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If you’re shopping for a premium printer, you may wonder what is the strongest 3D printer filament. Using the right types of filament, high-end 3D printers can provide end-use parts for industrial applications and the medical field. Experts usually recommend PC or nylon filaments for heavy-duty applications, but that’s not always true. Carbon fiber filaments are among the strongest materials you can use, but it requires a hardened nozzle to prevent damage to the printer.
You’ll also want to know how to print polycarbonate if you’re curious about durable 3D printing materials. Different 3D printer filaments require adjustments to your printing temperature. Each 3D printing filament features a different heat resistance and tensile strength, so you’ll need to make adjustments for each one.
Keep your 3D printer clean to ensure consistent print quality across multiple models.
Check out our guide on what is FFF 3D printing for more details on the layer-by-layer process printers use to create 3D prints.
When it comes to what material a 3D printer uses, there’s a wide range to choose from. While PLA and ABS plastic filaments are the most common 3D printing materials, they aren’t ideal for load-bearing applications.
There are a few popular materials that can withstand harsh environments and sudden stress. This is especially useful for end-use components in the automotive and aerospace industries. That said, even hobbyists can use high-strength materials for household 3D printing applications.
Before you find the ideal material for your project, you should understand the different ways 3D filament can be strong. Along the way, we’ll identify which types of 3D printing material will meet your need.
Tensile strength measures a model’s ability to withstand elongation. This measurement provides data on how much weight a model can support before it breaks. Experts recommend polycarbonate and carbon fiber-infused materials for load-bearing tools like wall hangs or carabiners.
Impact resistance measures how much force a material can take without breaking or deforming. A high impact strength ensures a model won’t fail due to sudden stress. You should opt for a polycarbonate or nylon filament for projects calling for impact resistance.
Abrasion-resistant materials include ABS, TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane), and nylon. These materials are ideal for mechanical applications and outdoor equipment because they can withstand repetitive scrapes and wear.
If you’re using ABS, you should print in an enclosed environment, or your ABS model may warp at the edges.
Thermal resistance represents how much heat a material can take before it deforms or breaks. Experts recommend polycarbonate, carbon-nylon composite, and TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) for models exposed to high temperatures or consistent friction.
STAT: A 2019 Global EY study showed that 83% of the worldwide electronics industry already applied or considered additive manufacturing for their businesses. (source)