Here in Tinkercad, we like to hear how educators in classrooms around the world put 3D printing into practice the concepts of their students. We think that 3D printing (and digital manufacturing in general) offers everyday people a profound opportunity to design and shape their world. This means that our own equipment has been loaded enough hours to learn that 3D printing can lead sometimes to deceptive results, which is quite slow and fickle.
We have created this Guide to understand and choose the best material (filament) for your circumstances in order to give you and your classroom the best chance of successful 3D printing. While it is true that you must understand your specific 3D printer settings and capabilities, the filament that you feed is a critical (and often overlooked) ingredient in the printing process.
Facility to use:
Print: 180°C to 230°C. Printing temper.
Temperature of print bed: No heat needed, 20°C - 60°C (optional)
Proof: Relatively smellless or shrunk, unbelievable number of variations in the filament (see fun options below), cheap, unnecessary heated print bed, biodegradable (limited), recyclable (limited).
Cons: Prints with relative low mechanical strength, which melt easily in high heat, compared to other materials (though sometimes useful for deliberate annealing effects).
PETG Utilization facility: medium
Temperature printing: 220°C - 250°C.
Temperature printed bed: 50°C - 75°C.
Pros: Incredible (sometimes too good) print bed adhesion, higher flexibility than PLA, higher strength, low warping or narrowing; results are relatively thermal resistant to PLA, a high level of adhesion. Pros:
Otherwise: if stored openly (leading to poor print efficiency), some odor, filament will absorb moisturization; requires heated print bed, recommended print bed separator (painter tape and glue stick) to prevent permanent bonding. The new hotness is flexible construction plates, with all of them to have no matter what you print with!
ABS User friendliness:
Temperature for printing: 210°C – 250°C.
Temperature printing bed: 80°C - 110°C.
Pros: High strength, better UV resistance for outdoor applications, commonly used in domestic products (like lego bricks), resulting prints are relatively thermal resistant to PLA.
Notable odor: vents during printing, major warping/reducing problems, heat bed needed, VOC emission considerations, full inside for heat control and ventilation (particularly for students with respiratory problems).
But what about…?
It is true that we have left this list with a large number of formulations for filament. All the options we would recommend to explore include Nylon, TPE, ASA, polypropylene, HIPS, Flex, Polycarbonate, and others. In a classroom environment, however, it is difficult to recommend the expense, storage requirements, inadequacy of use, printing requirements and the odor in most cases.