The 7 Best 3D Printers for Flexible Filaments – TPU/TPE

There are tons of amazing materials you can print with and enjoy when 3D printing. One of those materials that are well-loved is flexible filaments known as TPU and TPE.

There is a certain level of ability your 3D printer needs, however, to be able to print with these flexible materials. Rather than purchasing any 3D printer, you’re better off choosing a specific 3D printer which prints flexible material straight away, without any upgrades and tinkering.

This article will list 7 of the best 3D printers out there for printing with TPU/TPE so stay tuned for some great options. But first, let’s take a look at how you can choose the best 3D printer for the type of filaments in question.

The Best 7 3D Printers for Flexible Filament

1. Qidi Tech X-Pro

QIDI Technology is widely known for its production of premium range 3D printers, and the X-Pro (Amazon) kicking off this list, is no exception to their far-flung excellence.

This machine has a price tag of somewhere around $499 if bought from Amazon and quite honestly has measured to be very affordable for the number of features it has.

First off, there’s a unique Dual Extrusion system that has been mounted on the X-Pro.

This means that instead of one nozzle, you get two at your disposal, both of which are highly suited for the likes for flexible materials like TPU and Soft PLA.

The X-Pro works with the standard 1.75mm filament which is fed to the printhead using the Direct Drive extrusion system – another favourable quality trait for flexible thermoplastics.

Features of the Qidi Tech X-Pro

  • Dual Extrusion System
  • 4.3-inch Touchscreen
  • QIDI Tech One-to-One Service
  • Aluminum Build Platform
  • Power Recovery
  • QIDI Slicing Software
  • Magnetic Build Plate

Specifications of the Qidi Tech X-Pro

  • Build Volume: 230 x 150 x 150mm
  • Layer Resolution: 0.1-0.4mm
  • Extruder Type: Dual
  • Nozzle Diameter: 0.4mm
  • Maximum Extruder Temperature: 250°C
  • Maximum Print Bed Temperature: 120°C
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Print Chamber: Enclosed
  • Bed Levelling: Semi-automatic
  • Display: LCD Touchscreen
  • Built-in Camera: No
  • Print Recovery: Yes
  • Filament Sensor: No
  • Filament Diameter: 1.75mm
  • Materials: PLA, ABS, PETG
  • Third-party Filament: Yes

To help cool the print down, this 3D printer has an Airblow Turbofan which covers all four sides of your printed model.

Although it does require a bit of manual setup, this handy addition pays off well to enhance print quality.

Moreover, the X-Pro arrives at your doorstep with a modernly designed, fully enclosed print chamber. This allows the printer to better maintain the temperature settings while keeping itself free from dust.

An enclosure also helps drastically when printing materials like TPU could really use constant temperature maintenance inside the chamber.

Besides, there’s a swing-open acrylic door where inside resides the heated and magnetic build plate.

The magnetism of the build plate is a catchy feature. It’s capable enough to grasp the prints well and doesn’t turn out to be a hassle when it’s time to remove them.

In fact, all you have to is bend the removable plate a bit outward from both sides, and off comes your print popping.

Specs-wise, the X-Pro’s extruder temperature can go easily up to 250°C which is more than enough to accommodate flexible materials.  The heated bed can also heat up to 120°C so TPU adheres even better.

Besides all that, when it comes to the print quality, this beast from Qidi Tech is all about dimensional accuracy.

It might, however, lack some detailing here and there, but it’s still very consistent and printing slow can yield even better results.

Get yourself the Qidi Tech X-Pro from Amazon today.

2. Ender 3 V2

Creality’s Ender 3 V2 is an inexpensive way of introducing yourself to 3D printing and getting close to the very best out of it.

It replaces its predecessor Ender 3 in many ways, both trivial and significant, and measures up to its worth for sub $250.

Some of its prominent features include an appealing new design, a tempered glass print bed, noiseless printing and a spacious build volume of 220 x 220 x 250mm.

