Different types of filament for 3d printing

What Are the 6 Different 3D Printer Filament Types?

Consumer 3D printers are no longer restricted to ABS and PLA filaments. The popularity of additive manufacturing technology has led to the influx of many engineering plastics. Although ABS and PLA remain popular, many 3D printing enthusiasts have switched to newer materials.

So, here is everything you need to know about different 3D printing filaments and how to choose one for your specific needs.

How to Choose a 3D Printing Filament

3D printing is unlike most run-of-the-mill hobbies. It involves sophisticated robots creating complicated objects using exotic materials. Like all advanced engineering endeavors, 3D printing relies on the users’ ability to read and follow technical data sheets. Knowing how to make sense of these documents is key to knowing which 3D printing filament to use for specific applications.

Image Credit: Nachiket Mhatre

There’s no need to bother with this if your 3D printing needs are restricted to cosmetic prints because PLA is all you will ever need. Printing functional parts, however, needs an understanding of various filament parameters, such as tensile strength, toughness/flexibility, heat resistance, durability, creep, and warping.

So, what are the best 3D printing filaments, and when should you use one over another?

1. PLA (Polylactic Acid)

Polylactic Acid is to 3D printing what training wheels are to bicycles. It’s incredibly easy to print on even the cheapest 3D printers. With print temperatures beginning as low as 180°C, you don’t need an all-metal hot end to print this filament safely. PLA doesn’t even require a heated bed, as long as the ambient room temperature is maintained above 20°C.

Image Credits: Nachiket Mhatre

The material practically doesn’t warp and can bridge extremely well if you give adequate part cooling. Not sure what all those terms mean? Check out our Ender-3 upgrade guide to learn more about all-metal hot ends and 3D printer safety.

The bottom line: it’s incredibly difficult to ruin a PLA print. This allows beginners to gradually learn the many complicated aspects of 3D printing without hitting the brick wall of repeated print failures. As a beginner, sticking to PLA makes it easy to grasp the fundamentals of bed adhesion, first layer calibration, overhangs, and bridging. PLA is the optimal way to test the limits of 3D printing without having to second-guess your printer calibration and slicer settings.

PLA Filament Properties

  • Printability: Excellent
  • Color Selection: Excellent
  • Heat Resistance: Poor
  • Tensile Strength: Excellent
  • Toughness: Poor
  • UV Resistance: Excellent
  • Moisture Resistance: Excellent
  • Creep Resistance: Poor

When Should You Use PLA 3D Printing Filament?

PLA is great for cosmetic 3D prints but not so much for anything else. Despite its high tensile strength, it lacks toughness because the material is too hard to flex. This makes it brittle and susceptible to cracking in applications requiring impact resistance and bending. Its low-temperature printability also translates into poor heat resistance. PLA prints warp when subjected to direct sunlight or in-car conditions due to the material’s low glass transition temperature of 57°C.

PLA’s tendency to creep, or to permanently deform under load at room temperature, makes it unviable for any functional print that either uses fasteners or serves any load-bearing purpose. Consequently, most 3D printing enthusiasts move to other materials once they have mastered slicer settings and 3D printer tuning with PLA.

2. PETG (Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol)

PETG should ideally be your second filament challenge once you have mastered PLA. It is quite similar to the plastic found in water bottles and food containers, except for the addition of glycol to improve printability. PETG is better than PLA in most important parameters. It’s slightly tougher, significantly more heat resistant, exhibits excellent creep resistance, and is therefore suitable for functional 3D printing.

Image Credit: Nachiket Mhatre

However, it is also slightly more difficult to print. That isn’t entirely a bad thing. While it is virtually impossible for a well-tuned printer to mess up PLA prints, getting PETG right requires a better understanding of slicing software and first layer calibration. This makes the filament a safe way to learn these concepts, which are vital to mastering other technically challenging 3D printing filaments.

PETG is also quite hygroscopic, so drying it before printing is necessary if you live in a humid area. The prints themselves aren’t prone to moisture absorption, but a wet filament will cause extrusion and print quality issues. The material can bond permanently to most 3D printing surfaces if the first layer is printed too close to the build surface.

The sticky, viscous nature of the molten filament also makes it a poor choice for bridging and steep overhangs. However, that also translates into the best layer adhesion despite its low printing temperature.

PETG Filament Properties

  • Printability: Good
  • Color Selection: Good
  • Heat Resistance: Average
  • Tensile Strength: Good
  • Toughness: Good
  • UV Resistance: Excellent
  • Moisture Resistance: Poor
  • Creep Resistance: Good

When Should You Use PETG 3D Printing Filament?

PETG is the perfect compromise between PLA and the much superior ABS filaments. While it lacks the higher temperature resistance of ABS, it is still good enough for prints to be used outdoors or car interiors. It is also considerably tougher than PLA and ideal for applications where impact resistance is desired. PETG’s resistance to creep also makes it ideal for functional prints and 3D printer components alike.

3. TPE/TPU/TPC (Thermoplastic Elastomer/Polyurethane/Copolyester)

TPE comprises a number of plastics with rubber-like properties. Such filaments are used in applications where flexibility is desired. Regular flexible filaments marketed as TPE are available in various shore hardness, which is a measure of flexibility. In fact, TPE incorporates a broad category of filaments, including urethane-based TPU, which is slightly more rigid to improve printability. TPC is a copolyester-based variant with improved resistance to heat, UV, and chemical agents.

Printing with TPE and its variants are challenging due to the inherent flexibility of the filament. These filaments are particularly difficult to print with Bowden extruders since the lack of rigidity makes it difficult to push the filament through the nozzle. Therefore, direct drive extruders, with a short filament path between the extruder gears and nozzle, are recommended for reliable printing.

