Just as the technology in Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) continued to improve over the years, more and more 3D printing materials continue to emerge on the market as well. These developments have opened up more opportunities for the end users to explore different and better applications for 3D printing.
At Type A Machines, our objective is to empower design professionals and manufacturers as they move into the 3D manufacturing era. A big part of this is to provide solutions that allow our customers to work with various filaments to help them deliver functional, durable parts and take their work from prototype to product. The result is the industrial-grade 3D printer that can work with the widest range of materials - the Series 1 Pro. Equipped with Cura Type A, a powerful slicing engine with optimized profiles for over 80 materials, and the unsurpassed capability and reliability of the G2 extruder, the Series 1 Pro is a versatile machine that prints various types of materials with ease.
To give an overview, here are the types of 3D printing materials that Series 1 Pro supports and some information about them:
1. Polylactic Acid (PLA) - The General Purpose Material
Used in most 3D printing jobs, Polylactic Acid (PLA) is by far the most common 3D printing plastic. It carries fantastic value and versatility and is the place to start when looking to begin work with 3D printing. PLA has a low shrinkage factor that makes it easy for users to consistently print large, dimensionally accurate objects. Further, it is non-toxic, making it ideal for classrooms and residential settings.
2. Common Manufacturing Plastics
Series 1 Pro also supports some of the most commonly used classes of manufacturing plastics in the world. This category includes: durable plastics with high impact resistance like the Polycarbonate; Nylon polymers which have been used in applications for clothing and medical devices; Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) which is one of the most recycled plastics; and Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) materials which require extensive safety precautions when used.
3. Composite Materials
A great number of materials have been developed exclusively for 3D printing by combining a base material (almost always PLA) with fragments of another material as an additive. This additive is usually a material that cannot be printed on its own but would be highly desirable. A few of these composites present useful mechanical properties, but most of them contribute their value because of their stunning aesthetics. In addition, many of these materials can be sanded and polished to produce an absolutely stunning finish. Some examples are ColorFabb CopperFill PLA, ColorFabb BrassFill PLA, ProtoPasta Magnetic Iron PLA and ProtoPasta Stainless Steel PLA.
4. Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) and Other Flexible Materials
Flexible materials are a recent addition to the 3D printing industry. There are a limited number of machines that are able to print in flexible materials as they tend to “squirt out” the side of many extruders. But because of the geometry of the G2 extruder, it is possible for the Series 1 Pro to work with these materials more easily. The most common examples are NinjaFlex, SemiFlex, Cheetah, PCTPE, PolyFlex and FlexSolid.
5. Exotic and Proprietary Materials
Type A Machines also offers profiles for an assortment of exotic and proprietary materials. These materials offer a range of functionality from radiation resistance to self-lubrication. The most prominent ones are IGUS i170-PF, ASA, XT and GMASS Tungsten.
For a more comprehensive outline on the variety of printing materials that the Series 1 Pro supports, visit our materials guide here. It includes details on each material’s performance and other properties.