Features of the Ender 3 V2

  • Carborundum Coated Glass Print Bed
  • Quiet Printing
  • Coloured LCD Screen
  • Belt Tensioners
  • Mean Well Power Supply
  • Power Recovery
  • Built-in Toolbox
  • Bowden-style Extrusion

Specifications of the Ender 3 V2

  • Extrusion System: Bowden-style
  • Extruder Type: Single
  • Nozzle Diameter: 0.4mm
  • Build Volume: 220 x 220 x 250mm
  • Maximum Extruder temperature: 255 °C
  • Maximum Bed temperature: 100 °C
  • Maximum Print Speed: 180mm/s
  • Enclosure: No
  • Bed Levelling: Manual
  • Print Bed: Heated
  • Connectivity: SD card, USB
  • Built-in Camera: No
  • Power Recovery: Yes
  • Filament Diameter: 1.75mm
  • Third-party Filaments: Yes
  • Compatible Materials: PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU

The Ender 3 V2 uses a Bowden-style extrusion system which might be questionable when it comes to printing flexible filaments with it.

Usually, a Direct Drive extruder is much more preferred when you have to print materials like TPU or TPE. Bowden tubes are notorious for their incapacity to print with flexible thermoplastics.

However, things could really work out for you and your V2 if you’re using a more manageable type of flexible filament, which some people have had great results with.

One of these is the Semiflex TPU filament, wherewith a slower printing speed and good retraction settings can definitely produce a quality print.

Ninjaflex, on the other hand, would be a little too flexible for an Ender 3 V2 to handle, so I would steer clear from that if you have the stock, single hot end that the printer ships with and the Bowden setup.

It’s all about the hardness ratings of the filament.

A hardness of 95A will do you justice and it’s still pretty flexible, even with 20% infill but only in the direction of the infill itself.

Moving on, there’s also an automatic resume function that allows the printer to pick right where it left from in case of an accidental shutdown or a power outage.

Apart from that, the Ender 3 V2 comes ready for action right out the box and requires a mediocre amount of assembly.

It’s a Cartesian-style printer that has the extruder temperature reaching well above 240°C – a fair extent for printing flexible materials.

To talk about the print quality, the V2 delivers beyond expectations, making its sub $300 price tag hard to believe.

Buy the Ender 3 V2 from Amazon today.

3. Anycubic Mega-S

The Anycubic Mega-S is a highly refined upgrade over the original, immensely popular i3 Mega. With both the printers, the Chinese company has surprised everyone with the price point and amazing value for money.

The fundamental reason why the Mega-S deserved to be on this list is because of its Titan extruder.

Unlike the Ender 3 V2, this essential component has received a quality overhaul, making it fit for flexible filaments like TPU, not to mention the added potential with ABS and PLA.

This perhaps is the most important functional improvement over its original counterpart. Therefore, the Mega-S is truly capable to handle flexible printing materials, despite the fact that it has a Bowden drive setup.

Features of the Anycubic Mega-S

  • Easy Assembly
  • Sturdy Aluminum Frame
  • Heated Print Bed
  • Fully Colored Touchscreen
  • Power Recovery
  • Titan Extruder
  • Filament Spool Holder
  • Filament Run-out Sensor
  • Anycubic Ultrabase Build Platform

Specifications of the Anycubic Mega-S

  • Build Volume: 210 x 210 x 205mm
  • Print Technology: FDM
  • Layer Height: 100 – 400 microns
  • Extrusion System: Bowden-style Extrusion
  • Extruder Type: Single
  • Nozzle Size: 0.4mm
  • Maximum Extruder Temperature: 275 °C
  • Maximum Heated Bed temperature: 100 °C
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Connectivity: SD Card, Data Cable
  • Compatible Materials: PLA, ABS, HIPS, PETG, Wood
  • Bed Levelling: Manual

The Mega-S is adorned with the latest features like automatic power recovery and a filament run-out sensor that alarms you before your material finishes up and leaves you helpless during a crucial print.

