There are 1000s of different types of materials that you can 3D print with, the technical term for these materials is filament. The easiest way to describe them if you have never seen them is coloured fishing line. They all have different properties so you need to consider the below when deciding what material to use.
- 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
The main 3 types of Filament that are used for prototyping and general printing are PLA PET and ABS however there is a huge range of exotic materials from flexible TPU to super strength Carbon Fibre.
|Name||Properties||Uses||Difficulty to print with|
|PLA||Easy to print and biodegradable||Prototyping and general indoor use||Low|
|PETG||Durable and not as brittle as PLA and ABS||Most uses||Low|
|TPU||Flexible and resembles rubber||Elastic Parts and wearable items||High|
|Wood||Looks like wood||Model railway buildings||Medium|
|Nylon||Strong flexible Durable||All||High|
|ABS||Durable impact resistant||Functional parts||Medium|