Maybe, most people would agree that one of the most important aspects of 3D printing
is the perfect material for the job. Choosing the right ones to be used can be complicated and time consuming as there are various factors to think of. You have to consider the strength, the flexibility and accuracy as well as the special conditions a material may require in order to achieve what printing you have in mind. At present, 3D printers are using ABS and PLA. The two are almost the same as well as different with
each other. The question is which would be your perfect match for your 3D printing job?
To give you a clearer idea, here’s a background about each material.
ABS stands for Acylonitrile Butadiene Styrene. It is an oil-based plastic that is known
for its strength. It is famous for being a sturdy material that most businesses prefer to
use for construction. ABS is mostly used in making plastic car parts, musical instruments, and the well-liked Lego building blocks.
ABS also has a high melting point, and warping can happen if cooled while printing.
With this reason, ABS materials must be printed on a heated surface. Unfortunately, not
all home printers have this. Ventilation is also required when ABS is in use because the
fumes are unlikeable. The abovementioned conditions make ABS printing complicated
for hobbyist printers. However, it is the highly suggested material for professional
On the other hand, PLA, or also known Poly Lactic Acid, is made from organic material
— particularly sugarcane cornstarch. This is what makes the stuff both easier and safer
to use, while still giving the material a smoother and shinier appearance. This makes
the project to look more pleasant. The thermoplastic is also pleasing on the nose
because the sugar-based material emits a sweet smell when heated unlike the harsh
smell given off by ABS.
Though PLA might seem the better choice at first, you have to know that it features a far
lower melting point than ABS. This means that when you use printed parts for
mechanical procedures, or even by simply putting them in locations with high
temperature, the materials can possibly endure part warping, cracking, or melting.
Having all things considered, its now up to you on what will you use. Just a little note,
PLA is good for hobbyist printers while ABS are for those who wants to
produce commercial-grade parts that need to endure more rigorous wear and tear.