10 Great 3D Printing Materials

By Shaun Bryant

It is often really tough to decide on what materials to use when 3D printing. A lot of this information, including a number of figures, actually comes from the Tinkercad blog page. It is a useful guide when you consider 3D printing your Tinkercad designs. You should consider numerous factors, including the

  • Type of material
  • Minimum thickness of the printed material
  • Texture of the printed material
  • Cost of the material (probably the most important)

The cost also depends on whether the 3D print will be a prototype for a design, a gift, or even a product to sell. You need to consider all of the preceding factors, regardless of whether you are a business expecting to create multiple 3D prints as products, or a hobbyist just 3D printing because you can.

Choosing a material all comes down to the bottom line, and that is cost. In manufacturing, the cost of raw materials has always been the make-or-break factor as to whether a particular product could be designed, manufactured, and then sold to cover those material costs and overhead. As you progress into 3D printing, you will see this factor’s impact.

Create a simple spreadsheet that lists materials, volumes of those materials, costs of the materials purchased, and the amount of material used per 3D design. You can then calculate how much each 3D print costs. Then factor in your time to design the 3D printed object, and 3D print the object and then add a nominal hourly rate for your time. Sure, you may be a hobbyist, but this experience will stand you in good stead if you ever decide to start selling your 3D prints. You never know. The Internet is an amazing place where starting small often ends up big, so never stop designing!

Here are the ten great materials that the guys at Tinkercad recommend.

  • Nylon (polyamide)
  • ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)
  • Resin
  • Paintable resin
  • Stainless steel
  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Titanium
  • Ceramic
  • Gypsum