3D Printing Filament Comparison

 In 30 days of education

The world of 3D printer filament (the material used to print with) is rapidly growing, with more and more options becoming available to users. And with all this progress, it can be a lot to take in. How do you decide which filament to use for a particular purpose? We’ve done what we can to help with that by assembling a list of the majority of the filament types available on the market today. The below table tells you not only the name and breakdown of the filament, but also indicates whether that filament requires a heated build plate and the required temperatures your machine will need to print at to accommodate it.

Info Extruder Temp (Celcius) Bed Temp (Celcius) Heated Build Plate Required? Strengths Weaknesses
PLA Polylactic Acid, biodegradable, one of the most common printing materials, derived from corn 220-230 40-70 Medium strength, good finish, can be support material – dissolves in lye-based drain cleaner (such as Drano) brittle, low heat-resistance – do not leave in hot car, will wear down over time
ABS Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, one of most common printing materials, derived from oil 250 120 Yes Medium-high strength Harder to print with – tendency to warp prints. Gives off toxic fumes!
NinjaFlex Thermoplastic elastomer or Thermoplastic rubber (soft, flexible filament) 210-240 20-50 High strength and elasticity, stretchy, good build platform adhesion, rubber-like consistency, feeds easily May not have the cleanest finish, design limitations
SemiFlex Harder than typical flexible filament 230 0 Tough, flexible, impact resistant, better than other flexible materials for detail
Bronzefill 80/20 bronze to PLA 190-210 22-55 Yes Metallic Finish Must sand with steel wool and polish for finish
Carbon Fiber ABS (CFR-ABS) Carbon fibers in ABS matrix. 160-190 50 High strength and rigidity Can harm extruders
Carbon Fiber PLA (CFPLA) Carbon fibers in PLA matrix. High strength and rigidity, low warping characteristics Can harm extruders
ColorfabbXT Similar to PLA, FDA food contact compliant, BPA free 240-260 60-70 Yes High strength, toughness, good heat resistance, good layer bonding for smoother finish, low odor
Conductive PLA Conductive material & PLA 215-230 60 Yes Conductive, can interact with some touch sensors/screens
Copperfill Copper particles & PLA 190-210 20-60 Metallic Finish, Heavy Must sand with steel wool and polish for finish
HIPS High Impact Polystyrene, behaves similar to ABS, used primarily as a support material 240 120 Yes Support material – dissolves with Limonene tendency to warp prints
Laybrick Fine-milled chalk & polymers. 180-200 20-55 Stone-like consistency
Laywoo-D3 Recycled wood & polymer binders. 175-250 30 Wooden finish – can create fake grain and be made rough or smooth with specific print settings
Magnetic Iron PLA Fine-ground iron & PLA 2230 60 Magnetic, heavy Will oxidize and rust over time
Nylon 235-285 45-80 Yes Strong, durable, abrasion and chemical resistance, impact resistant Prints at high temperatures, tendency to warp prints, may have trouble sticking to build plate, must dye for color
PET PolyEthylene Terephthalate, recyclable 210-260 55-80 High strength, lightweight, less brittle, impact resistant, good finish, no fumes while printing, hydrophobic
Polycarbonate 285-315 130-135 Yes High strength and durability, good heat resistance, good layer bonding
PolyFlex
PVA Polyvinyl Alcohol, water-solubule synthetic polymer 170-190 45 Support material – dissolves with water, prints easily As it is intended as a support material only, it requires a printer with at least two extruders.
Soft PLA Biodegradable, flexible material, derived from corn annd tapioca, harder than typical flexible filament 220-235 flexible, rubber-like consistency, impact-resistant
T-Glase FDA approved for direct food contact in applications such as containers. 250 90 Yes Clear, crystal-like finish (available in colors)
TPU Thermoplastic Polyurethane, flexible material 195-260 70 good elasticity and transparency, easy to print, resistant to oil, grease, and abrasion, great layer bonding

Keep in mind, many brands have their own specifications for print temperature, so check with your filament company and your printer company to see if they have suggestions for optimal print settings for that type of filament on your particular printer.

All the MyStemKits.com pre-set print settings are adapted for PLA filament unless specified otherwise or unless your printer only takes ABS filament. In those cases, the print settings are adjusted to account for that. If you’re using a different type of filament than PLA, you can disable one-click printing and manually set your extruder and bed temperatures on the print settings tab.

What filaments have you used with your 3D printer?

Tell us in the comments and share your experiences, tips, and tricks!

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