1. PLA (Polylactic acid) has a glass-liquid transition temperature of 45-65°C where it changes into a reversible rubber state. At 150-160°C it starts to melt. At around 60° it gets soft and above it becomes almost liquid and flows therefore well out of the extruder. It is therefore the beginner material for 3D printing. Since it is compost-able it is not very weather resistant. It is not flexible (similar to glass) and therefore brakes easily.


    Not all PLA is the same. Some is more flexible than others and some PLA is even suited for dishwashers. So when not happy with PLA try to choose PLA from an other manufacturer.

  2. ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) has a glass-liquid transition temperature of 106-142°C. Lego blocks are made out of ABS. Datasheets don't specify a melting point since it does not get really liquid it gets more pulpy. It shrinks and therefore a heated bed of around 110°C is required otherwise the object falls off the bed during printing or gets bad wrapping. It is a little bit elastic and therefore does not break easily. It is much more robust against environmental impacts (sun light, dishwasher) than PLA.

  3. HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene) is similar to be printed as ABS but is more targeted as supporting material in a double extruder printer since it can be washed out using a Limonene solution.

  4. PVA (Polyvinyl alcohol) is water-soluble and therefore ideal for supporting material. It is used as packing material for dishwasher tabs.


Filament material is available that contains carbon fibers. For such material steel nozzles is recommended since brass nozzles would wear out.

Also elastic filament material is available that challenges the extruder feed (usually hobbled wheel and might not be suitable for a bowden extruder.

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