3D printing filament

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3D printing filament in different colours with models created using the filament.

3D printing filament is the thermoplastic feedstock for fused deposition modeling 3D printers. There are many types of filament available with different properties, requiring different temperatures to print.[1] Filament is available in two standard diameters; 1.75 and 2.85 mm/3 mm.[2]

Production[edit]

Commercially produced filament[edit]

Stacks of commercially produced filament which have been shrink-wrapped to protect the filament from moisture.

3D printing filament is created using a process of heating, extruding and cooling plastic to transform nurdles into the finished product. Unlike a 3D printer the filament is pulled rather than pushed through the nozzle to create the filament, the diameter of the filament is defined by the process that takes place after the plastic has been heated rather than the diameter of the extruder nozzle. A different force and speed is applied to the filament as it is pulled out of the extruder to define the width of the filament, most commonly 1.75 mm or 3 mm diameter.[3]

The plastic nurdles are always white or clear. Pigments or other additives are added to the material before it is melted to created coloured filament or filament with special properties, e.g. increased strength or magnetic properties. Before the filament is extruded the nurdels are heated to 80°C to reduce water content. From there the nurdles are fed into a single screw extruder where it is heated and extruded into a filament.[3] The diameter is often measured by a laser as part of a quality control mechanism to ensure correct diameter of the filament. The filament is then fed through a warm water tank which cools the filament which gives the filament its round shape. The filament is then fed through a cold water tank to cool it to room temperature. It is then wound onto a spool to create the finished product.[3]

DIY filament production[edit]

DIY filament production machines use the same method as FDM 3D printers of pushing the filament through the extruder to create the correct diameter filament. There are several DIY filament machines available as both open source plans and commercially available machines, these include Recyclebot, Filastruder and Multistruder.[4]

Use[edit]

The process of turning 3D printing filament into a 3D model

The process of transforming 3D printing filament into a 3D model

  1. The filament is fed into the FDM 3D printer.
  2. The thermoplastic is heated past their glass transition temperature inside the hotend.
  3. The filament is extruded and deposited by an extrusion head onto a build platform where it cools.
  4. The process is continuous, building up layers to create the model.

Materials[edit]

Filament Special Properties Uses Strength Density Flexibility Durability Difficulty to print Print

Temperature (˚C)

Bed

Temperature (˚C)

