WRB Cube - Plastic Metal & Wood Composites - 3D Printing Materials for Desktop 3D Printers

3D Printer Filaments 2022 – Popular Types and Innovations


In these innovation-rich times, new interesting 3D printer filaments come out to the market on a yearly basis. If some 3D printing materials keep breaking records in specifications and properties, then others are created for those who like to play with some fun features. At times, it is hard to find your way around in the sea of different filaments.


This guide covers:

Filament Brief History

The first materials for 3D printing were invented in the 80s together with the technology itself. In the last two decades, together with the open-source movement and desktop 3D printing boom, we have been witnessing a significant increase in the variety of produced filaments. ABS material felt strong competition from PLA and PETG that have grown in popularity. The most common filament thickness remains 1.75 mm.

Filament Types

Filament for FDM 3D printers is created from thermoplastics that melts at certain temperature levels. There are many types of plastics that have different properties. PLA is the most popular filament and as it the consumers’ preferred choice, we see a lot of varieties of it. When the composite materials are concerned, the PLA tag might steer the customers towards them, reminding of a trusted filament with mostly predictable outcome. Before mentioning other materials, let’s list all PLA and its popular composites.

PLA

General settings and recommendations:
Nozzle: 190-220°C; Bed: 45-60°C
Nozzle size: 0.2mm and larger
Difficulty: easy
Read more: PLA Filament Review
Plain PLA (Polylactic Acid) is one of the most commonly used 3D printing materials. You often get a spool of it when you buy a new printer. PLA is normally the first filament used by beginners to 3D printing, as it is expected to have relatively predictable results. However, the quality of PLA may vary depending on the manufacturer. Even filaments from the same manufacturer but of different colors may have different printing properties…

PLA Filament
Amazon
(affiliate links)
AliExpress

PLA - 3D Printing Material - Tower of Pi
Tower of Pi – 3D Printed in PLA
(Image: 3DWithUs)

Wood Filament

General settings and recommendations:
Nozzle: 190-220°C; Bed: 0-60°C
Nozzle size: 0.4mm and larger
Difficulty: medium (risks: excessive stringing, nozzle clogging)
Read more: Wood Filament Review
Wood filament usually consists of 70-90% polymers and 10-30% of recycled wood fibres of different kinds. Its qualities in reference to strength, for example, can be similar to PLA, but more brittle. The properties of the end result together with the whole printing experience depends largely on what the non-PLA part of the filament is made of. Authentic wood feel and smell.

Wood Filament
Amazon
(affiliate links)
AliExpress

Wood Filament Elephant Toy
Wood Filament Elephant Toy
(Image: 3DWithUs)

Metal Filament

General settings and recommendations:
Nozzle: 190-230°C; Bed: 0-60°C
Nozzle size: 0.4mm and larger
Difficulty: medium (risks: nozzle clogging)
Metal filament consists of 60-90% polymers and 10-40% of metal powder. On the image below, a metal part was 3D printed in a brass metal filament and sanded. There are also bronze and iron filaments available that rust if kept outdoors. Metal filament is heavier than usual and prints have a rough metal-like surface. Prints have to be sanded to achieve a shiny look.

Metal Filament
Amazon
(affiliate link)

WRB Cube - Plastic Metal & Wood Composites - 3D Printing Materials for Desktop 3D Printers
PUZZLE CUBE by WRB – Plastic, Metal & Wood Composites
(Image: 3DWithUs)

Glow in the Dark

General settings and recommendations (if PLA):
Nozzle: 190-220°C; Bed: 0-50°C
Nozzle size: 0.4mm and larger
Difficulty: medium (risk: nozzle clogging)
Composite glow in the dark filament contains 20-30% glow powder. UV light charges the filament. Good for festive seasons like, Halloween for example. Filament loses its glow power if exposed to UV light for too long.

Glow in the Dark Filament
Amazon
(affiliate links)
AliExpress

Rainbow & Silk Filaments

General settings and recommendations (if PLA):
Nozzle: 200-230°C; Bed: 60-80°C
Nozzle size: 0.4mm
Difficulty: easy
Read More: Rainbow Filament Review – Silk PLA
If you’ve ever wanted to print a model with multiple colors on a single extruder 3D printer without changing materials mid-print, the Rainbow Silk PLA filament is definitely worth checking out.

