5 best professional strongest material for 3D printing (2023)

5 best professional strongest material for 3D printing (1)

When looking for the best material to use for 3D printing, you will come across a variety of options. Each material has its benefits and drawbacks, so it can be tough to decide which one to choose. In this article, we will compare strongest material for 3D printing: ABS, PLA, and Nylon.

What does “strong” mean when it comes to 3D printing?

The filament strength can be measured by different methods and evaluated in different ways. In this article, we will mainly use tensile strength (Used to indicate theultimate strengthof a material or part, tensile strength can be defined as the ability to resist breakage when under tension, i.e., when being pulled or stretched.). We will indicate the tensile strength limit of each material for 3D printing in megapascal (MPa).

Despite the obvious number of pounds a material can withstand, there is still a margin of error depending on how the part was printed. We’ve compiled research from various sources to make sure that these three materials are the strongest.

High tensile, compact, or shear strength is exhibited by strong materials or components made from them. They can sustain high stress and do not deform when subjected to huge loads, as well as are resistant to impact, chemicals, and extreme weather conditions.

You should also understand that the material itself is not the only factor that affects the strength of the finished product. The design itself, the post-processing, and the 3D printing process also affect the strength of the part.

Is ABS or PLA stronger?

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When it comes to 3D printing materials, there are a few popular options: ABS, PLA, and more. But which one is the strongest?

ABS filament is a common 3D printing material because it’s strong and durable. It’s also less prone to warping, making it a good choice for printing large objects. However, ABS can release fumes when melted, so it’s not always ideal for use in a home or office setting.

PLA is a popular alternative to ABS because it doesn’t release fumes and is biodegradable. However, PLA is not as strong as ABS and can be more prone to warping.

PLA filament

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This is a plastic that 3D printer manufacturers like to add as a gift to their devices.Polylactic Acidis a biodegradable plastic that is made from lactic acid. The filament is made from natural materials such as sugarcane, corn, potato starch, and cellulose. Decorative plastics are also created on this basis.

The plastic does not emit an unpleasant odor when printed and is safe for children. PLA laminate is unpretentious in work – to create high-quality products does not even require heating of the working table. It is frequently used as a standard filament material since it can print clearly at extremely low temperatures without requiring a heated bed. Bed temperature: 68-140 °F.

Characteristics of the plastic:

  • Melting point: 347-356 °F;
  • Tensile strength: 37 Mpa;
  • Elasticity: low;
  • Shrinkage: minimal;
  • Solubility: insoluble.

ABS filament

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This popular plastic for printing surpasses PLA but is also a bit more difficult to work with. Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene is highly durable and resistant to high temperatures. The plastic can be used to create functional parts and impact-resistant products.

Characteristics of the plastic:

  • Melting point: 347-410 °F;
  • Tensile strength: 29.8 – 43 MPa;
  • Elasticity: low;
  • Shrinkage: low;
  • Solubility: insoluble.

There are other 3D printing materials available, but these two are the most common. Ultimately, the strongest printing material depends on your needs and preferences.

3D printing method and strength

When it comes to 3D printing, there are two main methods: Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS). In FDM, the printer deposits melted plastic filament one layer at a time to create an object. With SLS, a laser beam sinters powdered material to create a 3D object.

Both methods have their benefits and drawbacks. For example, FDM is more affordable and easier to use, while SLS is more precise and can print in multiple materials.

Now we briefly discuss additive technologies in the context of metal materials. Metal powder is used in 3D printing processes such as Selective Laser Melting (SLM) and Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS). A coating of metal powder is applied and then locally fused in a thorough melting process.

Strongest material for 3D printing

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Well, it depends on the material. ABS is stronger than PLA, for example, while nylon is stronger than both ABS and PLA. And the strength of a material can vary depending on the 3D printer being used.

So, it’s difficult to say unequivocally which printing method is the strongest. But what we can say is that different materials have different strengths, so it’s important to choose the right material for your project based on its intended use.

What is stronger than PLA for 3D printing?

When it comes to printing materials, ABS is stronger than PLA. However, other materials are stronger than ABS.

