Filament for FDM 3D Printers

The plastic material used by 3D FDM/FFF printers comes in the form of a plastic filament. This filament is usually sold in spools and generally provided by the machine manufacturers, even though there are more and more generic filament manufacturers.


Most common 3D Printing Materials found in Filaments

The most common materials found in this format are:

  • ABS (and compounds) Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene 
  • PLA : Polylactic Acid 
  • PVA: Polyvinyl Alcohol: Because it is soluble, this material is generally used to manufacture supports, as they can be easily removed from the part after manufacture 
  • TPU: Polyurethane: Used to create flexible parts

Here are some of the technical materials that can be found:

  • ULTEM: Heat-resistant material 
  • ABS – PC: ABS and polycarbonate compound 
  • Nylon 
  • ASA (Acrylonitrile styrene acrylate) 
  • PPSF: (Polyphenylsulfone) 

The machine’s motor will feed the filament into the extruder nozzle, whose role is to melt the material before depositing fine droplets of it onto the printing tray. These filaments can be dyed in different colours.

Some machines have many extruders so that different filaments can be used and multi-coloured parts can be printed.

This filament can be found in finished parts made by fused deposition, where staircases will be visible depending on the layer thickness used. The filament’s original diameter varies from 1.75 and 3mm. Once extruded by the printing nozzle, the layer thickness can vary from approximately 50 to 400 microns, depending on the precision of the printer.

You can browse our professional 3D printer guide to identify the kind of filament used by each printer .