How To Find The Best Material For 3D Printing + 5 Best 3D Print Materials

by Tracy Jackson

Last Updated on June 20, 2022 by Tracy Jackson

best material for 3d printing

3D printing is becoming an increasingly popular technology and with good reason!

It has the potential to revolutionize the way we produce objects.

But before you can start 3D printing, you need to choose the suitable material for your project.

This blog post will discuss the different types of materials available for 3D printing and their benefits.

I will also recommend 6 of my favorite materials for 3D printing projects!

Disclaimer: If you choose to buy something using the links in this article, I may receive a commission at no extra cost.

Know that I only promote stuff that I use and trust for my readers and the reputation of this site.

PLA 3D Printer Filament


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PLA is the most popular filament for desktop printers because it doesn’t require a heated build platform and has very low shrinkage.


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ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)


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ABS filament is a versatile material used for various applications.


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PETG (PET, PETT)


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PETG is the best material for those looking for a durable, strong, and easy-to-print thermoplastic.


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TPE, TPU, TPC (Flexible)


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TPE, TPU, and TPC have excellent elasticity and resistance to tearing.


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How To Find The Best Material For 3D Printing

There are a few things to consider when finding the best material for your next printing project.

 The first is the type of object you plan on printing.

Different objects will require different kinds of materials for printed correctly.

For example, a vase might need an additional material than a toy car. 

Best material for 3d printing

The size is another factor to consider when you plan on printing.

Some materials are better suited for large objects, while others are better for more minor things.

Finally, you’ll need to think about the budget for your project.

Some materials can be pretty expensive, so it’s essential to find one that fits within your budget.

Once you consider these factors, you can narrow down your choices and find the best material for your next printing project.

Here are six of the best materials for printing:

PLA: PLA is a biodegradable plastic derived from renewable resources like corn starch or sugar cane.

It’s a popular print choice because it’s easy to use and doesn’t require a heated bed.

In addition, it is used as a support material for more complex prints.

ABS: ABS is a petroleum-based plastic that’s strong and durable.

It’s often used for printing objects used outdoors or in high-stress situations.

PETG: PETG is a rigid, recyclable plastic resistant to both impact and heat.

It’s a good choice for printing objects that need to be durable.

Wood: Wood filament made from, you guessed it, wood.

It gives printed objects a natural wooden appearance and can be stained or painted just like natural wood.

Metal: Metal filaments made from metal powders or flakes.

They give printed objects a metallic appearance and a high shine.

Glass: Glass filaments made from glass powder or flakes.

They give printed objects a translucent appearance and can be dyed to create different colors.

What Is The Best Material For 3D Printing?

1. PLA 3D Printer Filament (Polylactic Acid)

PLA 3D Printer Filament, SUNLU PLA Filament 1.75mm, Dimensional Accuracy +/- 0.02 mm, 1 kg Spool, 1.75mm, PLA Black
$18.99

Pros

  • It is the most accessible material to use with a desktop FDM printer.
  • It has shallow warping properties.
  • PLA printed at higher temperatures than ABS reduces the likelihood of cracks and voids forming in your prints.

Cons

  • It is not as strong as ABS.
  • PLA is not as heat resistant as ABS, which can deform at higher temperatures.


06/28/2022 12:54 pm GMT

PLA 3D Printer filament is one of the best materials for your needs.

It is available in different colors and is used for a wide range of applications.

PLA filament is made from renewable resources like corn starch and sugarcane.

In addition, PLA filament is biodegradable, making it more environmentally friendly than other filaments.

PLA is the most popular filament for desktop printers because it doesn’t require a heated build platform and has very low shrinkage.

PLA is available in various colors, including clear and glow-in-the-dark.

PLA 3D Printer Filament

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PLA is strong and stiff with a smooth matte finish. It’s easy to print with and has excellent dimensional accuracy.

PLA doesn’t require any special storage conditions and has a long shelf life.

PLA is primarily processed in powder form.

