For the past few years, we have all seen the amazing things that had happened in 3D printing technology. It is just a sight to behold on how things changed during those years. Aside from these awesome design possibilities that could be acquired through 3D printing, the level of engineering used for printing fabric-like materials are simply astonishing.
While it is true that we are widely using metal, sugar, Styrofoam or ceramic materials to build anything from 3D, still we can’t deny how it all began, in plastics. As a matter of fact, when talking about 3D printing, we can’t deny that plastics still play an important role. In the next paragraphs, we will discuss the major types of plastic that’s used in the textile industry.
Number 1. PLA – also known as Polylactic Acid which is a bioplastic that’s currently dominating the 3D printing world. This is made from renewable organic resources similar to sugarcane or cornstarch. In textile industry, PLA-based filaments have shown remarkable adhesion to PLA plastics. Due to the fact that it is possible to reinforce it to all types of materials, it is usually seen in producing smart fabric that helps to improve functionality of textile products.
Number 2. ABS – this is otherwise known as Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene that’s basically a terpolymer made by acrylonitrile and polymerizing styrene with polybutadiene. This is again another kind of bioplastic that is widely used for 3D printing purposes. It has the capacity to form filaments and aside from that, it’s strong, durable, heat resistant, cost effective and flexible.
The thing is, a potential drawback for ABS is that, it is creating unpleasant smell and at the same time, it is releasing vapor with nasty chemicals. As a result, for the fumes not to stay in the area, anyone who plans to use the material must have a properly ventilated location.
Number 3. PVA – it’s a water soluble synthetic polymer that stands for Polyvinyl Alcohol. PVA is actually a new breed of 3D printing materials that’s used in supporting the hold 3D objects in place. This is not used for a finished product instead, it is intended to support certain portions of the product. Right after the products are finished, it can now be submerged into water and the PVA support structures will begin to dissolve leaving the insoluble prints. In the world of 3D printing, this act as a glue, packaging film or thickener.
Even though there are multiple range of materials used for 3D printing that can evolve with time, these are the 3 main types of plastics used for 3D printing application.