What material is right for your project?
The go-to for aesthetic modelling, parts in PLA will soften and deform above 60° C . PLA is very stiff and as such brittle, stressing the model past its threshold will result in catastrophic failure and shattering into sharp sections. Select this material for touch and feel applications in moderate environments. PLA can be difficult to sand due to it’s hard surface. Support material can greatly reduce surface quality at contact areas.
ABS is quite durable. ABS is suitable for use up to 100°C. Over stressing this material yields permanent deformation and discoloration but not breakage. It’s very easy to sand and paint and can be smoothed using an acetone vapor. The major downside of ABS is its high shrink rate which can make dimensional accuracy on desktop machines challenging. Generally parts under 100mm cubed are acceptable but this is geometry dependent. Select this material for small parts that must be durable and high temperature performance. Support material has a small impact at contact areas.
PETG is more flexible than ABS and exhibits greater practical strength. Expect thermal performance up to 70°C and a high sheen finish. This material is hard to finish post print and generally has a less appealing surface. Reserved for engineering parts where durability is the primary concern. Support material will greatly reduce surface finish at contact areas.
A rubber like material that is extremely durable. Finishing or painting this material is not practical. Thermal performance tops out around 65° C. Support material can greatly reduce surface quality. Use this on projects for its high flexibility.