7 Strongest 3D Printer Filament In The Market
Many people believe that 3D prints cannot be strong or durable. That is not true. If you choose the right materials, your print will turn out stronger than anything on in the market.
But which are the strongest filaments? The default PLA (Polylactic Acid) most beginners start printing with is rather weak and degrades in sunlight. To be able to create long-lasting objects, you need to choose better materials.
So here are the 7 strongest 3D printer filaments in the market.
Polycarbonate is perhaps the strongest filament for 3D printing. Carbon fiber has somewhat better tensile strength, but Polycarbonate is harder and better with physical impacts. It is also much easier to work with.
Mind you, it still needs extraordinarily high temperatures, but lower than carbon fiber at least. It also needs a closed environment during printing, unless you want your print to warp and bend. It is best to use a close-chambered FDM printer if you want to use Polycarbonate.
Carbon fiber is straight up the strongest filament material out there. Its tensile strength and durability are better than every other filament.
The problem is, it can be a bit hard to use. Normal FDM printers do not reach temperatures hot enough to melt carbon fiber. You need specialized printers designed to work with carbon fiber.
Even then, the filaments you will use aren’t pure carbon fiber. Each filament is a blend between carbon fiber and a thermoplastic polymer. This allows the extruder to soften the material and lay it down.
If you are willing to push through the hurdles though, it is certainly worth it. Objects printed with carbon fiber are extremely strong. You can even use the filament to print machinery or automobile parts. Be it stress, heat, or sudden impacts, carbon fiber can withstand it easily.
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene or ABS is the most cost-effective high-strength filament. While not as strong as carbon fiber or polycarbonate, it is easier to use and costs much less.
Most ‘unbreakable’ plastic products you get in the market are manufactured with ABS. It is a strong, heat-resistant polymer, ideal for outdoor as well as indoor usage. It can be a little tricky to work with, but can be used by any FDM printer at its highest temperature settings.
ABS can be used to print almost anything. It is strong and rigid, which are the qualities you want in any production-grade material.
PETG (Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol) is well known as a food-grade plastic. It is also rather tough, making it a good choice for bowls and other utensils.
The FDM process itself, however, is not food safe. Dust and bacteria get trapped between layers during the printing process. As such, make sure to coat the final product in a finishing agent before any food-related usage.
Food grade items aren’t the only thing you can print with PETG. Thanks to its durability and smooth finish, it makes for an excellent choice to print professional quality products. Its flexibility is limited though.
Strength can be interpreted in many ways. Usually, when we talk of a strong filament, we are referring to its tensile strength. Sometimes, however, you need flexibility more than brute strength. Thermoplastic Polyurethane or TPU is the filament for such scenarios.
TPU is highly shock resistant, making it a great material for printing sporting gear and other outdoor equipment. It is flexible while being strong enough to survive physical impacts easily. For this reason, it is often used to print elastic parts like springs or shock absorbers.
If you are looking for sheer durability, Polyamide is a great choice. PA is a dense and heat-resistant material. It is not very flexible or elastic, but its durability is unmatched.
Its greatest advantage, however, is that it is fatigue resistant. Basically, PA does not deform even when subjected to repeated stresses. As a result, Polyamide is preferred to manufacture heavy-duty moving parts.
Gears, automobile parts, and machinery components are just some of the objects you can print with Polyamide. Any object that needs to perform in a high-stress environment benefits from being made with PA.
Polypropylene or PP is the best material in terms of chemical resistance. Organic solvents, Acids, or alkali, PP can withstand it all.
It may not be as strong as some of the other materials we have covered, but it is by no means a weak substance. PP is durable and impact-resistant and great for general objects that do not need to be heavy-duty.
The biggest advantage of Polypropylene is that it is lightweight. Materials like PA tend to be rather dense. PP is the better choice when you need to keep the weight low, yet keep the object strong too. It is usually used to fabricate pipes and joints.
The material used for printing is but one of the many factors that decide the strength of the printed object. The design of the model, the conditions of printing – all of these affect how durable the print turns out. That being said, a good material goes a long way in creating a strong print.
The best filaments have high tensile strength, along with heat resistance, and durability. Polycarbonate and Carbon fiber are the strongest in this regard. They are harder to use too, requiring extreme temperatures that budget printers cannot maintain.
ABS is a better choice for everyday usage. It is tough and durable and can be printed with most FDM printers. There are other materials too with their own specialized uses.
PETG is a food-grade plastic. TPU is flexible. PA is dense and durable, while PP is resistant to chemical reagents. All of these filaments melt at different temperatures too, so do your research before using any of them.