What Materials Can Be 3D Printed | Flexible 3D Printing Material | 3D Printer Material Strength

01-3D printing materials - 3d printer material types - strongest 3d printer material

In this blog post we are going to see what materials can be 3D printed and what are the Strongest and Flexible 3D Printing materials are available in the Additive Manufacturing Industries

Polymers available on the market

The typical polymers used during processes involving thermo plastics or plastics that are heated in some kind of a semi-liquid condition and near to the melting point are Polycarbonate (PC), Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), Poly Ether Ester Cetone (PEEK), Polyetherimide (ULTEM) and Nylon. The particles are bonded and solidified until they are extruded. Fused deposition (FDM), jetting (Inkjet), and selective laser sintering ( SLS) are Additive Manufacturing methods that utilize thermoplastics. SLA and Direct Ink Writing (DIW) utilize liquid thermosetting polymers or polymers that seem to be solids after curing.

01-3D printer material types - flexible 3d printing material - strongest 3d printer material

3D Printer Material Strength

Under the melting stage, a chemical reaction takes place, contributing to a durable substance. Polymers in SLA and DIW are formulated to fulfil unique properties, particularly physicochemical properties. For example, every layer will support itself and allow several layers to be printed while retaining the geometry crafted. It applies rheologically to resins that have a yield stress while they are subjected to high oscillation stresses, meaning that the resin becomes solid at rest (low stress) and liquid like while flowing (high stress). The inadequate feedstock availability for procurement is one of the big obstacles of polymer 3D printing.

Polymers end up losing mechanical strength for load – carrying applications in particular in a pure form. In addition of fillers, including such as silica and carbon fibres with polymers, are often made a high mechanical strength materials. In fact, incorporating additives increases the performance of products by introducing flexibility to components like the getter, UV and radiation tolerance, as well as anti-fouling performance.

01-additive manufacturing material comparison - PLA materials- Stereolithography materials

3D Printing Materials

Some polymers used for 3D printing applications are:

1. Additive Manufacturing Technology: Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM)

Process: Melting and Solidifying

Static state of the original substance: Solid


  • Polycarbonate (PC)
  • Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)
  • Poly Lactic Acid (PLA)
  • Polyetherimide (ULTEM)
  • Nylon
  • Carbon filled Nylon
  • Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate (ASA)
2. Additive Manufacturing Technology: Stereolithography (SLA)

Process: Photocuring

Static state of the original substance: Liquid


  • Thermosetting acrylates and epoxy
3. Additive Manufacturing Technology: Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)

Process: Melting and Solidifying

Static state of the original substance: Solid


  • Polycaprolactone (PCL)
  • Poly Lactic Acid (PLA)
4. Additive Manufacturing Technology: Jetting

Process: Photocuring

Static state of the original substance: Solid


  • Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)
  • Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate (ASA)
  • Polycaprolactone (PCL)
  • Poly Lactic Acid (PLA)
  • Vero
5. Additive Manufacturing Technology: Direct Ink Writing (DIW)

Process: Extrusion (by Heat and UV Curing)

Static state of the original substance: Liquid


  • Thermosetting materials (Any materials with adequate viscosity)

01-3d printing material properties - 3d printer material strength

3D Printing Polymer Materials | Mechanical Characterization of 3D-Printed Polymers

3D Printing Polymer Materials in Industries

01-3d printing polymer materials - polymers for 3d printing and customized additive manufacturing (1)

While selecting a product to print a specific component, a close consideration is essential. Whilst the number of commercially usable polymers are accessible, not a single polymer offers one the required properties for a particular application. Moreover, no specific polymer present on the market can be printed using a single Additive Manufacturing technique. The material selection is focused on the product and the desires of the customers.  The atmosphere and conditions (e.g., temperature, mechanical load, UV Light, chemical exposure, radiation, and moisture), 3D printing method, availability and process ability under which the component is exposed must be taken into account.

01-3d printing materials guide - pla 3d printing material properties

Mechanical Characterization of 3D-Printed Polymers (Optimization Studies in 3D Printing)

There have been plenty of developments in Additive Manufacturing, the interface also has many problems that need to be resolved. Such problems are due to the complexity of the processes (which would be in certain situations is sluggish than injection moulding processes and machining), expenses of the equipment, and insufficient feedstock. The benefits thus overshadow the disadvantages, as Additive Manufacturing allows for fluid design, complicated macro and microstructures, and simple modelling and optimization. This led to the adoption of Additive Manufacturing as a main production method to print prototypes and final components by industries including biomedical engineering, transport and the military

Material selection strategies

The decision criteria for selection of materials for product design and manufacturing are:

1. Mechanical Properties
  • Mechanical strength
  • Density
  • Thermal
  • UV
  • Radiation
2. Process ability
  • Extrusion by melting
  • Viscous
  • Jetting
  • Powder bed options
3. Availability
  • Vendors availability
  • Cost
  • Shape
  • Custom production
4. Material Identification

01-material selection for 3d printed parts - 3d printing polymers

Polymer Applications


p align=”justify”>Polymers are used for producing PET bottles, dolls, tools, luggage, phones , computers, appliances, cushions, electronics, and transport parts. Thus the polymers have become consumer products. It  is sensible for efforts to develop 3D printable materials that can be produced quickly.