You can print PLA at low or high temperatures, but we recommend using a heated build platform if you’re printing large parts or parts with intricate geometries.

If you’re looking for a versatile, reliable, and affordable filament, PLA is your go-to material.

Check out our PRO Series PLA to find the perfect color for your next project.

Applications

PLA 3D printing applications

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Applications of PLA filament are not limited to home use only.

PLA can also be used in various settings, such as schools and businesses.

In addition, its durability and flexibility make it ideal for a wide range of applications, including:

  • Modeling
  • Prototyping
  • Dental appliances
  • Medical implants
  • Food containers
  • Packaging materials

Pros

  • It is the most accessible material to use with a desktop FDM printer.
  • It has shallow warping properties.
  • PLA printed at higher temperatures than ABS reduces the likelihood of cracks and voids forming in your prints.

Cons

  • It is not as strong as ABS.
  • PLA is not as heat resistant as ABS, which can deform at higher temperatures.

Click here to check the price on Amazon!

2. ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)

HATCHBOX ABS 3D Printer Filament, Dimensional Accuracy +/- 0.03 mm, 1 kg Spool, 1.75 mm, White, Model Number: 3D ABS-1KG1.75-WHT
$22.99

Pros

  • ABS is a strong and durable material.
  • ABS is also easy to sand and paint.
  • ABS is one of the most common materials used in professional-grade printers, so you’ll have no trouble finding support and guidance if you need it.

Cons

  • ABS can be difficult to print with, especially for beginners. It tends to warp and crack if not printed correctly.
  • ABS is also a petroleum-based plastic, so it’s not the most environmentally friendly option.
  • ABS can emit harmful fumes when heated.


06/28/2022 01:04 pm GMT

ABS filament is a versatile material used for various applications.

It is strong and durable, ideal for functional parts and prototypes.

ABS is also easy to print with, making it a good choice for beginners.

ABS

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Although, ABS does have some drawbacks.

It is not as easy to post-process as other materials, and it can be challenging to use in print.

If you are searching for solid and durable material, ABS is the best choice.

However, if you are looking for a material accessible to post-processor print, you should consider other materials.

Applications

ABS filament

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Common uses of ABS

  • Automotive parts
  • Protective gear
  • Lego bricks
  • Medical devices
  • Printers and computer housings

Pros

  • ABS is a strong and durable material, making it ideal for parts that must withstand high temperatures or heavy wear and tear.
  • ABS is also easy to sand and paint, so it’s an excellent choice to create a smooth finish on your print.
  • ABS is one of the most common materials used in professional-grade printers, so you’ll have no trouble finding support and guidance if you need it.

Cons

  • ABS can be difficult to print with, especially for beginners. It tends to warp and crack if not printed correctly.
  • ABS is also a petroleum-based plastic, so it’s not the most environmentally friendly option.
  • ABS can emit harmful fumes when heated, so it’s essential to use proper ventilation when printing with this material.

Click here to check the price on Amazon!

3. PETG (PET, PETT)

OVERTURE PETG Filament 1.75mm, 3D Printer Filament, 1kg Filament (2.2lbs)
$23.99

Pros

  • PETG is solid and durable.
  • It is used to print at high speeds.
  • It has a low shrinkage rate.
  • It is available in a wide range of colors.
  • It is easy to print with and doesn’t require a heated bed.

Cons

  • PETG can be tricky to sand and polish.
  • It is not as clear as other plastics.
  • It can be expensive.
  • It can emit fumes when printing.


06/28/2022 09:47 am GMT

PETG is a high-strength, durable thermoplastic. It is easy to print with and has very low warping.

PETG is also UV resistant and used outdoors.

PETG is the best material for those looking for a durable, strong, and easy-to-print thermoplastic.

It is perfect for indoor and outdoor applications.

