3D Filament

Filament Buying Guide for 3d Printers

Here we are with a topic among the most popular, the purchase of the filament 3d. Often we do not manage to decide between the various brands as the experience is only related to the few occasions rehearsed. Since I have been reviewing filament for a few years now I have gained some experience in this regard. Here I would like to summarize some considerations and some advice on the purchase, also aimed at various aspects of the press.
Just for the sake of clarity I say that here we deal filament 1.75 mm, the vast majority of printers on the market use this measurement. The tests were carried out with a standard 0,4 mm nozzle.
Let’s start with the most classic materials, up to some innovative and “strange” material:

Purchase of the filament

Purchase of the filament 3d: PLA

We begin the guide for purchasing of the filament with the PLA. This material is the most common, because it is the easiest to print, so it is also suitable to begin 3D printing. It’s a bioplastic of natural origin, which is corn starch. It’s biodegradable but not compostable.

It easy to print at 60 mm/s at a temperature ranging from 190° to 210°C.


It can also be printed on a cold plate with glass and lacquer or at about 50°/60° with the Ultrabase plate or similar. The PLA does not suffer from particular problems but for an optimal yield must be cooled just extruded, with appropriate fanduct and fan associated.
The softening temperature is close to 70°C (you can reach it under the summer sun) so it is not suitable for parts that will have to withstand the open air or subjected to heat.

The makers normally use the PLA for prints to keep at home, where it does not suffer temperature changes. It is also preferable not to sand it at high speed because it melts easily.

PROS: Economical, rigid, dimensional accuracy, easy, biodegradable.

CONS: Fragile, hygroscopic, low heat and UV resistance.

The best:  Formfutura

The cheaper: Tianse

Purchase of the filament 3d: ABS

Oldest material for 3D printing. The standard temperature of the hotend is 230/240°C, while the bed 85/100°C.

ABS is a heat-resistant material, mechanically strong even if deformable. Can be worked with acetone to give it shine and a smooth surface.

 Unfortunately it has many downsides, the most important is that it tends to deform during cooling. This makes it problematic to print.

It suffers from warping, so it detaches itself from the printing bed, and also detaches itself between layers. The problem comes from the sudden cooling, to correct it just do not expose it to air currents.

Better if printed in closed chamber printers. It is not UV resistant and tends to yellowing.

ABS is notoriously toxic when melting as it emits microparticles. It is better not to breathe it during printing.

Material suitable for everyone, just pay attention and  need some tricks.

PROS: Economical, unlimited life and wear, heat, shock resistant.

CONS: Difficult to print, even with printer closed, vapors in the long run toxic.

The best:  Amazon Basic

The cheaper: Overture

Purchase of the filament 3d: ASA

The ASA has an aesthetic rendering and mechanical properties very similar to ABS. In fact, for many it is the direct substitute. The standard temperature of the hotend is 230°/240°C, while the bed 85°/95°C is the same. In addition it is also UV resistant, and mitigates the problem of warping and delamination if you compare to ABS. Another advantage is also the decrease in toxicity during printing. The sore point: the price, definitely higher than the ABS.

PROS: Resistant to shock, wear, UV rays. Suitable for outdoor use, long life.

CONS: Smells in print and deforms.High cost.

The best: FilamentOne

Purchase of the filament 3d: Nylon

It is famous for the various uses you can made in general, born to make up for the lack of silk during the Second World War for a few years you can print in 3D. The nylon filament has a temperature of the hotend during the printing of 250°/270°C (not printable without extruder all in metal) while the bed 85°/100°C. It suffers from warping, delamination and a bit of all the problems typical of ABS. However, it has an unparalleled mechanical strength. It can easily be used for gears and mechanical parts.

It also resists temperature and UV rays. If you need to create something resistant…use nylon!

The only recognized defect is the strong hygroscopicity, so it absorbs moisture from the air. The absorption of moisture can make it unprintable. It needs a dehumidification session.
PROS: Flexible and durable, excellent mechanical resistance, shock, abrasion and heat.Long lasting.

CONS: It deforms when it cools, very hygroscopic.

