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3D Printer Filament Types

In recent years, 3D printers have taken the world by storm. These printers allow you to create your own 3D creations. The products you can create with 3D printers are diverse, and often only limited by your imagination! Whether you wish to print a new plant pot for your desk succulent, toy figurines, or replacement parts, there are many options for what to create with your 3D printer.

3D printers can allow you to make many creations. When it comes to printing choices, there are countless open source, free designs out there on the web! For those who wish to get started with 3D printing, there are a variety of affordable printers on the market, plus many resources that can help you learn about how to safely enjoy your machine. 

Have you wanted to know more about the material 3D printers use to generate the prints they make? This material is called filament, and there are lots of different types available.

In order to create 3D prints, you need to purchase 3D printer filament and load it into the printer. The filament needed often differs depending upon the products you wish to create and the machine you are using. There are pros and cons to each filament available. Today, we take a look at some of the differences between a variety of filaments.

Want to learn more about what 3D printing filament is, and some of the common types of filament out there? Read on!


What is 3D filament?


3D printer filament is the product used by your 3D printer to create prints. This thermoplastic feedstock is available in many different types, and each type has different properties and diameters. The filament used for 3D printing is created from heating, extruding and cooling plastic which is then dyed with pigments or other additives in order to give it the desired colour. This 3D printer filament generally comes in two standard diameters, 1.75mm and 2.85mm. 

When it comes to 3D printing filament, there’s a wide variety available to choose from. We cover some of the common types, and their properties, below.


Some common types of 3D printer filament


There are many different types of 3D printing filament available. Before making a filament purchase, it’s important to ensure that your machine can handle the specific type chosen. To find out which filaments your printer can print with, check your machine’s user manual. 

While we can’t cover all of the 3D printing filaments available, today, we can focus on a handful of popular choices. Some common types of 3D printer filament include:


ABS 3D printing filament


ABS stands for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene. It is a thermoplastic that is commonly used in 3D printing due to its durability, flexibility, strength and forgiving nature. This thermoplastic is used in LEGO bricks, and 3D printing magazine All3DP calls it “probably the most popular plastic for injection moulding”. While a very popular filament, ABS isn’t biodegradable or made from renewable resources. 

Ink Station stocks a range of 3D ABS filaments in different colours. 

PVA 3D printing filament


PVA is a soft and flexible polymer that can be dissolved in warm water. PVA is short for Polyvinyl Alcohol, and it is biodegradable. This type of filament can be used to make quick prototypes, along with support structures that can be easily dissolved upon project completion. While biodegradable and dissolvable, PVA filament can be a little expensive. It also needs to be stored in an airtight container.


PLA 3D printing filament 


PLA is another highly popular 3D printing filament. PLA stands for Polylactic Acid and is another filament that is biodegradable when given the right conditions. This thermoplastic is produced from renewable resources such as sugarcane, and can even be made from manufacturing equipment! As such, PLA is relatively cost-effective. More good news: PLA is also renewable, and does not require a heated bed. 

We have a wide range of 3D PLA filament at Ink Station in a variety of different colours.


Nylon 3D printing filament


Nylon printing filament is a tough and durable 3D printing filament. This filament is popularly used for functional parts as it is resistant to abrasion and has high melting temperatures. This high melting point makes it a great choice for creating items such as 3D-printed tools, and interlocking gears. While incredibly durable, nylon filament has a bit of a tendency to absorb moisture, meaning its performance can be a little unpredictable at times. 

Ink Station stocks nylon filament in our online store.

This blog post only just scratches the surface of some of the common printing filaments that exist, along with some basic information about them. 3D printing allows users to create a range of different items, parts, and models. Whatever your interests are when it comes to 3D printing, online resources for creation abound. 

There are many different types of filament out there, with different properties and uses. We hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about some of the 3D filaments that exist. At Ink Station, we have ABS, PLA, and nylon 3D printing filament available. Our transparent nylon filament comes in 1kg spools, allowing you to stock up for your many creations. When it comes to ABS and PLA filament types, we stock a variety of different colours, so you’re sure to find the one you’re after for your project.

Good luck with your 3D printing adventures, and we hope you print many wonderful designs!