The chart below compares 3D printing materials ranging from extremely high-strength structural materials to soft pliable materials:
Polyether ether ketone (PEEK) is a thermoplastic used for high-strength applications and boasts extremely high heat resistance withstanding temperatures over 300C. PEEK with 30% carbon fill and PEEK with 30% glass fill are composites with additives to increase their strength.
Ultem or Polyetherimide (PEI) is another thermoplastic used for high-strength applications. It is cheaper than PEEK and cannot withstand as high of temperatures however, the strength and melting point increase when glass is added.
Polycarbonate (PC) is a common polymer used in manufacturing and engineering for its strength and heat resitance.
Poly Lactic Acid (PLA) has become one of the most common materials for 3D printing because it is easy to print, biodegradable and bioderived from corn and other biomaterials.
Wood Fiber (Cellulose + PLA) Filament is a high strength highly robust material made from wood fiber and typically PLA. It has the look, feel, and even the smell of natural wood.
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) is another common 3D printing filament. It is slightly less brittle than PLA and can handle higher temperatures however, it releases fumes when heated so it is advised to keep your print area well ventilated during use.
Taulman Nylon 230 and Nylon (6/6 Extruded) are excellent thermoplastics for 3D printing. They are high strength and heat and wear resistant.
Taulman Alloy 910 is a durable material used for chemical resistance and insulation.
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), most commonly known for use in plastic water bottles, is a versatile recyclable filament. Objects printed in PET can often be recycled as well.
Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol-Modified (PET-G) is stronger and more heat resistant than PET. It does not turn murky when heated but remain transparent.
Hydroxyethylmethacrylate (HEMA) is a soft, hydrophobic polymer that is UV curable.
Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) is ideal for transparent applications as it is crystal clear after printing. It is also very flexible and rubbery. It is silicon based and nontoxic.