3D printing has indeed made creation and productions of different kinds of models easy for designers and manufacturers. Whatever your reasons for taking an interest in the printing, you need to get a machine that can accommodate the kind of printing needs you have. One of the most important considerations to make is the types of materials the printer can handle. When you understand the materials you will most likely use in your productions, you will have an easier time choosing the best printer that will actually serve your needs.
Whether you are looking to create a unique 3d gift or you want to create a prototype, the material options are numerous and you will only need to make the best decision. When you know the options available to you, it becomes easy to select what you feel will work for the kind of creation you have in mind. The different materials have different properties and what might work for one creation may not always be the best for another, hence the need to select the most suitable material every time.
ABS and PLA – Most printers use spool filaments in ABS or PLA. The Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene and Polylactic Acid are plastic materials also known as thermoplastics. They can be heated to be semi-liquid and flexible and go back to a solid state once cooled. The ABS printing material is strong, highly resistant to temperature and flexible, making it a preference for many professionals. PLA on the other hand, produces thin layer thicknesses and sharper corners and it comes in a variant of colors so you can choose according to your preferences.
Nylon – Polyamide is a strong and flexible plastic that is made from powder. It is also called white and is flexible and durable. Whereas this material is naturally white you can still find it in different colors, giving you the freedom to select what suits your production best. The material can handle different creations, including moving parts and interlocking parts. It offers a minimum of 1mm in wall thickness.
Resin – It is a great material choice for precise and smooth objects that are rich in texture. It is however important to note that objects made from this material should not be exposed to UV light otherwise they risk discoloration. It could be advisable to consider varnishing the objects after printing to counter this effect. The material is rigid, but a little delicate and comes in mostly transparent, black and white colors.
Stainless steel – It is a mix of bronze and hybrid stainless steel. It is the hardest 3D printing material there is and desktop 3d printers cannot accommodate it. The material is very strong and made using multiple steps or it can be from powder directly. It is a great choice for those wishing to create serious objects that need to be strong and durable.
Wood – It might seem impossible, but it is actually possible to make a 3d object using wood. The filament is made using recycled wood and a binding polymer so you are able to create objects that not only look like wood but also smell like it. The printing process using wood is similar to that of PLA and ABS. Titanium, gold and silver, gypsum and ceramic are the other possibilities.