The best: Taluman

The cheaper: Gizmo Dorks

Purchase of 3d wire: PETG

Halfway between the Nylon and the PLA we find the PETG. This PET compound is easy to print, in fact it does not have many problems, if not a little stringing. The temperature of the hotend ranges from 220° to 240°C, while the plate can be held for the first layer to 70°C, and then be switched off progressively, to maximize the electrical savings. The plate can be kept for the first layer. At the same time, however, it is also resistant, not as the nylon but can definitely be considered as the ABS.
Its peculiarity is that it needs a thicker first layer, about 150% of the set layer line, to be then printed correctly.

Being composed of PET, the same material that composes plastic bottles is often considered suitable for food use. This is wrong for various reasons, as even if it were in itself, the printing process, and therefore the passage to an uncertified nozzle makes it unsuitable.

In addition, 3d printing forms layers that hide interstices between layers, fertile soil for bacterial colonies. If you want my advice…do not use it in contact with food!

At the end of the feeding bracket it can be said that the PETG is a great material, suitable for the majority of uses, with a great mechanical resistance and temperature.

PROS: Economical, mechanically resistant, not deformed, water-repellent.

CONS: stringing.

The best: SUNLU

The cheaper: Amazon Basic

Purchase of the filament 3d: HIPS

The HIPS stands for high impact polystyrene (polystyrene for sudden impacts) is a material specifically designed to withstand the most violent impacts of all materials for 3D printing. It is also an excellent material for architects, miniatures and modeling enthusiasts. For those looking for an easy to print filament that highlights even the smallest details.

The HIPS is easy to smooth, paste and paint after printing and can eventually dissolve using acid solutions with d-limonene. A nice aspect of the HIPS is its matte finish. It is printed with the hotend between 230° and 240°C with the plate at 90°/100°C.

This type of filament suffers from warping, delamination. It can also be used in a second extruder as support material.

PROS: Economical, lightweight, shock-resistant.

CONS: ABS type printing issues.

The best: Gizmo Dorks

Purchase of the filament 3d: PVA

Polyvinyl alcohol. Material that dissolves in water, so ideal for printing supports for other filaments without leaving marks.

It is printed with a temperature of 210° and bed at 50°, at a speed not exceeding 60mm/s. Very hygroscopic, to preserve integrates a PLA print, as to preserve the coil you must pay attention to the humidity of the air. It is advisable to dry it before printing to avoid problems.

PROS: Water soluble, ideal for supports.

CONS: High cost, difficult to maintain.

The best: Fused Materials & AnKun

Purchase of 3d wire: TPU

Flexible filament also assimilated to the rigid rubber. The printing settings are simple. 220°C for the hotend and 70°C for the plate.

Despite being a flexible filament coil has a strength that allows you to print it with Bowden extruders. Extremely versatile.

PROS: Flexible, elastic, durable, resistant to oils and greases, resistant to abrasion.

CONS: Deteriorated by acids and primer, poor resistance to UV

The best: SUNLU

Purchase of the filament 3d: TPE

It is the typical soft rubber filament. Ideal for creations that must have a particular softness, in addition to elasticity and flexibility. It’s extremely similar to rubber.

The printing of this material is extremely difficult. It is recommended only to experienced makers. It is only machinable with printers with direct extruder, and calibrated correctly.

The clogging is the order of the day. The temperature settings are: Hotend at 250º+ and plate at least 90 º. For reckless.

PROS: Soft, elastic, flexible, durable.

CONS: Difficult to print.

The best: Taulman

Purchase of the filament 3d: PMMA

Polymethylmethacrylate is the full name. It’s a new technical material, similar in features to Nylon and ASA.

With these materials has in common the high mechanical resistance, resistance to shock and UV rays. Like Nylon, however, it is very hygroscopic and deteriorates easily if not perfectly preserved in the coil.

PROS: UV resistant, mechanically.

CONS: Sensible to air humidity

The best: Treed Filaments

Purchase of 3d wire: PP

Polypropylene is one of the latest materials introduced in the 3D printing market. It’s light and almost indestructible, mechanical resistance is its only weak point. It is easily printed if it is not for deformation during cooling which could cause warping and delamination if not strongly controlled.

PROS: Indestructible, flexible, resistant to everything.

CONS: High cost, deforms as it cools, not very mechanically resistant.

The best: LeoPlas

Purchase of the filament

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