A Beginner's Guide to Main Types of 3D Printing Filaments

The choice of filament will affect the quality, durability, finish, and more of your 3D prints. Whether you are a 3D printing enthusiast who wants to explore different types of filament, or a beginner who is faced with material choices, it is crucial to have a basic knowledge of filaments. Understanding the main types of 3d printer filament, as well as their basic properties, will make it easier for you to choose the material that can fulfill the needs of your 3D printing project. For beginners, knowing the types of filaments and printing temperatures is helpful in setting the right printing parameters and avoiding problems such as warping of 3D prints. We will focus on 4 filament types: PLA, ABS, PETG, ASA, including their pros and cons, printing temperatures, and recommended applications.

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Different Types of Filament

Each type of filament has different characteristics, functionality, pros and cons. Referring to these characteristics, it will be convenient for users to make choices to meet different needs for material performance, printing experience, appearance and durability of 3D prints. We will discuss four of the most commonly used and popular filaments among 3D printing users, including the most popular PLA , the strong and durable ABS, PETG and ASA that can fulfill special needs.

👉Overview of Filaments: Pros and Cons, Printing Settings

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Types of 3D Printer Filament: PLA

What is PLA filament? PLA, or polylactic acid, is a biodegradable thermoplastic. It is derived from natural resources and is often made from renewable resources such as cornstarch or sugar cane, making it an environmentally friendly material choice. PLA filament is also popular for its ease of use, making it beginner-friendly. In terms of cost, PLA filament is inexpensive and easy to print, making it a cost-effective filament.

Pros of PLA Filament
  • Environmentally friendly materials
  • Multiple colors. Various types: Silk PLA, Matte PLA, Translucent PLA
  • Easy to print
  • Low odor during printing
Cons of PLA Filament
  • Low heat resistance
  • Weak flexibility and impact resistance
Printing Temperature of PLA Filament
Applications of PLA Filament
  • Prototyping
  • Decorative prints
  • Artwork with a smooth finish

Types of 3D Printer Filament: ABS

What is ABS filament? or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, is another very popular thermoplastic filament that is often used for 3D printing projects. Compared with PLA, ABS has excellent material properties and has better strength and durability. 3D prints made with ABS have good durability, impact resistance, and higher temperature resistance. During the printing process, ABS requires higher printing temperatures, is prone to warping, and can be challenging for beginners. In terms of applications, ABS filament is ideal for making functional prototypes and end-use parts. Its impact resistance also makes it useful for mechanical parts and components.

Pros of ABS Filament
  • Durable, high strength
  • Impact resistant and able to withstand pressure
  • Suitable for making functional prototypes and mechanical parts
Cons of ABS Filament
  • The smell is obvious when printing
  • Easy to warping
Printing Temperature of ABS Filament
  • Nozzle temperature of ABS: 210-250℃
  • Bed temperature of ABS: 80-110℃
Applications of ABS Filament
  • Functional prototypes
  • End-use parts
  • Mechanical parts

Types of 3D Printer Filament: PETG

PETG, or polyethylene terephthalate, is a thermoplastic polymer that is easy to use for 3D printing and has excellent optical properties. PETG combines the advantages of PLA and ABS. It is easy to use while also ensuring strength and good toughness. The most unique feature of PETG filament is its optical properties, which provide transparency and clarity, making it suitable for making transparent or translucent prints, producing 3D prints with visual aesthetics.

Pros of PETG Filament
  • Unique optical properties. Transparent and clear.
  • Good strength and durability.
  • Easy to print. Not easy to warp.
Cons of PETG Filament
Printing Temperature of PETG Filament
  • Nozzle temperature of PETG: 220-250℃
  • Bed temperature of PETG: 50-70℃
Applications of PETG Filament
  • Transparent or translucent 3D prints
  • Art and decorative 3D Prints

Types of 3D Printer Filament: ASA

ASA, or Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate, is a thermoplastic filament that has recently become widely used. ASA is known for its weather resistance and has good UV stability. ASA filament has good durability, impact resistance, and toughness, similar to ABS. When printing with ASA filament, higher printing temperatures are required and a heated bed is required to prevent warping. 3D prints made from ASA material are commonly used in outdoor applications, where exposure to sunlight and the natural environment can still maintain their physical properties. Long-term outdoor use will not significantly degrade prints made of ASA materials, which is one of the reasons why it is becoming more and more popular.

Pros of ASA Filament
  • Excellent weather resistance and UV resistance
  • Good strength, impact resistance, chemical resistance
  • Color stability
Cons of ASA Filament
  • The smell is obvious
  • Printing temperature needs precise control
Printing Temperature of ASA Filament
  • Nozzle temperature of ASA:240-260℃
  • Bed temperature of ASA:90-110℃
Applications of ASA Filament
  • Outdoor application
  • Structural components

Different Types of Filament: Choosing the Right One

Mastering the use of different types of 3D printer filaments is crucial to achieving good print quality. The first step is to choose different filaments according to your own needs. PLA is suitable for basic applications, and ABS can be used to make durable parts... Different materials have different strength, flexibility and heat resistance. Choosing the right filament is something you need to consider before embarking on a 3D printing project. The next step is to set the right printing temperature. The correct nozzle temperature and print bed temperature can avoid difficulties such as warping and stringing, and you will have a smoother printing experience.

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