One such material is PETG. PETG is a transparent plastic that is stronger than both ABS and PLA. It has a higher melting point than PLA, meaning it can withstand more heat without warping or melting. This makes it a great choice for printing large or intricate pieces.

Another strong 3D printing material is Nylon. Nylon is a strong, lightweight plastic that can be used to create durable prints with a high level of detail. It is also resistant to wear and tear, making it a good choice for objects that will be used in harsh environments.


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Polyethylene terephthalate-glycol appeared much later than ABS and other types of plastics. PETG is resistant to mechanical damage and has lower shrinkage than ABS and PLA, along with heat resistance, this relatively new material has gained popularity with makers around the world. Plastic is sensitive to water, so products made of it, as well as the filaments themselves, should not be stored in humid areas.

With PETS filament, it is possible to print products that will come into contact with food. The excellent sinterability of the layers makes it possible to print thin-walled products.

PETG could even withstand higher temperatures than PLA, but you must ensure that your 3D printer is capable of reaching the required temperatures before printing it. It is frequently used to create functional prototypes, moderate parts, and protective cases.

Characteristics of the plastic:

  • Melting point: 431.6-437 °F;
  • Tensile strength: 53 MPa;
  • Elasticity: medium;
  • Shrinkage: low;
  • Solubility: insoluble.

Nylon filament

Nylon filament is a synthetic 3D printing material that is strong, flexible, and sturdy. It is used to make parts that will be under constant mechanical stress. For example, gears, bushings, and parts for household appliances are printed from nylon.

This plastic is not decorative, so the choice of colors for printing is small. The main criterion for nylon printing is the presence of a closed chamber.

Characteristics of the plastic:

  • Melting point: 419-428 °F;
  • Tensile strength: 50.0–90.0 MPa;
  • Elasticity: high;
  • Shrinkage: significant;
  • Solubility: insoluble.

Polycarbonate filament

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Material polycarbonate is the strongest plastic for printing. It tolerates mechanical influences along with high-temperature resistance, so it is used for different purposes. PC filaments have transparent and lightweight qualities, as are products made of them. The material can be used to create swimming masks, screens, and commercial products. PC filament is also used in the automotive industry.

Polycarbonate filaments havehigh resistance to impact; therefore, parts do not break or crack. It has a wider temperature range of usage with a heat deflection temperature of 284 °F.

PC’s unique feature is temperature resistance. Some polycarbonate filaments can have lowering melting points due to additive manufacturing technology, but that will also lower the material’s strength and heat resistance. This makes polycarbonate filament inapplicable for automotive components. It can be combined with flame-retardant materials without losing much quality.

The obstacle to using a PC is the required high melting point for printing. So, you have to make sure that your printer can heat up to 500-510°F, which is unimaginable for home desktop printers.

Plastic characteristics:

  • Melting point: 510°F;
  • Tensile strength: 66 MPa;
  • Elasticity: medium;
  • Shrinkage: significant;
  • Solubility: insoluble.

Carbon fiber (composite material)

Carbon fiber is used as additional strength material for 3D printing filaments. The resulting material consists of filament with short fibers of carbon ingrained. In comparison to regular nylon filaments, carbon fiber-infused nylon filament parts will be light weighted and have increased abrasion resistance, but remain of original tensile strength.

To prevent clogs and guarantee a more consistent print quality, carbon fibers should be printed at a low speed.

Carbon fiber provides dimensional stability because of its strength, which helps in mitigating the chances of colliding or shrinking. The stiffness of carbon fiber makes it a top contender for theaerospace and automotive industries.

TPU filament

Thermoplastic polyurethane flexible filament. Such flexible materials.Flexible filaments offer a lot of possibilities for designers and engineers – from prototyping pliable features to creating custom tools.

Plastic characteristics:

  • Melting point:392-410 °F;
  • Tensile strength: 52.4 – 79.3 MPa;
  • Elasticity: high;
  • Shrinkage: low;
  • Solubility: insoluble.

