3D Print Materials Reference

There are multiple types of materials that will work with a FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) 3D Printer. Here is some terminology to help understand what our filament can be used for:

Print Toughness Guide:

Using a simple 1 to 5 scale, 1 being very easy and 5 being very difficult, we will rate our experience using each of the polymers for 3D printing. Also, there will be some tips at the end of each material to help along with successfully printing object with them.

1.75mm Filament x 1.0KG Spool

This is round diameter of your material that feeds into the printer head, it comes in round spools and a variety of types. The most common size for 3D print material is 1.0KG or 300 - 400 meters in length, various manufacturers have a variety of weight sizes. In some cases there are applications for 8.0 KG rolls.

PLA (Polylacticacid) - Most Common

PLA is the go-to material for 3D printers, it is easy to use and can be setup in nearly all printers very easily and does not smell like burning plastic during print. This is a rigid material that is commonly used in most prototypes and even functional pieces and typically has a shiny finish to the final part. One drawback is that it becomes pliable around 50°C so using it as a container of hot liquids and substances is not a wise idea. Due to the nature of PLA it can be made into a variety of interesting combinations of material such as; Heat sensitive color changing, UV light color changing, glow in the dark, wooden-like, silk like, metallic, flexible, and many more. New variations of PLA are being developed all the time.

Extruder Sizes: 1.75mm or 3.0mm
Spool Weights: 0.5kg to 8.0kg
Print Temperature: 190°C to 210°C (our filament is 205°C to 210°C)
Do I need a heated print bed? : NO
Do I need a heated chamber?: NO
Should I have an enclosure?: Not Necessary
Any extra pieces I should look for?: Nozzle Cooling Fan(s)
Print Toughness: 1 - Very Easy

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) - 2nd Most Common

We have found ABS to be a somewhat tricky plastic to work with due to how heat is retained in order to maintain the print shape. A plan on working out the kinks before mastering printing with this plastic is a smart bet. ABS has a glass temperature starting at 104°C making it an excellent material for functional mechanical pieces due to high heat and impact resistance. Remember your LEGO, well that is made with ABS and if you've ever stepped on a piece of LEGO you know how tough it can be.
ABS must be used with proper ventilation during the print process as it can become hazardous in a confined space. However, the jury is still out on that last statement and studies are being conducted all the time on it's effect with FFF printers. The use of good judgment should always be a factor when using this material and doing some research on the material itself before hand would be wise.

Extruder Sizes: 1.75mm or 3.0mm
Spool Weights: 0.5kg to 8.0kg
Print Temperature: 230°C to 240°C 
Do I need a heated print bed? : YES at least to 100°C
Do I need a heated chamber?: NO will certainly help maintain shape if you do
Should I have an enclosure?: YES in order to retain the heat effectively it is a good idea to have the printer in an enclosure.
Print Toughness: 3 to 4 - Tricky to Difficult

PETG (Polyethylene Terephthalate Gycol-modified) - ABS alternative

We've discovered through testing that PETG has very common heat and impact resistance as ABS after printing. PETG is also not hazardous during a print (although proper ventilation is still a wise choice) which make this a much more attractive option over ABS. PETG is generally used in plastic drinking bottles and does not contain BPA. This does not make the plastic food safe, although there are food grade printing plastics available. This is our go to material for functioning mechanical prints that requires heat and impact resistance. PETG does warp and bend during the printing process like ABS, it can retain it shape with little or no heated chamber and bed.

Extruder Sizes: 1.75mm or 3.0mm
Spool Weights: 0.5kg to 8.0kg
Print Temperature: 240°C to 250°C 
Do I need a heated print bed? : Yes and No you will have better results if you have a heated bed, prints won't fail though
Do I need a heated chamber?: NO will certainly help maintain shape if you do
Should I have an enclosure?: NO 
Print Toughness: 2 to 3 Moderate to Tricky