3D Printer

Filament Comparison Guide

Section 1: Standard Filaments

PLA (Polylactic Acid)

PLA (Polylactic Acid) is one of the two most commonly used desktop 3D printing materials (with the other being ABS). It is the ‘default’ recommended material for many desktop 3D printers, and with good reason - PLA is useful in a broad range of printing applications, has the virtue of being both odorless and low-warp, and does not require a heated bed. PLA plastic is also one of the more eco-friendly 3D printer materials available; it is made from annually renewable resources (corn-starch) and requires less energy to process compared traditional (petroleum-based) plastics. Outside of 3D printing, PLA plastic is often used in food containers, such as candy wrappers, and biodegradable medical implants, such as sutures. PLA filament for 3D Printing is available in a wide range of colors in both 1.75mm and 3mm (check your 3D printer specs to determine the correct size). For tips and tricks on 3D printing PLA, check out How To Succeed When Printing In PLA.


ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) is another commonly used 3D printer material. Best used for making durable parts that need to withstand higher temperatures. In comparison to PLA, ABS plastic is less ‘brittle.’ It can also be post-processed with acetone to provide a glossy finish. When 3D printing with ABS filament a heated printing surface is recommended, as ABS plastic will contract when cooled leading to warped parts. ABS filament is available in both 1.75mm and 3mm diameter sizes. For tips and tricks on 3D printing ABS, check out How To Succeed When Printing With ABS.


PRO Series PLA (Polylactic Acid)

PRO Series PLA is a formulation of PLA filament intended for producing professional, high quality, 3D printed parts. It features a visually distinct finish, with a more vibrant, opaque coloration, than standard PLA filament. PRO Series PLA is made in the USA and is produced to a more precise specification. It is available in 1.75mm and 3mm.


PRO Series ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)

PRO Series ABS is a formulation of ABS filament intended to help your 3D prints stand out with a beautiful, glossy opaque finish. It is made in the USA and best used when producing high quality, precision 3D prints. As with regular ABS filament, printed parts will withstand higher temperatures than PLA plastic; it also requires a heated bed for proper printing. PRO Series ABS is available in both 1.75mm and 3mm diameter sizes.


Nylon (Polyamide)

Nylon is an incredibly strong, durable, and versatile 3D printing material. Flexible when thin, but with very high inter-layer adhesion, nylon lends itself well to things like living hinges and other functional parts. Nylon filament prints as a bright natural to white with a translucent surface, and can absorb color added post process with most common, acid-based clothing dyes. Nylon filament is extremely sensitive to moisture, so taking drying measures during storage and immediately prior to printing (using desiccant, vacuum, or elevated temperature) is highly recommended for best results. Taulman Nylon is a specially formulated 3D printing Nylon filament that comes in a variety of sizes and packages, including 1-, 2-, and 3-packs of both 1.75mm and 3mm. For tips and tricks on 3D printing Nylon, check out How To Succeed When Printing With Nylon


PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)

PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) is an industrial strength filament with several great features. It's strength is much higher than PLA, it is FDA approved for food containers and tools used for food consumption, it barely warps, and produces no odors or fumes when printed. PET filament is not biodegradable, but it is 100% reclaimable. PET 3D printer filament is known for its clarity and is also very good at bridging.


Section 2: Flexible Filaments

TPE

TPE filament is a flexible 3D printing material that feels and acts much like flexible rubber. TPE filament can be used to make parts that can bend or must flex to fit their environment - stoppers, belts, springs, phone cases and more. This extremely flexible 3D printer material will allow you to create 3D prints that will have the properties of a soft rubber, making it even more flexible and elastic than our Soft PLA filament. TPE 3D printing filament is available in 1.75mm and 3mm.


Soft PLA (Polylactic Acid)

Soft PLA, also known as 'flexible' PLA, is useful for printing rubber-like parts that can bend or flex. It is compatible with almost all desktop 3D printers. Soft PLA is available, as an individual spool or as a sampler pack of each color, in both 1.75mm and 3mm.


TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane)

TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) is an elastic, oil/grease resistant, and abrasion-resistant material with a Shore Hardness of 95A. TPU Plastic has several applicable uses including automotive instrument panels, caster wheels, power tools, sporting goods, medical devices, drive belts, footwear, inflatable rafts, and a variety of extruded film, sheet and profile applications. It is also commonly used in mobile phone cases.


