3D Materials Suppliers and Product Updates

Best place to buy 3D printer filament

Finding the best place to buy 3D printer filament depends on your needs and budget. 3D printing can look expensive when you research the materials. Depending on where you buy the ABS or PLA filament spool, it could cost from $10 to $15 per pound. If you shop around, you may find that some places price their filament for less.

The standard ABS or PLA spool will last you for quite a few 3D prints. When you look at conductive or metal-infused ABS or wood fiber-based thermoplastics, it can get more expensive.

Computer technician carrying 3D printer filament

Places That Sell 3D Printing Materials

When you search Google or Amazon, you'll find a range of sellers and shops. Most 3D printer manufacturers sell their own 3D printing materials, optimized to their printer. Still, you can buy on the secondary market, too. Walmart, Amazon, eBay, and other merchants stock and sell 3D printer material.

New materials are continually becoming available as the needs of 3D printers and their applications expand. This list provides an excellent place to explore your options.

These 3D materials supplies are predominantly for Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) style printers. These printers are common hobbyist and small business 3D printers—you'll see ABS and PLA as the primary materials.

The folks at Shapeways put together a guide to the materials that they offer. It also gives you a look at what a silver 3D print looks like, or porcelain, different plastics, or castable wax. There's a matrix to help you figure out which material is right for you and your print. Even if you're not using their service, it's still a great resource. They also have a sample kit you can purchase, which is a good idea if you plan to use their service instead of buying a printer.

The Latest Filaments for FFF/FDM 3D Printers

Extrusion 3D printers are widely used by consumers and small businesses. These printers generally allow you to print in ABS or PLA plastics of numerous colors. However, as the market grows, more options are being offered that go beyond color.

Regular ABS and PLA

In many cases, ABS is easier to use but requires a heated bed because it shrinks as it cools. This is something you don't want to happen while you are printing. PLA is more challenging to use but has almost no shrinkage.

You can find both of these at almost any consumer retailer that sells 3D printing materials. Walmart and Amazon carry these materials. There are also many ABS and PLA blends that improve on properties of the originals, such as heat sensitivity.

Flexible ABS and PLA

Ninjaflex has developed a flexible thermoplastic made from polyurethane that comes in various colors, including gold, silver, flesh tones, and water (which is semi-transparent).

This company has a slightly less flexible material called SemiFlex, which is somewhat flexible and allows you to print in a higher resolution and with more detail. To use either of these, you set the printer as if it were printing ABS.


Another flexible filament is Filaflex by Recreus. Filaflex comes in a variety of colors, including fluorescents, transparent, two skin tones, and some neon. Their website has excellent pointers for printing with a flexible filament. If you have a double extruder, Filaflex will combine with ABS or PLA.


Lulzbot is a 3D printer company that has some unique offerings in the filament department. HIPS is a beginner-level high-impact polystyrene with ABS qualities. It comes in a variety of colors and dissolves in limonene. Other offered print materials include PVA (water-soluble), nylon, and polycarbonate.

You can also find conductive filament, Laywoo-3D (which prints with a wood-like texture), Laybrick (which prints with a brick-like texture), and PET-based T-glase (which is translucent and comes in a variety of colors).

Lulzbot seems to be the only company that offers cleaning filament that allows you to clean the print nozzle before adding a different type of filament. Some of their filaments require its use. Some of the materials offered are for experienced 3D printers only and come with special instructions for printing.

Other Sources

If you want a plastic that prints with other qualities, such as those of metal, ProtoPasta has several specialty PLA mixes. Their stainless steel polishes like metal, and their magnetic iron attracts other metals and rusts for an iron finish. They also offer carbon fiber filament, a PC-ABS alloy, and a conductive filament.

ColorFabb took a unique look at 3D printing filament and combined PLA with bronze, copper, bamboo, wood, and carbon. The filament you print has the properties of the item mixed with it. For example, after printing with bronzefill, you can polish the piece to a bronze-like finish. It's also heavier and doesn't feel like plastic. Some of these unique materials require specific nozzles or treatment.

Another exciting recent development is color-changing ABS filament. Among 3D Printing Systems' specialty filaments, you'll find a chameleon filament that changes from one color to another in the presence of heat. Their twisted filament has color variation within the roll, which is another excellent option.

Also of note is 3D Printing Systems' crystal high-impact ABS. Afina also offers color-changing filament in its specialty line.

The 3Ders.org site has news and data on new materials almost as soon as the materials appear in the market. It's a trusted source where you can get specifics on materials and about other 3D printing subjects.

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