The world of 3D printing keeps getting more amazing, from a synthetic skull made of acrylic to custom chocolate confections. People can now use 3D printers to make virtually anything out of several materials, ranging from metal and ceramic to sugar and Styrofoam. Of course, plastic was the first material to allow for 3D printing of any kind, and it continues to remain common and versatile material used in 3d printing plastic today.
Polylactic Acid (PLA)
It’s probably no surprise that one of the world’s most widely used bioplastics would also be the most popular in 3D printing. PLA is a biodegradable thermoplastic aliphatic polyester made from organic resources such as corn starch or sugarcane. PLA is ideal for 3D printing because it’s simple to work with, eco-friendly, comes in a wide range of colors, and used as a resin or filament.
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)
A terpolymer fabricated by polymerizing styrene and acrylonitrile with polybutadiene, ABS is another plastic commonly used in 3D printing. Beginners especially favor it for its ease of use in its filament form and because it is durable, strong, heat-resistant, cost-effective and flexible.
Polyvinyl Alcohol Plastic (PVA)
PVA is a water-soluble plastic used as a glue, thickener, or packaging film. PVA is used in 3D printing to create a support structure for parts of a product that may warp or collapse during the printing process rather than to make the finished product.
Naturally, the materials used in 3d printing plastic are expanding and evolving in tandem with the process and its applications. Even so, one of the most incredible advancements in manufacturing can be traced back to the original space-age material, plastic.