Polycarbonate, Nylon, PEEK

Polypropylene is already widely used for industrial manufacturing, due to its excellentmechanical propertiesof the material.Additive manufacturingmakes this material a bright future. PP is a strong filament, known for itshigh chemical resistance, heat resistance, impact resistance, and flexibility.

PP is used in various fields like food packaging, and medicine, and especially indemanding industrieslike automotive and aerospace industries.

PEEK stands for its composition, which is Polyether Ether Ketone, a semi-crystalline thermoplastic. This material is known for its excellentchemical resistance.

Polycarbonate, Nylon, and PEEK are all examples of 3D printing filamewith are high-performance materials with excellent impact resistance. Therefore, these materials are typically used for tool housings, safety boxes, eyeglasses, andsafety equipment.

What is the strongest material an Ender 3 can print?

When it comes to the Ender 3 and material strength, you really can’t go wrong with any of the choices we’ve mentioned. They’re all pretty strong, and it just comes down to personal preference in terms of which one you want to use.

ABS is a little more flexible than PLA, so if you’re looking for something a little more forgiving, then ABS might be the way to go. PLA is a little more brittle, but it’s also a bit easier to print with, so that might be something to keep in mind as well.

It’s really up to you to decide which material you want to use. All of them have their benefits and drawbacks, so it’s just a matter of figuring out which one will work best for your specific needs.


In the end, the answer to the question “what is the strongest 3D printer filament” depends on what you need the material to do. If you require something that can withstand high temperatures and is impact-resistant, then ABS is the way to go. However, if you require something that is flexible and has a low melting point, then PLA is the better option.


Is ABS or PLA stronger?

Both ABS and PLA are strong materials. However, PLA is stronger than ABS.

What is stronger than PLA for 3D printing?

Stronger than PLA include PETG, nylon, and polycarbonate.

Which 3D printing method is the strongest?

FDM 3D printing is the strongest 3D printing method.

What is the strongest material an Ender 3 can print?

The strongest material an Ender 3 can print is PETG.

Wonder what is the best 3D printing infill pattern, read the article


Which 3D printing material is the strongest? ›

Polycarbonate (PC) delivers high tensile strength along with high impact and heat resistance. It's widely seen as one of the strongest 3D printing filaments.

What is the best strength for 3D print? ›

ABS, PETG, and PLA have differing strength characteristics which are important to consider when 3D printing end use parts. For parts which need tensile strength to resist forces pulling on the object, PETG is the strongest option, followed by PLA. ABS is the least effective choice for resisting this type of force.

Which material is better for 3D printing? ›

Popular FDM 3D Printing Materials

The most common FDM 3D printing materials are ABS, PLA, and their various blends. More advanced FDM printers can also print with other specialized materials that offer properties like higher heat resistance, impact resistance, chemical resistance, and rigidity.

What is stronger than PLA filament? ›

PETG is stronger and more resilient than PLA. PLA, on the other hand, is widely used as FDM/FFF filaments because of its better melt and cooling properties. In terms of cost, PETG is more expensive than PLA.

Is ABS or PETG stronger? ›

PETG is stronger, more durable, and it prints better. It's also available in a wide variety of novelty and composite filaments. ABS is only necessary if you absolutely need its temperature resistance or its ability to be glued and painted. Otherwise, it's difficult to justify the printing difficulties involved.

What is the lightest strongest 3D printing material? ›

World's lightest and strongest material: Graphene Aerogel 3D printing! There is a lot of new developments in the field of materials for Additive Manufacturing uses, from 3D printing with Glass or Cellulose to the world's strongest material Graphene.

What is the best 3D printing polymer? ›

PLA (Polylactic Acid) is the most popular 3D printing plastic for non-industrial use while nylon is the most common plastic for industrial applications. For more information, see our article on the guide to 3D printing.

Is ABS better than PLA? ›

PLA is stronger and stiffer than ABS, but poor heat-resistance properties means PLA is mostly a hobbyist material. ABS is weaker and less rigid, but also tougher and lighter, making it a better plastic for prototyping applications.

