ABS is tough – able to withstand high stress and temperature. It’s also moderately flexible. Together these properties make ABS a good general-purpose 3D printer filament, but where it really shines is with items that are frequently handled, dropped, or heated. Examples include phone cases, high-wear toys, tool handles, automotive trim components, and electrical enclosures.
Compared to other types of 3D printer filament, PLA is brittle, so avoid using it when making items that might be bent, twisted, or dropped repeatedly, such as phone cases, high-wear toys, or tool handles. You should also avoid using it with items which need to withstand higher temperatures, as PLA tends to malform around temperatures of 60°C or higher. For all other applications, PLA makes for a good overall choice in filament. Common prints include models, low-wear toys, prototype parts, and containers.
PETG is a good all-rounder but stands out from many other types of 3D printer filament due to its flexibility, strength, and temperature and impact resistance. This makes it an ideal 3D printer filament to use for objects which might experience sustained or sudden stress, like mechanical parts, printer parts, and protective components.
Another unique characteristic of this 3D printer filament is that you can dye it, either before or after the printing process.
Taking advantage of nylon’s strength, flexibility, and durability use this 3D printer filament type to create tools, functional prototypes, or mechanical parts (like hinges, buckles, or gears).
Use Flex when creating objects that need to take a lot of wear. If your print should bend, stretch, or compress, these are the right 3D printer filaments for the job. Example prints might include toys, phone cases, or wearables (like wristbands). TPC can be used in the same contexts, but does especially well in harsher environments, like the outdoors.
Wood is popular with items that are appreciated less for their functional capabilities, and more for their appearance. Consider using wood 3D printer filament when printing objects that are displayed on a desk, table, or shelf. Examples include bowls, figurines, and awards. One really creative application of wood as a 3D printer filament is in the creation of scale models, such as those used in architecture.
Metal can be used to print for aesthetics and for function. Figurines, models, toys, and tokens can all look great printed in metal. And as long as they don’t have to deal with too much stress, feel free to use metal 3D printer filament to create parts with purpose, like tools, grates, or finishing components.
Even though this 3D printer filament type only supports low-voltage circuitry, the sky’s the limit with customized electronics projects. If you’re experimenting, try coupling a circuit board with LEDs, sensors, or even a Raspberry Pi! If you’re looking for something a little more specific, popular ideas include gaming controllers, digital keyboards, and trackpads.
Thinking about that eerie green glow, it almost doesn’t even seem necessary to suggest using a glow-in-the-dark 3D printer filament for Halloween projects, like jack-o’-lanterns or window decorations. Other examples of where these filaments really shine – er, glow – include wearables (think jewelry), toys, and figurines.
Thanks to its structural strength and low density, carbon fiber is a fantastic candidate for mechanical components. Looking to replace a part in your model car or plane? Give this 3D printer filament a try.