Anycubic has another well-renowned feature that sets it a class apart as compared to 3D printers from other manufacturers. Also prominent in the Mega-S, the Anycubic Ultrabase is what we’re talking about here.

This highly refined, durable build platform has a textured surface that’s able to help thermoplastic filaments with bed adhesion, thus improving the print quality and catering to better user experience.

It’s really something that the Mega-S can brag about.

Furthermore, this 3D printer is a no brainer to fully assemble. Taking about 10-15 minutes at best, setting this machine up is no worry for newbies and professionals alike due to a clear-cut instructions guide.

Apart from the assembly, the Mega-S is a treat to have in terms of print resolution. While a lot of 3D printers stand strong between 100 microns of layer resolution, this bad boy kicks it up a notch and works perfectly down to 50 microns. Talk about detail.

I wrote a complete review of the Anycubic Mega-S by going much more in-depth. Be sure to check that out if you want more information on this high-performance 3D printer.

Buy the Anycubic Mega-S directly from Amazon today.

4. Flashforge Creator Pro

The Creator Pro (Amazon) has been developed by the Chinese 3D printer manufacturer giant known as Flashforge. The company has a knack for producing affordable machines with a bulk of hefty features.

While the Creator Pro is nothing to be taken lightly, let’s briefly review how it takes a robust stance among fellow 3D printers.

First and foremost, the Creator Pro is built with a Dual Extrusion system, just like the QIDI Tech X-Pro. On top of that, it also has a fully enclosed print chamber that allows it to print an extensive array of filaments, let alone flexible ones like TPU and TPE.

Unlike the Ender 3 V2, it uses a Direct Drive system that combines ideally with the dual extruder. It’s customary for the Creator Pro to handle flexible filaments like a breeze, as it also has its very own adjustable cooling fan that helps streamline the process even more.

In addition, a heated build plate makes a well-grounded impression for the Creator Pro while adding more to the prospect of using TPU with this 3D printer. You also have to implement a little bit of effort to assemble it up as the printer comes almost ready for action out the box.

Features of the Flashforge Creator Pro

  • Dual Extrusion System
  • Noiseless Printing
  • Enclosed Print Chamber
  • Rigid Metal Frame
  • Aluminum Build Platform
  • Beginner Friendly
  • Heated Build Plate
  • Direct Drive Extrusion System

Specifications of the Flashforge Creator Pro

  • Build Volume: 225 x 145 x 150mm
  • Materials: ABS, PLA, and Exotic Filaments
  • Printing Speed: 100mm/s
  • Resolution: 100 microns
  • Maximum Extruder Temperature:  260ºC
  • Print Technology: FDM
  • Open-Source: Yes
  • Filament Diameter: 1.75mm
  • Nozzle Diameter: 0.40mm
  • Extruder: Dual
  • Connectivity: USB, SD card

By consistent evaluation, the Creator Pro’s print performance has turned out to be quite decent for a printer at its price range. As a matter of fact, you’ll become quite fond of the intricate details this Flashforge workhorse produces.

To talk about the build platform, it’s heated and also consolidated with a 6.3mm thick aluminium alloy. Moreover, its sturdiness allows for an increased thermal conductivity which prevents filament deformation.

While the print bed doesn’t calibrate automatically, there is, indeed, a three-point bed levelling system which makes it comparatively easier to adjust the bed.

Unlike many of the printers listed on here, the Creator Pro is fully open-source, allowing you to experiment with different slicing software and see what suits best.

Also in comparison with the 3D printers above, the Creator Pro reaches the highest extruder temperature of 260°C and that figure bodes very well for flexible filaments like Soft PLA. Like what this printer is packing?

Buy the Flashforge Creator Pro it directly from Amazon today.

5. MakerGear M2

Enter and embrace the royalty of the MakerGear M2 – a high-end, deluxe 3D printer that settles only for professionals and hobbyists. Beware, you’ll have a very hard time with this beast if you’ve just started out with 3D printing.

