4 Criteria for Selecting the Right 3D Printing Filament
by Olivia Hooper
The development in filaments has impacted 3D printing a lot. It has changed the way users used to depend on technology. With more options and a variety of properties that these materials exhibit, 3D printing has gained trust from almost every niche in existence. One can utilize 3D printing for numerous needs and requirements. Depending on the results one desires in terms of physical appearance, internal characteristics and a lot of other factors, one can choose the right 3D printing filament for best results.
Among all the types of additive manufacturing technologies, FDM uses filament for creating models. The number of filaments is huge and it is increasing with time. Apart from a few of the standard ones, there are many advanced filaments that are used for specific printing jobs. Hence, understanding the reason which differentiates these filaments from one another is very important when choosing a material for your printing needs.
When picking the filaments, the selection process is broken down into several factors. With a few basic tips, one can make an informed decision when buying a 3D printing filament.
Look for 3D Printer’s Instruction Manual
If you haven’t found the 3D printer of your choice, you must know that 3D printers are available for all budgets. If you have purchased the one like, you must find out what the obligations regarding printing filament that you must abide to. To be precise, every 3D Printer comes with a note about the kind of filaments that it allows. Some only works with PLA or ABS. However, others support multiple filaments. Again, few companies only permit their proprietary filaments and others let you work with any third-party filaments. Looking at what your printer says should be the first thing you should look for. Otherwise, you may end up damaging your 3D Printer. And, trust this, these machines aren’t cheap. You must ensure you follow the suggestions exactly as mentioned, especially if it is about the filament you are planning to feed to your machine.
Looking at the flip side, if the company is only recommending and not making it a necessity, you can definitely try other brands. However, you must be aware of the nozzle diameter and other specifications before placing the order. Like it or not, the reviews of other customers help a lot. Try reading a lot about the experiences of other users with different filaments and then decided for good.
Which Filament Fits your Application
Every filament offers unique characteristics, surface finish, appearance, etc. Learning about each one of them may be daunting at first. However, as your experience will grow, you would be in a better place to make the decision quick and correct right away. By then, you may have to read about the filaments and their properties and the required 3D printing settings many times.
Some filaments are flexible and others are tough. Few aren’t very durable and others go on for a lifetime without a problem. Some are cheap and other very expensive. What decides which one is the best for your models is the properties that you want in your final product.
For example, if you are wishing your item to be flexible, you must choose ABS. However, for a tough and durable finish, you can go with PETG. However, if the application requires a biodegradable filament, PLA would be of huge help.
Find the Right Company
After you have decided which type of filament you would be using for your 3D prints, it is time to purchase them. Even if that makes it look scarier, finding a trustable company would be like rolling from one side to another, if not researched well. Narrowing down the list of manufacturers may be time taking at first, however, it would be less likely for you to jump into the wrong ones.
The first thing that you must look for the years of existence of the company. While newer ones aren’t always bad, it is wise to play safe when you are yourself novice. Depending on the companies that have been around for some time and have gathered a large customer base to back their product, it would be safer.
Secondly, the company must be open about what they offer. And, should tell everything about the pros and cons of the materials they sell. You can cross review the claims with the help of the feedback from existing customers.
In addition, you can also go with the companies that offer free samples. Although this is provided in a few special cases, mostly, if the probable order is high. If you are getting that option, never shy away from grabbing it.
Test the Filament
Nothing is more convincing than seeing it for yourself. If you have got the sample filament, go ahead. If not, the order in a small unit. Because you do not want to end up with something that you may not be used later. Even if smaller units are expensive, it is better than getting it for lower unit cost and not using it at all. So, depending on your final decision on the print results from your 3D printer.
Most of the time, you may get satisfactory results in the first attempt, after all, you did a huge groundwork to get there. However, if not, try others on the list. You must find the one that matches your expectations.
In case, you wish to change the filament type, try asking for a sample for other material types. Not every company has the best filaments in all the categories. So, check what your company has to offer in case of a change of filament type and proceed as you did the first time.
To break this down in a simpler term, you must start by exploring your machine, knowing your filament and understanding the possibilities these entails. Once you have a lucid vision of what you can achieve when creating models with the right 3D printing filament, your theories would put into play, in the right direction. So, work for it and attain as much knowledge as you can.