Section 3: Composite Filaments

LAYBRICK

LAYBRICK is a 3D printing material that gives parts the look and feel of grey stone while retaining the resiliency of plastic, making it ideal for landscape and architectural designs. Anything made with LAYBRICK can be painted and sanded. In the lower range of 165°C to 190°C, the print will come out mostly smooth, whereas with higher temperatures it will begin to have a more pitted, sandstone-like texture. LAYBRICK is available in both 1.75mm and 3mm unspooled rolls.


LAYWOO-D3

LAYWOO-D3 is a wood-like 3D printer material that gives 3D printed objects the look and feel of fiberboard. It also imbues parts with other wood-like attributes, such as the ability be cut, painted, and sanded. LAYWOO-D3 is made from a combination of recycled wood particles combined with polymer binders allowing it to be melted and extruded through your 3D Printer. It is possible to give parts printed in LAYWOO-D3 a simulated alternating light/dark wood-grain appearance by varying the extruder temperature during printing. LAYWOO-D3 is available in a 1.75mm or 3mm unspooled rolls.


Conductive ABS Filament

Conductive ABS Filament is a modified version of our standard ABS filament, which has a resistance of 1200 ohm/cm. This filament works with all ABS compatible 3D printers. Conductive ABS filament is available in 1.75mm and 3mm.


LayCeramic

LayCeramic filament is exactly what it sounds like, clay engineered for 3D Printers that can be used to make ceramic objects. LayCeramic has all the capabilities of normal clay including the ability to be fired to give it a nice glossy look and increase strength. 3D Printing with LayCeramic will require a few additional pieces to your Printer including a full metal hotend, filament warmer (LayCeramic is brittle), and Kiln which isn't necessary, but nice to have access to.


Carbon Fiber Reinforced PLA

Carbon Fiber Reinforced PLA filament provides fabulous structural strength and layer adhesion with very low warpage. Due to the carbon fiber contained in the filament, it has increased rigidity, therefore increased structural support built right in. Carbon Fiber filament is perfect for printing items that do not bend, such as: frames, supports, propellers, and tools - drone builders and RC Hobbyists love this stuff, and it is made in the USA! The carbon fiber in the filament is specifically designed to be small enough to fit through the nozzles, but long enough to provide the extra rigidity that makes this reinforced PLA so special.


Steel PLA

Steel PLA filament is as easy to print as Standard PLA , but because of the steel fibers blended with the plastic, prints are heavier and thus, more authentic . Finished steel 3D prints can be polished and doctored to create beautiful and unique pieces. Unpolished, the Stainless Steel filament looks like cast metal fresh from a mold. With just a little finishing and polishing, however, you can easily create any look like you desire. 3D Printing Steel is perfect for printing jewlery, props, costumes, figurines, and robots. Since it is so easy to print with, it is great not only for hobbyists, but serious designers as well.


Magnetic Iron PLA

Magnetic Iron PLA filament is truly one of a kind! This Iron filament opens the door for different prints because - you guessed it - it is magnetic! We recommend a printing temperature that is about 10-20 degrees lower than you would print with standard PLA. To get a rusty look, "polish" your finished print with a wire brush to expose more of the iron particles to the air. Then, submerge the piece in a salty solution for about 2-3 days. You can soak longer if you would like a more very rusty finish. Magnetic Iron PLA 3D printing material can bring a rustic look to any print.


Fill Series

Fill Series (BronzeFill, BrassFill, CopperFill, WoodFill, BambooFill, etc.) is organic material or raw elements engineered into a filament that is compatible with 3D Printers. The materials are combined at a ratio of 80% PLA and 20% Material. When the PLA and Materials (usually in powder form) are combined, the PLA gives the 3D Printer compatibility while the material contributes to the look and feel of the filament. The metal based Fills such as BrassFill is able to be polished just like a normal metal to give it a nice, realistic looking shine. Be careful with the organic fills such as BambooFill because too high of a temperature will result in the burning of the Bamboo which will give you a darker colored print.


Lay-Felt

Lay-Felt is best characterized as a felt like filament that is highly porous. This material is made from a rubber-elastomeric polymer and a PVA-component. That means that part of this filament is water soluble. Once you rinse this material in water, the PVA component disappears and the rubber polymer remains as your micro-porous object. Lay-Felt is ideal for making filters, 3D membranes, semipermeable membranes, and any flexible yet felty object. After finishing your print you will notice that the 3D printed part is strong and rigid. However, rinse the print with water then your object becomes micro-porous & elastic. This is ideal for printing soft and flexible rubber like objects.