PETG

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Applications

PETG for 3d printing

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  • PETG is ideal for mechanical parts that need to be strong and durable.
  • It can be used for food contact applications, as it is FDA approved.
  • It is chemical resistant and an excellent option in corrosive environments.
  • It has a low coefficient of friction, making it ideal for applications where low friction is desired.
  • It can be used for outdoor applications, as it is UV resistant.
  • It has a high glass transition temperature, making it suitable for high-temperature applications. PETG is an incredibly versatile material used in various applications.

Pros

  • PETG is solid and durable.
  • It is used to print at high speeds.
  • It has a low shrinkage rate.
  • It is available in a wide range of colors.
  • It is easy to print with and doesn’t require a heated bed.

Cons

  • PETG can be tricky to sand and polish.
  • It is not as clear as other plastics.
  • It can be expensive.
  • It can emit fumes when printing.

Click here to check the price on Amazon!

4. TPE, TPU, TPC (Flexible)

DURAMIC 3D TPU Filament 1.75mm Black, TPU Flexible Filament 95A, Soft TPU 3D Printing Filament, 1kg Spool
$25.99

Pros

  • used with multiple types of printers
  • A variety of colors to choose from
  • Relatively inexpensive

Cons

  • Not as strong or durable as some other materials
  • It can be challenging to print with, requiring a well-calibrated printer


06/28/2022 01:30 pm GMT

TPE, TPU, and TPC are the best materials for flexible applications and are perfect for products that will be handled frequently or require a softer feel.

In addition, TPE, TPU, and TPC have excellent elasticity and resistance to tearing, making them ideal for products that need to withstand repeated stress or impact.

TPU

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These materials are also weather-resistant and used in indoor and outdoor applications.

While TPE, TPU, and TPC are more expensive than other materials, the benefits of using these materials far outweigh the cost.

Applications

TPU filament

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  • Gaskets and seals
  • Housings and casings
  • Ducting and tubing
  • Belts and pulleys
  • Rollers and bearings
  • Joints and hinges

Pros

  • used with multiple types of printers
  • A variety of colors to choose from
  • Relatively inexpensive

Cons

  • Not as strong or durable as some other materials
  • It can be challenging to print with, requiring a well-calibrated printer

Click here to check the price on Amazon!

5. Nylon Filament

OVERTURE Nylon Filament 1.75mm 3D Printer Filament, Polyamide (PA) 1kg Spool (2.2lbs) Black
$32.99

Pros

  • Nylon is strong and durable.
  • Nylon is flexible.
  • Nylon can be printed at high resolutions.

Cons

  • Nylon is a porous material. Nylons can cause warping and crack in prints.
  • Nylon is a thermoplastic that can soften and deform when exposed to high temperatures.
06/28/2022 01:45 pm GMT

Nylon is the best material for 3d printing because it is strong and durable.

It is also easy to print at high resolutions.

A few different types of nylon are used for printing, but the most common type is PA12.

This type of nylon is often used in medical implants and prosthetics because it is strong and printed at high resolutions.

PA12 is the best type of nylon for printing because it is strong and durable.

It is also easy to print with and can be used to print at high resolutions.

If you are searching for solid and durable material, nylon is the best choice.

Applications

Nylon Filament for 3d printing

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Nylon applications in additive manufacturing are not limited to just the end-use product.

There are several applications for which nylon is particularly well-suited. These include:

  • creating prototypes and models
  • low volume production runs
  • functional testing
  • custom jigs and fixtures
  • end-use products made from multiple materials

Pros

Nylon filament

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  • Nylon is strong and durable.
  • Nylon is flexible, which makes it ideal for printing moving parts.
  • Nylon can be printed at high resolutions, producing smooth prints.

Cons

  • Nylon is a porous material, meaning that it can absorb moisture from the air. Nylons can cause warping and crack in prints.
  • Nylon is a thermoplastic that can soften and deform when exposed to high temperatures, causing issues during 3d printing.

Click here to check the price on Amazon!

Other Types of 3D Printing Materials

ASA (Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate) Filaments

PLA filaments are the most popular filament, but they have some serious drawbacks.

