Choose 3D materiAL

You are here » Home » Choose 3D material

An inkjet printer uses ink cartridges to print. 3D printers use spools of filaments. There are several types of filaments, with different characteristics and properties (flexibility, resistance, ecological, etc.).

In order to help you choose the right material, we have prepared a guide with their technical characteristics.


PLA (polylactic acid) is the most used filament in 3D printing. Unlike ABS, it is biodegradable (made from corn starch), so it can be used to print objects that will be in contact with food products (plates, bowls).

It is increasingly used in the food industry to pack products such as fruits, vegetables, eggs, but also to replace tote bags and plastic bags distributed so far in the shops. On the other hand, it is quite sensitive to heat and water.

PLA is one of the easiest materials to print, its main feature being its low shrinkage, which does not necessarily require having a hot plate on the printer.

If it responds well to post-print processing like painting, it’s pretty hard to make it perfectly smooth. Indeed, the heat of friction of the sanding paper tends to melt the material.

There is a wide variety of colors that will allow you to give free rein to your imagination.


ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) is the most used material in the industry. Indeed, a large number of parts for automobile, electronics and appliances are made from this material. This is also the case for Lego bricks.

It belongs to the family of thermal plastics (or thermoplastics) and therefore has a base of elastomers that makes it more flexible and resistant to shocks. In addition, it supports temperatures between -20 ° C and 80 ° C.

In addition to its excellent strength, ABS is reusable, perhaps polished or welded by chemical processes (using acetone). All these technical features make it the preferred material for engineers.

As for the PLA, it exists in a multitude of colors. On the other hand, it is not biodegradable.


PET (polyethylene terephthalate) is even stronger than ABS. It is mainly used for the manufacture of parts requiring both flexibility and robustness.

It is the ideal material for parts intended to be in contact with food products. It is found for example in plastic bottles or in plastic glasses found in events such as festivals or concerts. In addition, PET is 100% recyclable.

There is a variant that is PETG (polyethylene terephthalate glycolized). The only difference is that the PET is brittle while the PETG is more flexible and therefore breaks less easily.


The PC (Polycarbonate) is a very resistant material and used in the engineering sector. Indeed, it can withstand temperatures up to 150 ° C without deforming.

Thanks to its excellent shock resistance, it is used to make many everyday products such as motorcycle helmets.

It is also one of the most difficult materials to print, because it must be heated to 260°C – 290°C and the printer must be equipped with a hot plate. But do not worry, at Web3Dprinting, we print every day.


Today, many filaments are available. Among the multitude of choices, one type of filament has a great success: the flexible filaments.

They are quite similar to PLA, but are made from TPU or TPE (thermoplastic elastomers). The use of these materials is very present in the world of fashion, but also in the industry that can enjoy a flexible material, strong and very pleasant to the touch.

As for PLA and ABS, flexible filaments are available in many colors to give vent to your imagination.


There are materials that are composed of PLA associated with a powder that gives them a different finish, texture and color. Generally, the ratio is 70% PLA and 30% of the hybrid material.

Today, we can print filaments based on cork, wood, bamboo, metal (bronze, copper, silver) and even organic materials such as rock, brick and cement.

The results obtained are simply breathtaking.