While many people think that 3D printers can only print objects using plastic materials, this is actually far from the case. There are a range of materials that you can use with 3D printers and the range is getting bigger all the time. Here we will look at the different materials that can be used in 3D printing and look at their key characteristics.


Plastics are the most common materials used by 3D printers. This is mainly because they do not cost a lot of money and are very easy to work with. The majority of plastic materials used by printers are also very environmentally friendly, which is something many printer developers strive for in their designs. They are also very safe and are able to create very strong objects as well. If you are starting out in 3D printing, then using plastic materials is certainly a good idea as an effective introduction.


Powders are materials that are generally used in 3D printers that are considered to be high end. Chances are that you will only come across 3D printers that use powders if you purchase an expensive domestic model or an industrial model. Powders are used because they can be quite flexible and also can bring out a very distinctive look in finished objects and products. They can also make very strong objects as well that are able to handle strong impacts. If you are looking to make something that is a little more eye catching and has a little more detail, powders are definitely the materials you should be using.


While resins are used as a material in 3D printing, it is not used very often. This is mainly because it has quite a solid structure and has limited flexibility. For this reason, it can be difficult to create objects with resin that have a lot of layers. That’s why the vast majority of objects made with resin tend to small and have little detail. There is however the option of using a paintable resin which looks impressive when it has been painted. This resin can be very helpful then if you do not want to spend lots of money on using powder materials and would rather paint the finished object yourself. Some resins are also water resistant and have a very smooth finish, which naturally can lead to some rather attractive designs and finished objects.

Metals And Ceramics

Metals and ceramics are also now being used in 3D printing. Titanium is often used because it is light but very strong at the same time. Stainless steel is often used for large objects because it is very strong but also available at a cheap price. Ceramics are also used whenever people want to create objects that are designed to be food safe. Ceramics also have a nice shiny appearance and is heat resistant as well.