3D Printer Filaments: ABS or PLA? Know What Is Best for You

Posted on Mar 23, 2017 by Stuart

3D Printing: The Wonder Printing

Modern science has evidently revolutionized technology of the recent times, so much so that incredible things are happening around us, to amaze us and aid us. 3D printing is the buzz word of the day! Australia, where the latest technology is always welcomed with open arms, this fantastic 3D printing services are already thriving in big cities like Melbourne and Sydney.

A novel way of developing physical products based on a 3D printed model, which is done by adding layers of manufacturing material, it’s alternatively known as ‘Additive Manufacturing’. A design of the object or product is created through a software first, which is then placed onto the 3D printer to churn out the final product. And the end product always turns out to be extremely smart, highly-useful and absolutely impressive.

The Most Fundamental Part Of The Process

Since 3D printing requires the use of highly-advanced printers especially built for 3D printing, what’s most important in the entire process of this modern printing is the use of suitable filaments. These filaments are specifically designed for 3D printing and have certain qualities that are unique and conducive to three-dimensional printing.

Different filaments are used for different 3D printing requirements. However, there are two most-popular and commonly-used filaments that are employed for this kind of printing. Let’s delve deeper into what they are and how they differ from one another.

What’s What?

While various kinds of filaments are being designed and offered in the 3D printing market of the day, nothing can alter the fact that most manufacturers swear by the two most famous filaments, namely, ABS and PLA.

Since businesses of different scale and kind are making use of this ultra-advanced technology these days, it helps to be able to discern the basic difference between these filaments for the optimum use of 3D printing for specific purposes. No two things are the same, as they say. The philosophy applies to printing needs of a product as well.

ABS & PLA: Filaments You Want to Know About

What kind of material is to be employed in the process of 3D printing is governed by the type and size of the object that has to be developed or manufactured. However, most materials are plastic-based which carry a character that melts in the heat so it can be molded as per the design and then cool off to become solid in the shape given. The 2 most widely-preferred filaments that are used for this kind of printing are almost every manufacturer's favourite for their own reasons.

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) and the other, PLA (PolyLactic Acid)- both are essentially plastic-based, ductile materials.

ABS is more suitable for and conducive to the needs of manufacturing and engineering businesses where the production is huge and complex. As this filament is an oil-based thermoplastic, it is used to print heavy and sturdy products like electrical tools etc.

On the other hand, PLA is more favourable for the use of producing packaging products and food-containers as this material is more natural and has eco-friendly qualities. Made out of biodegradable, raw material like cornstarch or sugarcane, it poses no health risks for the end users.

While PLA is more ecologically beneficial as it is made from natural resources, ABS is more appropriate for solid, mechanical manufacturing. PLA is delicate and brittle and ABS is sturdy. PLA is better-suited for simple products use while ABS is meant for complex objects.

What you also need to know as a user is whom to approach to purchase these filaments from. Not every seller is authorized to sell these materials or has sound knowledge of the field. Therefore, you are strongly advised to be careful while choosing your seller. Researching the market well in order to zero in on the right place/seller will benefit you greatly in the long run. Your decision about this can make or mar your ultimate purpose and output.

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