Best filament? ABS or PLA?
September 15, 2011 08:23AM

Can anyone tell me which is the best reprap filament to use?


Has anyone tried high density Polypropylene?

Are there other altenatives? Maybe material that will stay slightly soft, say for slighly bendy toys?

Many thanks

Re: Best filament? ABS or PLA?
September 15, 2011 08:36AM
Soft PLA is available.

Bob Morrison
W├Ârth am Rhein, Germany
"Luke, use the source!"
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Re: Best filament? ABS or PLA?
September 15, 2011 08:39AM
It's personal choice really, but I'm always surprised how good PLA is for all sorts of things, I don't like using ABS very much, the smell, it's softer so tends to have a few more issues with Filament drives (In my experience) and generally needs to be printed slower than PLA.

Polyprop is a waxy plastic, it will warp lots and I expect smell as bad as the worst ABS.
Other people have tried HDPE and PVC.

You can get soft PLA but I have not yet experimented with it.

I'm experimenting with a few other materials at the moment, I'll post something shortly on them.

Re: Best filament? ABS or PLA?
September 15, 2011 02:00PM
Thanks for the replies smiling smiley

Ah, rubbery PLA, I might give that a try. Thank you.

I read about ABS being quite smelly before. But does ABS last longer than PLA?

PLA is made from natural ingredients, so does it have a shelf life of any sort? Or am I worrying about nothing?

Would love to hear about your experiments. I'm quite new to 3d printing, but I have a ton of things I want to try at the same time

All the best

Re: Best filament? ABS or PLA?
September 15, 2011 02:54PM
PLA only decomposes in high temperature compost I believe. It is stable indoors up to about 50C. I do find it creeps more than ABS though. I.e. a nut an bolt tightened on it it will become loose over time and the washer will have sunk in.

People have used PP, it warps a lot but I doubt it smells. I have used HDPE and that doesn't smell, but again it warps a lot.

Re: Best filament? ABS or PLA?
September 15, 2011 06:34PM
I'm not a huge fan of ABS. I find that it tends to be fiddlier to extrude and it really does *require* a heated bed for any print. And it smells. But if you need a piece that has a bit of flex to it or wan withstand high temperatures, you'll need for forget about PLA and switch to ABS. It's really a question of what your use case is, but I find that PLA is much nicer for most of my use cases.
Re: Best filament? ABS or PLA?
September 16, 2011 06:32AM
The only good thing I found with ABS is the heat resistance, works well for the filament drive block on the printer. Most other parts on or off the printer seem to be better in PLA, I haven't tried soft pla yet.
Re: Best filament? ABS or PLA?
September 16, 2011 12:59PM
I prefer ABS, although I print with both, just as often. The ABS parts have a smooth finish. The same PLA parts have a rough feel to them, like abrasive. The ABS parts also tend to be lighter that PLA parts.

As for smell, and health concerns, good ventilation is never a bad idea. I've not seen any reputable source chime in on ABS and toxicity one way or the other, but I wouldn't roll up ABS or PLA in a cigarette and smoke it, either.
Re: Best filament? ABS or PLA?
September 21, 2011 02:01PM
Hi guys, just found this thread and found the information very interesting, any chance of expanding it (slightly off topic!) to what people prefer to print on using these materials! i.e Kapton or PET tape.
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