Over the last decade, 3D printing has seen significant development and growth, both among industrial manufacturers and ordinary and passionate consumers. This technology is advancing more and more every year, so the interest in diversifying its applications is growing. Therefore, although plastic is still the most popular and used material, the list of materials that can be used in 3D printing is growing rapidly.
We will present you below some of the most common materials you can use:
As mentioned earlier, plastic is the most widely used of all materials, due to its low price and accessibility. This category includes four of the most used types of plastic:
PLA (Polylactic Acid)
It is the most popular type of material used by home consumers. It is made of biodegradable materials such as corn starch which makes it environmentally friendly and has a low melting point, perfect for hobbyists.
ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene)
This material is a thermoplastic and it is part of the polymer family. It comes in the form of a filament and has the advantage of having a high strength and flexibility, but also a wide variety of colors.
It is a popular material among enthusiasts, it is known for its increased durability and low chances of deformation. This material can be easily painted and is recognized as one of the toughest plastics.
This is a thermoplastic used mainly due to its increased durability and flexibility and resistance to deformation. Polycarbonate can be used in conjunction with carbon fiber to increase its strength even more and reduce its weight at the same time.
A material also very popular in the 3D printing industry, it comes in the form of a filament and is used successfully in the jewelry industry, in the manufacture of parts and components.
Some metals that can be used in 3D printing are:
- Stainless steel – can be used in the production of miniatures, jewelry, decorations, but also parts and tools.
- Titanium – is the strongest and lightest metal on the list. It is a material used successfully in medicine and in the creation of jewelry;
- Gold – can be used successfully in making jewelry;
- Bronze – metal with which you can make miniatures, sculptures and jewelry;
- Aluminum – like titanium, it is a lasting and lightweight material, used mainly in the automotive, medical and aerospace industries.
A relatively new material on the 3D printing market, it has met with increased demand due to its ideal mechanical properties. Silicone is an elastomer, which means that once the printing has been done, it cannot return to the liquid state once it has become solid.
Silicone has several valuable properties that make it an important material for many industries, from automotive and medical to the agricultural sector.
- Very good thermal stability, withstanding temperatures between -55 degrees and 180 degrees Celsius;
- Resistant to water and steam, which makes it perfect for electrical insulation and sealing;
- Increased mechanical and fireproof resistance;
Carbon fiber is often used in conjunction with other materials to create a composite, which has a very high durability and low weight. It also increases the rigidity and stability of the printed parts.
There are two types of carbon fiber used:
- Chopped fibers;
- Continuous fiber.
3D printing has invaded the world in the last decade. It has managed to bring the means of production into the consumers’ homes, so that they can create anything from art and jewelry to complex pieces for hobbies or even business.