This guide will help you navigate the essential variables that go into creating a successful 3D print using both FDM and SLA 3D printing.

Materials for 3D Printing

Choosing the right material is crucial for your project’s longevity, function, and look. From FDM filaments like UV-resistant ASA for outdoor use and economical PLA for general applications, to SLA resins like ESD for electrostatic-safe parts and High Temp for heat-resistant requirements, we offer a diverse range of materials tailored to various needs and applications.

FDM MaterialDescriptionApplications
ASA (Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate)UV-resistant thermoplastic similar to ABS.Outdoor fixtures, automotive parts, outdoor signage.
CoPA (Copolyamide)Benefits of both PA6 and PA66, offering excellent mechanical properties and chemical resistance, better moisture resistance.Flexible parts, gears, functional prototypes.
PA6-CF (Polyamide 6 Carbon Fiber)Nylon infused with carbon fiber, enhanced mechanical strength and thermal resistance.Advanced engineering components, automotive parts, aerospace components.
PA6-GF (Polyamide 6 Carbon Fiber)Reinforced with glass fiber, providing enhanced stiffness, heat resistance, and dimensional stability.Structural components, automotive applications, industrial parts requiring increased stiffness and heat resistance.
PA12-CF (Polyamide 12 Carbon Fiber)Nylon infused with carbon fiber, offering an excellent balance of strength and chemical resistance.High-strength engineering components, chemical-resistant parts, automotive applications.
PA612-CF (Polyamide 612 Carbon Fiber)Highly robust and stiff, with improved weather resistance and low moisture absorption.Outdoor applications, functional prototypes, high-stress mechanical parts.
PAHT-CF (Polyamide Carbon Fiber)Excellent mechanical and thermal properties, designed for high-temperature and high-stress applications.Industrial components, automotive parts, high-temperature applications.
PET-CF (Polyethylene Terephthalate Carbon Fiber)Common plastic strengthened with carbon fiber.Strong functional prototypes, drone parts, robotic components.
PETG-CF (Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol-modified Carbon Fiber)Favored 3D printing material made even stronger with carbon fiber.Structural components, machine parts, functional prototypes.
PLA Aero (Low Density PLA)Lightweight yet robust, designed for applications requiring low density but high strength.Aerospace components, drones, lightweight prototypes.
PLA-CF (Polylactic Acid Carbon Fiber)Environmentally friendly plastic fortified with carbon fibers.Cosmetic prototypes, decorative items, lightweight components.
PLA PLUS (or PLA+)Improved version of PLA with enhanced mechanical properties.General 3D printing, prototypes, toys, household items.
PLA (Polylactic Acid)Technically biodegradable material from renewable resources.Decorative items, models, toys, general 3D printing.
SLA MaterialDescriptionDesigned to SimulateApplications
General Purpose (grey, black, white)General-purpose resins with a smooth finish. Suitable for a wide variety of applications requiring detail and durability.Prototypes, art models, educational projects, everyday objects.
Expert BlackA specialized black resin offering superior accuracy and detail resolution. Ideal for expert-level applications.High-precision engineering models, microfluidics, and other highly detailed applications.
Grey ProIdeal for concept modeling and functional prototyping, offers high precision and moderate elongation.Engineering parts, assembly and testing prototypes, short-run manufacturing.
DurableKnown for its high wear resistance and flexibility. Exhibits properties similar to polypropylene.PolypropylenePrototypes for bending, twisting, or impact resistance. Snap-fit joints.
High TempHighest HDT (Heat Deflection Temperature) among FormLabs resins. Excellent for models that need to withstand heat.CeramicHigh-temperature testing, molds for casting, electrical casing.
Rigid 4000Offers high stiffness and resistance to bending.Glass-filled NylonStructural components, enclosures, aerospace and automotive applications.
Rigid 10000Even higher stiffness and thermal stability than Rigid 4000.Glass-filled Polycarbonate
Tough 1500Designed for parts that need a strong balance of toughness, stiffness, and durability.ABSFunctional prototypes, mechanical parts, jigs, and fixtures.
Tough 2500Provides excellent strength and stiffness, ideal for rugged and sturdy applications.PolycarbonateMechanical parts, structural components, jigs and fixtures.
Flexible 80AResin with great flexibility and impact strength. Can bend and quickly return to its original form.ElastomericGaskets, seals, hinges, and other flexible parts.
Elastic 50AOffers high elongation and low modulus, perfect for parts that will undergo temporary deformation.SiliconeMedical models, wearables, soft robotic components.
Silicone 40AMimics the mechanical properties of silicone, suitable for parts requiring softness and flexibility.SiliconeMedical prosthetics, complex soft tissue models, ergonomic grips.
Castable WaxHigh-detail, wax-filled materials designed for reliable direct investment casting with zero ash content.WaxCustom jewelry design, intricate metal artwork, dental crowns.
Castable Wax 40Similar to Castable Wax 40 but with a different wax content.WaxCustom jewelry design, intricate metal artwork, dental crowns.
ESDElectrostatic Discharge safe material, designed for parts that require anti-static properties.Electronics enclosures, fuel tanks, dissipative fixtures.
PU Rigid 650Polyurethane-like resins that offer a balance between stiffness and durability.PolyurethaneTooling and prototyping, industrial components, durable end-use parts.
PU Rigid 1000Similar to PU Rigid 650 but offers improved mechanical strength.PolyurethaneDurable end-use parts, high-strength prototypes, industrial components.

