For the past few years, we have all seen the amazing things that had happened in 3D printing technology. During those years, isn’t it just wonderful on how marvelous things become. On top of remarkable design possibilities that can be acquired via 3D printing, the level of engineering that’s used for printing fabric-like materials are just 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. Later on, we will be discussing the major types of plastic used in textile industry.
Number 1. PLA – called also as Polylactic Acid, this is a bioplastic that is now dominating the 3D printing world. Basically, it has been sourced from renewable organic resources including sugarcane or cornstarch. In textile industry, PLA-based filaments have shown remarkable adhesion to PLA plastics. Since this can be reinforced with all kinds of materials, it’s often used in the production of smart fabric which helps in improving the functionality of textile products.
Number 2. ABS – this is known otherwise as Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene which is basically a terpolymer that’s made by acrylonitrile as well as 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.
One possible drawback of ABS on the other hand is the fact that it may create a bit of unpleasant smell whenever it is heated and the vapor it releases has nasty chemicals. Because of this, anyone who is intending to use such material must have a place that is well ventilated for the fumes to eradicated.
Number 3. PVA – this stands for Polyvinyl Alcohol which is actually a water soluble synthetic polymer. In reality, it is a new type of 3D printing material that is being used to support hold of 3D objects in place. Don’t mistake it for being used in finished product but it is made to create support certain parts of the product. The moment when the product is finished, it could be put into water and the PVA support structures will dissolve which leaves the rest of 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.