Choices for 3D Print Materials
Chris Norman posted on November 19, 2013 |
Wider choice of materials motivates many 3D printing users

While many designers and engineers use 3D printing because of its affordability, speed and ease-of-use, there's another important factor that doesn't garner as much attention: the freedom of materials it allows.

With 3D printing, you have a much larger palette of materials to work with than traditional manufacturing. You can opt for durable materials like metal or plastic, or more delicate substances, like ceramic or sandstone.

If you're considering using 3D printing for your next product idea, some of the materials you could consider include:

  • Plastic – For products that require high detail and strong durability, plastics are an excellent choice. Best of all, you can choose virtually any color – even glow-in-the-dark!
  • Metal – If you're on a budget, try metallic alloys. For higher quality products, consider iron, 10-karat gold, stainless steel, sterling silver or other precious metals.
  • Acrylic – Available in flexible and sturdier forms, acrylic can be used on a wide variety of products. It also comes colored or clear, to get your desired look.
  • Ceramic – For artwork, home décor and other items that require a more handmade look, fire-glazed ceramic material is a great choice.
  • Nylon – Ideal for products that require a good amount of flexibility, nylon also allows for a high-quality, high-detailed look overall.
  • Wax – Used primarily for jewelry making and art replication, wax can be used to create a detailed, to-spec mold for use in rapid prototyping.
  • Sandstone – Material can be 3D-printed to create products with a gritty surface texture or multi-colored look.
  • Paper – Since it's biodegradable, paper is typically your most eco-friendly option for 3D printed materials.

The choices for 3D print materials are virtually endless. To determine which one is right for your product, you'll want to consider the level of durability you want, the amount of detail your product requires and your budget.

Image courtesy of artur84 /


This post was written by Chris Norman of Kraftwurx, a platform for 3D printing.

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