What are some examples of flexible materials

Which material is suitable for 3D printing

PET and PETG filaments are known for their easy printability, smooth surface properties and water resistance.

PETG is a glycol modified version of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) that is commonly used to make water bottles.

It is a semi-rigid material with good impact strength, but has a slightly softer surface, which makes it prone to wear.

The material also benefits from its excellent thermal properties, which enable the plastic to cool efficiently and with almost negligible warpage.

There are several varieties of this material on the market including PETG, PETE, and PETT. The tips in this article apply to all of these PET-based filaments

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PET at a glance

Pros

  • shiny and smooth surface
  • good adhesion to the bed with negligible warpage
  • mostly odorless when printing

disadvantage

  • poor bridging properties
  • can create thin "hairs" on the surface through stringing

We recommend the following printer properties

  • Use of additional glue
  • Heated printing plate
  • Temperature range 230-250 ° C

Nylon is a tough and semi-flexible material that offers high impact and abrasion resistance. It's the ideal choice for printing durable parts.

Nylon (also called polyamide) is a popular material in the plastics industry, known for its toughness and flexibility.

Nylon filaments typically require extruder temperatures close to 250 ° C. However, some brands allow printing at temperatures up to 220ºC due to their chemical composition.
Many printers do not have a hotend that can safely reach 250ºC, so these low temperature versions can be useful and potentially save you the need to upgrade your hotend.

A major challenge with nylon filaments is that they are hygroscopic, i.e. they easily absorb moisture from their surroundings.

Printing nylon after it has absorbed moisture creates several print quality problems, so filament storage becomes very important and requires special attention.

Overview of nylon

Pros

  • robust and partially flexible
  • high impact resistance
  • no unpleasant smell when printing
  • good abrasion resistance

disadvantage

  • prone to warping
  • Airtight storage required to prevent water absorption
  • Incorrectly dried filaments can lead to printing errors
  • Not suitable for damp and wet environments

We recommend the following printer properties

  • Storage box
  • Heated printing plate
  • closed installation space
  • Temperature range 225-265 ° C

PVA is well known for its ability to dissolve in water and is often used as a substrate for complex prints.

PVA, or polyvinyl alcohol, is a soft and biodegradable polymer that is very sensitive to moisture.

When PVA is exposed to water, it actually dissolves, making it a very useful substrate for 3D printing.

When printing very complex shapes or those with partially closed cavities, PVA supports can be used and easily removed by dissolving in warm water. In such situations it may have been difficult to print on or remove standard mounts.

PVA can also be used as a model material when rapid prototypes need to be made.

PVA at a glance

Pros

  • great water soluble carrier material
  • no special solvents required
  • no additional hardware required

disadvantage

  • sensitive to moisture
  • airtight storage container required
  • greater risk of clogging if the nozzle stays hot and does not extrude
  • expensive

We recommend the following printer properties

  • Storage box
  • Support on building board e.g. scotch tape
  • Temperature range 185-200 ° C

There are filaments on the market that are enriched with different materials such as wood, cork or even metal

Wood filaments are typically a composite that combines a PLA base material with wood dust, cork, and other powdered wood-based materials.
Usually the filament is made up of around 30% wood particles, but the exact amount may vary by brand.

The addition of these particles gives the 3D printed parts the aesthetics of real wood. This filament is also less abrasive than other composite filaments, such as carbon fiber-filled and metal-filled ones, as wood particles are much softer.
There are some wood-like filaments on the market that only contain wood colors but no actual wood particles, so these typically have an entirely different look and feel.

Metal-filled filaments are made by blending a fine metal powder into a base material, which creates a unique metallic finish and added weight.

Metal-filled filaments contain very fine metal powders such as copper, bronze, brass and stainless steel. The percentage of metal powder that is poured into each filament can vary depending on the manufacturer.

The presence of this metal powder makes the filament much heavier than conventional plastics. This means that the parts printed with metal-filled PLA weigh significantly more than the standard PLAs despite the same settings and the same material consumption.

Metal-filled filaments also tend to be very abrasive as they are extruded through the hotend.

A standard brass nozzle is too soft and wears out quickly. In order to be able to print this filament effectively, you should definitely convert to a wear-resistant nozzle.

There are other metal-like filaments on the market that can only have a metallic color added to the filament. These filaments don't contain real metal powder, so they don't have many of the same benefits as real metal filaments.

Pros in general

  • The surface is aesthetically pleasing
  • Aromatic and pleasantly fragrant

Disadvantages in general

  • smaller nozzles can lead to partial clogging over time
  • sometimes requires a wear-resistant nozzle
  • prone to stringing

We would like to exchange ideas with you.
Please give us your feedback or comment on our article, we hope you enjoy all of your projects.

Be creative - from virtual to real

Whether you have a 3D printer for model construction, for making prototypes
or need to make jewelry,
at JUST3DP you are sure to find what you are looking for.

If you would like purchase advice,
please contact our competent consultants,

by email at [email protected]

or call us on +49 (0) 7141 9732 003.