.

Outside of 3D printing, this material is widely used for everything that needs to be elastic and durable, such as instrument panels in cars, drive belts, soles for shoes or inflatable boats.

TPU FILAMENT PROPERTIES

  • – Elastic and durable / strong
  • – Easy to print
  • – Most often preferred over TPE / TPC
  • – Heated building board preferred
  • – Slow printing required
  • – Slow cooling

COMPARISON OF FILAMENT
TPE

TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer) is a plastic material that is actually the precursor to TPU, or rather that TPU is a kind of TPE, you could also say. TPE filaments are softer than TPU, which means that not all 3D printers can print with these filaments as it often gets stuck in the extruder. In addition, TPE has a higher degree of shrinkage and wears faster than TPU. All of these characteristics mean that TPU is actually preferred over TPE.

TPE Filament is available in sizes 1.75mm, 2.85mm and 3.0mm, as well as in different colors.

TPE FILAMENT SCOPE

TPE filaments can be used to create flexible products such as bracelets, mobile phone cases, plastic bushings or anything else that can withstand stress and high elasticity.

TPE FILAMENT PROPERTIES

  • – Elastic and durable / strong
  • – Heated building board preferred
  • – Slow printing required
  • – Slow cooling
  • – Soft – Not all 3D printers can handle it

COMPARISON OF FILAMENT
TPC

TPC (Thermoplastic copolyester) is also a flexible filament based on TPE. This material is slightly stiffer than TPE, and is not so common in 3D printers, but despite that, the material is there. It is worth noting that TPU is usually chosen before both TPE and TPC as this material usually covers the requirements that TPE and TPC can meet, and more in addition.

TPC Filament is available in sizes 1.75mm, 2.85mm and 3.0mm, as well as in different colors.

TPC FILAMENT SCOPE

TPC filaments are used in products that require higher impact resistance than ordinary TPE can handle, but at the same time want the plastic’s elastic properties to remain.

TPC FILAMENT PROPERTIES

  • – Elastic and durable / strong
  • – A little more impact resistant than TPE
  • – Heated building board preferred
  • – Slow printing required
  • – Slow cooling
  • – Soft – Not all 3D printers can handle it

 

SUPPORT FILAMENT

COMPARISON OF FILAMENT
HIPS

HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene) is a plastic material that is most often used as support for other filaments, as HIPS can be dissolved in the “limonene”. For example, you cannot print in thin air, and some structures require support to be held up while the product is being printed. That’s when HIPS comes into the picture. This filament has good properties that are quite similar to ABS, for example very similar printing temperatures, which means that ABS and HIPS are often used together. Another reason why ABS and HIPS are used together is that the “limonene” destroys / dissolves other plastics, which means that HIPS is limited to ABS mainly.

HIPS Filament is available in sizes 1.75mm, 2.85mm and 3.0mm, as well as in different colors.

HIPS FILAMENT SCOPE

HIPS filaments are mainly used with 3D printers that have dual-extruder, as a support material for ABS filaments most commonly. You can easily dissolve HIPS with so-called “limonene” which means that only the ABS plastic remains.

HIPS FILAMENT PROPERTIES

  • – Same print settings as ABS
  • – Dissolves in substances such as limonene
  • – Requires heated building board
  • – Dual extruder required

COMPARISON OF FILAMENT
PVA

PVA (Polyvinyl Alcohol) is another plastic material for 3D printers that is mainly used as a support material. PVA is water soluble, which means that this filament must be kept dry before printing. When printing with PLA filaments, it is very convenient to use PVA as a support filament because they have very similar printing settings. It can be said that PVA + PLA work well together, in the same way that HIPS + ABS work well together.

PVA Filament is available in sizes 1.75mm, 2.85mm and 3.0mm, as well as in different colors.

PVA FILAMENT SCOPE

PVA filaments are mainly used with 3D printers that have dual-extruder, as a support material for PLA prints. After printing, the PVA is easily dissolved by exposing the print to water.

