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
- 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.
- 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.