Priced at around $1,999, you can expect that the quality of the M2 is going to be nothing short of excellence. It looks like a divine shard of full-metal heaven sitting on your workstation, boasting a sophisticated yet dazzling design with a powder-coated steel frame.

It has its build mostly comprising of steel, but you’ll also observe plastic parts around the extruder. Speaking of the extrusion, the M2 consists of only a single extruder but that’s more than enough to deal with a wide variety of filaments.

From Nylon and ABS to TPU and flexible PLA, multifaceted filament compatibility is not a problem for this 3D printer.

Additionally, it has the maximum extruder temperature going up to a whopping 300°C and as you can comprehend, that’s the highest of all the printers here on this list.

Features of the MakerGear M2

  • Fully Open-source
  • Spacious Build Volume
  • Easy Bed Levelling
  • Exceptional Build Quality
  • Truly Reliable
  • Robust Design
  • Very Versatile

Specifications of the MakerGear M2

  • Build Volume: 200 x 250 x 200mm
  • Nozzle Diameter: 0.35mm (rest are available on the market as well)
  • Maximum Print Speed: 200mm/sec
  • Maximum Extruder Temperature: 300°C
  • Filament Compatibility: ABS, PLA, PETG, TPU
  • Built Plate: Heated
  • Open-Source: Yes
  • Extruder Type: Single
  • Minimum Layer Height: 25 microns
  • Connectivity: USB, SD Card
  • Print Area: Open

This 3D printer doesn’t come with an enclosure and there is a decent amount of learning to pursue if you’re very new to 3D printing.

Furthermore, the M2 might not have the easiest usable interface at all. This aspect of this printer does require a considerable amount of effort.

Nonetheless, it does feature a Quick Start software that makes for an easier time levelling the bed.

If you still don’t get something right, MakerGear has amazing customer support that reaches back shortly, and apart from that, a lot of tutorials teach the essentials of MakerGear 3D printers comprehensively.

With a reliable and precise 3D printer like the MakerGear M2, you simply cannot hope to go wrong when printing flexible filaments.

Get yourself the MakerGear M2 from Amazon today.

6. Dremel DigiLab 3D45

The Dremel DigiLab 3D45 (Amazon) 3D printer is another contestant in the first-rate range. It’s priced around $1,900 but it’s safe to say that those figures only do justice to this machine’s remarkable ability and style.

This 3D printer due to its diligent reliability and handiness makes itself very suitable for classrooms and professional usage as well. There’s a reason why it’s regarded so highly in those areas and I’m going to tell you why.

First off, The DigiLab 3D45 works great with demanding filaments such as ABS and Nylon, not to mention the brilliant quality when using thermoplastics like PETG and EcoABS, which is an eco-friendly alternative of ordinary ABS.

Features of the Dremel DigiLab 3D45

  • Built-in HD Camera
  • Heated Build Plate
  • 5-inch Coloured Touchscreen
  • Direct Drive Extrusion System
  • All-metal Hot End
  • Fully Enclosed Build Chamber
  • Easy Assembly

Specifications of the Dremel DigiLab 3D45

  • Print Technology: FDM
  • Extruder Type: Single
  • Build Volume: 255 x 155 x 170mm
  • Layer Resolution: 0.05 – 0.3mm
  • Compatible Materials: PLA, Nylon, ABS, TPU
  • Filament Diameter: 1.75mm
  • Nozzle Diameter: 0.4mm
  • Bed Levelling: Semi-Automatic
  • Max. Extruder Temperature: 280°C
  • Max. Print Bed Temperature: 100°C
  • Connectivity: USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi
  • Weight: 21.5 kg (47.5 lbs)
  • Internal Storage: 8GB

Focusing on its extrusion sstem, the 3D45 uses a Direct Drive setup. This feature allows the 3D printer to handle flexible filaments extremely well, no matter the brand you’re using.

However, many veteran users of the 3D45 advise starting with Soft PLA. This is because it has a little bit hardness value than TPU, making it easier to print.

