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3D Printing/Materials

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Plastics[edit | edit source]

3D Printer materials come in a variety of colors and physical properties.

FFF 3D printers typically accept a filament of a certain diameter.

Some FFF 3D printers are modified to use pellets for ease of using recycled material.[1]

PLA[edit | edit source]

PLA is a common 3D printing material. It's inexpensive and easy to use, making it a good choice as a starter material for beginners, and a general material for more advanced operators.[2]

Compared to using ABS, a typical FFF printer using PLA should emit less particles.[3]

ABS[edit | edit source]

A spool of ABS filament.

ABS is cheap and strong, but needs the right environment to print well.[4]

Compared to using PLA, a typical FFF printer using ABS should emit more particles.[3][5] Ventilation should be used when printing ABS.[4]

HIPS[edit | edit source]

HIPS is a good starting material due to its ease of use and because it is not expensive.[6]

PETG[edit | edit source]

Despite it's very different chemistry, PETG prints are similar to ABS prints but are less temperamental about the print environment making them easier to print.[2]

PETG can't be directly printed on a glass bed.[2] An intermediate material like tape must be used.[7]

Nylon[edit | edit source]

A spool of nylon filament, with printed example object on top.

Nylon 3D prints are known for being somewhat flexible and durable.[7][8]

Nylon can also be dyed to produce different color materials.[7]

Nylon can be temperamental and difficult to work with.[4]

Flexible[edit | edit source]

Flexible filaments are expensive to buy and temperamental to use, but gives prints unique properties, allowing them to deform slightly.[2] These filaments tend to jam, and are best used on direct drive printers.[4]

Ideal Support Materials[edit | edit source]

Support material is used to temporarily hold up objects while printing.

PVA[edit | edit source]

PVA is water soluble, so PVA material melts in water while leaving the primary plastic intact.[4] This makes it ideal for support material when used in a dual extruder or a multi material printer, since supports can be dissolved instead of manually removed.

Composite Materials[edit | edit source]

Composite materials mix a printable material with a material that typically can't be printed, giving it unique properties, as well as unique challenges.

Composite Examples[edit | edit source]

  • Magnetic Iron PLA - Can attract strong magnets and rust.[9][10]
  • Conductive PLA - Prints are electrically conductive and can carry small currents for simple electronics or to enable parts to trigger touchscreens.[11]

Resins[edit | edit source]

SLA printers use liquid resin, instead of filaments.

These resins can usually be colored with dye.[12][13]

Exotic Materials[edit | edit source]

3D printers geared towards directly printing in exotic materials exist.[14][15]

It is often a better idea to try 3D printing a mold in a conventional material and then using that mold to make the end product.[16][17]

3D printing food in particular has unique challenges, as the food must be printed in a way that avoids contamination and is safe to eat.[18]

  • Food
    • Chocolate[19]
    • Pizza Ingredients (Dough, Sauce and Cheese)[20]
  • Metal
  • Sandstone

Material Storage[edit | edit source]

When possible FFF filaments should be kept in a drybox to avoid contamination of material from humidity and dust.[21] If this is impractical, a dust filter can also be used on the filament feed.[22]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "10 Tips for Converting a 3D Printer to Pellet Extrusion | Make:". Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers. 25 November 2020. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
  2. a b c d "3D Printer Filaments: Definitions, Applications, and Tips". Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  3. a b "3D Printer Safety – Environment, Health, and Safety". Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  4. a b c d e White, Lindsay. "Materials for 3D Printing – build IT @SDSU Library". Retrieved 6 November 2020. {{cite web}}: Missing |author1= (help)
  5. "Particles Emitted by Consumer 3D Printers Could Hurt Indoor Air Quality". www.news.gatech.edu. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  6. "Printing Materials – Innovation Studio". Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  7. a b c "Closing the Loop On 3D Printing". UCSF Library. 30 November 2017. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  8. Meher, Robin. "Library Guides: 3D Printing at the Library of Engineering and Science: Filament Guide". guides.lib.purdue.edu. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  9. "Magnetic Iron PLA Magnetic 3D Printer Filament". LulzBot. 18 September 2015. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  10. "Iron-filled Metal Composite PLA". ProtoPlant, makers of Proto-pasta. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  11. "Conductive PLA". LulzBot. 18 September 2015. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  12. "Color Kit". Formlabs. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
  13. "How Do I Dye Resin 3D Prints? - Easy To Create Custom Colored Resin". 3D Printed Miniatures for Gaming or Display. 31 January 2020. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
  14. "CES 2014: 3D food printers create sweets and chocolates". BBC News. 8 January 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  15. "Engineers Create A Titanium Rib Cage Worthy Of Wolverine". NPR.org. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  16. Says, Jobfor778 (7 February 2020). "The beginner's guide to mold making and casting". Prusa Printers. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  17. "Casting Metal Parts And Silicone Molds From 3D Prints". Hackaday. 25 February 2018. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  18. "Maker Faire NY: Cocoa Press Chocolate Printer". Hackaday. 29 September 2018. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  19. Mishan, Ligaya (21 February 2019). "The Secret Ingredient for These Desserts: A 3-D Printer (Published 2019)". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  20. "NASA's 3D Food Printer Will Make Pizza at Amusement Parks". www.vice.com. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  21. "Filament dryboxes and alternative spool holders - not only for MMU2S". Prusa Printers. 26 July 2019. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  22. "Filament Dust Filter Helps Keep Your Print Quality High". Hackaday. 6 September 2020. Retrieved 6 November 2020.