Rainbow & Silk Filament
Amazon
(affiliate links)
AliExpress

Rainbow Silk PLA Filament Review
Rainbow Silk PLA Filament – Transitions
(Photo: Andrew Sink)

Thermochromic – Color Changing with Temperature

General settings and recommendations (if PLA):
Nozzle: 210-215°C; Bed: 0-60°C
Nozzle size: 0.4mm
Difficulty: easy
Read More: Thermochromic Filament Review
Another interesting desktop 3D printer material to try is the color-changing filament. Such thermochromic material changes its color depending on the temperature. Let’s test how the color-changing PLA works, and where it can be used.

Color-changing with Temperature Filament
Amazon
(affiliate links)
AliExpress

Color Changing Filament - Thermochromic 3D Printer Material Review
Color Changing with Temperature Prints
(Image: 3DWithUs)

Glitter & Marble

General settings and recommendations (if PLA):
Nozzle: 200-220°C; Bed: 80-100°C
Nozzle size: 0.4mm and larger
Difficulty: easy – medium (risks: nozzle clogging)
Filaments with added shiny particles are often labeled as Glitter filament. The known brands such as Prusament (Gallaxy) and Fillamentum (Vertigo) have wide ranges of such high-quality materials. The particles inside the filament often help to conceal the layers that result in impressive models which can be put on display or serve as a gift.

Prusament Sample - Galaxy Black PLA
Prusament Sample – Galaxy Black PLA
(Image: 3DWithUs)

Marble effect filaments also bear added particles. According to what we tried ourselves and the general feedback, it is trickier to print with Marble filament and there is a risk of nozzle clogging. Marble effect PLA can come handy for printing out particular items like sculptures or vases.

Marble Filament
Amazon
(affiliate links)
AliExpress

Post-it Note Holder, Week Planner - Desktop or Wall Mounted
Post-it Note Holder 3D Printed in Marble PLA
(Image: 3DWithUs)

Quantum Dual-Color

General settings and recommendations (if PLA):
Nozzle: 205-215°C; Bed: 50-65°C
Nozzle size: 0.4mm and larger
Difficulty: easy (no risks, but needs some tunning for optimal transition)
MatterHackers Quantum Dual-Color PLA is a newcomer on the market. At the moment is available from the official store only. The color blend combines two colors. There are at least 24 different transition combinations. It is recommended to practice on small prints before taking on large projects as 3D printers may produce slightly different results. Therefore getting the feel of it for the correct tunning is needed.

MatterHackers Quantum Dual-Color - Purple Gold PLA
Quantum Dual-Color – Purple Gold PLA
(Image: MatterHackers)

PET

General settings and recommendations:
Nozzle: 240-270°C; Bed: 80-100°C
Nozzle size: 0.4mm and larger
Difficulty: medium (risks: excessive stringing)
Read more: PET Filament Review
Another 3D printing material, which we have tested for the use in the home or office environment, is PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate). PET filament is food safe and waterproof therefore it is especially good for making vases, bottles, boxes, all sorts of containers …

3D Printed Candy Bowls - Red PET Filament
PET Filament Bowls
(Image: 3DWithUs)

PETG

General settings and recommendations:
Nozzle: 230-250°C; Bed: 80-90°C
Nozzle size: 0.4mm and bigger
Difficulty: medium (risks: excessive stringing)
Read more: Filament Review – Is PETG Waterproof?
PETG filament is a 3D printing material for desktop 3D printers that has been quickly gaining popularity. PETG is a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) that is glycol-modified. Before writing this review, we thought about adding the images of makes in PETG to the previous PET filament review that we published earlier. However, after trying to print in it, we realized that it was a different material that required different printing settings, and therefore it deserved a proper review and its separate photo gallery. It is known to be waterproof, but do the models come out really waterproof when printed with desktop 3D printers? Let’s check where PETG filament is used together with its Pros and Cons …

PETG Filament
Amazon
(affiliate links)
AliExpress

PETG Filament Review - Waterproof Dishes For Planters
Waterproof Dishes For Planters
(Image: 3DWithUs)

Flexible Filament – TPU, TPE

General settings and recommendations:
Nozzle: 220-240°C; Bed: 0-60°C
Nozzle size: 0.4mm and larger
Difficulty: medium (risks: oozing, bed adhesion)
Read more: Flexible Filament Review – TPU, TPE
Flexible filaments, including TPU and TPE, are not as frequently used in 3D printing as PLA or PETG. The reason may be that 3D printing using such materials requires certain skills together with the good knowledge and feel of your machine. Also, slicer settings, like in Cura or Simplify3D, have to be adjusted individually. Not all objects can be printed in flexible material. For example, designs with joint parts, that work well in PLA or ABS, may require modification to suit flexible filament. This post is updated frequently with brief reviews, pros and cons, and ideas for 3D printing.

