1. Very good article. You might want to look into our Advanced PLA for analysis. It has superior strength and heat resistance compared to ABS, yet is still a PLA.

    • 3D Matter

      Hi Steve, we did test your Advanced PLA, it is in our optimization tool Optimatter. We did find that it had an impact resistance about 2x that of regular PLA, but maybe not as exactly as high as ABS. The max stress is also in line with regular PLA, therefore higher than ABS. Overall, very good mechanical properties.

      However, the point of this article is to compare the “pure” polymers, not the formulations that material suppliers will develop based on them.

      • Dorjano

        @3D Matter
        Well the “pure”polymers are like iron!! NOBODY uses pure iron. We all use alloys that are WAY better than pure iron. The same should be with 3D printing material. I really don’t care about a polymer chemistry, but I do care about the usability of the filament I’m using. And if some Hiper-Advanced-PLA-Uranium combination meets my needs, which are strength, low shrinkage, layer adhesion, …I’m all in!
        So bottom line IT IS VERY IMPORTANT to me to know, not what best “raw” polymers are but which supplier comes with a better chemistry combination my money can buy!!! Specially if we take in consideration than NO ONE uses raw polymers. Every single vendor has his own recipe which differentiate from others. And to be exact there are no equal PLAs!! Only the procedure to get them are the same (almost) but the final product aren’t.
        Therefore your article it’s a rough approximation and of a little use in real life. Just changing a colour of the “same” polymer changes the printability of that filament.
        What would I really appreciate would be a test of the most often used “chemistry” that are on the market. That would be of a real value!


        • 3D Matter

          Hi Dorjano, I feel we need to set a few points straight:
          – Pure polymers are not like iron. If you conduct a chemical analysis of most PLAs that are on the market, it will be >95% PLA in it. The rest will most likely be a pigment and… that’s all. So providing users with a high-level assessment of each chemistry does go a long way to explaining a large share of the filaments on the market.
          – Differences between PLAs do exist, but we believe they are more linked to the extrusion process, spooling and conditioning of the filaments. For PLA, there are actually only a handful of grades used in the 3D printing industry. For some other chemistries, the grade can vary a bit more, but the main properties will remain the same (once again: at a high level). If you want more detailed data to check out the differences between each actual product, I would invite you to sign up to the Full Version of OptiMatter, which has data on many of them!
          – Composites and more complex formulations do exist in the market, and are likely to be increasingly prominent. We chose not to include them here because we wanted to keep the analysis clear and concise. We have written about some of them in the past, like in this study. And once again, you can also find a lot of data on many of them in OptiMatter!
          Cheers, 3D Matter

  2. I had no idea that there were so many different types of plastic that you could use in 3D printing. The one I’d heard most about was ABS, and with the fume emissions, I’m not sure that’s one I’d want to be using a lot. I’m interested to see what kind of materials they’re going to come out with in the future. thanks for sharing!

  3. […] Správná volba struny s materiálem pro tisk na stolní FDM/FFF tiskárně může být klíčovým rozhodnutím, které ovlivní vlastnosti vašeho výtisku, stejně jako jeho mechanickou odolnost a trvanlivost v různých podmínkách. A zatímco v oblíbenosti mezi uživateli stále vede dvojice ABS a dnes nejpopulárnějšího PLA, pokročilejší uživatelé úspěšně pracují i s méně obvyklými polymery. Užitečnou radu, který z těch základních zvolit pro jaký účel, může poskytnout třeba nový průvodce od 3D Matter. […]

  4. Jeremy

    I have heard that nylon absorbs moisture quickly which forms bubbles when it is extruded. Is this a big problem. Also, how bad is its warping compared with abs?

    • 3D Matter

      It is true that Nylon absorbs moisture if you leave it out for a while. It is advised to store it in a dry place with desiccant bags (the salt bags that are usually provided with the spools). If you observe bubbles when it extrudes, it is not all lost: put the spool in your oven at 100C for 3 hours and it will dry the Nylon. You can also try this: http://taulman3d.com/drying-materials.html

      Warping for Nylon is an issue, comparable to ABS (maybe not as bad). We use a layer of glue on glass, with a heated bed at 50C and we usually don’t have issues.

  5. I really liked your article and how you studied the different types of plastic that you could use with 3d printing services. 3d printing is still really new to me, and I think that it would be cool to be able to find something that could benefit me from those services. I’m glad I found your article, so that when I do go in for some 3d printing services to be done, I can choose the right plastic and pick the one with the best visual quality and performance like you said!

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