The all new 3D Universe Filament Guide is here!
Find the right material for your next project, or learn about our latest 3D printing materials.

3D Printing Filament Guide

Determine which material is right for the job

At 3D Universe, we take pride in the wide array of materials we offer for fused deposition model (FDM) 3D printers. We've assembled this comprehensive reference to give you an overview of the various 3D printing materials we offer. Depending on the needs for your project, this guide will help you determine which filament is the best fit, based on any number of traits: Ease of printing, durability, chemical resistance, and so on. We hope you find it informative and useful in making your next buying decision! You can start choosing a material by clicking "SELECT A MATERIAL".

Select a Material

PLA (Polylactic Acid)

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Common Use Cases
Cosmetic prints
Prototypes
Low-stress applications
Key Characteristics
Easy to print with
Minimal warping
High degree of part accuracy
Earth-friendly material
Pleasant semi-sweet smell

Temperature Settings
Extruder 190-220C
Heated Bed 40-60C (optional)

Bed Adhesion
Blue painter's tape, glass with coating of hairspray, or glass with a thin coating of PVA glue

Sample Print Gallery

Description

Created from plant products, such as corn, potatoes, sugar beets, etc., PLA is considered a more "earth-friendly" material than other petroleum-based plastics like ABS. PLA can be composted at commercial compost facilities. It won't bio-degrade in your backyard or home compost pile, however.

PLA is an excellent material for beginners, as it's easy to print with due to the fact that it has minimal warping tendencies. It can even be printed without a heated bed if needed. PLA is fairly strong but more brittle than ABS, and it has a semi-gloss finish. PLA's lower melting temperature makes it a poor choice for objects that require significant heat resistance. For example, PLA objects left in a hot car may become deformed.

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)

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Common Use Cases
Prototypes
Mechanical parts
Engineering
Key Characteristics
Strong and slightly flexible
Wear resistant
Requires heated bed
Prone to cracking, delamination, and warping

Temperature Settings
Extruder 225-260C
Heated Bed 80-110C

Bed Adhesion
Kapton tape, glass with a coating of ABS juice (ABS / acetone slurry), or hairspray

Sample Print Gallery

Description

ABS is a petroleum based plastic. It is stronger, with slightly more flexibility compared to PLA. It also offers improved heat resistance, making it suitable for engineering purposes or items with mechanical properties.

ABS can be more challenging to print with, due to its tendency to warp, especially where the object makes contact with the build plate. Applying a coating of "ABS juice" (a mixture of ABS and acetone) on a glass build plate can help greatly to reduce warping.

While printing, ABS produces a smell of hot plastic, so proper ventilation is important.

ABS dissolves in acetone, so you can use a few drops of acetone to weld ABS parts together. You can also use acetone vapor to post-process ABS parts, creating a smooth, glossy finish.

ASA (Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate)

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Common Use Cases
Objects for outdoor use or in industrial settings
Key Characteristics
Good weather resistance and UV resistance
Strong and slightly flexible
Requires heated bed

Temperature Settings
Extruder 240-250C
Heated Bed 90-130C

Bed Adhesion
Kapton tape, glass with a coating of ABS juice (ABS / acetone slurry), or hairspray

Sample Print Gallery

Description

ASA is a thermoplastic created to be similar to ABS, but with better weather resistance. ASA’s combination of high strength and flexibility along with its superior UV resistance makes it ideal for printing objects which may be used in the outdoors or in industrial settings. Due to its high glass transition temperature, a heated bed is required to successfully print with ASA. For the best results when printing with ASA, a fully enclosed print bed is recommended.

Copolyester

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Common Use Cases
Short-run manufacturing
Functional prototypes
Key Characteristics
Tough
Good dimensional stability
Low odor
Prone to warping
Excellent chemical resistance

Temperature Settings
Extruder 220-260C
Heated Bed 70-85C

Bed Adhesion
Glass with a thin coating of PVA glue

Sample Print Gallery

Description

Copolyester materials are chemical resistant, tough and demonstrate good dimensional stability. It is a preferred choice for both functional prototypes and mechanical parts.

Ultimaker CPE and CPE+ provide similar performance characteristics, but CPE+ provides the added benefit of higher temperature resistance and increased impact strength.

Colorfabb nGen is made with Amphora AM3300 copolyester and has good flow properties through the printer nozzle - even at lower temperatures than some other polymers require. These properties make nGen more workable at a wider breadth of temperatures, producing reliable results and resulting in less waste. nGen exhibits advanced overhang ability, excellent looks, and large printing temperature range - empowering users to create durable and useful items.

