Polylactic Acid (PLA) is a versatile biopolymer often used for low-cost models due to its ease of printing, lack of warping, cost and is available in a huge range of colours. Downsides of PLA are it is very rigid so breaks easily under impact or elongation and has a low glass temperature so will soften at 60deg C.
Where a part is planned to be used as an end-use product or planning to prototype in the predicted end material for mass production then consider engineering grade materials 3d printing materials, such as ABS, ASA, HIPS, PET, Nylons, and Composite Materials. Generally more use in the real world due to the properties of impact resistance, higher temperature resistance, dimensional accuracy and easier finishing (sanding and painting).
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) widely used in the motor industry for its impact resistance and toughness. With a high glass temperature, it is ideal for everyday use as it can withstand temperatures up to approximately 80degC. Very easy to sand makes it an ideal 3dprinting material for end-use parts requiring finishing and or painting.
Acrylonitrile styrene acrylate (ASA) similar to ABS but with much resistance to temperature and UV radiation (up to 10 times). Originally designed as a material for the construction of car interior parts, this is our go-to material for any products used outdoors.
high-impact polystyrene (HIPS) a chemically modified version of polystyrene to allow a less brittle material. Very similar to ABS in properties but parts printed in HIPS have the appearance of an injection moulded part as the materials matte finish hides the layer build-up of a 3dprinted part.
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), similar in properties to ABS and widely used in the packaging industry. Considered as an easy to process recyclable material, we use a recycled filament in-house for all our 3d printed parts containing up to 80% recycled material.
The use of nylons as a 3d printing material allows us to produce end-use parts ideal for use in engineering. It is an incredibly strong material that can be tapped and milled to produce fixings. Nylon parts have high elongation properties helping to reduce breakages and make a excellent material for gears due to its excellent abrasion resistance. More recently mixed with carbon fibre to produce a composite which excels in tensile and impact strength and allows continued use at 120 DegC. Spec Sheet
Undecided on what material you require? Order a sample from our store.
With the advanced materials, there are the added options of additional finishing, including shot-blasting, painting, coatings including metal plating and threaded insert installation.