3D Printing & Modeling + Ed3DP

2. 3D Printing

2.2. Filaments

Beginners should start with PLA (Polylactic Acid) filament as it's easy to work with and very forgiving.  PLA has a lower supple point, doesn't need much heat in the bed, doesn't warp much and sticks easily to the bed.  However, PLA is brittle and doesn't suit structural parts but is great for general prototyping. 

Once you have some skill and require a more impact resistant model, then HIPS (High Impact PolyStyrene) or ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) is suggested.  HIPS and ABS have a higher supple point than PLA and will deform with impact rather than crack like PLA.  HIPS has similar structural characteristics to ABS but doesn't warp as much as ABS during printing and is much easier to achieve successful prints than ABS.  ABS is much harder to work with as it warps during the print process and doesn't stick to the bed as easily and requires higher print temperatures both in the extrusion nozzle and print bed.  ABS is not recommended for beginners but is relatively easy for attentive educators and students to master but requires more precise fine tuning of print parameters.

Educator 3DP has a high quality all stainless steel heat tube with a wrap around heating element that provides more uniform heat distribution to the filament.  Additionally Educator 3DP uses a thermocouple temperature sensor in the extruder which is stable for temperatures above 300 degrees celsius unlike normally used thermistors that start to breakdown at about 275 degrees Celsius.  Our all stainless steel hot end with thermocouple temperature sensor means that you can confidently extrude the many speciality filaments which often require temperatures above 275 degrees Celsius which is usually the limit of normal 3D printers.  

An inexpensive source of good quality filament is available from Hobbyking.com (ex Sydney) with modest shipping costs.  When ordering just make sure that you have selected the Australian warehouse and you have 1.75mm filament not 3mm.  A huge advantage of the Educator 3DP is that consumables are cheap.  We do not sell filament at inflated prices (we don't sell it at all).  You can get good quality PLA and ABS for about AUS $25 per 1Kg from Hobbyking.com (ex Sydney) with modest shipping costs.  Many 3D printer manufacturers and retailers are pushing "cartridge" type 3D printers because they will make double the purchase price from cartridge filament sales- typically cartridge filament costs about $40 to $80 per 1/2Kg cartridge which is $80-$160 per 1Kg of filament.  A 3D printer in a school might consume about  1 to 5Kg per Term or 5 to 20Kg per year. So a school 3D printer might use about 10Kg per year which is only about $250 in filament for the Educator 3DP but at least $1000 in filament cost for the cartridge system or name brand filament.

TinkerCAD's Filament Guide  

Filament

Special Properties

Uses

Stre-
ngth

Flexi-
bility

Dura-
bility

Print 
Skills

Print 
Temp. 
(˚C)

Bed
Temp.
(˚C)

PLA

Easy to Print, Biodegradable

Consumer Products

★★

★★

180 - 230

No

ABS

Durable, Impact Resistant

Functional Parts

★★

★★

★★★

★★

210 - 250

50 - 100

PETG (XT, N‑Vent)

Flexible, Durable

All-Rounder

★★

★★★

★★★

★★

220 - 235

No

Nylon

Strong, Flexible, Durable

All-Rounder

★★★

★★★

★★★

★★

220 - 260

50 - 100

Flexible, TPE, TPU

Extremely Flexible, Rubber-Like

Elastic Parts,
Wearables

★★★

★★

★★★

225 - 235

No

Wood

Wood Finish

Home Decor

★★

★★

★★

★★

195 - 220

No

HIPS

Disolvable, Biodegradable

ABS Dual Extrusion, Support Structures

★★

★★★

★★

210 - 250

50 - 100

PVA

Disolvable, Water Soluble, Biodegradable, Oil Resistant

PLA/ABS Dual Extrusion, Support Structures

★★★

★★

180 - 230

No

PET (CEP)

Strong, Flexible, Durable, Recyclable

All-Rounder

★★★

★★★

★★★

★★

220 - 250

No

Metal

Metal Finish

Jewelry

★★

★★★

★★★

195 - 220

No

Carbon Fiber

Rigid, Stronger Than Pure PLA

Functional Parts

★★

★★★

★★

195 - 220

No

Lignin (bioFila)

Biodegradable

Looks and feels cool
Stronger than PLA

★★

★★

190 - 225

55

PC Polycarbonate

Strongest, Flexible, Durable, Transparent, Heat Resistant

Functional Parts

★★★

★★★

★★★

★★

270 - 310

90 - 105

Conductive

Conductive

Electronics

★★

★★

215 - 230

No

Wax (MOLDLAY)

Melts Away

Lost Wax Casting

170 - 180

No

PETT (T‑Glase)

Strong, Flexible, Transparent, Clear

Functional Parts

★★★

★★★

★★★

★★

235 - 240

No

ASA

Rigid, Durable, Weather Resistant

Outdoor

★★

★★★

★★

240 - 260

100 - 120

PP

Flexible, Chemical Resistance

Flexible Components

★★

★★★

★★

★★★

210 - 230

120 - 150

POM, Acetal

Strong, Rigid, Low Friction, Resilient

Functional Parts

★★★

★★

★★★

210 - 225

130

PMMA, Acrylic

Rigid, Durable, Transparent, Clear, Impact Resistant

Light diffusers

★★

★★★

★★

235 - 250

100 -120

Sandstone (LAYBRICK)

Sandstone Finish

Architecture

★★

165 - 210

No

Glow-In-The-Dark

Luminous, Flourescent

For Fun

★★

★★

★★

215

No

Cleaning

Cleaning

Unclogging of Nozzles

N/A

N/A

N/A

150 - 260

No

PC/ABS

Rigid, Durable, Impact Resistant, Resilient, Deflecting Heat

Functional Parts

★★

★★★

★★★

260 - 280

120

Magnetic

Magnetic

For Fun

★★

★★

★★

★★★

195 - 220

No

Color Changing

Changes Color

For Fun

★★

★★

★★

215

No

nGen

Like PETG, but Easier to Print, Heat Resistant, Transparent

All-Rounder

★★

★★★

★★★

★★

210 - 240

60

TPC

Extremely Flexible, Rubber-Like, Chemical-/ Heat-/ 
UV Resistant

Elastic Parts,
Outdoor

★★★

★★

★★★

210

60 - 100

PORO-LAY

Partially Water Soluble

For Fun, Experimental

★★★

★★

220 - 235

No

FPE

Flexible

Flexible Parts

★★★

★★★

★★

205 - 250

75