3D printing has come a long way quickly, new materials keeps being added to those that can be printed with here’s a quick summary of them.
One of the two most common types of filament, it has good strength, flexibility and high melting point it’s better for engineering applications
The other most common 3d filament, made from renewable cornstarch but parts become malleable at 60 degrees celcius (sun on hot day can warp material), naturally transparent with a higher strength and rigidity than abs and has a glossy finish. Thin parts are also brittle.
A much stronger and more durable option but with a higher price point, it also has problems with absorbing water but provides more rigid structures which can tolerate wear.
Flexible 3d prints are now available, the example above is from form labs. The are other printers out there creating this kind of material but it’s less developed than other sources.
And many more…
3d printing with metals is called Metal Additive Manufacturing (AM) in the industry and has been going on for years just not on the scale that we are at now.
This kind of steel is characterised by having very good corrosion resistance and mechanical properties. This type of steel is widely used in metal prototypes and a variety of medical, aerospace and other engineering applications requiring high hardness, strength and corrosion resistance
This kind of steel is characterised by having higher corrosion resistance and mechanical properties than the more common 304 alloy, and can be used over a wide temperature range down to cryogenic temperatures. This type of steel is widely used in a variety of food processing, medical, aerospace, oil and gas, and other engineering applications requiring high strength and corrosion resistance.
Maraging steel is an ultra high strength alloy. Ideal for many tooling applications such as tools for injection moulding, die casting of light metal alloys, punching, extrusion, it is also good for high performance industrial and engineering part
It offers good strength, hardness and dynamic properties and is therefore also used for parts that are subject to high loads. Aluminium is ideal for applications which require a combination of good thermal properties and low weight. Also playing around with geometry can produce very strong light weight shapes
This class of super-alloy is characterized by having excellent mechanical properties (strength, hardness etc.), corrosion and temperature resistance. Such alloys are commonly used in biomedical applications such as dental and medical implants and also for high-temperature engineering applications such as in aero engines
This material is ideal for many high temperature applications such as gas turbine parts, instrumentation parts, power and process industry parts
This is the strongest available 3d printed material, used for a number of applications it suits high strength items which have a low weight.
Shapeways is running a pilot of 3d printing in porcelain, the main reason that this is different is that ceramics requires firing to be complete increasing the cost. However they can produce interesting structures like those of Oliver Van Herpt
There are even emerging carbon fibre 3d printers, though different to the average 3d printer and average carbon fibre structures they deserve some attention.
The title image is from a 3d sugar printer made by chef jet as an experiment produced some incredible shapes and alternative sugar cubes.
This collection does not do justice to the truly immense amount of materials now adapted for 3d printing, the rise of 3d rpinitng has been astronomically quick and it is constantly pushed further by hobbyists and proffesionals alike. If you want to keep up with 3d printing news I advise 3dprint & 3dprintingindustry which are both good blogs.