3D Printing Materials Comparison
There are many types of 3D printing materials: plastics, metals, wood, hybrid materials and more. All of them are great for different reasons. Here is a look at the difference between the most commonly used 3D printing materials. The data has been collected from various resources.
Below are some charts to give you a better comparison of the materials we've listed.
Tensile Strength Comparison
This chart compares the tensile strength of the materials listed on 10, with 10 being very durable and 0 being extremely brittle. Tensile strength measures the ability of a material to be pulled from both ends and not break. Typically when a material passes its limit, it breaks by snapping at the point with the most tension.
Average Elongation At Break Comparison
This chart compares the average elongation at break, expressed as a percentage. Elongation at break measures the increase in length (expressed as an increase by % of the original size) when a string or rope shaped material encounters so much tension that it stretches immediately before losing its structural integrity and breaking. For example, carbon fiber wire will snap without stretching almost at all, while a piece of chewing gum stretches for miles before it actually comes apart.
Shore Hardness Comparison
The Shore Hardness, or Durometer Scale, was invented in the 1920's by a man named Shore. The purpose of this scale is to measure plastics and other materials' resistance to indentation. Around 10 to 30, you will find things such as a bicycle gel seat, and around 75 or above, you will find things like roller skate wheels or a hard hat (construction helmet).
Flexibility is defined by a materials' ability to change from its original shape, without losing structural integrity, and with the ability to rebound back to its original shape. For example, both a stainless steel spoon and a rubber band can be reshaped, but the spoon is considered malleable rather than flexible, because it does not return to its original shape after bending, while a rubber band will bounce back to its original shape. We compared the materials by rating this criteria on 10, 10 being flexible and 0 being rigid.
Part of the Fused Deposition Modelling (a type of 3D printing technology) process is extrusion. This is the process of passing a material through a specific opening which forces the material passing through to take the form of the opening. To do this effectively, the material needs to be heated to a softened state, almost at melting point. Different materials require different temperature to extrude, which can affect the amount of time the object needs to cool, in turn affecting the level of skill needed to successfully work with a certain material. We measured temperatures in Celsius, in the chart below.