PVA FILAMENT PROPERTIES

  • – Same print settings as PLA
  • – Dissolves in water
  • – Does not require heated plate
  • – Must be kept completely dry
  • – Dual extruder requirements

 

SPECIAL FILAMENT

COMPARISON OF FILAMENT
WOOD

Wood filament is a special filament used to give the product a wood-like appearance. This plastic material is actually PLA plastic, with additives of various types of wood. There are many different wood filaments on the market today, which are actually different amounts of added wood and different types of wood. Types of wood that have been converted into filaments are, for example, maple, cedar, bamboo, cork, or olive wood. It is important that you do not print in too high temperatures as the wood can burn and the printout will usually be slightly dark, and that you remove filaments from the 3D printer after use, as it can start to burn if it remains in the same place next to it. heated nozzle.

WOOD Filament is available in sizes 1.75mm, 2.85mm and 3.0mm, as well as in different types of wood.

WOOD FILAMENT SCOPE

Wood filaments are mainly used where appearance is of high importance, such as decorations, bowls, figures or the like. Another well-used area is in models for architectures.

WOOD FILAMENT PROPERTIES

  • – Does not require heated plate
  • – Stiff, strong, and slightly brittle
  • – Easy to print
  • – Burn marks from extruder temp
  • – Not suitable for outdoor climate or high stress

COMPARISON OF FILAMENT
METAL

Metal filament is a special filament used to give the product a metal-like appearance. This plastic material is actually PLA or ABS plastic, with additives of different metals, in different amounts. The amounts vary, but usually 50% metal, 50% PLA or ABS, but there are also as high as 85% metal. The metal powder that is added is usually from bronze, copper, aluminum, stainless steel, or brass. You will notice that the nozzle on 3D printers will need to be replaced fairly soon with frequent use of metal filaments as these fibers corrode the nozzles.

Metal filaments can, just like metal, be polished after printing, to give a slightly more shiny effect, or a more metallic appearance.

METAL Filaments are available in sizes 1.75mm, 2.85mm and 3.0mm, as well as in different metals.

METAL FILAMENT SCOPE

Metal filaments are mainly used where appearance is of high importance, statues, models, toys, figures or the like.

METAL FILAMENT PROPERTIES

Since METAL can be ABS or PLA basically, the properties vary depending on which it is. We refer to either ABS or PLA for properties.
Do not forget to be careful with the nozzles.

COMPARISON OF FILAMENT
CERAMICS / Clay

Clay – These filaments are a mix of polymer and soil materials such as clay / ceramics. This material is an exciting and different addition to other plastic materials, and just like ceramics, an oven is needed to finish the 3D print.

Ceramic Filament is available in sizes 1.75mm, 2.85mm and 3.0mm, as well as in different colors.

Clay / CERAMIC FILAMENT SCOPE

Clay or CERAMIC filament is suitable if you want to create ceramics with a 3D printer, as this material can be treated in basically the same way as ordinary ceramics, with treatment in an oven etc.

CLAY / CERAMIC FILAMENT PROPERTIES

  • – Pretty easy to print
  • – Does not require heated building board
  • – Bake in the oven at about 270 degrees after printing

COMPARISON OF FILAMENT
CARBON FIBER

Carbon fiber filament is a material that is becoming more and more popular for really strong applications, which should be rigid and not bend. Carbon fiber filaments are not 100% carbon fiber, but usually have a different base such as PLA, ABS, PETG or NYLON. Since carbon fiber is a very light and strong material, it also eats away at the nozzles very quickly, already as fast as 300 grams can make a noticeable difference on a regular nozzle for 3D printers. Therefore, you should possibly buy stronger nozzles when using these materials.

Carbon Fiber Filament is available in sizes 1.75mm, 2.85mm and 3.0mm.

CARBON FILAMENT FIELD OF APPLICATION

Carbon fiber filaments are widely used in products that should not bend, be strong and rigid, while being lightweight. Examples are propellers, drone components, model aircraft.

CARBON FIBER FILAMENT PROPERTIES

Since CARBON fiber filaments have different base plastics such as PLA, ABS, PETG or NYLON, refer to these for more properties.

  • – Strong
  • – Light
  • – Eat the nozzle

COMPARISON OF FILAMENT
SELF-LIGHTING

Luminous filaments are basically PLA or ABS plastic, and are just as it sounds, luminous. This material is a fun filament that can be used to make toys or similar for the children’s room, or why not an exciting doll with luminous eyes. Luminous filaments can corrode the nozzle, which can be good to know.