The tendency of the filament to compress and elongate also makes retractions unreliable. This leads to excessive stringing in prints, which requires expertise to mitigate. It is also recommended to print these flexible filaments on an unheated bed, preferably with a release agent, such as a glue stick or hairspray. Failure to do that often results in the prints permanently bonding to the build surface.

TPE Filament Properties

  • Printability: Average
  • Color Selection: Average
  • Heat Resistance: Average
  • Tensile Strength: Average
  • Toughness: Excellent
  • UV Resistance: Good
  • Moisture Resistance: Poor
  • Creep Resistance: Good

When Should You Use TPE/TPU/TPC 3D Printing Filament?

These flexible filaments are excellent in applications where impact resistance, bendability, wear, and grip are more desirable than rigidity. TPE and TPU are regularly used to 3D print gaskets, phone covers, and wristbands for wearable devices. TPC is a more expensive alternative that offers additional temperature and chemical resistance suitable for harsh environments.

4. ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)

ABS, in its injection molded avatar, is found in most consumer products in the form of automobile dashboards and switchgear, toys, pipe fittings, and as the chassis of most consumer durables. Not surprisingly, its familiarity, price, and availability made it the material of choice for the commercial 3D printing industry. It’s a terrific material with an unmatched price-to-performance ratio and good heat resistance.

Image Credit: Nachiket Mhatre

Its heat resistance makes it incompatible with the cheap PTFE-lined hot ends. Most ABS filaments require nozzle temperatures of around 250°C. This makes all-metal hot ends mandatory for safe printing. The filament also off-gasses harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds) such as styrene, which are known to negatively impact health. Learn how ABS compares to PLA in our ABS vs. PLA comparison.

ABS filament’s tendency to warp makes it difficult to print unless you own a printer with a heated enclosure, like the Voron series of DIY 3D printers. Delamination, bed adhesion, and warping are persistent issues on large ABS prints on unenclosed printers. Having said that, most modern ABS filament blends print fine, as long as you keep the build volume enclosed and use the heated bed as a passive heat source. Carbon fiber and glass fiber-enhanced ABS composite filaments mitigate these issues to a great extent.

ABS Filament Properties

  • Printability: Average
  • Color Selection: Average
  • Heat Resistance: Good
  • Tensile Strength: Good
  • Toughness: Good
  • UV Resistance: Average
  • Moisture Resistance: Good
  • Creep Resistance: Excellent

When Should You Use ABS 3D Printing Filament?

ABS exhibits good tensile strength and toughness, which makes it ideal for functional prints and even some engineering applications. The material can be used in high-temperature applications such as 3D printer hot end components and functional prints for car interiors. Any engineering scenario that demands resistance to heat, impact, and wear can be met cheaply with ABS.

5. ASA (Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate)

ASA is a modified form of ABS that is easier to print and exhibits improved UV resistance. Large ASA prints are easier thanks to their tendency to warp less than ABS. Most ASA filaments also tend to off-gas less VOCs while printing.

And all this is achieved while maintaining the strength, toughness, and temperature resistance comparable to ABS. We see no reason to choose ABS if you can afford the slight premium commanded by ASA filaments.

ASA Filament Properties

  • Printability: Good
  • Color Selection: Average
  • Heat Resistance: Good
  • Tensile Strength: Good
  • Toughness: Good
  • UV Resistance: Excellent
  • Moisture Resistance: Good
  • Creep Resistance: Excellent

When Should You Use ASA 3D Printing Filament?

ASA can be used for the same applications as ABS, with the added versatility of maintaining durability and color integrity despite heavy exposure to sunlight.

6. PA (Polyamide or Nylon)

Polyamide, better known as its brand name Nylon, is found in consumer durables in the form of gears, hinges, and sliding components—basically in any application that calls for extreme wear resistance, low friction, excellent toughness, and some degree of temperature tolerance. PA is indispensable in powder-sintered 3D printing processes employed in commercial SLS 3D printers.

Image Credit: Nachiket Mhatre

Nylon also exists in the FDM 3D printing space in various blends offering different compromises between heat resistance, toughness, durability, and creep resistance. The latter is important because the material exhibits a tendency to heat creep in its natural state. Therefore, most engineering applications require PA blended with carbon or glass fiber to improve tensile strength, creep resistance, and temperature tolerance.

The material’s high glass transition temperature and an innate tendency to warp make it difficult to print on cheap, unenclosed printers. Furthermore, PA’s chronic tendency to absorb moisture requires filament dryers that can reliably maintain 80°C chamber temperatures. In fact, successful printing also requires the filament to be routed through a dry box while printing. It’s a great engineering filament that demands a capable printer and an experienced operator.

PA Filament Properties

  • Printability: Poor
  • Color Selection: Poor
  • Heat Resistance: Good
  • Tensile Strength: Good
  • Toughness: Excellent
  • UV Resistance: Average
  • Moisture Resistance: Poor
  • Creep Resistance: Average

When Should You Use PA 3D Printing Filament?

Functional PA prints work well as mechanical parts, such as gears, hinges, and levers. The material is also tough enough to be used to manufacture custom tools and prototypes requiring strong meshing parts subjected to friction and impact. Various glass fiber and carbon fiber blends can also be used to modify the rigidity and flexibility of the material to suit different engineering demands.

6. PC (Polycarbonate)

PC is one of the strongest 3D printing filaments accessible to consumer 3D printers. How strong, you ask? Well, the material is used to manufacture everything from bullet-proof glass to fighter jet canopies. PC can withstand temperatures as high as 110°C, with some blends even outperforming that impressive figure.

PC has the unique distinction of exhibiting high tensile strength while also being extremely impact resistant. This gives it the distinction of excelling in applications where even Nylon falls short. However, these physical properties make PC challenging to print. It isn’t uncommon for some PC blends to require nozzle temperatures of 300 °C, with the heated bed maintained in excess of 100 °C.

The material is also prone to excessive warping and only adheres well to polycarbonate build surfaces or polyimide tape. However, like Nylon, PC is available in various blends, making it more printable.