FDM Nozzle Size in 3D Printing

Nozzle size affects both the speed and detail of FDM prints. Smaller nozzles offer finer detail, while larger ones speed up the printing process.

FDM Nozzle Size (mm)ApplicationTrade-off
0.4mmMost commonly used size, offering a good balance between speed and detail. Suitable for a wide range of prints.Moderate print speed, good level of detail.
0.6mmFaster printing for larger, less detailed components. Less suited for intricate details but excels in structural integrity.Faster print time, moderate level of detail.
0.8mmIdeal for rapid prototyping and producing large objects. Not recommended for high-detail prints.Fastest print time, least amount of detail.

Layer Height in 3D Printing

Layer height determines print resolution. Smaller layer heights capture fine details but take longer to print, while larger heights are quicker but may lack intricate detail.

FDM Layer Height (mm)ApplicationTrade-off
0.08mmHighly detailed models or miniatures.Increased printing time.
0.12mmDetailed models balancing time and quality.Moderate printing time with good detail.
0.16mmGeneral printing for functional and aesthetic parts.Reduced printing time with acceptable detail.
0.20mmPrototyping or functional parts.Faster print time with reduced detail.
0.24mmRough prototypes or draft models.Fastest print time, coarse detail.
SLA Layer Height (mm)ApplicationTrade-off
0.025mmUltra-high-detail models.Longest print time, most detail.
0.050mmHigh-detail models.Slower print time, finer details.
0.100mmDetailed prints.Balanced print time and detail.
0.160mmGeneral-purpose applications.Faster print time, less detail.

Infill Percentage in 3D Printing

Infill plays a significant role in your print’s internal density and, by extension, its strength and durability. A higher infill percentage makes for a sturdier but more material-intensive print, while a lower percentage is quicker but less durable.

Infill %ApplicationAttributes & Considerations
10-20%Decorative items or models.Lightweight and less durable.
25-50%Everyday use items or moderate strength parts.Moderate weight & durability.
55-75%Functional parts or components under stress.Enhanced durability, increased print/material use.
80-100%High wear and tear or load-bearing components.Maximal durability, highest material use/cost.
SLA Infill %ApplicationAttributes & Considerations
100% IsotropicAll SLA printsSLA prints are 100% solid, providing isotropic properties that ensure uniform strength and durability in all directions.