Luminous Filaments are available in sizes 1.75mm, 2.85mm and 3.0mm, as well as different colors.

Luminous FILAMENT SCOPE

Luminous filaments are often used in toys or other things for children’s rooms, such as stars that can be attached to the wall or ceiling. This filament is especially popular as Halloween approaches.

Luminous FILAMENT PROPERTIES

Since Luminous filaments have different base plastics such as PLA or ABS, refer to these for more properties.

  • – Lights in the dark, luminous effect
  • – Pretty easy to print
  • – Eat the nozzle a little

COMPARISON OF COLOR
CHANGE FILAMENT

Color-changing filaments are basically PLA or ABS. These filaments change color depending on temperature. The material usually changes between two different colors, for example blue to green, or yellow to green.

Color-changing filaments are available in sizes 1.75mm, 2.85mm and 3.0mm, as well as different colors.

COLOR CHANGING FILAMENT SCOPE

Color-changing filaments can be used when looking to spice up the product with an odd finish. Since this filament is relatively easy to print with, it can be fun for various experiments, or for children’s toys.

COLOR DIFFERENT FILAMENT PROPERTIES

Since COLOR CHANGE filaments have different base plastics such as PLA or ABS, refer to these for more properties.

  • – Changes color depending on temperature
  • – Pretty easy to print

COMPARISON OF MAGNETIC
FILAMENTS

Magnetic filament is an additional special filament made of iron, mixed with a base of PLA or ABS most commonly. The filament itself is not a magnet, but the mixture of the iron gives properties that make the product attach to magnets.

Magnetic Filaments are available in sizes 1.75mm, 2.85mm and 3.0mm, as well as different colors.

MAGNETIC FILAMENT SCOPE

Magnetic filaments are an exciting variant of the other filaments, which can be used to create magnetic properties in a product. You can also easily get rust-like effects on 3D printing with a few simple steps.

MAGNETIC FILAMENT PROPERTIES

Since MAGNETIC filaments have different base plastics such as PLA or ABS, refer to these for more properties.

  • – Magnets attach to this material
  • – Iron based
  • – Pretty easy to print
  • – Eat the nozzle a little

COMPARATIVE FILAMENT
CONDUCTIVE

Conductive filament is a special filament for applications that need to be able to be live, such as low-voltage and low-current circuits. This material is best used by a 3D printer that has dual-extruder technology, together with PLA, because conductive filaments adhere very well to PLA.

Conductive Filaments are available in sizes 1.75mm, 2.85mm and 3.0mm.

CONDUCTIVE FILAMENT SCOPE

Conductive filaments are mainly used in conjunction with PLA to create low-current and low-voltage circuits. Examples could be creating LED circuits, connecting sensors, or keyboards.

CONDUCTIVE FILAMENT PROPERTIES

  • – Good support material for power supply
  • – Same print settings as PLA
  • – May require heated building board
  • – Dual extruder for support

COMPARISON OF FILAMENT
POM

POM (Polyoxymethylene), also referred to as Acetal or Delrin, is a well-known plastic material for use in functional parts such as gears, moving parts, or that require high precision. The reason for using POM filaments instead of, for example, NYLON or PETG is that POM has a very low coefficient of friction, which makes it ideal for these types of 3D prints. POM is also very durable, rigid, and strong.

POM Filament is available in sizes 1.75mm, 2.85mm and 3.0mm.

POM FILAMENT SCOPE

POM filament is a quality filament for precision prototypes, mainly for functional moving parts such as gears or other, where a very low coefficient of friction is required.

POM FILAMENT PROPERTIES

  • – Very low friction
  • – Strong and wear-resistant
  • – Requires heated building board
  • – Difficult adhesion

COMPARISON OF FILAMENT
PMMA

PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate) is more common than you think, because it is the same material used in plexiglass or also called acrylic glass. This material can be transparent, and just like acrylic glass, it is very fragile and can not bend very much.

PMMA Filament is available in sizes 1.75mm, 2.85mm and 3.0mm, as well as in different colors.

PMMA FILAMENT SCOPE

PMMA filament is an alternative if you want transparent things like glass, but still not as fragile as glass is.

PMMA FILAMENT PROPERTIES

  • – High transparency
  • – Requires heated building board
  • – Requires high temperatures when printing
  • – Requires slow cooling

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