What types of materials are available for 3D printing?

A rough breakdown of material to technology (in order of increasing machine cost) is:

FDM/FFF - Plastics (ABS, PLA, PVA)

Laminate - Paper
Inkjet - Plasters, Photopolymer resins
SLS/SLM - Huge range of plastics and metals

SLA - Photopolymer resins

I've seen inkjet printers print materials with a "rubber" consistency, so its definitely doable.

3D Printing is used for both prototyping and small run custom jobs (aerospace and high end auto are good examples of this). An example of "mass production" 3D Printing would be something like Invisalign teeth braces. It's not mass production in the traditional sense as each brace is custom fit for a single person, but they create thousands of these in a factory setting. 3d printing service in vadodara,baroda,ahmedabad,surat,rajkot,bhavnagar,vapi, gujarat, india

We cab divide unusual materials for 3D Printing into 5 categories:

3d printing construction applications
Augmented Reality
Artistic3d print art
Human Body Experience

Each material has its own particularity when it comes to its technical specifications.


At present the most commonly used printing technology is Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). The FDM printers use thermoplastic filament which is heated till the melting point and then the molten plastic is placed layer by layer to form the model. These printers tend to use the following materials.

Polylactic Acid (PLA)

It is probably the easiest to work as well as environment friendly. It is basically bio degradable plastic that has been derived from sources such as corn starch and sugar canes. This is available in soft and hard grades. With the increase in the popularity of PLA, this material is expected to overtake ABS in the near future.

Polylactic acid (SOFT PLA)

It belongs to the softer version of the PLA that was discussed in the earlier point. It is rubbery and quite flexible but is available in limited colors and sources.

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)/ Home printers

It is popularly known as Lego plastic and is considered to be the best material to work with as it is strong and very safe. It is made from spaghetti like filaments. It is available in a wide range of colors and is used for making of toys, bumper stickers etc.

Polyvinyl Alcohol Plastic (PVA)

It is a type of plastic that is used as dissolvable support materials or is used for special applications. Makerbot and Shapeways are manufacturing lower-cost desktop printers like the Makerbot replicator 2; the material that these printers are using is PVA.

Polycarbonate (PC)
t requires a high temperature nozzle design and is not widely used.

Alloy 910

It requires a high temperature nozzle design and is not widely used.

The higher end printers use powder based materials for the construction of 3D models. The various powders available by which printing can be done are:

Polymide (Nylon)

It is a strong and flexible material that allows a high level of detailing on the model. It is commonly called as white, strong & flexible / durable plastic / white plastic. It is a very strong and highly flexible plastic that is very fine and is basically a white granular powder. Due to these characteristics it is used in the interlocking and moving parts of the model.


Resins are used in 3D printing though the freedom of designing by this material is very limited. It is a bit rigid and delicate. Liquid polymer is cured with UV light to give the end product. The typical colors of this material are white, black and transparent. There are principally three different types of resins. 3d printing in chennai bangalore lucknow kolkata Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu india

High detail resins

Models that use this material are constructed from a photo polymeric liquid. This material is apt for models that require fine detailing and are small.

Paintable resin

Models that have been constructed using this material have a very smooth surface and are beautifully painted.

Transparent resin

investment casting

Models are made of hardened liquid so the material is very strong, hard, stiff and water resistant by nature. This makes it an ideal material for 3D models. This material is suitable for models that require a smooth surface along with a transparent look.