ABS is a more robust and durable plastic, but it’s harder to work with and has a higher risk of warping.

PETG is an excellent middle ground between the two, but it can be challenging to find.

ASA filaments

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If you’re searching for the ideal material for your needs, ASA is the way to go.

It’s strong and durable like ABS, but it doesn’t warp and is easy to work with.

Plus, it’s one of the most affordable filaments on the market.

ASA filament is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a versatile and affordable option for their next project.

Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, ASA is an ideal material to work with.

Biodegradable Filaments

Biodegradable filaments

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Biodegradable filaments are the best material for eco-friendly and economic 3d printing.

Here are some of the advantages of using this type of filament:

  • It is made from plant-based materials, so it is completely renewable.
  • It is much cheaper than traditional petroleum-based filaments.
  • It doesn’t require any special equipment or settings, so it’s easy to use.
  • It is strong and durable, thus used for a variety of applications.
  • It is completely biodegradable so that it won’t pollute the environment.

Conductive Filaments

Conductive filament for 3d printing

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Conductive filaments are the best material for those who want to create functional electrical components with their printers.

While traditional filaments can only be used to create static objects, Conductive Filaments allow you to add moving parts and circuits to your prints.

As a result, conductive Filaments make them perfect for creating working prototypes or final products.

There are many different types of Conductive Filaments available on the market, but not all are created equal.

To find the best Conductive Filament for your needs, you must consider a few factors.

The first point to consider is the kind of printer you have.

Unfortunately, not all printers can handle Conductive Filaments, so you’ll need to ensure that your printer is compatible before purchasing any.

The second point to consider is the price.

Conductive Filaments are usually more expensive than traditional ones, so you’ll need to ensure that you’re comfortable with the price before purchasing them.

The third point to consider is the quality of the filament. When it comes to Conductive Filaments, you get what you pay.

If you want to create high-quality prints, you’ll need to invest in a high-quality filament.

Color-Changing Filaments

color changing filaments

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A color-changing filament is the best material for those who want to add a little bit of fun and personality to their prints.

As the name suggests, this filament changes color on printed, giving your objects a beautiful gradient effect.

While it is more expensive than other filaments on the market, Color-Changing Filaments are worth the investment if you want to add some pizzazz to your prints.

Ceramic/ Clay Filaments

cermaic filaments for 3d printing

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Ceramic filaments are the best material for those who want to create strong and sturdy prints.

This type of filament is also great for those who want to print objects that can withstand high temperatures.

Ceramic/ Clay filaments are not the cheapest option, but they are definitely worth the investment.

If you are looking for a more affordable option, PLA filaments are a great choice.

In addition, PLA is a biodegradable plastic derived from renewable resources, making it a more environmentally-friendly option.

PLA filaments are more straightforward to print than other filament types and are ideal for beginners.

Carbon Fiber Filaments

carbon fiber filament for 3d printing

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Carbon Fiber Filament is the best material for your needs if you want to produce strong and lightweight products.

The main advantage of Carbon Fiber Filaments is that it is five times stronger than ABS plastic and two times lighter.

As a result, Carbon Fiber Filaments make it an ideal material for producing parts that need to be both strong and lightweight, such as drones or RC cars.

In addition, Carbon Fiber Filaments are also much more heat resistant than ABS plastic, meaning that your parts will be less prone to warp or deform when exposed to high temperatures.

Carbon Fiber Filaments are also used as a top-coat for 3D prints made of plastic materials.

If you are searching for the ideal material for your next project, Carbon Fiber Filaments are the way to go.

It is strong, light, and heat resistant, perfect for various applications.

Carbon Fiber Filaments will give you the best results for your next project with their superior properties.

Cleaning Filaments

3D Printer Cleaning Filament

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Cleaning filaments are used for cleaning 3D print extruders.

These filaments help remove any leftover material in the printer from previous 3D printing projects.

In addition, the Cleaning filament ensures that your new project has a clean start.

Cleaning filaments are made of PLA, ABS, and PVA materials.