Printing notes
PLA Easy to print Consumer Products Medium 1240 kg/m³[5] Low Medium Low 180 - 230 No heated bed needed
Biodegradable
ABS Durable Functional Parts Medium 1010 kg/m³[6] Medium High Medium 210 - 250 50 - 100
Impact resistant
PETG (XT, N‑Vent) More flexible than PLA or ABS All Medium 1270 kg/m³[7] High High Medium 220 - 235 No heated bed needed
Durable
Nylon Strong All High High High Medium 220 - 260 50 - 100 Hygroscopic, keep sealed when not in use
Flexible
Durable
TPE Extremely flexible Elastic Parts Low High Medium High 225 - 235 40 Print very slowly
Rubber-Like Wearables
TPU Extremely flexible Elastic Parts Low High Medium High 225 - 235 No heated bed needed Print slowly
Rubber-Like Wearables
Wood Wood-like finish Home Decor Medium Medium Medium Medium 195 - 220 No heated bed needed
HIPS Dissolvable Support structures when using ABS on a dual extrusion printer. Low 1040 kg/m3[8] Medium High Medium 210 - 250 50 - 100
Biodegradable
PVA Dissolvable Support structures when using PLA or ABS on a dual extrusion printer. High Low Medium Low 180 - 230 No heated bed needed Hygroscopic, keep sealed when not in use
Water Soluble
Biodegradable
Oil Resistant
PET (CEP) Strong All High High High Medium 220 - 250 No heated bed needed
Flexible
Durable
Recyclable
PLA Metal Metal Finish Jewelry Medium Low High High 195 - 220 No heated bed needed Use hardened nozzle
PLA Carbon Fiber Rigid Functional Parts Medium Low High Medium 195 - 220 No heated bed needed Use hardened nozzle
Stronger Than Pure PLA
Lignin (bioFila) Biodegradable Medium Low Medium Low 190 - 225 55
Stronger than PLA
Polycarbonate Very strong Functional Parts High 1.18 – 1.20 g/cm³[9] High High Medium 270 - 310 90 - 105
Flexible
Durable
Transparent
Heat Resistant
Conductive Conductive Electronics Medium Medium Low Low 215 - 230 No heated bed needed Use hardened nozzle
Wax (MOLDLAY) Melts Away Lost wax Casting Low Low Low Low 170 - 180 No heated bed needed
PETT (T‑Glase) Strong Functional Parts High High High Medium 235 - 240 No heated bed needed
Flexible
Transparent
Clear
ASA Rigid Outdoor Medium Low High Medium 240 - 260 100 - 120
Durable
Weather Resistant
PP Flexible Flexible Components Medium High Medium High 210 - 230 120 - 150
Chemical Resistance
POM, Acetal Strong Functional Parts High Low Medium High 210 - 225 130
Rigid
Low Friction
Resilient
PMMA, Acrylic Rigid Light diffusers Medium Low High Medium 235 - 250 100 -120
Durable
Transparent
Clear
Impact Resistant
Sandstone (LAYBRICK) Sandstone Finish Architecture Low Low Low Medium 165 - 210 No heated bed needed
Glow-In-The-Dark Luminous Fun Medium Medium Medium Low 215 No heated bed needed Use hardened nozzle
Fluorescent
Cleaning Cleaning Unclogging of Nozzles N/A N/A N/A Low 150 - 260 No heated bed needed
PC/ABS Rigid Functional Parts Medium Low High High 260 - 280 120
Durable
Impact Resistant
Resilient
Deflecting Heat
Magnetic Magnetic Fun Medium Medium Medium High 195 - 220 No heated bed needed
Color Changing Changes Color Fun Medium Medium Medium Low 215 No heated bed needed
nGen Similar to PETG All Medium High High Medium 210 - 240 60
Heat Resistant
Transparent
TPC Extremely Flexible Elastic Parts Low High Medium High 210 60 - 100
Rubber-Like Outdoor
Chemical resistant
Heat resistant
UV light resistant
PORO-LAY Partially Water Soluble Experimental Low High Medium Low 220 - 235 No heated bed needed
FPE Flexible Flexible Parts Low High High Medium 205 - 250 75[10][11][12][13][14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "16 Types of 3D Printer Filaments". 3D Insider. 2017-03-09. Retrieved 2017-12-12. 
  2. ^ "A Curious Thing About 3.00 vs 1.75 mm 3D Printer Filament". Fabbaloo. Retrieved 2017-04-20. 
  3. ^ a b c "How It Is Made: 3D Printing Filament | Make:". Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers. 2015-02-11. Retrieved 2017-04-20. 
  4. ^ Filastruder. "Filastruder: The World's Premier DIY Filament Extruder/Maker". Filastruder. Retrieved 2017-04-21. 
  5. ^ "1.75mm EasyFil PLA Sapphire Grey". Formfutura. Retrieved 2017-04-22. 
  6. ^ "1.75mm Premium ABS Natural". Formfutura. Retrieved 2017-04-22. 
  7. ^ rigid.ink Filament Comparison Guide "Complete 3D Printing Filament Comparison Guide", rigid.ink, 2017-12-14
  8. ^ "1.75mm EasyFil™ HIPS White". Formfutura. Retrieved 2017-04-22. 
  9. ^ "PC-Max™ - Polymaker". Polymaker. Retrieved 2017-04-22. 
  10. ^ "30 Types of 3D Printer Filament - Guide & Comparison Chart | All3DP". All3DP. 2017-01-03. Retrieved 2017-04-20. 
  11. ^ "3D Printer Filament Comparison | MatterHackers". MatterHackers. Retrieved 2017-04-20. 
  12. ^ "What Material Should I Use For 3D Printing? | 3D Printing for Beginners". 3D Printing for Beginners. 2013-02-10. Retrieved 2017-04-20. 
  13. ^ "3D Printing Temperatures & Printing Guidelines". Filaments.ca. Retrieved 2017-04-22. 
  14. ^ 3dprintingfromscratch.com (2014-12-10). "3D Printer Filament Types Overview | 3D Printing from scratch". 3D Printing from scratch. Retrieved 2017-12-12.