Special 3D printing materials/filament

When buy a 3D print­er, most peo­ple con­sid­er the machines func­tion­al­i­ty as key indi­ca­tors. How big is the print vol­ume? How qual­i­ta­tive is the 3D print­er man­u­fac­tured and how qual­i­ta­tive do print results look? Does he have a dual print head (dual extrud­er)? What is the print speed? And so on…

Few are aware how impor­tant spe­cial 3D print­ing mate­ri­als and what they can let you do. There­fore you should also con­sid­er whether your cho­sen 3D print­er can use these fil­a­ments or pre­vents their use with a pro­pri­etary mate­r­i­al sys­tem.

Benefits of special 3D printing materials

Spe­cial 3D print­ing mate­ri­als bring a new dimen­sion to your 3D print­er. Fil­a­ment is the key ingre­di­ent of every 3D print­ed object and are what you see as well as feel after the print.

In the fol­low­ing we present you 3 nor­mal and spe­cial 3D-print mate­ri­als and how you can use them. In this post, we leave out SLA resin for devices like Form­labs 3D Print­ers and focus on FMD 3D print­ers.

Normal 3D printing filament

By “nor­mal” we include stan­dard or hard PLA and ABS plas­tic that are rel­a­tive­ly strong. Keep in mind, that this cat­e­go­ry pro­vides you the largest vari­ety of col­ors and pseu­do mate­ri­als like wood or met­als.

Even with this “nor­mal” fil­a­ment you can cre­ate extra­or­di­nary 3D-print­ed objects with unusu­al col­ors. You can also cre­ate your own col­or com­bi­na­tions by paint­ing one side of the fil­a­ment with e.g. spray (only rec­om­mend­ed if you have the nec­es­sary knowl­edge). The col­ors par­tial­ly blend togeth­er cre­at­ing the illu­sion of using spe­cial 3D print­ing mate­ri­als. In addi­tion, the use of metal­lic fil­a­ment or wood is pos­si­ble.

2 special 3D printing materials

As spe­cial 3D print­ing mate­ri­als we cat­e­go­rize 2 types of fil­a­ment. On the one hand water-sol­u­ble mate­r­i­al and flex­i­ble fil­a­ment.

  1. Water-sol­u­ble mate­r­i­al
    Water-sol­u­ble fil­a­ment helps users to print com­plex objects. These object types usu­al­ly require addi­tion­al mate­r­i­al to sup­port the over­hang. When post-pro­cess­ing and remov­ing the sup­port mate­r­i­al, fil­a­ment remains on the 3D object decreas­ing the result qual­i­ty. With water-sol­u­ble mate­ri­als the same sup­port effect is achieved and the mate­r­i­al eas­i­ly wash­es off. This solu­tion saves a lot of time, increas­es the print qual­i­ty and pre­vents pos­si­ble breaks of the 3D mod­el in post-pro­cess­ing.

    Special 3D printing materials/filament

  2. Flex­i­ble mate­r­i­al
    The trend towards flex­i­ble fil­a­ment away from hard plas­tic is increas­ing. The rea­son is that 3D print­ers achieve a new lev­el of pos­si­bil­i­ties and many 3D print­ed objects look more authen­tic. Under the cat­e­go­ry of spe­cial 3D print­ing mate­ri­als, we see this as the trend­set­ter. Let’s take cell phone cas­es as an exam­ple, flex­i­ble Fil­a­ment has many advan­tages over nor­mal fil­a­ment. For one thing, it feels soft­er and more authen­tic as a prod­uct. On the oth­er hand, the flex­i­bil­i­ty makes it eas­i­er to attach smart­phones with­out cre­at­ing scratch­es between the cell phone and the case.

Conclusion on special 3D printing materials / filament types

As described, the pos­si­bil­i­ties of a 3D print­er can be expand­ed by the use of spe­cial 3D print­ing mate­ri­als. In addi­tion, the use of dif­fer­ent col­ors as well as pre- or post-pro­cess­ing of the mate­r­i­al can cre­ate extra­or­di­nary effects. If you have any ideas or ques­tions about the top­ic, feel free to com­ment in the sec­tion below or via our con­tact form.

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