PC Filament Properties

  • Printability: Poor
  • Color Selection: Poor
  • Heat Resistance: Excellent
  • Tensile Strength: Excellent
  • Toughness: Excellent
  • UV Resistance: Excellent
  • Moisture Resistance: Poor
  • Creep Resistance: Excellent

When Should You Use PC 3D Printing Filament?

PC is employed in various industrial, automotive, and electrical applications—especially those requiring high strength and temperature resistance. The inherent optical clarity of the material also makes it ideal for transparent prints, as long as the wall thickness is kept minimal.

Choose Your 3D Printing Filament Wisely

Now that you have a handy means to compare various physical properties and performance parameters of consumer-grade filaments, choosing the right one is a matter of evaluating which parameters are best suited to your particular applications.

If you are new to 3D printing, we recommend starting with PLA and graduating to PETG before taking on more challenging materials such as ABS and Nylon.

Comparison & List of 3D Materials

Image from Flickr

Below you will find information on 16 different types of 3D printing materials. Chances are that even if you are a 3D printing expert you will learn something new in this guide. You can try magnetic, glow-in-the-dark, or even conductive filaments.

Before we get into 3D materials, it helps to look at the 2D printing process we’ve all come to know. All printers need some kind of substance to print with. For 2D printing, we’re most familiar with inkjet printers that use liquid inks. These machines extrude ink through microscopic nozzles onto papers. 2D laser printers also print to papers. Instead of ink, they use a toner cartridge filled with a special type of fine powder and a heated fuser. 2D printing produces two-dimensional, flat, results that have width and height but no depth (thickness). Pigment-based and solid inks are other materials used for printing in 2D. Today, we can also print in 3D with special machines and printing materials.

2D Printing Compared to 3D Printing

There’s a distinct difference between the two technologies. 3D printers build real-world objects, whereas 2D printers publish text and graphics on papers. Before either machine can print, they need computer-generated, digital files. These files tell the machines what to produce and how to print it based on user preferences. Both types of printers use inks, or materials, to carry out the job. That’s pretty much where the familiarities end. 2D printers can’t build layers to produce real-world objects.

One of the most important parts of 3D printing is to use the right kind of material for the job in hand. In this guide we look at the range of 3D materials, also called filaments, a 3D printer uses, starting with the most popular. We’ll also cover their uses along with pros and cons for each type. This will help you to make better informed decisions when buying your 3D printer filaments. Before you print anything in 3D, there are a few basic questions you should ask yourself, the main ones include:

  • Strength: How strong does your printed part have to be?
  • Flexibility: How flexible does your part need to be?
  • Accuracy: How important is precision to your 3D part?
  • Special conditions: Any other conditions that apply to your 3D model

These are the 3D printing materials that are covered in this guide:

  1. ABS Filament
  2. PLA Filament
  3. PET Filament
  4. PETT Filament
  5. Nylon Filament
  6. PVA Filament
  7. Sandstone Filament
  8. Wood Filament
  9. Metal Filament
  10. HIPS Filament
  11. Magnetic Iron Filament
  12. Conductive Filament
  13. Carbon Fiber Filament
  14. TPE Filament
  15. Glow in the Dark Filament
  16. Amphora Filament

3D Filament Defined

3D filaments are special types of plastics called thermoplastics. Once heated to the right temperature, thermoplastics become flexible. It’s this pliability that allows the printer to sculpt the filament to create your shapes before it cools down. In 2017, the two common types of 3D filaments are:

  1. ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)
  2. PLA (Polylactic Acid)

Don’t Miss: Best 3D Printing Filament Brands.

These are not the only 3D filaments available. We’ll look at other types later in the guide. For now we’ll focus on ABS and PLA, and see what makes them such popular choices. For each material we’ll start with a short introduction followed by the average price, print temperature, and applications. At the end of each 3D material we’ll list its pros and cons. Also worth noting is that not all 3D printers can utilize both ABS and PLA. Some can, but not all, so you need to know your 3D printer capabilities as well as the abilities of the 3D filaments.

1. ABS 3D Filament

PRICE STARTING FROM: $20 for 1. 75 mm, 1kg spool

ABS is popular for good reasons. It’s tough, and has impact-resistant properties. It’s this strength and moderate flexibility that makes it such a great choice for printing in 3D. It’s also easy to extrude from the printer’s nozzles, which makes it an easy material to work with.

Don’t Miss: Best ABS Filaments.

ABS print temperature range: 210°C – 250°C (high)


ABS is a great choice for printing plastic automotive parts, moving parts, musical instruments, kitchen appliances, electronic housings, and various toys, like LEGO. It has other applications too, aside from 3D printing. For example, traditional manufacturers use ABS to make plastic wrap, water bottles, and cups, to name a few uses. Despite its popularity for 3D printing, ABS is not the best filament for most home users. This is because it has a high melting point that needs to print on a heated surface, or bed. A heated printer bed is not something a lot of budget-range 3D printers come equipped with. Printing with ABS also produces unpleasant fumes that can irritate some people. Needless to say, good ventilation is essential. These things combined make ABS a material favored more by professionals than amateur users.

Check Price of ABS Filament on Amazon

The Pros

  • A durable, strong 3D filament
  • Quite flexible and lightweight
  • Cheapest thermoplastic available at the time of writing
  • Most favored material among professional 3D printers and keen armatures

The Cons

  • ABS is petroleum-based, making it a non-biodegradable material
  • Needs a high temperature to reach its melting point
  • Creates unpleasant fumes, most notable in poorly ventilated spaces

2. PLA 3D Filament

PRICE STARTING FROM: $20 for 1.75 mm, 1kg spool

PLA (Poly Lactic Acid) is popular for amateurs and professionals alike. It’s a special type of thermoplastic made from organic materials, namely cornstarch and sugarcane. The main benefits of PLA are that it’s safer and easier to use, and with no toxic fumes to worry about. Some users even find the sweet smell of the sugar-based filament pleasant. Compared to ABS, PLA produces 3D parts which are more aesthetically pleasing. This finish is thanks to its unique sheen and smooth appearance.

