As part of the 3D printing materials list on Snapmaker’s Website, the natural thermoplastic polyester, also known as Polylactic Acid (PLA) filament, is recyclable and made from renewable materials like sugar cane or maize starch. Under specific circumstances, the filament’s high heat capacity and great mechanical strength make it biodegradable. In addition, it is non-toxic and does not release fumes or poisons when melted.
For many people who are just beginning their 3D printing experience, PLA is an accessible material. It may be bought in filament form for a reasonable price and can be printed at low temperatures without the need for heated build surfaces or a regulated environment.
However, PLA has poor heat resistance compared to other 3D printing materials and may not be strong enough to meet the mechanical demands of your application. PLA parts might work well for less demanding applications, but they should be carefully assessed when higher functionality is needed.
Due to its superior strength, relative flexibility, and temperature tolerance compared to the perennially popular PLA, PETG is a very well-liked 3D printing material.
It is measured in many similar ways as ABS but is furthermore food safe and generally much easier to work with. It replaced ABS as the second-most widely used 3D printing filament.
The substance used to make PETG is Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), which you may be familiar with from plastic water bottles. However, some of the ethylene glycols are substituted with CHDM (cyclohexanedimethanol), which is why PET is followed by the letter “G” for “glycol-modified.” The end product is a filament that is clearer, less fragile, and more extrudable than PET.
The negative side effect is that it alters the recycling process. Even though PET is frequently recycled, PETG is not; the minute variations between these materials lead to problematic contamination in recycling plants.
Nevertheless, it’s a great filament option for printing objects that must be solid, smooth, and have minimal shrinking. Another reason PETG is so well-liked is that it is thought to be food-safe, though you should still read the small print on each spool you buy to make sure.
Thermoplastic polyurethane, sometimes known as TPU, is listed in the 3D printing materials list. It is a flexible and strong 3D printing filament that both amateurs and experts can use. Due to its distinct properties, TPU is elastic like rubber but strong like plastic.
TPU possesses properties other polymers don’t, including amazing elongation, stress absorption, and vibration dampening.
When seeking high-performance materials, TPU can be employed in a variety of sectors and applications. For example, TPU is the perfect material for prosthetics, orthotics (footwear inserts/insoles), sporting goods, and athletic equipment due to its shock-absorbing and vibration-dampening properties.
The lifelike texture required for prosthetics works nicely with TPU’s soft, smooth feel. TPU’s durability is another benefit. It can sustain damage. For instance, printed components hold up just as well as (if not better than) traditionally made parts when TPU is used to construct seals and gaskets.
It is not only strong but also chemically resistant and non-marring. It can be extended around tools to shield them from damage and other machinery.
PVA, or polyvinyl alcohol, is a material for 3D printing. It is a flexible, biodegradable, and water-soluble polymer. Therefore, it is sometimes referred to as the PVOH PVAL. The vinyl acetate used to make it is polymerized to create polyvinyl acetate, which is then hydrolyzed to produce PVA filament.
The PVA substance is ideal as a support material because it dissolves effortlessly in the water. Therefore, after being made, the object can be submerged in water to cause the PVA to dissolve, revealing a clear 3D object with the desired design.
PVA filament is excellent for making intricate shapes, especially those with cavities that are only partially enclosed. By dissolving the item in warm water, the PVA filament support can be removed without any difficulty.