3D Printing Filament Overview

/3D Printing Filament Overview
3D Printing Filament Overview2018-08-22T19:31:30+00:00

Filament Overview


All of the Altair 3D printers have an open filament system. This means you can use the filament of your choice. However, we do recommend the following brands of filament for optimized printing:




PLA (Polylactic Acid) is one of the most commonly used materials in 3D printing. It is typically the “favorite” for beginners to start with. It is a biodegradable thermoplastic made from plant resources such as cornstarch. It is odor free, does not cause warping, and it does not require a heated build platform. PLA is fairly strong and hard, but can be brittle. PLA becomes soft at 70c – 80c and will degrade in an exposed natural environment. PLA is great for small parts, toys, prototypes, and uses that don’t involve heat. PLA is available in a variety of colors.

ABS is the other commonly used 3D printing material. ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is an oil-based thermoplastic. It is amorphous so it has no true melting point, but becomes softer as temperature increases. ABS is stronger than PLA and less brittle. ABS is heat-resistant so it is useful for making durable parts that need to withstand higher temperatures. It is widely used for products ranging from car bumpers to musical instruments, golfclubs and Lego. ABS is not food safe and needs to be printed in well ventilated areas. ABS is available in avariety of colors.



Carbon Fiber Reinforced PLA
Carbon Fiber Reinforced PLA is a stiff material and makes parts that are very solid. It is great for printing high-strength mechanical parts. Increased rigidity from the carbon fiber means increased structural support but decreased flexibility, making it ideal material for frames, supports, propellers, tools… anything not expected (or desired) to bend. It is particularly loved by drone builders and RC hobbyists. Carbon Fiber Reinforced PLA has excellent layer adhesion and low warpage. When printed, this material is a dark glossy black that glitters slightly in direct light.

PolyPlus PLA
PolyPlus PLA filament is engineered for quality superior to other PLA filaments. The probability of jamming your extruder is significantly lower with the PolyPlus series. PolyPlus is FDA approved, has excellent heat resistance, and tight and consistent tolerances. It comes in a variety of colors and translucent.

PolyMax PLA
PolyMax PLA is the perfect replacement for ABS. PolyMax PLA is a “Tough” PLA that has high strength. Print at low temperatures like PLA, but get the strength of ABS. PolyMax PLA has minimal degradation and warping, and will not create any hazardous fumes. Works well for mechanically demanding applications.

PolyFlex Flexible Filament
PolyFlex Flexible Filament features a “Shore A” hardness of 90-95A and a large strain-to-failure of over 400%. PolyFlex™ gives you flexible parts with no worry about the part breaking. PolyFlex™ is designed to be compatible with almost all desktop FDM/FFF printers and requires no hardware modification. PolyFlex™ prints smoothly on the Altair 3D printer, and adheres well to a large variety of surfaces with no need for a heated build plate.



Taulman BluPrint is a thermoplastic copolyester blend with a high heat deflection. It is a material with increased heat and wear resistance. The material can be used to print parts that will withstand fatigue resistance and tear strength. BluPrint allows designers to 3D print parts that will take high heat for outdoor use such as part replacements for autos, boats and aircraft.

T-Glase (PETT)
Taulman T-Glase is made of FDA approved polymers for direct food contact or containers. T-Glase is a high strength polymer (PETT) – great for industrial applications. The major advantage of T-Glase to all other polymers, is layer to layer bonding. Industry uses layer settings that are 50% to 80% of the nozzle diameter with excellent results. T-glase is odor free, excellent at bridging and has low shrinkage. In addition, T-Glase is excellent for glass clear jewelry. T-Glase comes in several colors including blue, red and clear.

Taulman 618 Nylon
Taulman 618 nylon was the first nylon specifically formulated and processed for 3D Printing. The chemical composition and post processing work together to lower the print temperature as well as reduce the non-uniformity that nylons exhibit in the melted state. When Taulman 618 is printed with 100% fill, it rivals it’s injection molded equivalents in strength. Taulman 618 features excellent surface bonding, is pliable, is strong, and has high thermal durability.

Taulman 645 Nylon
Taulman 645 Nylon is the #1 high strength 3D printing material of choice used by hundreds of industrial customers worldwide.  Nylon 645 is the established industry standard for high strength, high durability 3D printing. Taulman 645 is a preferred polymer when parts to be printed will be subject to high stresses. As an extremely durable polymer, it handles stress at elevated temperatures up to 160C. It has a higher strength than Taulman 618 (12,428 psi) and is 20% less pliable and 20% more resistant to chlorines. 645 contains no toxic chemicals and is “inert” to the body.

Taulman Bridge Nylon
Taulman Bridge Nylon is a variation of Taulman 645 Nylon. Taulman Bridge Nylon carries the same flexibility as Taulman 645 and has a slippery surface texture. It maintains the strength of nylon while having less warping, better adhesion to the print bed, and is easier to print with. Taulman Bridge Nylon is used for any parts that require the strength of nylon, yet are large and prone to pulling away from the print bed at sharp transitions. It is ideal for printing industrial applications such as gears.

Taulman Alloy 910
Taulman Alloy 910 is meant for high-temperature, high-strength, and high-durability uses. Alloy 910 is an excellent material for molding, robotics, machining or any need that requires a high tensile feature along with high durability. Taulman Alloy 910 is the first 3D printable high impact, high durability co-polymer alloy with a tensile strength of 8,100 PSI. Due to its chemical composition, Alloy 910 has the least water absorption of all similar materials containing a nylon component.

Taulman 680 FDA Nylon
Taulman 680 FDA Nylon is a high-grade nylon made with an FDA approved polymer specifically developed for indirect food contact (except for foods with over 8% alcohol). Taulman 680 was designed to print in the same temperature range as other Taulman nylons. It is less pliable than Taulman 645 as it is intended to support many medical uses. Taulman 680 is more transparent than Taulman 645 and supports non-destructive visual inspection of printed parts. 680 is a non-leaching FDA nylon that’s capable of low temperature sterilization techniques.