You might think it sounds like the perfect solution, but there are some drawbacks. For one, the melting point of PLA is much lower than ABS, and that makes it weaker. This matters if you’re printing moving parts or exposing the parts to high temperatures. Both of these things can result in the 3D objects, cracking, warping or even melting. If none of the above applies to you and your 3D projects, then PLA should be your filament of choice. It will award you with superior print details and is also less prone to printing errors during the build process.

Don’t Miss: Best PLA Filaments.

PLA print temperature range: 180°C – 230°C (low)


PLA has wide-ranging uses. At the professional level, PLA filament uses include medical suturing (stitching). We can also see PLA used for various surgical implants, including surgically implanted pins, rods, screws, and mesh. The applications work thanks to the material’s degradable properties. All the aforementioned 3D printed parts break down in the human body. They can take anywhere between six months to two years, depending on the part and its purpose. At the amateur level, PLA filament is great for producing a whole range of consumer items. Other benefits of PLA are that it prints faster than ABS, and there’s no need for a heated printer bed. The end products are a decent strength, durable, and offer some degree of impact resistance. Aside from 3D printing, other products that use PLA include food packaging, disposable tableware, and diapers, as a few examples.

Check Price of PLA Filament on Amazon

The Pros

  • No harmful fumes, produces a sweet aroma when heated
  • Easier to work with compared to ABS (great material for beginners)
  • Compared to ABS, PLA is less prone to warping
  • Available in special effects like glow-in-the-dark colors and translucency

The Cons

  • Susceptible to clogging the printer nozzle
  • Can attract moisture that makes it potentially brittle and more difficult to print
  • Less sturdy overall than ABS


PET FilamentImage from Bpet Filaments

PRICE STARTING FROM: $24.99 for 1.75 mm, 1kg spool

Today, PolyEthylene Terephthalate (PET) is a popular 3D material. Another common use for PET is in everyday plastic bottles. This plastic is both stable and harmless, emits no unpleasant or harmful odors, and is 100% recyclable. In its raw state, the filament has no color and is crystal clear. Once exposed to cold or heat the material quickly changes to a non-transparent state. A more advanced version if PET is a filament called PETG, also marketed as Amphora AM1800.

Don’t Miss: Best PETG Filament.

PETG print temperature range: 210°C – 230°C


PETT is on a list of FDA approved polymers. This makes it completely ‘food safe’, meaning it’s safe for products like cups, and plates, etc. Needless to say, common applications for PETT filament include food containers and various kitchen utensils.

Check Price of PETG Filament on Amazon

The Pros

  • Strong, flexible, and with biocompatibility
  • Does not warp
  • Does not shrink
  • Does not absorb moisture from the air
  • Does not degrade in water
  • FDA approved, food safe
  • Prices for PETT are falling

The Cons

  • Not an easy material for beginners to work with
  • Nozzle and printer bed temperatures needs fine-tuning for best results


PETT FilamentImage from 3D Prima

PRICE STARTING FROM: $25.99 for 1.75 mm, 453.5g spool

PETT, whose long name is PolyEthylene Trimethylene Terephthalate, is what’s known as a T-Glase filament. Like PET (one ‘T’), it’s also a popular 3D printer material that’s food-friendly. The filament is non-biodegradable, though it is a recyclable material.

Don’t Miss: Best PETG Filaments.

PETT Print Temperature Range: 210°C – 230°C


PETT is another of those FDA-approved polymers. This makes it safe for use with food. The majority of PETT applications are various food containers and other kitchen utensils.

Check Price of PETT Filament on Amazon

The Pros

  • Strong and flexible
  • Biocompatibility
  • Does not warp or shrink during the printing process
  • Does not absorb moisture or water from surrounding air
  • Does not degrade in water
  • FDA approved, food safe
  • Impressive in bridging
  • Prices for PETT falling

The cons

  • Difficult material for beginners to work with
  • Printer nozzle bed temperature requires fine tuning for best results


Nylon FilamentImage from Taulman3D

PRICE STARTING FROM: $39.99 for 1.75 mm, 1kg spool

Nylon filament, also called polyamide, is another popular choice. This is a synthetic polymer that’s stronger and more durable than ABS and PLA—and cost-effective. It’s also flexible, light, wear-resistant, and less brittle than both ABS and PLA. There are different kinds of nylon filament available, and what you choose will depend on which one suits your budget and needs. The difference between them is in the filament’s layer bonding abilities, tensile strength, and water absorption. You can also choose nylon filament that has a translucent or opaque finish and reduced shrinkage.

Don’t Miss: Best Nylon Filaments.

Nylon print temperature range: 210°C – 250°C (high)


Nylon filament is great to use in a whole variety of applications thanks to its strength, flexible properties, and durability. It’s particularly suited for various consumer products, tools, mechanical components, machine parts, structural parts, containers, and a much more.

Check Price of Nylon Filament on Amazon

The Pros

  • Strong, durable and flexible
  • Less brittle than ABS and PLA
  • 100% thermoplastic material
  • Filament can be re-melted and used again without any loss of bonding

The Cons

  • Needs a high melting temperature
  • Breaks down and emits toxic fumes when heated
  • Absorbs moisture easily—proper storage is essential

6. PVA Filament

Image from Form Futura

PRICE STARTING FROM: $35.99 for 1.75 mm, 0.5 kg spool

PVA (long name Polyvinyl alcohol) is a good 3D filament that’s typical use is as a support material when printing with ABS or PLA. Support materials are necessary when printing 3D parts with notable overhangs. Without the support, these parts would be impossible to print or perfect. As a support material, PVA works best with printers that have duel extruders. This is a biodegradable, non-toxic material that easily dissolves in tap water. All popular desktop FDM printers can use PVA with a heated build platform as this prevents warping during the build process. For best results as a support material, the print bed temperature should not exceed 200 °C.

