Is Acrylic Used In 3D Printing?

November 7, 2022 12:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

3D printing is a technology that has come very far in the past few years. What was once a highly guarded technology that only facilities could afford, but there are now home 3D printers and the technology is more accessible than ever. Only specific materials can be used to make the filaments for a 3D printer, and acrylic is not one of them.

Is Acrylic Used in 3D Printing?

As a rule, fully transparent materials can be difficult to manipulate as they tend to crack, break and become cloudy when they are heated or molded. Instead, if you want something that you are 3D printing to be clear or you need semi-transparent materials, a stand-in for acrylic is used.

VeroClear is the material that is used with your 3D printers to get that clear or transparent look without using acrylic. You can get acrylic or PMMA filament, but it is going to be very expensive and may not be the overall look that you want.

The most popular 3D printing material is PLA or polylactic acid. This is going to be biodegradable, has an easy melting point, and is naturally derived from things like cornstarch. It is going to be something that can be used at home with at-home 3D printers. Other materials might be used like ABS filaments, but these are less common.

Why Isn’t Acrylic Used in 3D Printing?

Acrylic is not normally used for 3D printing because it is brittle, and it is not super strong. This means your acrylic item may end up breaking, cracking or otherwise become damaged after you have worked hard on it. Also, the acrylic might change in color or in texture while you are making it.

With acrylic, the melt temperature is 266 degrees Fahrenheit, and it only has a tensile strength of about 65 MPa. The average tensile strength of other 3D printing filaments is about 1800 MPa. Though acrylic might seem like a good idea, with any 3D printed item it is going to be better to take the time to find a stronger material that will still look great, but that will not become damaged easily or break easily.

Many great materials are made to look clear and mimic the look of acrylic without the drawbacks or the weaknesses of acrylic in that same situation. D&D Plastics would be happy to help you discover appropriate materials for your 3D printing needs.

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