Updated: Sep 2, 2022
Different thermoplastics have different properties. For functional prototypes and end-use parts- Nylon, CPE, PC, and ABS are common choices. PLA is the best choice for hobbyist and experimental . For flexibility Nylon, Polypropylene, TPU, and other flexible filaments are good choices.
PLA (Polylactic Acid)
Found in compostable cups.
Common in consumer grade printers.
Made from renewable resources such as corn, tapioca, or sugarcane.
Not recommended for extended outdoor use or temperatures above 50 degrees.
ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)
Found in toys and consumer products.
Lightweight, high-impact resistance, and mechanical toughness.
Large spectrum of solid colors.
Transparent option available for industrial machines.
TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane)
Found in mobile phone cases.
Flexible and tear resistant.
Available in solid colors.
Wide variety of other flexible filaments.
Found in mechanical parts or as fibers in clothing.
Strong, flexible, and durable.
Low friction and corrosion resistant.
Available in solid colors and transparent.
Found in glass substitutes.
Strong and tough.
Available in limited solid colors and transparent.
Found in reusable food containers.
Flexible and tough.
Low-friction and smooth surfaces.
Available in transparent.
HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene)
Used as primary material.
Used as support material combined with ABS.
Dissolves in the chemical limonene.
PVA (Polyvinyl Alcohol)
Water soluble support.
Paired with nylon or pla.