PVA print temperature range: 190°C – 220°C (low)


In 3D printing, PVA works as a support material (see above). Aside from 3D printing, PVA has many other applications. We can find it used as a thickener in paper adhesives, in personal hygiene products, as a mold-release agent, kid’s putty, and freshwater fishing products, to name a few.

Check Price of PVA Filament on Amazon

The Pros

  • A biodegradable, non-toxic material
  • Water soluble
  • Good durability
  • Makes otherwise difficult printing easy

The Cons

  • Attracts water easily
  • Can be difficult to source compared to other materials
  • High cost compared to other 3D filaments


Sandstone Filament (PLA + Brick)Image from Quora

PRICE STARTING FROM: $32 for 1.75 mm, 0.25 kg spool

Sandstone filaments offer a unique finish to your 3D printed parts. This is a PLA material that includes a fine chalk powder to produce a stone-like color and texture. It’s also possible to alter the surface characteristics simply by adjusting the printer’s extrusion temperature during the print process. With a little practice, you’ll be able to produce parts that are smooth, rough, or anywhere between the two. 3D sandstone material is a brick filament offered by various suppliers under different product names. The most well-known right now is LayBrick.

Sandstone print temperature range: 165°C – 210°C


The creative use of 3D sandstone filaments has few limits, though it’s fair to say that it has a pretty niche usage. It’s most popular for things like landscapes and architectural display models.

Check Price of Sandstone Filament on Amazon

The Pros

  • Unmistakable sandstone appearance and finish
  • No heated bed needed to print
  • No warping or shrinking during the cooling process

The Cons

  • Not a particularly durable or flexible material
  • Parts can be brittle making them more prone to breaking and snapping


Wood FilamentImage from Imgur

PRICE STARTING FROM: $30 for 1.75 mm, 1kg spool

It seems strange, but yes, 3D wood filaments are very real. It’s a great material for anyone who wants or needs to be more creative with their 3D printed projects. These filaments contain a careful mixture of recycled woods with a special binding polymer. The output model not only looks like real wood, it smells like it too. There’s no shortage of impressive examples online that illustrate the amazing finish wood filaments can produce when printed to perfection.

Wood print temperature range: 200°C – 260°C


What 3D print enthusiasts use wood filament for has no limits other than their creativity. Use it for décor, ornate boxes, tables and chairs, figurines, and whatever else catches the imagination.

Check Price of Wood Filament on Amazon

The Pros

  • Contains actual wood fibers
  • Produces unique wood-like objects in various shades and surfaces
  • Higher temperatures will produce darker brown shades
  • Altering 3D print temperatures stimulates the growth ring effect of trees
  • Allows you to easily work with the finished part to achieve the required finish

The Cons

  • Weaker, softer material compared to PLA
  • Less flexibility and tensile length
  • Easily breakable


Metal Filament PLA / ABS

PRICE STARTING FROM: $29 for 1.75 mm, 1kg spool (prices vary a lot depending on metal)

Metal filaments are in a league of their own—offering some very impressive, unique finishes to 3D printed parts. The materials consist of PLA combined with a higher percentage of fine metallic powders. The 3D printed parts look and feel just as they would if they had been made of 100% metals. Popular choices include aluminum, brass, bronze, copper, and stainless steel. Anyone who wants more of a creative effect can work on the end piece. For example, you can polish the finished part, or tarnish / weather it so that it looks even more genuine. Although they’re not pure 3D metal parts, they’re pretty close to the real thing.

Metal print temperature range: 195°C – 220°C (will vary depending on filament)


3D metal filament is perfect for hardware products, jewelry items, statues, replicas of artifacts, and much more. What you print with 3D metals depends a lot on the filaments you choose.

Check Price of Metal Filament on Amazon

The Pros

  • Extremely durable
  • Not soluble
  • Unique metallic appearance and finish
  • Little to no shrinkage while cooling
  • No heated print bed needed

The Cons

  • Not easy to print with for the inexperienced
  • Need to fine-tune nozzle temperatures
  • Need to regulate flow rate

10. HIPS Filament

Image from Adafruit

PRICE STARTING FROM: $24.95 for 1.75 mm, 1kg spool

High Impact Polystyrene, HIPS for short, is a bright, white colored 3D biodegradable material. It’s safe to use, meaning it has no harmful effects for users who are in close contact with the filament. It’s safe with pets too. Like PVA, HIPS also works as great secondary (support) material. On its own, it’s tricky to use for creating 3D printed parts, especially with printers that don’t have a heated bed. As a support structure, a colorless solution called liquid hydrocarbon quickly dissolves the filament.

Don’t Miss: Best HIPS Filaments.

HIPS print temperature range: 230°C – 250°C


For 3D printing, the most common application for HIPS is as a support material for other filaments (see above). Aside from 3D printing, other industries use HIPS because it’s a strong, ridged plastic that they can manipulate to suit their needs. The food industry uses it widely for packaging. Other uses include medicinal trays, signs, all kinds of kid’s toys, and much more.

Check Price of HIPS Filament on Amazon

The Pros

  • Acts as an easily removable ABS support material
  • When paired with ABS, HIPS is a great dual extrusion support structure
  • Non-toxic at close range

The Cons

  • Some issues with adhesion and curling
  • Not easy to work with without a heated bed


Magnetic Iron PLA Filament

PRICE STARTING FROM: $35 for 1.75 mm, 500 g spool

As the name suggests, magnetic iron PLA filament has magnetic properties. This unique filament is PLA material infused with a powdered iron. It’s these iron particles that give the 3D parts their grainy gunmetal type finish. The objects will also stick to magnets, something that could be useful on various creative projects. It’s a specialist material that few will have a need for, but those who do work with it find PLA iron filament invaluable.

