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What is the Material Used in a 3D Printer to Print Called?

what is the material used in a 3D printer to print called

3D printing is not only innovative, and fun but is also one of the important and most popular forms of printing as well. Many industries require its need. What is the material used in a 3D printer to print called shall give you a good insight about the materials that it uses for the print? No matter if you are a professional or an enthusiast, it is going to help you learn a bit more. Once you know about it in detail, surely you shall be understanding your 3D printer much better and be able to make it perform to its greater potential. 

3D printing

3D printing is a process of making a three-dimensional solid object from a digital file. You create a 3D-printed object using additive processes. Here in this process, the object gets created by putting down multiple layers of materials until object gets created. Each layer has been sliced thinly forming the cross-section of the object. In fact, 3D printing is just the opposite of what subtractive manufacturing does, which is to cut out metal pieces or plastic using a milling machine. Using this method of printing you shall be able to make complex shapes without requiring fewer materials than the traditional methods of manufacturing.

What is the material used in a 3D printer to print called?

Plastic is used in a 3D printer to print. But this plastic is different and not the one that we use commonly.  This plastic is of two types:

  • PLA or Poly Lactic Acid is the material that is most popularly used material for the purpose of 3D printing. It is a biodegradable form of plastic created from renewable sources like cornstarch. Since it has a low melting point so, it makes it much easier and user-friendly for the purposes of home-based 3D printing. 
  • ABS or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene is specifically suited for parts which require flexibility and strength, just like house appliances or car components. What makes it popular is the lower cost.

In addition to that, there are indeed many other materials that the 3D printer uses. Below you shall get to read about a list of them. 

Other materials that are used by a 3D printer


Metals are the second best option to plastic which is very beneficial for 3D printing. There is a technique which is called the DMLS Direct Metal Laser Sintering, though unlike printing plastic is used for making the prototype or the finished industrial product. The aviation industry is a huge consumer of this form. It helps them to streamline their operations and easily parts that can be installed directly. There even exists a mass market that uses DMLS printers in the creation of 3D-printed jewelry.

The popularity and growth of 3D printing metals have the potential about creating and manufacturing effective parts of the machines that are not possible for making onsite. This leads to better tensile strength, conductors, and many other similar attributes as well.


These days multiple upgraded models of 3D printers use materials in powdered form for the purposes of constructing the products. Within the 3D printer, you shall find that molten powder has been spread out in layers until it creates the required texture, thickness, and pattern. These powders are made from different materials and sources. The commonly used ones are alumide, polyamide or nylon, and many others. In the form of powders materials such as copper, steel, and others can easily be transported and given the desired shape to them.


what is the material used in a 3D printer to print called

Amongst all the different materials that are used in 3D printing, resins give very limited strength and flexibility. Being created from the liquid polymer, it gets corrupted easily being exposed to UV rays. Raisins are generally used in white, black, and various other transparent varieties as well. 

Carbon Fiber

These are used for giving the top coating of the 3D printers being used over the plastic materials. It makes the plastic stronger and much more firm. This combination of plastic and carbon fiber makes it a convenient, fast alternative to the usage of metals. In fact, the future of 3D printing is set to replace the slow process of a layup by carbon fiber with carbon fiber printing. 

Graphene and Graphite

Due to its strength and conductivity, Graphene has become a more common preference for 3D printing. Flexible parts of the 3D printer such as the touchscreens are more dependent on this feature for operation. These days to build solar panels and parts of the building, Graphene also comes into great use. It is surely a flexible 3D applicable material. The usage of Graphene for the purpose of 3D printing gets a boost due to a partnership between the Australian mining company called Kibaran Resources with the 3D group. Graphene is strong yet very light which makes it a very suitable material for being used in various products.


This happens to be a common medicinal implant material. Due to having great super-elasticity nature, it holds great value in the 3D printing industry. It has been created between a mixture of titanium and nickel. One of the greatest advantages that Nitinol brings is that it is able to bend up to an extent without being broken. It is so much flexible that even after you have made it folded into half, you can again be able to restore it back to its original shape. 

This makes it one of the strongest materials having a flexible quality. It is also been in wide use for the production of medicinal products. When Nitinol is added to the 3D printers, the printers become more work efficient and achieve things that otherwise would have been impossible. Undoubtedly it is one of the most vital materials that are very much required in 3D printers.