Build New Worlds: buying 3D printer filaments the RIGHT way

ByGB Blog Official 2016-11-01 2405

This article will instruct you on what plastic filaments will best suit your needs. Below are the important factors you need to consider

We show 3D printer users how to select the right 3D printer filament.

This article will instruct you on what plastic filaments will best suit your needs. Below are the important factors you need to consider:

3D printer filament

Diameter of 3D printer filament

There are two common diameters of 3D printer plastic filament:

● 1.75mm

● 3mm

Your own 3D printer is likely to use one of these. Different printers, or to be more specific, different extruders, are designed to work with only one specific filament diameter – they will not work with any other.

Check your 3D printer's listed specifications or documentation to see which filament diameter it uses.

Filament material

There are several materials available to print with. Generally, a new user usually chooses between:



These are the two most common materials used in personal 3D printers, and each has distinct characteristics. The main deciding factor between ABS and PLA is probably going to be personal preference; there are some limiting factors on each printer that may make one preferable to use over the other.

HIPS should also be mentioned here as a printing material, even though it is less commonly used than PLA or ABS.

HIPS has a nice look and feel, and is soft enough that it finishes very well; it prints similarly to ABS and can be bonded or smoothed with d-limonene as a solvent. This is a lot more pleasant and safe to work with than the solvents available for the others.


Each different kind of plastic can come in different grades. Different grades may have different properties including:

● process temperature

● working temperature

● flexibility

● viscosity when melted

● stickiness when melted

● differences in look and feel

● base color

These can all affect both your ability to print with them, the quality of your prints, or the difficulty of calibration. The best advice to find a formulation that works for you is to start sampling products from reputable brands to see what works best for your needs.

Along with the above, there are some other parameters you may consider such as printer limitations, bed surface requirements, temperature resistance, printing environment considerations, finishing, environmental and economic considerations, etc.

As with everything, you will need to prioritize and decide which considerations are important to you when buying a filament.

We hope that this article has been helpful.

 You may also want to read:
 3D printer filament comparison
 Build new worlds: all you need to know about 3D printing


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