3D printing technology has quickly integrated itself into an array of different industries. From product manufacturing to aerospace and industrial design, there’s no end to the possibilities when it comes to these materials. However, having a quality 3D printer isn’t enough to yield the results you need. In fact, you also need to make sure that the filament you use is up to the task. This is how to choose the best 3D printing filaments and a few things to consider when making your decision.
Identify Your 3D Printing Needs
The first step to picking the right filament should be narrowing down your list of needs for a project. After all, there are hundreds of different substances you could use, and not all of them will have the proper specifications for a print. For instance, PLA filaments work wonderfully during low-stress prototypes and modeling, while nylon substances are better suited for high-strength builds. So, deciding what you want to accomplish with your print and developing a list of essential characteristics is the key to making an informed choice.
Understand Your Experience Level
The next thing you should consider is your level of experience with 3D printing. Some filaments are easier to print with than others, and choosing a more advanced product can increase your margin for error if you lack experience. Because of this, you’ll want to think about how comfortable you are with 3D printing and whether you have the skills to combat potential errors during the printing process. If you’re still a beginner, it’s recommended that you stick with materials like PLA, ABS, and PETG.
Know What Makes a Quality Filament
Another important step to choosing the best 3D printing filament for your project is to understand what exactly makes a quality filament. With ample materials from a wide range of brands, it’s often difficult to tell a high-performing filament from a poor-quality one. As such, knowing the difference yourself not only speeds up the purchasing process but also narrows down your list of options exponentially. In a nutshell, quality filaments have a more stringent process for drying, extrusion, and inspecting. So, look for brands that frequently test their supply.
Test Your Chosen Filament
Above all, though, make sure you think about the type of situations you’ll expose your 3D print to and test your materials. As previously stated, there are several filaments that can’t handle high-stress applications like industrial or aerospace design. Because of this, it’s important that you test your chosen material prior to printing with it. Testing allows you to see the exact limits of the substance and determine its usefulness before you buy it in bulk.