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The Best 3D Printing Filaments 2021

Image 3D Printing Materials

For 3D printing, one thing is essential: filament.

But meanwhile there are numerous materials and therefore some factors you have to consider for your project. This article will help you choose the right 3D printing material.

As a beginner, choosing the right filament can be overwhelming. In order to choose the right synthetic, it is helpful to know their differences. In addition to a wide range of colours, the choice of the right material renders the decision more difficult. Besides the common PLA and ABS filaments, there are now numerous other materials such as TPU, PETG, Nylon and CPE.

These materials have different properties which produce different benefits, but also present obstacles.

In the following we take a look at the most common 3D printing filaments, so that you can find out which material best suits your project. Alternatively, you can simply watch our YouTube video.

1. PLA filament:

Polylactic acid (short: PLA) is a biodegradable synthetic from renewable ressources such as sugar cane or corn starch. It can be decomposed in industrial composting plants. Outside 3D printing, PLA is mainly used as a packaging material. PLA filaments are perfect for all newcomers to 3D printing, as they are easy to print and are therefore less prone to errors. However, the material can break quickly if it is bent, twisted or subjected to vibrations.

  • Advantages: biologically compostable, available in many colours from many manufacturers, very easy to print
  • Disadvantages: brittle, average durability
Printing temperature: 190 – 220 °C / 374-428°F
Recommended printing bed temperature: 20 - 60 °C (optional)
Recommended printing speed: 50 - 100 mm/s
Difficulty level: easy
Durability: average
Flexibility: low
Shrinkage and distortion behaviour: minimal
Soluble: no
Food safe: partly, see manufacturer's data
Price: 20 - 30 €/kg (mostly on 1kg spools)
Recommendable PLA filament: JANBEX PLA 1.75 mm 1kg
Printing temperature:190 – 220 °C / 374-428°F
Recommended printing bed temperature:20 - 60 °C (optional)
Recommended printing speed:50 - 100 mm/s
Difficulty level:easy
Durability:average
Flexibility:low
Shrinkage and distortion behaviour:minimal
Soluble:no
Food safe:partly, see manufacturer's data
Price:20 - 30 €/kg (mostly on 1kg spools)
Recommendable PLA filament:JANBEX PLA 1.75 mm 1kg

2. ABS filament:

Picture filament: ABS cube

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (short: ABS) is a petroleum-based synthetic. It is used, for example, for vehicle interiors, crash helmets and toys (e.g. Lego). Components made of ABS material have a high stability and heat resistance. However, the warpage and a high printing temperature must be taken into account for ABS printing.

  • Advantages: high durability and temperature resistance, very good value
  • Disadvantages: strong warpage, high printing temperature required, develops hazardous vapours (do not use in unventilated living spaces)
Printing temperature:210 – 240 °C / 410-464°F
Recommended printing bed temperature:110 – 125 °C / 230-257°F
Recommended printing speed:50 - 100 mm/s
Difficulty level:medium
Durability:high
Flexibility:low
Shrinkage and distortion behaviour:high
Soluble:in acetone, esters and ketones
Food safe:no
Price:15 - 25 €/kg (mostly on 1kg spools)
Recommended ABS filament:SUNLU ABS 1.75 mm 1kg
Printing temperature:210 – 240 °C / 410-464°F
Recommended printing bed temperature:110 – 125 °C / 230-257°F
Recommended printing speed:50 - 100 mm/s
Difficulty level:medium
Durability:high
Flexibility:low
Shrinkage and distortion behaviour:high
Soluble:in acetone, esters and ketones
Food safe:no
Price:15 - 25 €/kg (mostly on 1kg spools)
Recommended value ABS filament:SUNLU ABS 1.75 mm 1kg

3. PETG filament:

Picture Filament: PETG bottle

Polyethylene terephthalate (short: PET) is the most popular synthetic in the world. You may know it from its use in water bottles. However, PET is also used in textile fibres or food containers.

While PET is hardly used in 3D printing, PETG can be printed. The "G" stands for the modification with glycol. This ensures that the PETG material is less brittle and therefore more suitable for 3D printing. In addition, the material has a high resistance to weathering, which, for example, makes it perfect for garden objects.

  • Advantages: easy to print, flexible and durable
  • Disadvantages: absorbs moisture (spools must therefore be stored airtight)
Printing temperature: 220 – 250 °C
Recommended printing bed temperature: 50 - 80 °C (recommended)
Recommended printing speed: 40-50 mm/s
Difficulty level: low
Durability: high
Flexibility: medium
Shrinkage and distortion behaviour: minimal
Soluble: no
Food safe: partly, see manufacturer's data
Price: 20 - 30 €/kg (mostly on 1kg spools)
Recommended PETG filament: SUNLU PETG 1.75 mm 1kg
Printing temperature:220 – 250 °C
Recommended printing bed temperature:50 - 80 °C (recommended)
Recommended printing speed:40-50 mm/s
Difficulty level:low
Durability:high
Flexibility:medium
Shrinkage and distortion behaviour:minimal
Soluble:no
Food safe:partly, see manufacturer's data
Price:20 - 30 €/kg (mostly on 1kg spools)
Recommended PETG filament:SUNLU PETG 1.75 mm 1kg
 

4. CPE filament:

Copolyester (short: CPE) is a new type of 3D printing material which is also based on PET. It is resistant to chemicals, robust and has a good form stability. The main advantage over ABS filament is the low warpage, which is why it is easier to use.