Nylon (polyamide)

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Common Use Cases
Functional prototypes
End-use parts
Key Characteristics
Industrial-grade impact and abrasion resistance
Durable
High strength-to-weight ratio
Low friction coefficient
Good corrosion resistance to alkalis and organic chemicals

Temperature Settings
Extruder 240-260C
Heated Bed 60-80C

Bed Adhesion
Glass with a thin coating of PVA glue

Sample Print Gallery

Description

Used by many manufacturers worldwide, Nylon (polyamide) is well-known for its impressive durability, high strength-to-weight ratio, flexibility, low friction, and corrosion resistance. Nylon is fairly flexible when thin, but also very strong. With its ability to withstand significant mechanical stress, Nylon is a great choice for 3D printing tools, living hinges, functional prototypes, and end-use parts.

Nylon is very sensitive to moisture absorption, so it is important to store nylon filament in a dry place with dessicant. If there is water uptake, you may need to take additional precautions to dry the filament before use.

PVA (Polyvinyl alcohol)

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Common Use Cases
Complex models that require supports for large overhangs, deep internal cavities, and intricate geometries
Key Characteristics
Water soluble (no chemical required)
Used primarily as support material in dual extrusion printing
Biodegradable with no hazardous by-products

Temperature Settings
Extruder 215-225C
Heated Bed 60-70C

Bed Adhesion
Glass

Sample Print Gallery

Description

PVA (polyvinyl alcohol) is a water soluble support material for multi-extrusion 3D printing. With a good thermal stability, the Ultimaker brand PVA offered by 3D Universe is ideal for printing complex models that require supports for large overhangs, deep internal cavities, and intricate geometries. Designed for a seamless 3D printing experience, this PVA provides good adhesion to PLA, CPE, and Nylon.

PVA is sensitive to moisture absorption, so store it in a dry place with dessicant. If exposed to moisture, you may need to dry your PVA filament before use. You can do this by laying the spool flat on your printer's heated bed set to 60C and leaving it for about 2 hours.

PET / PETG / PETT (Polyethylene Terephthalate)

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Common Use Cases
General purpose 3D printing
Heavy use prints
Engineering and industrial prototyping
Key Characteristics
Durable and strong
Easy to print with
Low thermal shrinkage

Temperature Settings
Extruder 230-250C
Heated Bed 80-100C

Bed Adhesion
Glass with hairspray or painter's tape

Sample Print Gallery

Description

PET is a durable and strong thermoplastic which combines many desirable features from other plastics into one material. PET offers similar mechanical properties to that of ABS while maintaining the ease of use of PLA. PET has low thermal shrinkage in comparison to other materials making it a great choice for objects in which high levels of dimensional accuracy is required.

Polycarbonate

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Common Use Cases
Prototypes
End use products
Parts requiring high strength/toughness
Parts operating in high temperature environments
Key Characteristics
High strength
Temperature resistant
Flame retardant
Dimensionally stable
Strong inter-layer bonding

Temperature Settings
Extruder 260-280C
Heated Bed 107-115C

Bed Adhesion
Ultimaker adhesion sheets or glass with thin coating of glue stick / PVA glue

Sample Print Gallery

Description

With Polycarbonate filament, you can print strong and tough parts that retain dimensional stability when subjected to temperatures as high as 110 ºC. Polycarbonate is a perfect filament for printing molds, tools, functional prototypes and parts for short-run manufacturing.

PCTPE (Plasticized Copolyamide Thermoplastic Elastomer)

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Common Use Cases
Flexible utility/industrial parts
Cell phone cases
Wearable items
Key Characteristics
Highly flexible
Highly durable
Strong inter-layer adhesion
Easy to print

Temperature Settings
Extruder 225-230C
Heated Bed 45C

Bed Adhesion
Glass with a thin coating of PVA glue

Sample Print Gallery

Description

PCTPE was designed to be both highly flexible, yet retain the durability of nylons. Single perimeter parts can be wadded into a ball, yet are difficult to stretch out of shape. With a lower printing temperature than nylon, PCTPE easily prints on any 3D printer. While extremely flexible the nylon ensures that even the 1.75mm version is no problem for direct drive or bowden feed systems. Offers excellent bonding even at 0.3mm nozzle size.

This combination of polymers was developed specifically to allow anyone using current FFF 3D Printers to print parts from durable prosthesis to complete cosplay wearable outfits, cell phone enclosures as well as highly flexible utility/industrial parts. The flexibility of PCTPE means that the end parts will have the smooth lustrous texture of nylon, the added flexibility offered by a rubber like TPE, yet maintain the high durability and non-delaminating benefits of all taulman3D Printing materials.