In addition, you have to watch out for some important settings like speed, extruder temperature, and retractions.

Beginning your print slow and maintaining a constant speed somewhere between 15-30mm/s (even though the 3D45 goes up to a massive 150mm/s) will get you going in the right direction with flexible filaments.

Apart from that, your retractions have to be short and unrushed.

Next, filaments like TPU should be printed with an extruder temperature that lies between 220-230°C and with the DigiLab 3D45 going up to 280°C, this shouldn’t be a problem for you or this 3D printer.

Besides, the 3D45 doesn’t fail to impress feature-wise either. It’s well-equipped with a heated and removable build platform that measures up to 10 x 6.0 x 6.7 inches – a quite decent build volume.  Another noteworthy function is the ease associated with levelling the bed.

The 3D45 uses a two-point bed levelling system that’s as simple as this process could possibly be. This printer even shows you how much the turning knobs should be optimized to level the bed perfectly, all on the 4.5 inch IPS coloured screen.

Lastly, the 3D45 is a concise printer that can form prints of 50 microns of resolution. This makes it highly precise and keen for detail. Moreover, this 3D printer also has an enclosure which helps maintain the internal temperature right when it matters the most.

Buy the Dremel DigiLab 3D45 directly from Amazon today.

7. TEVO Tornado

Concluding our list of the best 7 3D printers for printing flexible filaments is the critically acclaimed TEVO Tornado.

This 3D printer is famous for the number of possibilities it presents you to extend, customize, and modify its parameters and tinker around to achieve the best results.

In truth, the TEVO Tornado has drawn motivation and is actually based off of Creality’s CR-10 model, which is already quite popular in the printing community.

However, the addition of an E3D Titan extruder made by TEVO themselves just like the Anycubic Mega-S, and an AC-powered heated bed are two features that set it apart from its competition.

With this enhanced extruder, the TEVO Tornado faces no difficulty in printing flexible filaments and numerous Amazon reviews can vouch for this statement as well.

Features of the TEVO Tornado

  • Heated Build Plate
  • Bowden-Style Titan Extruder
  • LCD Control Panel
  • Sizable Build Platform
  • Effortless Assembly
  • AC Heated Bed
  • Tight Filament Pathway
  • Stylish Colored Design

Specifications of the TEVO Tornado

  • Frame material: Aluminum
  • Nozzle Diameter: 0.4mm
  • Build Volume: 300 x 300 x 400mm
  • Connectivity: SD card, USB
  • LCD Screen: Yes
  • Maximum Print Speed: 150mm/s
  • Compatible Materials: ABS, Carbon Fiber, TPU, PETG, PLA
  • Filament Diameter: 1.75mm
  • Minimum Layer Thickness: 50 microns
  • Maximum Extruder Temperature: 260°C
  • Maximum Bed Temperature: 110°C

It also hosts a larger than normal build platform that’s about 300 x 300 x 400mm in dimension.

Moreover, Tornado has an all-metal hot end to brag about too. Combine that with the Titan extruder’s constricted filament pathway feed, filaments like TPU and TPE are exceptionally easy to deal with for this 3D printer.

This could be the reason why TEVO Tornado is well-liked among the community.

The AC-powered heated bed is ready for use in less than a minute, which is just a welcome addition to Tornado’s quality of life upgrades. Moreover, you get a maximum print speed of 150mm/s with a very detailed 50-micron layer resolution.

All that for a bit under $350? Seems too good to be true.

Another loveable quality about the TEVO Tornado is its assembly. According to the manufacturers, it arrives “95%” assembled, meaning that you just have to implement a bit of effort here and there and get to printing in under 15 minutes or so.

To speak of the design, it’s obvious how the TEVO Tornado borrows the idea from the famous Creality model, but the South African company has given its own touch of glaring colour apparently.

The Tornado’s frame is as sturdy as they come and feels solidly built too, so the 3D printer gets a good score in this aspect.

You can also get the TEVO Tornado at a really competitive price from Banggood.

