3D Printing Materials And Their Applications in Manufacturing

Today there are six basic talking points when it comes to manufacturing. 3d printing first being changed in the economics of production.

3D Printing

So it basically refers to the repeatability factor of 3d printing being able to make the exact same piece out several times without any additional cost.

  1. Change in the economics of production- The initial start usually has some high costs associated with the manufacturing of a certain device or part.
  2. Design Freedom- Due to the fact this is additive we’re building these parts and pieces out of the combination of different materials stacking up on one another. You have more freedom in the sense that you’re not limited to the manufacturing that you typically used to so see.
  3. Increased Part Functionality- Increased part functionality so essentially printing for function as opposed to those limitations in manufacturing.
  4. Product Personalization- So as the technology has developed and come further along with materials and applications. You now have newer abilities to get everything from photorealistic prints with full-colour spectrums with more versatile and functionality in parts.
  5. Environment Sustainability- The environmental sustainability factor that refers to the just-in-time manufacturing of 3d printing. So turning out exactly what you want when you want it without having to waste any materials.
  6. New Supply Chains and Retail Models– The new supply chains and retail models refer to basically localizing your manufacturing environment by having a 3D printer in-house. Now you can get certain replacement jigs and fixtures parts.


What is Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM)?

FDM has two different spools of whats called a thermal plastic filament. One is for model and other to support. FDM technology melts this plastic down as its getting hot enough to its melting point.


It can be pushed out by the heads to make these structures layer by layer.

It will take turns between extruding model material which is the material that your actual part will be consisting of and then support material which is what helps your model be built with different geometries.

The support material can be broken off from your model part or be washed away.

Fused Deposition Modeling Materials-

  1. General Material-
  • ABS Plus-ASA
  • ABS M30-
  • ABS M30i- Biocompatible with gamma rays
  • ABS ESD7- Static dissipative material so you can it’s really good when working with certain microchips and computer processes
  • ASA- Essentially the new and improved version of abs. It’s UV stable which isn’t seen with most other materials.
  • It also has the best aesthetics of all FDM thermoplastics.
  • It means chemical composition of the material results in high resolutions.
  • It also has superior mechanical capabilities to absorb things like tensile strength, tensile elongation at break things.



  • Investment casting
  • Custom end-use parts for outdoor
  • Lighter more cost-effective concept models
  • Functional Prototypes


Benefits of ASA-

  • Low Ash Content
  • Enormous time/Cost savings
  • More design freedom


  1. Engineering Material-
  • PC-Nylon 12
  • PC-ABS –
  • PC-ISO- Biocompatible version of art
  • Nylon 12 – Strong chemical resistance. Thirty percent elongation break the most of any FDM thermoplastic. High fatigue resistance. Now because of that elongation to break and the strength that is also backing up this type of material is very good for snapfits as well as a friction fit. Inserts things like functional drill guides prototyping and use parts for ducks and things such as that are very good in terms of how you use.




  • Covers and Panels
  • Functional drill guides
  • Functional prototyping and end-user parts for low temp ducting
  • Frictional fits inserts


Benefits of Nylon 12-

  • Lower tooling cost from metal mods
  • Less wasted metal tooling
  • Nylon prototypes


FDM Advantages-

  • Tough, Aesthetic colours
  • Strong Durable ABS
  • Medical and food contact
  • Versatility
  • Economic sparse fill
  • High-performance end users

Semi-crystalline nature of nylon 12 allows it to withstand a lot of the testing that you see when trying to figure out how a prototype should look and how the end result should look.

In addition to that, you also have the less wasted metal tooling and the lower tool costs from metal modifications.

  1. High-Performance Material-
  • ULTEM 9085

A flame smoke and toxicity rating FST for short which basically means this material is in an environment that’s so hot the material starts to melt and give off a smoke.

Ultem 9085The smoke head is not toxic to humans at all which makes it great for aerospace when you don’t have access to open air.

Going into aerospace because of how strong durable is and the strength to weight ratio that you’re getting from this material it could really hold up with some of the most stringent aerospace industry requirements.

It has a very high strength-to-weight ratio. Good for aerospace applications. Airbus, for instance, has about a thousand thirteen fine pieces on board in their new systems.

Because of this aerospace application is ULTEM 9085 specifically called Fulton 1985 aerospace. For this nature, there’s also a certification grade which can be sterilized for different uses.


  • The most stringent aerospace industry requirements
  • Metal Forming and Thermoforming.
  • End of arm-tooling


Benefits of ULTEM 9085-

  • >10,000 Psi
  • No operator attendance
  • FDM is faster
  • Much less waste


  • ULTEM 1010

This material has the highest FDM temperature resistance and fire resistance.