Magnetic iron PLA print temperature range: 195°C – 220°C


If you want to produce custom made fridge magnets, and other such novelties, magnetic iron PLA is for you. For home users, this is pretty much a novelty material. For more serious uses, magnetic filament is useful for making various DIY projects, sensors, and educational tools, etc.

Check Price of Magnetic Iron Filament on Amazon

The Pros

  • Very strong and extremely durable
  • Material is not soluble
  • Little to no shrinkage during the cooling down process

The Cons

  • Nozzle temperature needs fine-tuning
  • Inflexible
  • Heated bed not needed
  • Material is expensive compared to other popular filaments


Conductive PLAImage from Proto Pasta

PRICE STARTING FROM: $17.95 for 1.75 mm, 125 g (comes in various weights)

Anyone wanting to broaden their horizons in 3D printing may want to look to conductive PLA 3D printer filament. It’s a special type of 3D material that includes a conductive carbon particulate. Without getting too technical, this means the material is able to print low-voltage electrical circuits. These will typically include sensors and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). When combined with regular PLA filament and a dual-extrusion 3D printer, users can make simple circuit boards direct from the printer’s bed. Note that conductive ABS filament is also available for users who prefer to work with ABS.

Conductive PLA temperature range: 215°C – 230°C


Conductive PLA filament is perfect for open-source electronics platform Arduino projects. If you want to create circuits, LEDs, sensors, and various low-voltage projects, you’ll want explore this filament.
Check Price of Conductive Filament on Amazon

The Pros

  • Users can produce low-voltage electronic circuits
  • Not soluble
  • Does not need a heated bed, though a heated bed will produce better results

The Cons

  • Not very flexible or durable
  • Repeated bending may break the material
  • Shrinks somewhat during the cooling process
  • High cost of filament

13. Carbon Fiber 3D Printer Filament

Image from Color Fabb

PRICE STARTING FROM: $29.99 for 1.75 mm, 500 g spool

Carbon Fiber PLA is an impressive 3D filament. The material contains tiny strands of carbon fiber which results in a material that has an excellent structure. It’s also rigid and has superior layer adhesion. Carbon Fiber PLA shares similar properties with standard PLA but it’s stiffer. It also offers more dimensional stability, which means warp-free printing. The downside to carbon fiber filament is that its abrasive nature speeds up the wear and tear of printer nozzles, especially those made of brass.

Don’t Miss: Best Carbon Fiber Filaments.

Carbon fiber print temperature range: 190°C – 230°C


Carbon fiber PLA filament is a great choice for producing high quality and strong objects. This includes items like protective casings, various mechanical parts, and many other high durability uses.

Check Price of Carbon Fiber Filament on Amazon

The Pros

  • Prints quality parts
  • Soluble and durable
  • No heated bed needed
  • Little warping and shrinkage during the cooling process

The Cons

  • Material contains abrasive strands
  • Excessive wear on printer nozzles, especially brass
  • Regular users need to invest in harder metals for print nozzles

14. Flexible, TPE Filament

Image from Creative Tools

PRICE STARTING FROM: $31.99 for 1.75 mm, 1kg spool

TPE 3D printer filament is easily the most flexible of all the printer materials. It is ‘super stretchy’ because of the thermoplastic elastomers, or TPE for short. It has such high elasticity properties that it feels like real rubber, easily springing back into shape like an elastic band. TPE is great to use with most FDM 3D printers. If you need to fabricate stretchable 3D parts that can endure more punishment than any regular ABS or PLA, this is your material.

Don’t Miss: Best TPE Filaments.

TPE print temperature range: 225°C – 235°C


There are wide ranging applications and industries which benefit from TPE filament. We can see it used in household appliances and the automotive sector. It’s also a popular for kid’s toys, wearables, and smartphone cases, etc. For commercial use, TPE is found in medical supplies, weather seals for windows and doors, electrical insulation, and the soles of footwear, to name a few.

Check Price of TPE Filament on Amazon

The Pros

  • High elasticity properties and exceptional abrasion-resistance
  • Smooth consistent diameter
  • Bonds well between layers (vital for high-quality)objects)
  • Durable material with little shrinkage during the cooling process
  • No heated bed needed

The Cons

  • 3D printing with TPE is difficult for the inexperienced
  • Print nozzle needs fine-tuning for optimal performance
  • Can extrude from nozzle inconsistently


Glow in the Dark FilamentImage from Form Futura

PRICE STARTING FROM: $17.99 for 1.75 mm, 1kg spool

The name needs little introduction as this fun filament does exactly what it says on the label—it glows in the dark. It won’t glow indefinitely though, as the 3D printed object needs exposing to a light source to charge it. Once charged it will emit light in whatever colors you have made your part in. A great use for this material it to decorate children’s bedrooms or to make Halloween themes, and other such creative ideas. It’s a safe, environmentally-friendly filament, making it harmless for everyone to use. One of the major drawbacks is that glow-in-the-dark material is abrasive. The problem with abrasive filaments is that they can quickly wear out nozzles, especially brass. If you plan to use glow-in-the-dark 3D printing material often, be sure to install a hardened steel nozzle.

Glow-in-the-dark print temperature range: 180-240 °C


Imagination drives many of the uses for this fun material. It’s popular for kid’s toys, wearable gadgets, custom phone cases, and many other novelty items. Some creative artists also find it a great medium to work with for artistic designs. Another, more practical use is for light switches as it makes them easy to find in the dark.

