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 commonly available in the two standard diameters of 1.75 mm and 2.85 mm.[2] 2.85 mm filament is sometimes erronously referred to as "3 mm", but should not be confused with the less common filament size that actually measures 3 mm in diameter.[3]

Filament size should not be confused with the nozzle size, and several different combinations of nozzle and filament sizes may be used. One of the most common nozzle sizes is 0.4 mm, while examples of other common sizes includes 0.35 mm and 0.25 mm.[4]

Differentiated from powder and liquid resin for other 3D printing technology, the filament is produced into one continuous slender plastic thread in hundred meters long, which is usually spooled into a reel for purpose of storage and printer feeding.[5]

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 2.85 mm diameter.[6][7]

The plastic nurdles are always white or clear. Pigments or other additives are added to the material before it is melted to create coloured filament or filament with special properties, e.g. increased strength or magnetic properties. Before the filament is extruded the nurdles are heated to 80°C to dry it and reduce water content. The nurdles must be dried as many thermoplastics are hygroscopic and extrusion of damp plastic causes dimensional flaws (this is also the case when the finished filament is being printed[8]). From there the nurdles are fed into a single screw extruder where it is heated and extruded into a filament.[6] 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.[6]

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, including Recyclebots of various design, Filastruder and Multistruder.[9]

A food dehydrator can be used to remove water from hygroscopic materials at above 70 °C.[10]

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 (kg/m3) Flexibility Durability Difficulty to print Print Temperature (°C) Bed Temperature (°C) Printing notes
PLA
Consumer Products Medium 1240[11] Low Medium Low 180 - 230 No heated bed needed
ABS
  • Durable
  • Impact resistant
Functional Parts Medium 1010[12] Medium High Medium 210 - 250 50 - 100
PETG (XT, N‑Vent)
  • More flexible than PLA or ABS
  • Durable
All Medium 1270[13] High High Medium 220 - 235 No heated bed needed
Nylon
  • Strong
  • Flexible
  • Durable
All High 1020[14] High High Medium 220 - 260 50 - 100 Hygroscopic, keep sealed when not in use
TPE
  • Extremely flexible
  • Rubber-like
  • Elastic Parts
  • Wearables
Low High Medium High 225 - 235 40 Print very slowly
TPU
  • Extremely flexible
  • Rubber-like
  • Elastic Parts
  • Wearables
Low High Medium High 225 - 235 No heated bed needed Print slowly
Wood Wood-like finish Home Decor Medium 1400[15] Medium Medium Medium 195 - 220 No heated bed needed
HIPS
  • Dissolvable
  • Biodegradable
Support structures when using ABS on a dual extrusion printer. Low 1040[16] Medium High Medium 210 - 250 50 - 100
PVA
  • Dissolvable
  • Water Soluble
  • Biodegradable
  • Oil Resistant
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
PET (CEP)
  • Strong
  • Flexible
  • Durable
  • Recyclable
All High High High Medium 220 - 250 No heated bed needed
PLA Metal Metal Finish Jewelry Medium Low High High 195 - 220 No heated bed needed Use hardened nozzle
PLA Carbon Fiber
  • Rigid
  • Stronger Than Pure PLA
Functional Parts Medium Low High Medium 195 - 220 No heated bed needed Use hardened nozzle
Lignin (bioFila)
  • Biodegradable
  • Stronger than PLA
Medium Low Medium Low 190 - 225 55
Polycarbonate
  • Very strong
  • Flexible
  • Durable
  • Transparent
  • Heat Resistant
Functional Parts High 1180 – 1200[17] High High Medium 270 - 310 90 - 105 Use enclosed heated chamber at ambient temperature of around 60°C
Conductive (usually a graphite-plastic blend) 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
  • Flexible
  • Transparent
  • Clear
Functional Parts High High High Medium 235 - 240 No heated bed needed
ASA
  • Rigid
  • Durable
  • Weather Resistant
Outdoor Medium Low High Medium 240 - 260 100 - 120
PP
  • Flexible
  • Chemical Resistance
Flexible Components Medium 1040[18] High Medium High 210 - 230 120 - 150
POM, Acetal
  • Strong
  • Rigid
  • Low Friction
  • Resilient
Functional Parts High Low Medium High 210 - 225 130
PMMA, Acrylic
  • Rigid
  • Durable
  • Transparent
  • Clear
  • Impact Resistant
Light diffusers Medium Low High Medium 235 - 250 100 -120
Sandstone (LAYBRICK; styled plastic) Sandstone Finish Architecture Low Low Low Medium 165 - 210 No heated bed needed
GLow-In-The-Dark plastic Phosphorescence Fun Medium Medium Medium Low 215 No heated bed needed Use hardened nozzle
Cleaning Cleaning Unclogging of Nozzles N/A N/A N/A Low 150 - 260 No heated bed needed
PC-ABS
  • Rigid
  • Durable
  • Impact Resistant
  • Resilient
  • Deflecting Heat
Functional Parts Medium Low High High 260 - 280 120
Magnetic (PLA blend) Magnetic Fun Medium Medium Medium High 195 - 220 No heated bed needed
Color Changing (plastic blend) Thermochromism Fun Medium Medium Medium Low 215 No heated bed needed
nGen (co-polyester)
  • Similar to PETG
  • Heat Resistant
  • Transparent
All Medium High High Medium 210 - 240 60
TPC
  • Extremely Flexible
  • Rubber-Like
  • Chemical resistant
  • Heat resistant
  • UV light resistant
  • Elastic Parts
  • Outdoor
Low High Medium High 210 60 - 100
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[19][20][21][22][23]
PEI
  • Heat Resistant
  • Strong
  • Flame Performance
Functional Parts High 1270 Medium High Medium 340 - 380 180 - 200 Use enclosed heated chamber at 220°C

