As a beginner, you can’t go wrong with the Ender 3. Not only is it an affordable printer, but it’s easy to set up and use. When it comes to buying new filaments to use with your 3D printer, oftentimes, you’re limited to just a couple of varieties, but the Ender 3 is compatible with PLA, ABS, and PETG filaments.
The Creality Ender 3 works best with PLA filament, but the extruder temperature and heated print bed lets you work with filaments that are flexible and prone to warping. Because of these features, you’re able to use filaments that other machines are unable to handle as well.
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Overall, polylactic acid (PLA) is the ideal filament for use with your Ender 3. It’s both biodegradable and non-toxic, it’s better for the environment and our health. Extruding at temperatures between 190°C and 230°C, the print bed doesn’t need to be heated in order for it to adhere.
If your main concern is aesthetics over durability, PLA is a great choice. Because of the smooth finish that this material offers, it’s popular amongst 3D printer users involved in:
- Automotive industry
- Engineering departments
- Cosplay costume creation
It’s important to keep in mind that PLA is fairly brittle and not the most durable material out there. Be sure not to use high heat when printing with it for the first time.
Some of the properties that make PLA a great medium are:
- Biodegradable: PLA is made from corn, meaning it will break down over time, unlike plastic
- Safety: It’s made from natural materials, PLA is non-toxic. This makes it safe for use in any environment
- Smoothness: Completed prints are fairly smooth and have a much more refined finish to them
- Odors: Because it’s made from corn, there are no harsh smells
- Adhesion: Easily sticks to the printing plate, and releases well when finished
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) can be challenging to print with, but the results tend to be worth the hassle. ABS can handle high temperatures and is very durable.
Popular in many manufacturing industries, ABS is ideal for parts that need to be extremely structurally sound. If you need to print something sturdy, but you don’t really care much about looks, ABS is a good choice.
ABS may be hard to work with at times, but it’s still a favorite medium amongst printing professionals for a few reasons:
- Resistant to high impact
- High-temperature limits
- Smooth/shiny finish
- Chemically weld it using acetone
Polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) is perfect for those that are looking for something sturdier than PLA, but not as durable as ABS. PETG is great because it’s easy to work with, strong, and can handle high temperatures.
PETG is the ideal material or anything that you want to print that needs flexibility, sturdiness, and resistance. It can be used in the robotics industry, kitchenware, mechanical parts, and just about anything else you can think of. No matter what type of printer technology you use, it’s FDA-compliant, so you can take comfort in knowing that it’s safe for your kitchen.
A few industries that take advantage of PETG are:
- Food and drink packaging
- Consumer product packaging
PETG is used for a wide range of products for several reasons:
- Moisture resistance
- Glossy surface finish
- Chemical resistance
What Are The Best Filaments For The Ender 3?
PLA: Top Choice
The best PLA filament brand for the Ender 3 is Hatchbox. It’s well-known throughout the 3D printing community to leave you with smooth, high-quality prints.
This particular spool is 1kg and has a diameter of 1.75mm. With a recommended extrusion temperature range of 180°C to 210°C, you’ll be working with a slightly lower temperature than similar filaments.
Many users enjoy the fact that this product has minimal smell. It’s made from corn, and there aren’t harsh plastic or chemical smells when printing.
- Affordable pricing
- Consistency from model to model
PLA: Budget Option
If you are looking for something less pricey, check out this filament from Solutech. You’ll be able to use it with your Ender 3, and it’s compatible with most other 3D printers, as well, including most 3D printing pens.
The diameter of the filament is 1.75mm, making extrusion easy. You get 2.2 lbs of filament, which is enough to complete many projects. The 3D Solutech PLA Filament would be a great choice for home use or work. Whether you want to make a stand for your phone, or a new set of measuring cups, PLA is a great choice for your home.
- Comes in a vacuum-sealed package
- Comes in several colors
- Ultra-smooth finish
- Some users report adhesion issues
ABS: Top Choice
If you prefer ABS filament and want one that comes in several colors, this filament from HATCHBOX is a great choice. It’s available in 13 different colors, making it easy to print anything in your favorite color.
Each spool weighs in at 1KG and the filament has a diameter of 1.75mm. The manufacturer recommends your extrusion temperature be between 210°C and 240°C. This material is impact resistant, it can be used in many ways. From candle holders and dog tags to phone cases and salt shakers.
- Wide range of colors available
- High-temperature allowance
- Minimal warping
- Hard to get right temperature
ABS: Budget Option
Looking for something a little more budget-friendly, Amazon Basics makes a really high-quality ABS filament that is both durable and cheap. Unlike other brands, Amazon’s version doesn’t come in a wide range of colors, but you can get black and white easily.
This thermoplastic material is ideal for making things that need to be resistant to heat. Because of this, many people use ABS for ashtrays and candle holders. This is a thicker filament at 2.85mm, so make sure your printer can handle that size.
As an Amazon product, your purchase is covered by a 1-year limited warranty. If you have any issues, you can contact Amazon customer service to find out what your options are.
- Great results with consistent temperature
- Finished products look smooth and professional
- Glossy black material
- Will warp if temperature settings aren’t correct
PETG: Top Choice
PETG is a wonderful option for those looking for material that is easy to work with and durable. This filament from eSun comes in 16 different colors. It’s affordable, and comes vacuum-sealed to keep any dust or dirt off of it.
The recommended temperature for your nozzle is between 230°C and 250°C, depending on your machine. This spool of filament works great with the Ender 3 as well as most 3D printers on the market that take 1.75mm filament.
- Low shrinkage
- Won’t clog printer
- Minimal warping
- Adhesion issues
PETG: Budget Option
If you’re interested in trying out PETG but want to try a filament that’s under 20 bucks, this spool from UNIDO would be an acceptable budget-friendly alternative to the eSun brand. With 17 colors to choose from, you’ll be able to print anything your heart desires.
The 1.75mm filament is compatible with most 3D printers, including the Ender 3. PETG is a smart choice because it’s resistant to UV aging and will not begin to warp until it’s exposed to temperatures of 70°C, and is durable enough for most applications.
- Consistent layer lines
- Easy to work with
- High-temperature tolerance
Deciding Which Filament To Buy
When it comes down to it, deciding on the right filament to buy isn’t an easy task. The project you have in mind, your experience level, your budget, and your 3D printer all play into which filament to pick.
If you’re working on your latest cosplay idea, you would probably do best with a spool of PLA filament. If you want to build something that is very sturdy and will stand up to heat, ABS would be a smart pick.