ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) – this is the most widely used plastic in our everyday life. Very strong with mild flexibility make it often a preferred choice for engineers and professional applications, because it can achieve very accurate results. It’s flexibility makes creating interlocking pieces or pin connected pieces easier to work with and also printed prototypes are suitable to be used as working parts for machines or others. It is usable up to 90-100C degrees and parts are easy to sand, polish or paint. It has great impact resistance and hardness, so it is suitable for engineering functional prototypes, concept modelling or making spare parts. Note that very thick or big parts may need to be printed with less density, because of it’s special printing requirements. This plastic may be printed safely with layer height up to 0.1mm.

PLA (Polylactic Acid) – considered more friendly for the environment it is a good choice for prototypes which don’t have special requirements. It is not flexible (compared to ABS), feels tough and it will break instead of bending as well as become brittle if left under the sun for a long time. However it is very good choice for working and functional prototypes, concept modelling and marketing materials. Also strong, and more rigid than ABS, it is occasionally more difficult to work with in complicated interlocking assemblies and pin-joints. Very accurate and with somehow better look and feel finishing than ABS. It may be sanded, polished or painted. It’s heat resistance is low – up to 60C degrees, but may be printed with layer height up to 0.05mm.

PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) – probably the best material we can offer, very hard and strong, accurate and with excellent  look and feel. It is not flexible, but it is perfect for engineering functional prototypes, concept modelling or making spare parts, which are strong enough to be used in machines. One of it’s best properties is that it is FDA approved – e.g. if the printed parts have contact with any food or liquids it is perfectly safe! It resists heat up to 80C degrees, may be sanded, polished and painted. It’s properties allow it to print with layer height up to 0.05mm

Flexible Polyester – rubber like plastic (looks, feels and bends just like it) suitable for printing hinges, tyres or anything that has to be flexible. It’s not very heat resistant – up to 70C degrees, but it has very good look and feel. Because it’s rubbery we cannot sand or polish it, but it may be printed with resolution up to 0.05mm.

Nylon - very strong plastic, with great mechanical properties and flexibility far from ABS, but not as good as Flexible Polyester. You can bend and twist it, but it won’t change it’s shape or break. However it does not provide great accuracy or surface finish. Also may not be suitable for most of the prototypes’ applications, so you will have to consult with us in order to be sure that your parts are able to be printed with Nylon. Usable up to 90C degrees, but may be printed with layer height up to 0.1mm.

HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene) – it is very similar material to ABS, with the same look and feel, but must be used if your prototypes have special requirements. Very rigid material, somewhat stronger than ABS but with the same flexibility. It has special requirements for printing, so it may not produce parts as accurate as ABS. This material tends to warp and bend if very thick or big parts are printed, but its strength is superb. You can sand, polish or paint it. It’s heat resistance is up to 100C and may be printed with layer height up to 0.15mm.

Composition Table

Special propertyHardnessFlexibilityAccuracy
Layer heightTemperature resistance
ABSStrong, accurate
PLAStrong, great look&feel✦✦✦✧✧✦✧✧✧✧✦✦✦✦✧0.05mm
PETStrong, accurate, great look&feel✦✦✦✦✦✦✧✧✧✧✦✦✦✦✦0.05mm75-80C
NylonStrong and flexible✦✦✦✦✦✦✦✦✧✦✦✦✧✧
HIPSStrong, heat resistant, flexible✦✦✦✦✧✦✦✧✧✧✦✦✦✧✧0.15mm95-100C
Flexible PolyesterVery flexible and strong✦✧✧✧✧✦✦✦✦✦