How to Pick the Best 3D Printer for Flexible Materials

Flexible thermoplastics can be difficult to print considering their hygroscopic nature and particular sensitivity to rapid movements. This is why the 3D printer you’re going to choose must be well-equipped to handle flexible filaments.

The best 3D printer for flexible materials should comprise the following attributes:

  • A print bed that comfortably reaches 45-60°C. Could be a desirable addition if it’s a heated print bed as well.
  • A modern extruder system that can handle high temperatures around 225-245°C.
  • A Direct Drive extruder is more recommended but a Bowden setup can still get it done!
  • A PEI coated print surface for good bed adhesion – although a standard plate with glue stick works wonders

Types of Flexible Materials

Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPEs) are a group of 3D printable materials that are further divided into a few different types.

TPU: Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) is probably the most popular of all flexible printing materials out there that’s highly admired for its exclusive hardness, allowing it to be printed with ease as compared to other filaments of the like. TPU also boasts fairly strong prints with decent durability.

A good example of popular TPU filament is the 1KG Spool of PRILINE TPU that you can get straight from Amazon (rated 4.5/5.0 at time of writing). You might think that this flexible material is much more expensive than standard filament like PLA, but you’d be surprised by the prices!

PRILINE TPU is a top-grade option from a noteworth brand if you have to print with a flexible filament. It can print easily with a nozzle temperature of 190-210°C, which is what most 3D printers can comfortably handle.

The dimensional accuracy of this spool comes in at ±0.03mm, and is backed with a standard 30-day refund guarantee, so you’re sure to be happy.

TPA: Thermoplastic Polyamide (TPA) is a blend of nylon and a co-polymer of TPE. This dual-natured flexible filament exhibits super smooth prints with shining texture. This combination allows it to feature immense durability from nylon and awesome flexibility from TPE.

TPC: Thermoplastic Copolyester (TPC) isn’t very noticeable around 3D printing enthusiasts and hobbyists, being more suited as an engineering-grade flexible filament. To talk in terms of its physical properties, TPC does, however, feature high-temperature resistance and utterly strong print jobs.

There’s also one more type of flexible material and it’s widely known as Soft PLA. This refers to the blends of PLA in order to make it flexible yet durable and strong.

As a bonus point, you can print Soft PLA similarly as you would with regular PLA. However, you might have to print slowly and opt for a higher bed temperature to rock this flexible filament.

The Soft PLA from Matter Hackers does get relatively pricey!

Flexible Filament Hardness Measures

Flexible filaments, generally, are measured using a Shore Hardness scale. This sets them apart in terms of how much flexibility or hardness they can offer.

Relatively softer materials fall in the Shore A scale for 3D printing. Therefore, most of these thermoplastics have a range between 60-90 Shore A hardness.

The higher the value on this scale, the harder the material, while a lesser value will amount to more flexibility.

Lets take a TPU-70A flexible filament.

As the name depicts, this filament would have a Shore A hardness of 70, which means that it is almost in the middle of flexible and rigid, but a little more on the flexible side.

Perfect for the average 3D printer.

The less rigid and more flexible a filament, the harder it is going to be to print with because there is more work and precision needed in controlling that flexible filament.

Rigid filament like standard PLA prints pretty easily, so the further away from that, the harder it will be to print.

How to Print Flexible Filament Effectively

There’s no doubt about the trickiness of printing thermoplastics like TPU and other flexible filaments, but there are approachable workarounds and a little bit attention paying to get this ordeal sorted for you. I’m going to list a bunch of things you can start with today to print flexible filament effectively.

Take it Slow

Even when a flexible filament is not concerned, if one hopes to get the best possible results with a lot of detail, printing slowly can’t be overlooked.

This is why a slow speed is recommended for every thermoplastic filament, and not just flexible materials. But for TPU and TPE, there’s no other way if you want to be successful when printing with them.

Slow print speeds prevent pressure from building up largely inside the extruder nozzle and helps negate a plethora of potential problems. When printing TPU, your optimum speed should be no more than 30-40mm/s.