Check Price of Glow in the Dark Filament on Amazon

The Pros

  • Environmentally friendly, safe to use, biodegradable
  • Low shrinkage during the cooling process
  • Durable
  • No heated bed needed to print
  • Similar to regular PLA, which makes printing easy

The Cons

  • Not food safe

16. Amphora 3D Printer Filament

PRICE STARTING FROM: $00 for 1.75 mm, 1kg spool

Amphora is a great filament for anyone who wants to produce objects which are lustrous, bright, and opaque. The Eastman Chemical Company created this fancy material specifically for 3D printing. Most common thermoplastics have uses other than 3D printing technologies, but not this one.

Amphora print temperature range: 220°C – 250°C


Amphora is more of a specialist type of lightweight, impact-resistant, 3D printer filament. Common applications include mechanical parts and other objects that need a material that is of excellent strength, highly flexible, and durable.

Check Price of Amphora Filament on Amazon

The Pros

  • No notable odors during the printing process
  • Strong material with a high melting point (higher than regular PLA)
  • Better layer adhesion resulting in an improved finish
  • Impressive performance for bridging gaps
  • Little to no warping, cleaner overhangs overall
  • FDA-approved, making Amphora food safe

The Cons

  • Not an easy material to print with
  • Printer nozzle and bed need fine tuning for best results

Choosing the Right 3D Printer Filament

This guide gives you a good insight into the different 3D printer filaments on the market. There are others, but the ones listed here are the most widespread, easy-to-source materials at the time of writing. Before you choose the right filament for your next job, you need to check a few boxes. For example, as well as knowing what you intend to build, you also need to understand your printer’s capabilities. Not all 3D printers are able of printing in all 3D materials.

You also need to prepare for trial and error if you plan to experiment with some of the more tricky filaments. Another consideration is the diameter of the filament, either 1.75mm or 3mm. If you’re unsure, always opt for 1.75mm as it’s easier to work with. 3D filament storage is another crucial area to think about. These plastics can absorb moisture from the air which can mess with the printing process. When not in use, a good way to store your 3D filament is to use vacuum bags that have a double zipper line for better, airtight sealing.

And finally, don’t allow the cheapest of the cheap filaments tempt you as they could prove to be a false economy. Seriously, low-cost, low-grade 3D printing filaments are more likely to contain chemical impurities. These impurities can result in unsatisfactory printed parts and clogged-up printer nozzles.

It might all sound like a lot absorb, but none of this takes long to pick once you start to dabble.

Warning; 3D printers should never be left unattended. They can pose a firesafety hazard.

What is the best plastic for 3D printing? Let's figure it out together!

Plastic for 3D printing

After purchasing your own FDM 3D printer, as well as in the course of choosing it, it becomes necessary to choose the right plastic for 3D printing. But how to do this if you are new to 3D printing and have little to no understanding of this issue? Plastic for printing on a 3D printer is in most cases the main component of successful product reproduction. Therefore, we will not save on knowledge, and will tell you how to choose the best plastic for 3D printing. nine0005

Types of plastic for a 3D printer

First of all, we need to consider the types of plastic for a 3D printer. Plastic for 3D printing, or filament, is produced in the form of a thin thread with a diameter of 1.75 mm and 3 mm. Most often, filaments with a thickness of 1.75 mm are used in the basic configuration, but some manufacturers of 3D printers provide the ability to install a 3 mm plastic feed system. Plastic for 3D printing has many varieties, among which the most common are ABS and PLA plastic. nine0005

Plastic for 3D printing: varieties

By popularity in the Ukrainian market, the following types of plastic for 3D printing can be distinguished:

  • PLA (PLA) or polylactide. Organic and short lived. Suitable for 3D printing of decorative products, but not able to withstand high mechanical loads;
  • ABS (ABS) or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene. It has a long life and excellent mechanical properties. Heat-resistant and used for industrial purposes. Shrinks on cooling. It is recommended to print in ventilated areas; nine0016
  • PVA (PVA) or polyvinyl alcohol. A water-soluble material that is used as a support;
  • Nylone (Nylon). An alternative to ABS plastic, suitable for many engineering structures. When printing with nylon, it is recommended to ventilate the room;
  • HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene). In terms of physical properties, it is a cross between PLA and ABS. May also emit toxic fumes when printed.

Other questions and answers about 3D printers and 3D printing:

What is the best plastic for a 3D printer?

In fact, there are many more types of plastic for 3D printing. This can include flexible, fluorescent and luminescent filament, wood and metallized materials. But in practice, such consumables are rarely used and are needed for narrowly specific purposes. Metallized plastics are interesting in their own right, but they are at the initial stage of development and are inferior in performance to ordinary reinforced materials. “And what plastic is best for a 3D printer?” - you ask. You should choose based on specific goals. If you intend to print decorative elements that will not be subject to payload, you can look at PLA plastic. If your goal is to print gears, structural parts and other things, look at reinforced materials for 3D printing. nine0005

What plastic to print with?

Please note that not every printer supports the full range of 3D printing materials. Before buying a specific filament, check the specifications of your own device to avoid wasting money. The rest is up to you and your imagination. A huge range of colors and shades of plastic is available for sale, matte and glossy, semi- and fully transparent materials. Such a variety will allow you to make almost any product to your taste. nine0005

Remember that if you need to buy plastic for 3D printing - 3DDevice store is at your service! We offer a wide range of different materials in all possible color options and are ready to provide advice when choosing a filament.

If you have additional questions that we have not covered, write to us by e-mail and we, if necessary, will add your questions! Best regards, 3DDevice team. We also provide 3D modeling, 3D scanning and 3D printing services. We work all over Ukraine! If you have any questions, please contact us in any way convenient for you. Contacts are listed here. We look forward to collaborating! nine0005

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3D printing filaments

Dear friends, welcome!

This article would like to highlight the appearance of threads in printing. I will try to note the main factors influencing the appearance of threads.

