Temperature Celsius Min Max Extruder 220 275 Build Platform 100 130
ABS, or Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene is a petroleum derived thermoplastic. It is amorphous, so it has no true melting point, instead ABS becomes more and more soft as temperature increases. It is resistant to many acids and alcohol, but soluble in Acetone. It is light-weight, melts at higher temperatures, and stronger than PLA. It is more difficult to print than PLA, however, and often doesn’t have as fine surface details. Industrially, it is used to make helmets, sporting canoes, and legos! ABS is not food safe and dangerous to the environment. Print only in ventilated areas and dispose responsibly.
Temperature Celsius Min Max Extruder 150 210 Build Platform 0* 50
* A heated build platform is not strictly necessary for PLA prints.
PLA, or Polylactic Acid, is a thermoplastic polyester made from eco-friendly plant matter. This makes it food safe, and biodegradable. It’s rather strong, but melts at rather low temperatures, limiting its applications. Because it doesn’t necessitate a heated build platform, it is the material of choice for most 3D printers. Industrially, PLA is used to make everything from tea-bags to take-out containers.
HIPS (Support material)
Temperature Celsius Min Max Extruder 220 240 Build Platform 100 120
HIPS, or High-Impact Polystyrene, is a petrochemical synthetic polymer. PS is often found in our everyday lives as styrofoam containers and yogurt containers, to name a few. HIPS has undergone a process to make it more rigid, and can hold its own as the main structural element in a print. However, because it is very easily dissolved in limonene (a household chemical), it is mostly used to print out structural supports on objects with complex geometries so that they can be removed easily. It is non-toxic, but non-biodegradable. Print in a well ventilated environment.
Temperature Celsius Min Max Extruder 235 260 Build Platform 100 130
Nylon is very common synthetic thermoplastic polymer that has recently began to be used in 3D printing. It is hard, strong and flexible, but difficult to use because it often requires higher temperatures and typically an external fan system. Nylon is safe for use in medical applications, and can be dyed to make prints extra colorful.
WOOD (>30% wood fibres)
Temperature Celsius Min Max Extruder 220 235 Build Platform 80 110
*Wood-like materials generally have the same printing characteristics as PLA.**Printing with a H.B.P. isn’t strictly necessary, but recommended.
Recently a variety of companies have been experimenting with combining wood fiber (usually a powder from recycled wood product) with thermoplastics for the purpose of 3D printing, but this technique has been used traditionally to make things like fake wood paneling on cars for a while now. It prints with a sweet wood-like smell, and can be sanded and finished just like real wood products, making it very popular. By alternating layer temperatures, varying color rings can be achieved, from a light cherry to a smoky wood color.
Temperature Celsius Min Max Extruder 210 235 Build Platform 45 60
Polyethylene terephthalate, also known as “Polyester”, is a very ubiquitous polymer used in everything from textiles, bottling, to thermo-resistant space blankets and sails. PETG typically comes in clear, although some brands offer glossy colored versions. It has high mechanical strength, is more temperature resistant, and is very recyclable. Seriously, why aren’t you using this already?
Temperature Celsius Min Max Extruder 210 230* Build Platform 30 40*
* Optimal Extrusion temperatures may vary by brand and make.
TPEs, or thermoplastic elastomers, are a combination of polymers with both thermoplastic and rubber characteristics that feature a crosslinking microstructure. Typically, TPE is soft and flexible, even bouncy. Industrially, TPEs are used to manufacture headphones, snowmobile tracks, and sex toys. For 3D printing, TPEs should be used wherever flexibility and strength are both a concern. Some brands of soft elastomers may be very difficult to print with, because they require a lot of heat, while some brands print relatively easily at normal ABS temperatures.
Temperature Celsius Min Max Extruder 270 305 Build Platform 75 95
PC, or Polycarbonate, is a synthetic polymer that is very strong and transparent. It is used to make things from fighter jet cockpit windows to water cooler jugs. It can also be bent and formed while cold, like sheet metal. It is interesting to use for 3D printing because of its very rigid qualities. Print in a ventilated environment.