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3D printing materials: plastics, metals or organic materials?

Posted by Maria Cristina Chiulli on

When it comes to 3D printing, the sky is (almost) the limit in terms of what materials you can use — and researchers are constantly making new materials 3D printable.

There are a few main material types used in 3D printing. Most common are plastics, which can range from engineering grade, like PEEK, or very easy to use, like PLA. Resin is another common material and it’s used with SLA printers. Composites are another category and, as the name implies, they’re created by combining two materials to get the best properties of each. The last big group of materials is metals. These are only printable using industrial machines. 

Most consumer products are made from thermoplastics. Designers and engineers prefer to create functional prototypes using 3D printing materials that have the same or very similar properties as the materials used in injection molding, the technology used to create the finished product. Most of the thermoplastic 3D printing materials can be used in home 3D printing and professional applications alike. 

ABS plastic is one the most popular 3D printing materials. There have been concerns about the fumes that ABS emit when reaching its melting point.

PLA is a cornstarch derivative (but sugar cane and tapioca varieties can also be found), it is biodegradable. It‘s an easy material to  3D print with and emits a pleasantly sweet fragrance when heated. PLA is less durable than ABS and susceptible to heat.

While 3D printing is making a revolution in industrial design at any level, it should take into account its impact on environment. Plastics can be replaced by eco friendly products. We suggest hemp filament: natural, organic, non toxic, zero impact on health and environment. Check its properties here.

Say Yes to Life, Earth Thanks! 🌿

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