Each type of filament has its own set of benefits and drawbacks.

Glow-in-the-Dark Filaments

Glow in the Dark PLA Filament

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Glow-in-the-dark filaments are a great way to add a unique touch to your prints.

They can be used for various applications, from creating illuminated signs to adding safety features to products.

There are some facts you should keep in mind when choosing a glow-in-the-dark filament:

  • Glow-in-the-dark filaments are typically made from ABS or PLA.
  • The luminosity of the filament will vary depending on the brand and type of filament you choose.
  • Glow-in-the-dark filaments require a UV light source to charge them up before glowing.

Glass Fiber Filaments

Glass fiber filament for 3d printing

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Glass fiber is one of the best materials you can use for your next project.

Here are some reasons why:

-Glass Fiber Filaments are very strong and durable.

-It is also heat resistant so that it can withstand high temperatures.

-Glass Fiber Filaments are also chemical resistant so that they won’t break down in harsh environments.

-It is also very lightweight, so that it won’t add a lot of bulk to your project.

-Finally, Glass Fiber Filaments are very easy to work with and print.

So if you’re looking for a material that is strong, durable, heat resistant, and easy to work with, then Glass Fiber Filaments are the perfect choice for you.

HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene) Filaments

High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) Filament

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HIPS is an excellent choice for those looking for an affordable, reliable, and versatile material for their next project.

HIPS is also one of the most popular materials used in FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) or FFM (Fused Filament Manufacturing).

There are many reasons why you should consider HIPS as your next filament.

HIPS is solid and durable, making it ideal for various applications.

It is also easy to print with and has a low shrink rate, ideal for larger prints.

HIPS is also an excellent alternative to ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene).

ABS is a petroleum-based plastic that can be difficult to work with.

HIPS is made from renewable resources and is easier to print, making it a more sustainable choice.

HIPS is smooth, lightweight, impact-resistant, and water-resistant.

So if you are looking for an affordable, reliable, and versatile material for your next project, HIPS is perfect.

Metal Filaments

Metal 3D Printing Filament

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Metal filaments are used to create high-strength metal parts for end-use applications through Direct Metal Laser Sintering.

With the ability to produce solid and heat-resistant objects, this filament is perfect for printed tools and mechanical components.

There are a few facts you should consider when using metal filaments to produce metal parts:

– The price per spool can be higher than other materials, so be sure to compare prices before you buy

– Make sure your printer is compatible with metal filaments – some printers may not be able to heat the filament to the high temperatures required

– Be aware that printing with metal filaments can produce a lot of noise and fumes, so it’s crucial to have proper ventilation in your workspace.

Magnetic Filaments

Magnetic filaments

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If you’re looking for unique material for your next project, magnetic filaments (such as a magnetic iron PLA filament) could be the perfect option.

These filaments are made with iron particles that allow them to be attracted to magnets.

This aspect makes them ideal for creating movable parts or adding an extra level of interactivity to your prints.

There are a few points to consider when printing with magnetic filaments.

First, you’ll need to use a printer to handle high temperatures. Most standard printers won’t be able to reach the necessary temperature for these filaments.

Secondly, magnetic filaments are often more expensive than other materials.

However, they can add an extra level of fun and functionality to your prints.

Polypropylene (PP) Filaments

PP filaments

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Polypropylene is one of the best materials you can use for your next project.

It is strong, durable, and has a wide range of applications.

You can find Polypropylene (PP) Filaments at your local hardware store or online.

When you have to pick a suitable material for your project, it is essential to consider the properties of each material.

For example, polypropylene (PP) Filaments are an excellent choice for many projects because they are strong, durable, and have many applications.

Polycarbonate ABS Alloy (PC-ABS) Filaments

Polycarbonate ABS Alloy

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PC-ABS is one of the best materials for your next project. It is a durable, strong plastic that can be used in various applications.

PC-ABS is also easy to print with and has a low shrinkage rate.

