The Filament

My printer is know as a fused deposition modeling (or FDM) type of 3D printer. It creates 3D objects by extruding filament though the a small hole in the hotend.  Basically, it melts the plastic and spreads it on the build plate in thin layers. As the molten plastic comes out of the hotend, it cools quickly to form a solid. The print then slowly builds  from the base up. Depending on the size and detail of the print, it can take minutes or days to complete one print.

There are many different types of filament available. New types are frequently being introduced.  From printable sculpting clay, to wooden, and and even filament made out of beer!  In just about any color you could imagine.

The type I use the most is  PLA (Polylactic Acid).  I get consistent prints when using PLA. It is eco-friendly, due to being made mostly out of renewable biodegradable resources, such as corn starch. It is strong enough for most applications.  However, it is not very flexible, and tends to snap before bending. For parts that will be in high heat and high stress environments I use a super PLA.

Anything you want to be flexible, stretchy and/or shock absorbing can be printed using  TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) and TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer). These are flexible rubber filaments.

And many more!

I could go on and on writing about different types of filament.  Wikipedia has a table that shows some of the filament out there  and some basic information. 

Contact me and tell me what you would like to accomplish and I will work with you to find the right filament for the job.


Next: The Printer