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Why 3D printing

With a 3D printer, it is possible to print with different types of materials, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The most commonly used materials are PLA, ABS, and PETG. Below is a brief explanation of these materials.

PLA (polylactic acid) is the most commonly used material for 3D printing. It is highly suitable for decorative products due to the intricate details that can be printed. The downside of PLA is that it is a hydrophilic material, which means that it attracts moisture from the air, making it more brittle over time. The working temperature for PLA is approximately between -10°C to 40°C. Therefore, PLA is not recommended for outdoor use, as there is a risk that the material will soften. Due to the fast production time of PLA, it is the most suitable material for prototyping.

ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is a slightly less popular material to print with. Temperature differences during 3D printing can cause the layers to adhere less well to each other, resulting in the part splitting. If the split is not too large, the part can be post-processed by vapors of acetone. This causes the ABS to melt and fuse together. Another advantage of post-processing ABS with acetone is that the print lines are hardly visible and the part has a high gloss. A disadvantage of post-processing with acetone is that dimensional inaccuracies may occur. ABS has the advantage over PLA that it can withstand higher working temperatures, which range between -40°C and 80°C.
PETG (polyethylene terephthalate glycol) combines the properties of PLA and ABS. PETG is more flexible than PLA or ABS but is slightly softer, making it more prone to scratching. The strong adhesion between layers makes PETG a robust material.

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