The Ender 3 is one of the best printers under $200 right now, desired for its performance and versatility. Even though it’s a budget printer, the features it houses are comparable to many high-end printers out there. A wide range of material choices is one such benefit, so this guide is all about the different filaments that you can print on the Ender 3.
With some tweaks, you can get many of the available materials out there to work with your machine. Even so, some specific settings and tweaks are sometimes required. In this article, we’ll have a glance at the stock Ender 3 components, and then we’ll proceed with filament-specific settings for the machine.
Just like any other 3D printer, the Ender 3 uses some specific components, which we’ll have a look at one by one. The purpose of informing ourselves on these elements is that we’ll gain a better understanding of how each component affects the performance of various filaments.
Polylactic acid (PLA) is undoubtedly the most common 3D printing material. But what does it take to print it on the Ender 3?
Quite simply, nothing much. PLA is a versatile material, and the Ender 3 is a versatile machine. They go great together. The Ender 3 can easily reach the melting range of PLA, which is 180-230 °C, and the brass nozzle has no problems at all.
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) is a robust and durable material with high temperature and mechanical resistance. ABS was among the very early materials that were used with the FDM 3D printing. Its properties open up a wide range of applications, but achieving a high-grade component out of ABS is a task by itself. It’s notorious for being slightly challenging to print.
Polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) is the middle ground between PLA and ABS, being strong, temperature resistant, and easy to print with.
Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) is recently becoming more and more popular with users. Apart from being flexible, it has excellent shock absorption and abrasion resistance.
Though the stock Ender 3 is a single-extruder machine, making it quite unlikely you’ll be using a secondary support filament, these filaments can also be used for other purposes. For instance, HIPS can serve as a lightweight version of ABS, exhibiting high stiffness and abrasion resistance.
Besides, it’s not impossible to hack together a dual-extruder Ender 3.
Commonly used as a secondary support material for ABS, HIPS is also used standalone for protective cases due to its stiff and lightweight nature. It’s a little tricky to print since it likes things hot:
Most notorious as a secondary water-soluble support material for PLA, PVA can also be used for decorative purposes. It’s expensive, so you’ll want to make sure you print it right:
Well, the stock Ender 3 can only print with so many filaments. Now that we’ve gone through what filaments you can use with the Ender 3, let’s have a look at what you cannot use.
If you desperately need something in a material you’re unable to print with, consider using a 3D printing service. Using Craftcloud, the 3D printing and price comparison service from All3DP, you can find the best price and provider for your needs.
There are always ways that allow you to expand your filament portfolio. Upgrades, for example, let you do much more. Below are just a few enhancements that can enhance your Ender 3, but for a full list, check out our dedicated article:
(Lead image source: Luke’s Laboratory / YouTube)
License: The text of "Ender 3 Filament Guide: Materials You Can 3D Print" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.