What material do I use for my printer?

The number of additive manufacturing technologies in 3D printing is constantly increasing. More and more materials are becoming available. 3D chocolate printers, for example, are now successfully on the market. The intended use is crucial for the right 3D printer material. All variants have their specific advantages and disadvantages. The second factor to consider is hardware: not every printer can handle every 3D printer material.


FDM (fused deposition modeling) is one of the best-known 3D printing processes and is becoming increasingly popular in the hobby sector.

Plastic filaments such as PLA, PETG, ABS and many other compositions, with various properties such as:b Weather resistance, UV resistance, chemical resistance, etc., have one thing in common:

They can be molded into one part using a 3D printer with the right temperature settings. Expressed in a simple way.

To be precise, the plastic is melted and applied layer by layer to the travel plane. The finer the height of the layers, the less you can see the individual layers with the naked eye. But this increases the printing time enormously. Of course, other factors also play a role in time, such as the filling (infill) or the wall thickness.

The filament should preferably be dried or stored in a box with silicate, as plastics generally have a tendency to absorb humidity, which could be noticeable in the printed image. That’s why heated dry boxes are also recommended.

For 3D printers with a Bowden extruder, it is recommended to feed the filament from the side, whereas for a direct extruder, feeding from the top is an advantage.

Elastic filaments such as TPU can only be printed to a limited extent with a Bowden extruder because the path between the conveyor wheels and the hotend is so far apart that the flexible filament no longer has enough force to be pushed through the nozzle and instead could already twist in the PTFE tube.


SLA (stereolithography) is the oldest printing process and has hardly changed due to the technology used.

Resin (usually with a wavelength of 405nm) is filled into a container. After printing starts, a platform moves into the container from above and stops at the first layer height. At that moment, the first positions of the object are photographed from below using UV light and harden on the platform. The pressure gradually builds up and finally the finished object is upside down on the platform and can be removed with a spatula.

The finished object must now be washed out with a Wash & Cure with IPA and then cured with UV light.

With this printing process, extremely detailed sculptures as well as functional parts can be produced.

The resin used is available in many different colors. Transparent or flexible resin can also be easily printed with good settings.


SLS (selective laser sintering) is the premier class in additive manufacturing.

Simply explained:

Metal powder is mechanically applied layer by layer with a squeegee and the object is built up with a laser after each squeegee stroke.

At the end you have a large construction space filled with powder, from which you have to remove the finished objects using special suction systems and brushes.

The ingenious thing is that the powder also serves as a support element for the objects and can be reused. Very complex geometries can be manufactured using this process and high series quality can be achieved.

At the moment, the purchase costs for such devices and their necessary accessories are very high and are therefore more suitable for industrial/commercial purposes.


It was only a matter of time before this process was also reflected in 3D printing. SLA, DLP, FDM, Binder Jetting and even SLS processes have now been adapted to the ceramic material clay. According to a study, ceramic printing is expected to reach maturity in 2025 and from then on become established as a manufacturing technology for a wide range of industries.