3D Printing Materials
Each 3D printing project is unique in it’s own way. Sometimes you want something to be strong, or finely detailed, or with many interconnected parts. For almost every design need there’s a unique material consideration.
Here’s a quick introduction to the FDM and SLS materials you can 3D print with at Hot Pop. for more images and examples of how these materials can be used for your project, check out our Full Materials Guide for 3D Printing.
ABS & PLA Plastic
Max Print Size: 220 x 140 x 140mm
Both ABS and PLA are thermoplastics used in FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) 3D printers. ABS is really strong. If you think an object might be dropped or frequently handled (such as a phone case) then ABS is the best option. PLA is very similar to ABS in terms of its physical properties. The main difference is that PLA is a biodegradable plastic. The materials are typically printed on a FDM 3D printer which is very good at producing simple geometries at low to medium resolution, perfect for preliminary prototypes to test out an idea.
Max Print Size: 300 x 300 x 600mm
(300 x 300 x 300mm is recommended for best quality results)
SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) 3D printers create solid models from powered materials. If you’re working on a project with lots of interconnected moving parts, use nylon-based SLS 3D printing. With nylon, you can make functioning hinges and gears right out of the printer. It’s strong while also providing some flexibility if you print thin parts. Details can be as small as 0.7mm, and it’s available in standard colours via a dye process.
Full Colour Sandstone
Max Print Size: 380 x 250 x 175mm
Sandstone is the only 3D printing process that allows you to make full colour prints so it’s perfect for figurines or small sculptures with lots of colour. You can get a lot of fine details with sandstone (minimum 0.7mm thickness) and it’s quite strong with a slightly brittle texture.
Max Print Size: 190 x 220 x 300mm
Alumide is a mix of fine aluminum particles and polyamide power. This strong material is the perfect solution if you want something printed in metallic colours or with moving parts. Similar to sandstone it has a brittle surface that is somewhat porous, and can be used for fine details (minimum 0.7mm).
Your ideas are waiting to get made, start a project today!