It also has the best chemical resistance, the highest tensile strength and the strongest FDA material.ULTEM 1010

Overall with the lowest coefficient of thermal expansion and this material also has FST or flames smoke and toxicity rating.

Used for things like high-pressure valving. It’s can be sterilized in an autoclave so there’s a lot of auto plating that can be used for medical applications.

Layup tooling for larger pieces like the parts of aeroplanes.

Different parts for onboard use for various aircrafts both military and civilian. The machines that scientists use are where

ULTEM 1010 came to play. So there was a lot of different valving features and portions of the machines that break down over time.

Instead of having that designed again by an engineer and machined in metal they were able to replicate this with ULTEM 1010 plastic and the benefits were eight months of life out of those parts with high repeatability. Means cheaper and faster parts getting it milder machine tooling jigs and fixtures.

Applications of ULTEM 1010

  • Lay-up tooling
  • Food production (CG)
  • Metal Forming/ Thermoforming
  • Medical Auto-Claving(CG)
  • Compression Moulding-10-50 cycles
  • Aerospace and Automotive Components: clips, housing, ducts, semi-structural components


Benefits of ULTEM 1010-

  • High pressure valving
  • Tooling, Jigs and fixtures
  • Eight months of use


Speciality Products-

  • ST-130– Sacrificial tooling to be used to invert model and support. You can print in full support then do ESD PEKKcarbon wrap-ups usually used with high automotive applications.
  • SR-35– New type of soluble support powder. It’s basically the new and improved version of ST-130 the typical soluble support.
  • Nylon 6- It falls as a combination almost between an ASA and nylon 12. UV stable has a hike in resistance as well as in similarities Nylon 12 it also has about a nineteen percent elongation at break.
  • ESD PEKK– Similar to a BSc hd7. It is electrostatic dissipative but tech specifically is used for outer space. Like International space station or the ISS for short as well as satellites. High demands on 3d printing materials are fully capable of meeting that new challenge.



PolyJet –

PolyJet is fairly different from FDM. This is not a thermoplastic but a photopolymer. In this process layers of material builds upon one another.

Instead of a spool of filament, you have a material jetting. The liquid photopolymer is sprayed out into a mist or dot matrix of various materials.Polyjet Printing

Similar to tink an inkjet printer which then has a rolling mechanism coming over each layer. There are also two lights that follow the movement of the head at any given time.

Parts that come off of PolyJet system are completely cured right off the printer. Remove support now. You can also have soluble support for PolyJet. After this you can do the post-processing. Anything like sanding, painting.


1.General Rigid-

Newer technologies because of the high colour spectrum. This category consists of all colours and our non-flexible materials.General Rigid

So vero family are blues greys blacks and whites yellow cyan magenta as well as clear are simulated polypropylenes.

PolyJet is considered to be more used for shiny tiny and pretty applications.

So complex geometries and prototypes and models that require a high resolution. PolyJet have anywhere from 30 to 216  microns of accuracy.RGD720

  • RGD720– They are considered a rigid opaque which basically means as the name implies is these are not flexible materials and they’re also not translucent.
  • Combining dimensional stability and fine detail, rigid opaque materials simulate the appearance of production parts.

They react less to silicon meaning you have more crisp and concise moulds coming off this polygon technology. The layer lines are fairly non-existent or not as present and noticeable.  This type of 2d printing costs approximately eighty percent less than traditional manufacturing.

Other General Rigid Material-

  • VeroBlue-
  • VeroGrey-
  • VeroBlackPlus-
  • VeroWhitePlus-
  • Vero Y/C/M
  • VeroClear
  • Durus
  • Riqur


Polyjet Benefits-

  • Reacts less to silicone
  • Cost 80% less than CNC


Polyjet Advantages- 

  • Moulding & Tooling
  • Colour Range
  • Smooth surface finish
  • Multi-material realism
  • ABS functionality
  • Choice of flexibility
  • Medical and Dental
  • Thin walls and cavities
  • Clear Transparency


  1. General Flexible-

General Flexible

This category has different flexibles with different tear rates and elasticity ratings.


  • TangoPlus-
  • TangoBlackPlus-
  • TangoBlack-
  • TangoGray-


  1. Engineering-
  • Digital ABS– It has digital ABS as well as high-temperature materials. This is considered digital material. Now the digital material is a term that you see consistently in the realm of the poly jet. Digital ABSCombining two or more materials together and the higher up in the systems you get more materials.
  • We have six different material combinations. You have primary material, secondary or third or fourth type of material they can be rigid or flexible depending what you want to make.
  • To get out of these parts and they are mixed together into a dot matrix which is then considered digital material which is a composition of primary and secondary materials.


  1. Specialty/Dental-

 Specialty Dental

  • MedGid-
  • Dental Materials-






Source – Stratasys