What is the strongest way to 3D print? ›

· Triangular Infill Pattern

Most 3D enthusiasts attribute this to triangles being the strongest shape. Using a triangular infill also improves print speed due to the straight-line movement of the printhead.

How do I get high quality 3D prints? ›

Eight Tips for Improving 3D Print Quality
  1. Adjust the bed and set the nozzle height. ...
  2. Check the nozzle's temperature. ...
  3. Use different building plates to create different effects. ...
  4. Pay close attention to your printer's adjustment and maintenance. ...
  5. Handle the filament carefully. ...
  6. Use a slicer. ...
  7. Lower the printing speed.
Mar 31, 2020

What is the hardest thing to print on a 3D printer? ›

Diamond – 3D printing the hardest material on Earth.

How strong is 3D printed concrete? ›

In contrast well printed concrete had a density of 2350 kg/m3, compressive strength of 75–102 MPa, flexural strength of 6–17 MPa depending on testing direction, and tensile bond strength between layers varying from 2.3 to 0.7 MPa, reducing as the printing time gap between layers increased.

How strong is 3D printed plastic? ›


Why do so many people choose PLA as their 3D printing filament? It provides ease of use at a low cost and, importantly, it is reasonably strong. Additionally, you can print with PLA at a low temperature, without a heated bed, but it has a tensile strength of 7,250 psi.

Is PLA stronger than TPU? ›

Another difference between TPU and PLA is its tensile strength, where PLA comes out on top. Although TPU offers better durability, polylactic acid is the stronger of the two 3D printing filaments. However, TPU prints have the upper hand when it comes to abrasion resistance.

What is a better alternative to PLA? ›

POLYCARBONATE. Polycarbonate has the highest strength, impact resistance and temperature resistance of any material that can be 3D printed below 300*C.

What is stronger PLA or polycarbonate? ›

Polycarbonate: The Strongest 3D-Printing Material

Polycarbonate won by a landslide. PLA has a tensile strength of 7,250 psi and was able to lift 285 pounds. In comparison, ABS has a tensile strength of 4,700 psi and snapped instantly under 285 pounds of weight.

What is PETG best for? ›

PETG is best known for its durability and strength, and the plastic is resistant to high temperatures, UV rays, water, chemical solvents, and more. All of this makes PETG an ideal filament material option for printing parts that will exist in harsh environments or have to undergo a lot of physical stress.

Is PETG stronger than TPU? ›

PETG vs. TPU: PETG is tougher but less flexible than TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane). TPU can adhere to cooler printing beds than PETG. The bed temperature should be somewhere between 40 °C and 60 °C.

Is polycarbonate stronger than PETG? ›

Impact Strength Izod

PETG is food grade, has good impact strength but cannot be used if exposed to UV rays. Polycarbonate is the most impact resistant of the three materials discussed here, but can be negatively affected if exposed to certain oils and chemicals.

What is the strongest 3D printed beam? ›

I-BEAM IMPACT PLA was developed to be the strongest, easiest to print, most accurate, and most reliable PLA filament on the market today. Many PLA filaments tend to be brittle, but IMPACT PLA is a true high strength 3D printer filament.

What is the hardest resin to 3D print? ›

COR Alpha is the strongest, most durable, and heat-resistant 3D printing resin on the market.
  • Frustrated because every time you print a part, it breaks before you can even use it.
  • Overwhelmed by all the 3D printing options out there, while knowing none of them can do what you need them to.

Does PLA degrade in water? ›

This is not an issue if it's only exposed to perfectly clean water, but if you were to leave a PLA printed part submerged for an extended period in a body of water that contains microorganisms, like a pond, there is a chance that your part could start to degrade.

What is stronger PLA or ABS or PETG? ›

Regardless of the exact bulk material, we can say for sure that most PET and PETG are heavier plastics than ABS, and most PETs (including PETG) have a higher tensile strength than the various ABS types. PLA sits above ABS for tensile strength but below PETG, and is a little heavier than ABS in general.

Which is better ABS or polycarbonate? ›

Polycarbonate is more flexible than ABS and has a higher impact resistance. As a result, it makes for a stronger suitcase. ABS suitcases are cheaper than Polycarbonate ones, but they are often heavier and do not last as long.