1) Idling speed and acceleration. The idle run consists of the following stages - first there is a retract, then the movement of the extruder, then again a retract. The plastic is spontaneously squeezed out precisely during the idle time, forming various kinds of defects. Now imagine an example if the idling takes zero seconds. Under this condition, the plastic will not have time to spontaneously extrude. Therefore, the higher the speed and acceleration, the less time the idling lasts, which means there will be fewer threads. But speed and acceleration are limited by the motor driver, the motors themselves, and the rigidity of the printer frame. nine0005

Therefore, you can try to slightly increase the speed and acceleration with each print, but at the same time make sure that the motors do not overheat, otherwise microsteps may be skipped, which will lead to print rejects.

2) Idling path. Different slicers process parts according to different algorithms, which means that the idling trajectory may differ. Some slicers build more rational extruder motion than others. Therefore, you can try to prepare the same part in several slicers and stop at the option that will be more rational. nine0005

3) Feeder dependent, i.e. from the plastic supply system. Printers most often have one of two options: "bowden", i.e. far-distance or "direct", this is when the "feeder" is located near the extruder. Under the same printing conditions with direct, there will always be fewer threads than with bowden. But this does not mean that you can always switch from Bowden to Direct. It may also be that your printer will not be able to work with "direct" for one reason or another. The transition to "direct" must be considered with each printer individually. nine0005

4) Retract setting, i.e. plastic rollback - its task is to remove the residual pressure in the extruder during idling. Without retract, the threads will appear more intensely. For most printers, the values ​​are as follows - for direct, the range is from 1 to 6mm, and for bowden, from 4 to 12mm. (the amount of retract also depends on the diameter of the nozzle).

5) Plastic quality. If you are constantly printing only budget plastics and are unhappy with the result, then try to buy plastic in a higher price category, and more importantly, with good reviews. And then compare the print quality. But the main thing - from different manufacturers, compare the same types of plastic - you should not compare, for example, ABS from one manufacturer, and PLA from another. nine0005

6) Plastic drying. By the way, this applies to almost all plastics, not just nylon. If you have unnamed or cheap plastic in your hands, it is recommended to dry it after opening it, because. it is not known whether the plastic was dried before packaging.

7) Nozzle diameter. The larger the diameter, the more plastic will spontaneously squeeze out during idling. There is nothing you can do about it, it just needs to be taken into account when choosing a nozzle diameter.

8) Extruder temperature. If you heat the extruder to the upper limit of the recommended range (indicated on the plastic that is being printed), then the fluidity of the plastic will be higher, and it will be more easily extruded from the nozzle. Plastic manufacturers give a temperature range for a reason. If you set the print speed to high, then the extruder temperature should be in the upper limit of the range. But if the print speed is low, then there is no need to heat up the extruder much, otherwise filaments may appear due to overheating of the plastic. nine0005

Therefore, you can try to reduce the temperature of the extruder as follows - during printing, every couple of minutes, reduce the temperature by 5 degrees over and over and watch the print closely. If the threads disappear, remember the temperature and stick to it. But if the temperature is greatly lowered, then the plastic will not be able to extrude at all. Don't overdo it.

9) Dependence of temperature on the type of extruder. There are many different models of extruders. For example, consider the E3D V6 and E3D V6 Volcano extruder. The E3D V6 Volcano has an extended nozzle and an extended aluminum block. And this means that the zone where the plastic is in the molten state is larger, so it can push through a larger volume of plastic per unit of time. As a result, this extruder will be able to print at higher speeds than the regular E3D V6. But here you need to understand the following - if you have a "powerful" extruder, and you print at low speeds, then the plastic will overheat, which will lead to the appearance of threads. Therefore, for powerful extruders, it is better to set the temperature in the lower limit of the recommended range. And on the contrary - for an extruder that cannot heat up a large amount of plastic, the temperature should be kept in the middle or at the upper limit of the recommended one. nine0005

The conclusion here is the following - for different models of extruders, different printing temperatures are needed.

10) Free travel distance. If you are printing multiple parts at once, try to space them closely to reduce the dry travel distance. Well, if a solid part is printed, with individual elements at a great distance from each other, in this case, you can try to change the location of the part in space so that there are fewer idle moves.

11) File analysis before printing. When your G-code is ready, do not be lazy and meticulously analyze it before printing, because. at the verification stage, you can detect unwanted elements that can create various kinds of defects, including the appearance of threads. By the way, in whatever slicer I prepare the file, I almost always check the finished code with the help of “Repetier-Host”, because it shows all the movements that can lead to certain defects.

12) Plastic type. All plastics have both strengths and weaknesses. For example, PETG plastic has a high tendency to filament. ABS, on the other hand, has a low predisposition to threads, but it will have to concentrate on the problem of shrinkage and a low degree of sintering of the layers. nine0005

Therefore, before printing, familiarize yourself with the pros and cons of the plastic with which you plan to print.

13) Using the "Lift Z" function. When enabled, a gap will be created between the extruder and the printed part. It is needed so that during idle the extruder does not cling to the outer walls of the part. This feature can significantly reduce the number of threads. But it should be used if the printer has a powerful driver and a motor along the Z axis, as well as a screw with a thread pitch of at least 8mm. This is necessary to achieve high speed and acceleration on the Z axis. Well, if you try to use this function at low speeds, the problem will only get worse and there will be more threads, because. idle time, taking into account "Lift Z", will increase greatly. The idling time with the "Lift Z" function consists of: movement along the Z axis + retraction + idling + retract + movement along the Z axis. nine0005

Therefore, you can try to experiment with this function and see the result.

14) Problems with the extruder. Imagine a situation where you put a large retract, but a large plug of melted plastic formed in the thermal barrier between the nozzle and the Teflon tube. In such a situation, no matter how big you put the retract, this plug will not disappear, but will remain in its place. And, therefore, the retract will not be able to completely relieve the pressure in the system. Therefore, keep your extruder clean and in good working order. nine0005

15) Problem with the driver on the motor in the feed system (motor on the feeder).

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