TPE / TPU (Thermoplastic Elastomer / Thermoplastic Polyurethane)

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Common Use Cases
End use parts requiring flexibility and/or chemical resistance
Wearables
Key Characteristics
Highly flexible
Qualities of both rubber and plastice
Chemical resistant

Temperature Settings
Extruder 220-240C
Heated Bed None

Bed Adhesion
Glass

Sample Print Gallery

Description

TPE / TPU is an highly malleable elastomer which be used to create prints with high toughness while retaining superb flexibility. It also has a high resistance to abrasion. For the best results a direct drive extruder system is recommended, however use of Bowden style extruders is still possible. TPE / TPU will adhere to most bed types without any adhesives and a cooling fan is highly recommended.

Alloy 910

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Common Use Cases
Any industrial parts that are currently being made of other high tensile polymers
Large motor mounting
Industrial vibration isolators and damping parts
Sand Blast Masking
Electroplating supports and hangers
Chemical dip and tank supports
High-end gears and cams
Chemical resistant equipment covers
Key Characteristics
Excellent tensile strength
Minimal thermal shrinkage
Highly durable
Chemical resistant
High Pressure Sand Blasting resistant

Temperature Settings
Extruder 250-255C
Heated Bed 45C

Bed Adhesion
Glass with a thin coating of PVA glue

Sample Print Gallery

Description

Alloy 910 is a specially formulated nylon from Taulman3D. With a tensile strength greater than 8,100 PSI, Alloy 910's ability to withstand stress far outperforms most copolyesters and nylons. Additionally, it offers minimal thermal shrinkage, and its durability is comparable to other nylons. And, like many other Taulman filaments, Alloy 910 is highly-resistant to a wide range of chemicals. It is also FDA approved for direct food contact and direct drink contact.

Metal-infused Filaments

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Common Use Cases
Jewelry
Decorative items
Key Characteristics
Metal infused PLA/PHA
Can be sanded/polished
Three times heavier than PLA
Hardened nozzle recommendedt

Temperature Settings
Extruder 195-220C
Heated Bed 50-60C

Bed Adhesion
Glass with coating of hairspray, or glass with a thin coating of PVA glue

Sample Print Gallery

Description

Colorfabb's metal-infused filaments are based on their PLA/PHA material, with powdered metal mixed in. Because these materials use PLA/PHA as their base, they are easy to print with. Straight from the printer, parts look almost laser sintered with a matte finish. With a bit of sanding and polishing the metallic particles will start to shine and shimmer. The weight of the material is about 3 times heavier than regular PLA/PHA, giving parts the feel of true metal.

These materials can be abrasive and can cause wear on brass nozzles, so it is recommended that you use a steel or other hardened nozzle when printing these materials.

Wood-infused Filaments

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Common Use Cases
Decorative items
Key Characteristics
Easy to print
Infused with wood/cork/bamboo fibers
Can be sanded

Temperature Settings
Extruder 195-230C
Heated Bed 50-60C

Bed Adhesion
Blue painter's tape, glass with coating of hairspray, or glass with a thin coating of PVA glue

Sample Print Gallery

Description

Colorfabb's wood-infused filaments are based on their PLA/PHA material and are infused with wood/cork/bamboo fibers to provide unique finishes for your 3D prints.

Glow-in-the-Dark Filament

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Common Use Cases
Decorative items
Key Characteristics
Glows in the dark
Easy to print
Infused with wood/cork/bamboo fibers
High degree of part accuracy

Temperature Settings
Extruder 195-220C
Heated Bed 50-60C

Bed Adhesion
Blue painter's tape, glass with coating of hairspray, or glass with a thin coating of PVA glue.

Sample Print Gallery

Description

This amazing ColorFabb filament produces 3D prints that actually glow in the dark! During the day it’s a beautiful creamy color which prints to a perfect smooth finish. In the dark your prints will start to glow like you would not believe. The filament is composed of PLA/PHA compound combined with concentrated phosphorescent pigment.

PolyPropylene

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Common Use Cases
Prototypes
End use products
Electrical components
Living hinges
Key Characteristics
Durable with high toughness and fatigue resistance
Low friction and smooth surfaces
Semi-flexible
Chemical resistance and electrical resistance

Temperature Settings
Extruder 205-240C
Heated Bed 85-100C

Bed Adhesion
Ultimaker adhesion sheets or packaging tape

Sample Print Gallery

Description

PP is one of the most widely used plastics on the planet. From electrical components to living hinges, PP is the go-to material for prototyping and end-use products. Ultimaker PP (polypropylene) is durable. It has high toughness, exceptional fatigue resistance, and low friction. It also has good chemical, temperature, and electrical resistance.

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