Some people even go as low as 10-20mm/s.

Prefer a Direct Drive Setup

Though it’s not really impossible to print flexible filament with a Bowden-style extruder, it’s definitely more challenging.

Direct Drive setups reduce the distance that a filament has to travel from the extruder to the hot-end. This allows for unmatched convenience when printing with TPU and other flexible thermoplastics. Moreover, the pathway that usually follows is also constricted and narrow, providing for a clear passageway.

On the other hand, we have Bowden-style extruders that simply cannot work well with a flexible filament. This is because these types of filaments tend to bind inside the Bowden PTFE tubing, making the whole process much more difficult and tiresome.

However, there exists an upgrade you can get if possible on your Bowden-style 3D printer. It’s known as Capricorn PTFE tubing.

This upgrade can increase the ability of Bowden setups to print flexible filaments because it just has better control on the filament as it passes through the tubing, preventing it from buckling up.

Additionally, it also has higher tolerance levels over regular PTFE tubes so your Bowden extruder 3D printer is much better off with a premium Capricorn tubing system.

Calibrate Temperature and Retraction

Temperature and retraction both are equally essential when it comes to achieving the desired outcome with flexible filaments. Temperature makes for the smooth sailing of the print operation while retraction helps keep the pressure down to a minimal level.

However, we’re basically oversaturated with different brands of flexible thermoplastics, with each having their own particular properties. The appropriate temperature and retraction settings are mandatory, but we recommend reviewing the guide of your filament to see how your 3D printer can be optimized for it ideally.

Normally, you’re recommended to keep low retraction settings with slight temperature adjustments. Some people have even reported success with 0 retractions, so that’s definitely an area to experiment with as well.

Use Painter’s Tape or Glue Stick

Is material not adhering properly to your non-heated print bed? Try using Blue Painter’s Tape or a standard glue stick and watch how things change for you.

It turns out that TPU and similar filaments can adhere quite wonderfully to these adhesive substances.

In addition, if you have a heated bed, a temperature between 40-50°C should give you the best results. Many people have seen good success with some standard glue on their build plate.

Difficulties in 3D Printing Flexible Materials

Flexible thermoplastic filaments have driven 3D printing into even more far-reaching applications. They’re able to produce strong, ductile prints with terrific resistance to mechanical wear and tear. However, all that comes at a cost, and let’s take a brief look at how.

Problems During the Filament Feed

This is an issue that becomes quite apparent in mainstream Bowden setups that use PTFE tubing. Flexible filament due to its soft physical composition becomes quite a bother to push along the extruder nozzle. Oftentimes, it jams, clogs and gets stuck somewhere in between, causing the print process to fail.

The only way to proceed is by unclogging and cleaning your nozzle out. Of course, this is not a problem with common filaments like ABS and PLA just because of their hardness, but it is indeed something to attend to with TPU and TPE.

Formation of Bends Due to Pressure

Flexible filament tends to buckle up sometimes, all due to the pressure build-up in the nozzle. This mostly occurs when there’s an absence of a narrow pathway to feed through to the hot end or when you’re printing too fast for your 3D printer to handle the flexible thermoplastic.

This again causes jams in the nozzle where you have to begin everything from scratch.

Follow the video below by CH3P for a great method to fix this with a standard Bowden extruder.


Stringing is one of the most notorious problems with printing flexible filaments. Even if you’ve got all the settings correctly calibrated, you can always expect stringing to come reaping in around the corner. Even the slightest of errors in temperature, speed, and retraction settings could lead to stringing easily.

This also comes by as a result of the pressure build-up. Stringing will usually create a mess when the extra filament is thrust out the extruder unnecessarily.

Print Bed Adhesion Difficulties

Temperature plays a key role in maintaining the success rate of printing flexible filaments throughout. Flexible filament is known for its difficulties in adhering to the print surface, primarily when the bed isn’t heated or even when the surface isn’t properly levelled.

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