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. ^ The 3mm Filament Problem
  4. ^ What 3D Printer Nozzle Size Should I Use? - The Pros and Cons...
  5. ^ "What is 3D Printer Filament?".
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ https://www.filaments.directory/en/blog/2018/08/29/how-are-filaments-made
  8. ^ https://www.filaments.directory/en/blog/2016/09/15/what-effect-does-humidity-have-on-your-filament
  9. ^ Filastruder. "Filastruder: The World's Premier DIY Filament Extruder/Maker". Filastruder. Retrieved 2017-04-21.
  10. ^ CNC Kitchen. "Can you 3D Print with Trimmer Line?! - YouTube". YouTube.
  11. ^ "1.75mm EasyFil PLA Sapphire Grey". Formfutura. Archived from the original on 2017-04-23. Retrieved 2017-04-22.
  12. ^ "1.75mm Premium ABS Natural". Formfutura. Archived from the original on 2017-04-23. Retrieved 2017-04-22.
  13. ^ rigid.ink Filament Comparison Guide "Complete 3D Printing Filament Comparison Guide", rigid.ink, 2017-12-14
  14. ^ "NYLON PA12 - Technical Data Sheet" (PDF). Fiberlogy. Retrieved 2020-03-09.
  15. ^ "FiberWood - Technical Data Sheet" (PDF). Fiberlogy. Retrieved 2020-03-09.
  16. ^ "1.75mm EasyFil HIPS White". Formfutura. Archived from the original on 2017-04-23. Retrieved 2017-04-22.
  17. ^ "PC-Max - Polymaker". Polymaker. Archived from the original on 2017-04-23. Retrieved 2017-04-22.
  18. ^ "PP - Polypropylene - Technical Data Sheet" (PDF). Fiberlogy. Retrieved 2020-03-09.
  19. ^ "30 Types of 3D Printer Filament - Guide & Comparison Chart | All3DP". All3DP. 2017-01-03. Retrieved 2017-04-20.
  20. ^ "3D Printer Filament Comparison | MatterHackers". MatterHackers. Retrieved 2017-04-20.
  21. ^ "What Material Should I Use For 3D Printing? | 3D Printing for Beginners". 3D Printing for Beginners. 2013-02-10. Retrieved 2017-04-20.
  22. ^ "3D Printing Temperatures & Printing Guidelines". Filaments.ca. Retrieved 2017-04-22.
  23. ^ 3dprintingfromscratch.com (2014-12-10). "3D Printer Filament Types Overview | 3D Printing from scratch". 3D Printing from scratch. Retrieved 2017-12-12.