- PLA (Polylactic Acid) is a biodegradable plastic, made using cornstarch or sugar cane. It is a renewable raw material.
- PLA plastics are more flexible as they do not require as high temperatures to manipulate the material.
- PLA is brittle and is not ideal for items that might be bent, twisted, or dropped repeatedly, such as phone cases, high-wear toys, or tool handles.
PLA tends to deform around temperatures of 60°C or higher.
- Nylon, a popular family of synthetic polymers used in many industrial applications. Compared to most other types of 3D printer filament, it ranks as the number one contender when together considering strength, flexibility, and durability.
- Taking advantage of nylon’s strength, flexibility, and durability, this type of 3D printer filament can be used to create tools, functional prototypes, or mechanical parts (like hinges, buckles, or gears).
- Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) typically ranks as the second most popular 3D printer filament, after PLA.
- ABS is actually moderately superior to PLA, despite being slightly more difficult to print with. It’s for this reason that ABS is found in many manufactured household and consumer goods, including LEGO bricks and bicycle helmets!
- Products made of ABS boast high durability and a capacity to withstand high temperatures.