PLA: PLA is the most common type of filament and the one we recommend using if you are new to 3D printing or if you’re printing in a family/home setting. It’s the easiest to print with, has decent durability, and is useful in a broad range of printing applications because of its properties of being odorless, low-warping, and not requiring a heated bed. PLA is also non-toxic, so it is perfectly safe to use around the family. It is typically corn-based and made from renewable resources, making it recyclable. We suggest printing PLA at an extruder temperature of around 200 - 205 degrees Celsius. The bed does not usually need to be heated, but if you’re having trouble getting your prints to stick, you might want to increase your bed temperature to around 45 degrees Celsius. PLA is most typically used to print common knick-knack items and figurines.
PLA+: PLA+ is a variation of PLA that has added material in order to make the filament less brittle, have a smoother surface finish, and less likely to absorb moisture. Typically, TPU is added into the filament in order to achieve this property. PLA+ will have the feel and functionality of ABS without the smell. If you didn’t know better, you would think it was ABS. We suggest printing with PLA+ at 205 to 210 degrees Celsius and with a bed temperature of 45 degrees Celsius. PLA+ responds very well to blue painter’s tape and a glue stick to hold properly and not peel up when printing.
Wood: Wood PLA is an extrusion material made from 40% recycled wood combined with polymer binders to allow it to melt and print like any other material. It doesn't warp, doesn't shrink, and doesn't require a heated print bed. The finished product can be sanded like ordinary wood and it even smells like wood. The color can be varied from light to dark by increasing the printing temperature through its 190 ~ 220°C printing temperature range. For this filament, we recommend starting out with the regular PLA settings and making adjustments from there to achieve the proper setting for your environment.
ABS/ABS+: The second most common used filament is ABS. It is more durable than PLA although it can be a little trickier to print with at times, because it requires much more heat. The print bed requires temperatures of around 90-100 degrees Celsius, and you will want your extruder to be around 230-240°C for proper flow and adhesion. ABS can be used for popular items such as Cell Phone Cases, Contact Lens Cases, and items that require more durability. Similar to PLA, ABS is non-toxic, but not exactly the same, because it is not biodegradable. ABS+ is a variation of the material that is intended for producing high-quality, precision 3D prints with a low tolerance range.
PETG: PETG filament is extremely useful as it is considered food safe and completely non-toxic / recyclable. You may have seen P- E -T on a water bottle or other types of plastic containers before. PETG is the same thing as P -E -T except the G stands for the added ingredient which is glycol. The addition of glycol makes the filament easier to heat up and adhere, making it possible to use with our 3D printers. We found blue painter’s tape to be the best build mat for this filament. You will also want to re-calibrate your bed to allow around 0.15 millimeters more room than PLA. Also, slowing your print speed down and turning off your fan will help prevent warping
PVA: A dissolvable filament that, when placed into warm water, will vanish away. Now you may be wondering what the point of dissolving filament would be? Supports! Normally support elements are printed using the same material as the main object such as PLA or ABS. This would require you to remove the supports by hand which can be time-consuming and result in damage to the printed object. If we use PVA as a support, we can just drop the print right into some warm water and the PVA will begin to dissolve, leaving you with a cleaner print! We recommend printing PVA with an extruder temperature of 180 degrees Celsius and your bed at 40 degrees Celsius. Printing PVA as a support is only possible when using a Dual Extruder Printer.
Here are some other tips that will help when using PVA:
- Warm water will decrease dissolving time. If you are using PLA for your build material, make sure that the water is no hotter than 35 degrees, otherwise the PLA may be negatively affected.
- Never use water above 50 degrees, as this increases the chance of burning.
- Moving water helps dissolve PVA quicker. Use a stirring motion or running water to decrease dissolving time.
Cleaning Filament: Which is used to – you guessed it – clean the nozzle! We recommend using cleaning filament after every handful of prints or if you haven’t printed in a while to get rid of any old filament that may be left over. This can be used in a temperature range of 160-260 degrees Celsius. When cleaning the extruder, it is good to cut the filament to a 45-degree angle and feed about 5 to 6 inches through the extruder until the filament has removed all contaminants. Because cleaning filament is clear in hue, you will see the change in color as you pass the cleaning filament through the extruder. Once complete, you will bring the extruder temperature down to 160 degrees and do what is called the “Atomic Pull” which is a clean pull up and out of the extruder to not leave any remaining filament behind.