Gel-Lay

Gel-Lay is best characterized as a jelly-like material that is very porous. This 3D printing material is made from a rubber-elastomeric polymer and a PVA-component. That means that part of this filament is water soluble. Once you rinse this material in water, the PVA component disappears and the rubber polymer remains as your micro-porous object. Gel-Lay is ideal for creating artificial limbs or body parts, marine animals (like an octopus) or floatables. Other great applications for Gel-Lay include objects in water, marine organism flow simulation, and bio-mechanics. After finishing your print you will notice that the material is strong and only slightly bendable. However, rinse the print with water then your object becomes micro-porous & elastic. This is ideal for printing soft and flexible rubber like objects.


LAY-FOMM 60

LAY-FOMM 60 is best characterized as foamy and very porous. This material is made from a rubber-elastomeric polymer and a PVA-component. That means that part of this filament is water soluble. Once you rinse this material in water, the PVA component disappears and the rubber polymer remains as your micro-porous object. LAY-FOMM 60 is ideal for soft rubber-like applications, such as bendable suits and sponge-like objects, ink-reservoirs, bio-cells, micro-foam and elastics. After finishing your print you will notice that the material is strong and rigid. However, rinse the print with water then your object becomes micro-porous & elastic. This is ideal for printing soft and flexible rubber like objects. This 3D printer material is very soft and has a shore hardness of A60.


LAY-FOMM 40

LAY-FOMM 40 is best characterized as foamy and very porous. This 3D printer material is made from a rubber-elastomeric polymer and a PVA-component. That means that part of this filament is water soluble. Once you rinse this material in water, the PVA component disappears and the rubber polymer remains as your micro-porous object. LAY-FOMM 40 is ideal for soft rubber-like applications, such as bendable suits and sponge-like objects, ink-reservoirs, bio-cells, micro-foam and elastics. After finishing your print you will notice that the material is strong and rigid. However, rinse the print with water then your object becomes micro-porous & elastic. This is ideal for printing soft and flexible rubber like objects. This material is very soft and has a shore hardness of A40.


Section 4: Specialty Filaments

Polycarbonate

Polycarbonate (PC) Polycarbonate is strong and very resistant to impact - this material is used when making bullet proof glass. Polycarbonate is an extremely tough and durable thermoplastic material that is temperature resistant. This material is malleable while cold and can be bent without cracking. Polycarbonate is available in 1.75mm and 3mm.


Bendlay

Bendlay is an exciting new filament that is extremely translucent (91% of light passes through) and also is quite flexible. This extremely translucent material will allow you to print nearly clear items, while at the same time being remarkably resilient and elastic. BendLay is a modified Butadiene, which is safe for household and food products. BendLay has a high interlayer adhesion, making it a really wonderful and easy-to-print filament. Compared to ABS it also absorbs far less moisture from the air and thus cuts down on warping significantly. Bendlay is available in 1.75mm and 3mm.


MoldLay

MoldLay is a material specifically engineered for moldmaking. Use MoldLay filament to 3D print objects that you want to make a mold of OR investment cast. Moldlay will easily melt out of negative impressions with very little residue. It is structurally sound with zero warping oo you will get a mold of exactly what you print. Moldlay filament is available in 1.75mm and 3mm.


Section 5: Support Filaments

PVA (Polyvinyl Acetate)

PVA (Polyvinyl Acetate) filament prints translucent with a slightly yellow tint and is primarily used as a 3D printing support material because it is water-soluble, meaning that it will dissolve when exposed to water (and so MUST be kept dry prior to use). PVA is most often used with 3D printers capable of dual extrusion: one extruder printing a primary material (such as ABS or PLA) and the other printing this dissolvable filament to provide support for overhanging features. PVA 3D printer filament is available in 1.75mm and 3mm.


High Impact Polystyrene

High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) is very similar to ABS. The main difference is that HIPS plastic uses Limonene as a solvent, therefore making it a great option as support material when printing ABS with dual extrusion printer. HIPS filament is as easy to 3D print with as ABS but is much less likely to warp. HIPS filament is available in 1.75mm and 3mm.