The Right Type Of 3D Filament?

3D Filament Center
ABS or PLA: Which 3D Printing Filament Should You Use?
May 7, 2014
3D Filament Center

Generally, when shopping for the right 3D printing filament, there are numerous features of materials you ought to consider. Whereas it can be quite challenging figuring out whether you need a PLA, PVA or ABS 3D printer filament, following the 4 tips below will make it easier for you to decide which one you should select.

Diameter of the filament

This is the first thing you need to access. Usually, the most common 3D printer filament diameters for printers range between 1.75mm and 3.0mm. Thus, it’s important that you see the documentation for your printer to know the exact diameter for your printer.

Type of selection

Here, you will find that there are numerous types of filaments in the market. Whereas you will find some having similar characteristics, you will find that there others which are completely different. Some of them include:

  • ABS: This particular printer filament is durable, flexible, is relatively heat resistant and has strong material. Printers which use this filament often require a heated bed and extrude temperatures of about 225? Furthermore, the ABS 3D printer filament is considered the least expensive, is quite common and has numerous uses – though it’s a petroleum-based non-biodegradable plastic and emits lots of fumes during printing.
  • PLA: This one is a biodegradable thermoplastic made from renewable sources and is biocompatible with the human body meaning it doesn’t leave any serious side-effects. In fact, this is why it is also used in the medical industry. It is also very flexible and shatterproof than the other filaments though it usually becomes soft at 50?which is one of its big disadvantages.
  • PVA: Otherwise known as Polyvinyl Alcohol, this printer filament is used with printers which have multiple-extruders that provide a support structure to those objects which do not have any layers below them. The main cons of this filament is that it requires special storage conditions, is costly and sourcing is difficult.

Filament grade

Usually, you will find that the same material is available in different grades such as PA-747 for the ABS 3D printer filament and 2003D and 4043D for the PLA. If you are new to the whole field of 3D printing, you should use those which have a grade specified on them. Alternatively, you can purchase the aforementioned printer filaments.

Printing conditions of filament

If you intend to use your printer where the temperature is relatively low or in a poorly ventilated room such as a shop during winter or the basement, then it’s best that you switch to the PLA material. This is because such environments are not good for ABS as it can easily crack.


All in all, there are numerous 3D printing materials which you can use for your various projects. By bearing in mind to assess the above three features, you can be able to decide which 3D filament types you need for your printer.

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