  • Advantages: low material distortion with very high durability
  • Disadvantages: high printing temperatures required, new type of filament (high price and only available from a few manufacturers)
Printing temperature:250-265 °C
Recommended printing bed temperature:70 - 95 °C (necessary)
Recommended printing speed:40 mm/s
Difficulty level:medium
Durability:particularly high
Flexibility:medium
Shrinkage and distortion behaviour:low
Soluble:no
Food safe:no
Price:50 - 60 €/kg (mostly on 750g spools)
Recommended CPE filament:Fillamentum CPE 1.75 mm 750g
Printing temperature:250-265 °C
Recommended printing bed temperature:70 - 95 °C (necessary)
Recommended printing speed:40 mm/s
Difficulty level:medium
Durability:particularly high
Flexibility:medium
Shrinkage and distortion behaviour:low
Soluble:no
Food safe:no
Price:50 - 60 €/kg (mostly on 750g spools)
Recommended CPE filament:Fillamentum CPE 1.75 mm 750g

5. TPU filament:

The days when 3D printers could only produce rigid and inflexible objects are over. A variety of flexible printing materials is now available.

The most popular of them is thermoplastic polyurethane (short: TPU). TPU filament differs from other flexible materials in that it is slightly less elastic, but is significantly easier to print.

The challenge in flexible filament, however, is that your printer has to meet certain requirements. It is best if the material supply is located directly above the print head. If you are unsure, check the manual of your printer or ask the manufacturer.

  • Advantages: very high flexibility, perfectly suited for bendable objects
  • Disadvantages: not printable with every 3D printer: direct filament supply and slow printing speed required
Printing temperature: 190 – 230 °C
Recommended printing bed temperature: 20 - 50 °C (optional)
Recommended printing speed: 25 - 30 mm/s
Difficulty level: medium
Durability: particularly high
Flexibility: particularly high
Shrinkage and distortion behaviour: minimal
Soluble: in acids and alcohols
Food safe: no
Price: 35 - 50 €/kg (mostly on 500g spools)
Recommended TPU filament: EVRYONE TPU 1.75 mm 500g
Printing temperature:190 – 230 °C
Recommended printing bed temperature:20 - 50 °C (optional)
Recommended printing speed:25 - 30 mm/s
Difficulty level:medium
Durability:particularly high
Flexibility:particularly high
Shrinkage and distortion behaviour:minimal
Soluble:in acids and alcohols
Food safe:no
Price:35 - 50 €/kg (mostly on 500g spools)
Recommended TPU filament:EVRYONE TPU 1.75 mm 500g

6. Nylon filament:

Picture Filament: Nylon

Nylon filament virtually meets all the requirements that are important in 3D printing. The material is very strong, flexible and extremely durable.

This makes it particularly suitable for you if you want to create components with high stability, flexibility and durability. It is best suited for functional models, tools or mechanical components such as buckles or hinges.

Advantages: high durability, stability and flexibility

Disadvantages: absorbs moisture (spools must therefore be stored airtight), high printing temperatures required

Printing temperature: 240 – 260 °C
Recommended printing bed temperature: 70 - 100 °C (necessary)
Recommended printing speed: 40 - 60 mm/s
Difficulty level: medium
Durability: high
Flexibility: high
Shrinkage and distortion behaviour: high
Soluble: no
Food safe: partly, see manufacturer's data
Price: 25 - 40 €/kg (mostly on 1kg spools)
Recommended Nylon Filament: TRONXY Nylon 1.75 mm 1kg
Printing temperature:240 – 260 °C
Recommended printing bed temperature:70 - 100 °C (necessary)
Recommended printing speed:40 - 60 mm/s
Difficulty level:medium
Durability:high
Flexibility:high
Shrinkage and distortion behaviour:high
Soluble:no
Food safe:partly, see manufacturer's data
Price:25 - 40 €/kg (mostly on 1kg spools)
Recommended Nylon Filament:TRONXY Nylon 1.75 mm 1kg

As you can see, there is now a suitable filament for almost every application. I hope that I have made your decision a little easier with this article.

What filament are you using? Which experiences have you already gained from it? I am looking forward to your comment.

Note: I have given all information above with my best conscience. Nevertheless, it remains recommendations. Exact temperature and speed values can be found on the packaging of the respective filament.

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