PLA and ABS are the materials most often used in 3D printing. Among other materials you may find glass polyamide, epoxy resin, wax and even metals like titanium, silver and even steel.
ABS may be familiar to you as lego toys have it as one of the components. It is not heavy, solid, tough and resistant. ABS twirls up as it gets cooler, so you will need a warm printer bed. You will catch a smell of hot plastic while printing. You will find it useful for creating cutlery, tools and things that are meant to be warmed up.
PLA is made of corn starch and some more renewables. It’s absolutely harmless and biodegradable. It can be printable at lower temperatures than ABS, thus it’s safer. However, it’s no good for printing things that are to be heated, like coffee cups. ABS is ecologically friendly and almost scentless. But it’s not so solid and resistant as ABS. PLA is better for everyday use, whereas ABS is useful for more challenging tasks.
| 3D printer filament ABS vs PLA
|3d printer filament ABS
||3d printer filament PLA
|Emit at 225c
||Emit at 180 – 200c
|Heated bed required
||Heated bed is not necessary
|No extra cooling required
||It is cooled during printing
|Sticks well to polyimide tape
||Sticks well to various surfaces
|Liable to spliting, delamination, distortion
||Liable to curling at edges and overhangs
|Smells like melting plastic while processing
||No smell at all
||Corn-based, harmless, ecologically friendly
Keep reading next article: How to choose a right 3D printer filament type