At Mech Solutions, we have a verity of filaments to choose from. The majority of our filaments come from CCTREE though we do carry some other brands as well. We’ll split this up this section into 3 parts first covering PLA, then ABS, and finally our specialty filaments.
Firstly, starting off with PLA.
PLA stands for Polylactic acid and is one of the most commonly available and widely used filaments in 3D printing. PLA has several advantages over other filaments that make it so appealing. Firstly, it’s biodegradable meaning that you won’t have to worry about your impact on the earth nearly as much when 3D printing. PLA is normally made from corn starch (CCTREE makes it from corn starch as well) but can be made from a verity of other materials like cassava and sugar cane. PLA also tends to be the least expensive filament type on the market, with only ABS having a similar price point. Finally, PLA tends to be a very stable if not somewhat brittle filament that makes for great decorations or non-flexible items. It’s because of its firmness and cost-effective nature that PLA is largely considered to be the most reliable filament available.
Secondly, we have ABS.
ABS stands for Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene and is the second most common filament available in 3D printing. ABS is quite popular due to several printing qualities it has. It’s most notable feature is its strength, ABS is noticeably stronger than PLA and can withstand much more pressure without breaking. Because of these ABS tends to be used in 3D prints that require the printed object to be in constant use. ABS also require a higher printing temperature than PLA.
The downsides of ABS come from the fumes that ABS emits well being melted. During the printing process, ABS will emit fumes that can cause an awful smell and irate your eyes and nose. It should be noted that you should never eat off a print made from ABS i.e. never consume food or water from a printed plate or cup out of ABS.
PETG is third,
PETG is a popular style of filament that offers both the strength of ABS and the reliability of PLA. Because PETG combines some of the qualities of both PLA an ABS it tends to require a high printing temperature like ABS. PETG is also largely considered to be an easy material to print with much like PLA. It’s for those reasons that PETG tends to be more expensive than ABS or PLA but offers more functionality to print with.
Fourthly we have TPU,
TPU (sometimes called flexible) and it has the added be the benefit of doing exactly what its name implies, being flexible. Unlike the other filaments previously discussed above, TPU is meant to have a springy nature to it that allows it to bend under pressure rather than break. Because of this increased functionality, TPU does tend to be more expensive than PLA and ABS.
Metal and wood
Metal and wood filaments are considered to be specialty filaments that unique tactile properties. This is mainly because of the wood fibers or metal sections of their filament that allow the finished product to feel like wood or metal rather than plastic. It should be noted that both filaments are still at the core plastic, they only have parts that or fiber or metal to change the feel.
Overall when it comes to choosing a filament the first thing you need to think about is what is your print going to do. If it’s only going to be decorative than filaments like TPU might not be as useful, if it’s going to be in constant use then TPU and ABS might be the way you want to go. Next, you need to figure out what your printer is capable of, not every printer can get hot enough for ABS and other high strength filaments. Always check your machine for its limits before choosing your filament. Finally, it’s important to note that every filament tends to have a slightly different look and texture to it that you might like depending on your personal preferences. We always advise looking at videos and pictures online to see if you have a personal preference for one.