Is 3D printing stronger than steel? ›

Tests showed that under certain conditions the final 3D printed stainless steels were up to three times stronger than steels made by conventional techniques and yet still ductile, the scientists report today in Nature Materials .

How thick should a 3D print wall be for strength? ›

If you want higher-strength parts, use larger values such as a wall thickness of 2-3 mm and a top and bottom thickness of 1.6-2 mm. For more display-oriented models that don't need much strength, you can get away with a 0.4-mm wall thickness and a top and bottom thickness of 0.2-0.8 mm.

What is the strength of PETG? ›

The Granta polymer database shows that the yield strength for PLA generally falls in the range of 48-60 MPa, while PETG falls in the range of 47.9- 52.9 MPa.

What is the number one 3D printed item? ›

What are the most popular 3D printed items? Cosplay props, planters, and miniatures are some of the biggest sellers.

What percentage of 3D prints fail? ›

3DQue Manufacturing

Did you know that new users of 3D printers have a failure rate of up to 20%? QuinlyVision can help you avoid these costly and time-wasting print issues!

What makes 3D printing expensive? ›

3D printing can cost anywhere from $3 up to thousands of dollars. It's hard to get the exact cost of a 3D print without a 3D model. Factors such as material, model complexity, and labor affect the price of 3D printing. 3D printing services can sometimes cost more than an entry level 3D printer.

How much stronger is PETG than PLA? ›

The Granta polymer database shows that the yield strength for PLA generally falls in the range of 48-60 MPa, while PETG falls in the range of 47.9- 52.9 MPa.

Is PETG stronger than PLA Plus? ›

Despite its low price, standard PLA has very good tensile strength, and PLA+ retains that strength while modifying other aspects of the material. PETG offers a fairly high level of tensile strength — higher than ABS, for instance — but not as high as PLA or PLA+.

What is the hardest 3D printed plastic? ›

PEEK is the Hardest to Print.

Is 3D printing as strong as steel? ›

Tests showed that under certain conditions the final 3D printed stainless steels were up to three times stronger than steels made by conventional techniques and yet still ductile, the scientists report today in Nature Materials .

Why is PETG so hard to print with? ›

As explained already, PETG has a high tendency to string and ooze. And the material's toughness makes strings of molten plastic difficult to break, leading to unsightly webs and wisps on your prints.

What is the strongest type of 3d filament? ›

Polycarbonate. According to multiple manufacturers and reviewers, polycarbonate (PC) is considered the strongest consumer filament out there. PC can yield extremely high-strength parts when printed correctly with an all-metal hot end and an enclosure.

How long does PETG last? ›

Fortunately, it is not as sensitive as PLA. A PETG filament can still be usable after a year of being in an open package.

What material is stronger than PETG? ›

ABS has the higher glass transition temperature than PETG, and so requires heating more in order to induce the same deflection under the 66psi load when compared to PETG. So on the positive side, ABS stays stronger under heat.

Which is better for 3D print polycarbonate or PETG? ›

PETG is food grade, has good impact strength but cannot be used if exposed to UV rays. Polycarbonate is the most impact resistant of the three materials discussed here, but can be negatively affected if exposed to certain oils and chemicals.

What is the toughest 3D printer resin? ›

Liqcreate Strong-X is one of the strongest materials available in the market. Its flexural strength of 135MPa is comparable to industry's leading dual-cure cyanate ester resins. Liqcreate Strong-X is easy to use on all open source SLA and DLP 3D-printers in the range of 385 – 405nm and only requires UV post-curing.

What is the strongest 3D printer metal? ›

Titanium. This metal is strong, incredibly lightweight, and heat and chemical resistant. Normally, titanium is extremely challenging to machine (contributing to its high cost), making it a great metal 3D printing material.

Is 3D print stronger than aluminum? ›

Carbon Fiber properties

Compared with 6061 aluminum, 3D printed carbon fiber has a 50% higher strength-to-weight ratio in flexure, and a 300% higher ratio in a tensile moment.


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