Filament

A 3D Printer uses plastic filament as ink to build 3D objects.

There are many plastic materials that are being explored for 3D Printing, however you will find that the two dominant plastics are ABS and PLA. Both ABS and PLA are known for their thermoplastics nature. They become soft and moldable when heated and return to solid when cooled.

The differences between the two plastics are explained below and will help make your choice easier.

ABS - It's strength, durability, flexibility, machinability, and higher temperature resistance make it often a preferred plastic for engineers, and manufacturing applications. The ABS plastic is the most common material found in the physical products such as toys, household plastic accessories, car accessories etc. The additional requirement of a heated print bed means there are only a few professional 3D printers in the market capable of printing ABS reliably. The UP! 3D Printer is equipped with a heated platform.

PLA - The wide range of available colors and translucencies and glossy feel often attract those who print for display or small household uses. However, it has lesser strength and flexiblity and not possible to go through machining. It produces "pop-corn" smell during printing. The PLA has low warping on parts thus make it a popular plastic for home printers, hobbyists, and schools.

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