Flexible Filament
Amazon
(affiliate links)
AliExpress

Flexible Filament Review – TPU, TPE, FLEX
Flexible Filament – Ideas for 3D Printing
(Image: 3DWithUs)

ABS

General settings and recommendations:
Nozzle: 220-240°C; Bed: 80-100°C
Nozzle size: 0.4mm and larger
Difficulty: medium (risks: warping, bed adhesion, smell)
Read more: ABS Filament & Acetone Smoothing Review
When we started our adventure in 3D printing, ABS filament (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) was one of the most popular 3D printing materials. Later it lost its leading position to PLA and PETG. Some of ABS properties, though, may keep this filament in the top 5 for a while, despite of a few disadvantages when using it for 3D printing at home.

ABS Filament
Amazon
(affiliate links)
AliExpress

ABS Acetone Smoothing - ABS Filament Review - 3D Printing Materials
Acetone Smoothing ABS Printed Parts
(Image: 3DWithUs)

Filament Brands

List of 3D Printer Filament Brands

Site/LinkProducerCountry
Das FilamentDAS FILAMENT
Refill
Germany
MatX Smart MaterialsMatX Smart MaterialsNetherlands
FillamentumFillamentumCzech Republic
Proto Pasta logoProto Pasta
Cardboard
Canada
Polymaker logoPolymakerChina
eSUN
Refill
China
Hatchbox logoHatchboxUSA
SUNLU
Refill
China
PrusamentPrusament
by Prusa3D
Czech Republic
Amolen Filament Shop Amolen
China
3D Print Works
Refill
UK
Colorfabb logoColorFabbNetherlands
Filament & MeerNetherlands
Polyalchemy logoPolyalchemyChina
FormFutura logo 60FormFuturaNetherlands
TREEDItaly
Ecoreprap Shop Ecoreprap
China
NinjaTek logoNinjaTekUSA
MatterHackers logoMatterHackersUSA
3D SolutechUSA

Please feel free to contact us if you think that a particular brand or material should be added.
– Refill; Cardboard – These tags mean that these brands have eco-friendly options for the spools. Please check their websites as such options may not be available on marketplaces such as Amazon, etc.

Filament Innovations

Some filament manufacturers are confident enough to bring novel materials and solutions to the market adding diversity to 3D printing.
– Antibacterial PLA. Smart Materials company MatX is introducing an innovative anti-microbial filament with unique properties. Let’s have a quick look at AMBX PLA, learn about the company, and see what other products and innovations they are working on.
– NoneOilen. Recent notable material was created by Fillamentum. 100% biodegradable, reusable without losing properties, and food-safe NoneOilen won a 3DPI award for Fillamentum.
– Eco-friendly Spool Options. Despite of many attempts to re-use leftover spools, still, a lot of them end up in the landfill. Even recycling such spools is not ecological enough. Some 3D printing material manufacturers take more action and drive implementations of the new green industry standards.

Proto Pasta Recyclable Cardboard 3D Printing Filament Spool
Recyclable Cardboard Filament Spool
(Image: Proto Pasta)

– Refills & MasterSpool. Richard Horne aka @RichRap3D who tirelessly promoted cardboard spools, in the end, published an ingenious reusable spool system. A so-called MasterSpool was designed to carry filament refills. DAS FILAMENT, the German filament manufacturer, quickly responded to the MasterSpool initiative and within days offered their customers to buy refill only.

Conclusion

Here we briefly mentioned some of the most popular filaments for FDM 3D printing. As filament manufacturers work hard to produce something new and interesting, we, as consumers, enjoy the abundance of variety. The more confident we grow with 3D printing, the higher the anticipation to try even experimental materials.

Read more: Filament and 3D Printer Test

There are many 3D printing test files to choose from on file repositories. The reason to use a proper test file is because it contains all hard-to-print bits. After printing such object it becomes clear what settings you need to complete tricky and detailed projects. Also, these files are designed in a way that you don’t use a lot of filament and printing time.


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