The low shrinkage rate makes it ideal for novice and experienced printers alike.

There are some facts to consider when printing with PC-ABS.

First, it is vital to use a heated build plate.

The heated plate helps to prevent the warping and curling of the material.

Second, PC-ABS is used to print at various temperatures, but we recommend printing between 230°C and 250°C.

Finally, PC-ABS does produce some fumes when printing, so it is essential to have adequate ventilation.

Polyoxymethylene (POM)/ Acetal Filaments

Acetal Delrin Filament for 3D Printers

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POM/ Acetal filaments are among the best materials used in FFF/FDM additive manufacturing.

POM is a high-performance thermoplastic that offers excellent dimensional stability, hardness, and strength.

It also has meager moisture absorption rates and good chemical resistance.

POM filaments are available in both opaque and translucent colors.

Polyoxymethylene filaments have many applications, including medical devices, automotive parts, and mechanical engineering components.

POM/acetal is a rigid plastic with very high dimensional stability. It has meager moisture absorption rates and good chemical resistance.

POM is also known as “Delrin,” one of the trade names for this material.

POM/acetal is available in both opaque and translucent colors.

Polyoxymethylene filaments have many applications, including medical devices, automotive parts, and mechanical engineering components.

Consider using POM/acetal filaments whenever you search for a durable and robust plastic for your next FFF/FDM project; consider using POM/acetal filaments.

You can find these filaments in various colors and with different properties to suit your specific needs.

Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA)/ Acrylic

PMMA Acrylic Filament

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PMMA is a transparent thermoplastic often used as a shatter-resistant alternative to glass.

It has a lot of varied applications, including medical devices, optical products, and toys.

When finding the best material for your next project, it’s essential to consider what properties you need.

For example, PMMA/Acrylic would be a good choice if you need a shatter-resistant material.

On the other hand, if you need transparent material, PMMA/Acrylic would be a good pick.

However, if you need a strong and flexible material, you might want to consider another option.

PVA (Polyvinyl alcohol) Filaments

PVA filaments

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PVA is hydrophilic, meaning that they absorb water from the air.

PVA might not sound like a big deal, but it can cause your filament to become brittle and break while printing.

An excellent method to combat this is storing your PVA filament in an airtight container with a desiccant packet.

PVA filaments are great for use as support materials in 3d printing.

Another material you might want to consider for your next print is ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene).

ABS is a thermoplastic, meaning it can be molded and shaped with heat.

It’s also pretty tough, ideal for phone cases or tool holders.

One downside to using ABS is that it tends to warp when printing large objects.

Warping can be prevented by using a heated build platform or printing smaller objects.

Wax (MOLDLAY) Filaments

Wax filaments

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If you’re looking for a material that can be used for prototyping and final production, Wax (MOLDLAY) filaments are a great option.

With its high detail reproduction capabilities and low shrinkage rate, Wax (MOLDLAY) is ideal for applications where dimensional accuracy is essential.

Additionally, the smooth surface finish of Wax (MOLDLAY) parts makes them perfect for use as prototypes or models.

Wax (MOLDLAY) filaments are available in various colors, making it easy to find the perfect shade for your project.

In addition, Wax (MOLDLAY) filaments are compatible with most standard FFF/FDM printers.

So, if you’re on the hunt for a versatile and user-friendly material for your next project, Wax (MOLDLAY) filaments should be at the top of your list!

Wood Filled Filaments

Wood Filament

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Wood filaments are one of the best materials for your next project.

They are strong, durable, and have a realistic wood grain finish.

If you are looking for a strong and stylish material, then wood-filled filaments are the way.

Conclusion

When choosing the ideal material for your next project, keep a few things.

The type of 3d printer you have, the quality you need, and the budget will all play a role in what material is best for you.

With so many choices on the market, it can be overwhelming to try and choose the perfect one.

But by considering these factors in mind, you can narrow down your choices and pick the best material for your next project.

Do you have any tips for picking the best material for a project?

Share them in the comments below!

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