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Choosing a material for a 3D print

Every designer knows that the material is just as important as the shape of a design. An innovative design does not matter if the material does not support the function, and a beautiful model means little if the material is not equally beautiful. Fortunately, there are many materials available, so whether your product needs to be extra strong, very flexible, particularly detailed or just as cheap as possible, it should be possible to find a well-suited material.

Material choice

When choosing material for your 3D print, you must of course first look at what you are going to use your 3D print for.

If you 3D-print products or spare parts, and therefore have special functional requirements for your 3D-print, it will determine which material to choose. If, on the other hand, you want to print products such as jewelery, you will probably place more emphasis on finish and color, while 3D printing of miniatures and scale models will give high priority to detail. For some 3D prints, the maximum size will matter; many materials can not be printed very large. If, on the other hand, you do not have any special requirements for your 3D print, you will probably go for the cheapest material.

3D modeling according to the chosen material

It can be important to read the material specifications for the material you want to 3D print in before you start making your 3D model. If, for example, you want to print something very thin, you must first find out exactly how thin you can make your model. Similarly, there is no need to make very small details if the material chosen does not support that level of detail.

Overview of materials

Strong materials:

  • Stainless steel

  • Mineral filled nylon 6 (strong and very stiff)*

  • Nylon 11 (strong and flexible)

Flexible materials:

  • Thermoplastic polyurethane – TPU (rubber-like)*

  • Nylon 11 (flexible if thin)

Detailed materials:

  • Nylon 12 (detail level: 0.2 mm)

  • Visijet M3 (detail level: 0.1 mm and smooth surface)*

Good looking materials:

  • Nylon 12 with Premium Finish

  • Stainless steel

  • Precious metals*

Colored materials:

  • Nylon 12 (single color)

  • Full color sandstone*

  • Mimaki Full Color Photopolymer (+10,000,000 colors)*

Materials that print large:

  • Nylon 12 (max 650 x 550 x 350 mm)

Biocompatible materials:

  • Nylon 11

Electrically insulating materials:

  • Arnite T AM1210

Cheap materials:

  • Nylon 12

*Contact us to order 3D prints with these materials that are currently not available in our instant quote tool.


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