When it comes to 3D printing materials, one common characteristic that people look for filament that is heat-resistant, so I decided to put together a list of some of the best ones out there.
Some of the best heat-resistant filaments are fairly pricey, but there are budget options you can go with and still get great results.
ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) is a popular thermoplastic polymer in the 3D printing industry. It is a strong, ductile material with high heat and damage resistance.
It has a printing temperature of up to 240°C, a bed temperature of 90-100°C, and a glass transition temperature of about 105°C.
The glass transition temperature is the temperature at which a polymer or a material changes from a rigid, strong material, to a soft but not fully melted material. It is generally measured by stiffness of the material.
That means you can use ABS filament for applications that reach near to the 100°C and still have a fairly intact model. You want to avoid having an ABS print at these higher temperatures if it serves some functional purpose which is load-bearing.
I’d recommend going for the HATCHBOX ABS Filament 1Kg Spool from Amazon. It has many thousand positive ratings from plenty of happy customers. They say once you have the right temperatures set, printing becomes a lot simpler.
For example, if you had some kind of bracket or mount that holds something up, but gets near to the glass transition temperature, the part is likely to fail very quickly and not hold up.
ABS is a great material for products which need to be durable, but also for applications where high heats are present. A 3D print for a vehicle is a good example where you get very hot weather.
When the sun is out, temperatures can get really hot, especially when the sun is beaming directly on the part. PLA wouldn’t last very long in those conditions because it has a glass transition around 60-65°C.
Do keep in mind, ABS is hygroscopic, so it is prone to absorbing moisture from the immediate environment. Storing your filament in a dry, cool place is the recommended measures to take.
ABS can be fairly hard to 3D print with since it goes through a phenomenon called warping, which is when the plastic rapidly cools and shrinks to the point where it causes a curved surface on the corners of your prints.
It can be controlled with the right measures, such as using an enclosure and applying a good 3D print bed adhesive to have the part stick in place.
ABS is actually susceptible to direct sunlight and UV rays, so you can also decide to go for the more protected version, called ASA. It has more protection against UV rays and is a better choice for outdoor use.
Check out some SUNLU ASA Filament from Amazon for a clog-free and bubble-free 3D printing experience.
2. Nylon (Polyamide)
Nylon is a polyamide (a group of plastics) that is a strong, impact resistant thermoplastic. With an incredible amount of strength, high chemical resistance, and durability, it is a versatile 3D printing material to work with.
What makes Nylon an interesting 3D printing filament is that it is strong yet flexible, which makes it tough and shatter-resistant. It comes with a high inter-layer adhesion.
If you’re looking to produce objects with intense layer adhesion and toughness, Nylon filament is a good purchase.
However, Nylon is also extremely susceptible to moisture, so you should take drying measures before printing and during storage as well.
This type of filament typically requires an extruder temperature of up to 250°C. It has a glass transition temperature of 52°C and a bed temperature of 70-90°C.
Nylon filament is bright white with a translucent finish. It also possesses a hygroscopic property, meaning it can absorb liquids and moisture from the air. This will allow you to add color to your printed parts with dyes.
It is important to note that absorbing moisture will affect your printing process and quality of the prints.
Nylon filament has a short lifespan and can be difficult to store. It can shrink during cooling, so you may have to compromise on the intricacy of prints. Nylon is also prone to warping, making bed adhesion of concern. One needs to care of these nitpicks while printing.
All these properties exhibited by Nylon make it a befitting choice to make strong functional parts, living hinges, medical equipment, prosthetics, etc. Nylon filament is in the price range of $18-$130/kg, and comes in a variety of sizes.
Get yourself some eSUN ePA Nylon 3D Printer Filament from Amazon. It has a really low shrinkage rate, great for producing really durable models, and you even get guaranteed customer satisfaction.
Polypropylene is a semi-crystalline thermoplastic, widely used in the industrial sector. It has high chemical and impact resistance, excellent electrical insulation, is lightweight, and resistant to fatigue.
It has a unique blend of characteristics making it an exemplary choice for different sectors ranging from industrial applications to sportswear to home appliances.
Polypropylene is commonly used to make utensils, kitchen tools, medical equipment and functional parts. It’s a filament which is dishwasher-safe, microwave-safe due to the high heat resistance, and works well for food contact.
Polypropylene requires an extruder temperature of 230-260°C, a bed temperature of 80-100°C, and has a glass transition temperature of about 260°C.
Durability and resistance makes Polypropylene a good fit for 3D printing, although it can be tricky at times. The semi-crystalline structure of this material causes the prints to warp upon cooling.
It can be taken care of by using a heated enclosure, but it’s still a difficult 3D printing filament to get the hang of.
There is also the issue of poor bed adhesion, which needs to be taken into account while printing.
Although it has some good resistance, overall its a fairly low strength filament that works best for prints that give fatigue over time such as hinges, leashes, or straps.
One thing many people love about this filament when they dial in their settings is the smooth surface finish they can get.
It is available in the price range of $60-$120/kg.
Get a spool of FormFutura Centaur Polypropylene Filament from Amazon.
Polycarbonate is a popular thermoplastic widely known for its strength and durability. It has high heat and impact resistance, optical clarity, is lightweight and strong, and makes a great choice for a wide variety of applications.
Polycarbonate requires an extruder temperature of 260-310°C, a glass transition temperature of 150°C, and a bed temperature of 80-120°C.
Polycarbonate has a hygroscopic property, meaning it absorbs moisture from the air. This will have an adverse impact on the printing process, quality of the prints and strength. It is very important to store the material in air-tight, moisture-free containers.
Owing to its high heat resistance, 3D printing with this filament requires high temperatures. Therefore, it is optimal to use a machine that has a closed chamber and can operate efficiently with high bed and extruder temperatures.
To ensure proper layer adhesion, cooling fans should be turned off.
It should be kept in mind that Polycarbonate filament is prone to warping and oozing while printing. To help prevent this, you should try increasing the retraction distance and speed.
Customizing first layer settings is also likely to aid in the prevention of warping.
Common applications of Polycarbonate include high-strength parts, heat-resistant prints, and electronics cases. It comes in a price range of $40-$75/kg.
A great Polycarbonate filament you can get is the Polymaker PC-Max from Amazon which is harder and stronger than regular Polycarbonate.
PEEK stands for Polyether Ether Ketone, a semi-crystalline thermoplastic with exceptional properties. It is regarded as one of the highest performing polymers in the 3D printing market at this time.
With outstanding mechanical, thermal, and chemical properties, PEEK is an optimal choice of material for projects.
For you to print with PEEK filament, you require a 3D printer that can heat up to 360 to 400°C. It has a glass transition temperature of 143°C and bed temperature of 120-145°C.
Owing to its high-temperature resistance, excellent mechanical strength and chemical resistance, PEEK is rigid, strong, and durable. Working with this material is complicated, often requiring experience, knowledge, and the appropriate system.
PEEK is an ideal choice to produce engineering parts such as pumps, bearings, compressor valves, etc. It is also used widely in the medical and healthcare sector, and in the automotive and aerospace industry.
There are many specialized 3D printers that are designed to handle PEEK, and they usually have an enclosed heated chamber in a fairly expensive price range.
It belongs to the category high-performance filaments, exhibiting extraordinary tensile strength, heat and water resistance, and biocompatibility. However, this also means it is premium and high-end, ranging from $400-$700/kg.
Get yourself a spool of the finest Carbon Fiber PEEK Filament from Amazon.