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The Maker’s Guide to Flexible Filament

Types of Flexible Filament

While there are several materials on the market that have flexible properties, the two major types of flexible filament are Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) and Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE). Both of these are made from thermoplastic elastomers which are derived from a blend of hard plastic and soft rubber. While terminology is often mixed, thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) is the most commonly used flexible material within the 3D printing industry.

How is Flexible Filament Measured?

What sets many flexible filaments apart is the degree of flexibility they offer. Most materials are measured on a “Shore Hardness/Durometer” scale which is the measure of the resistance a material has to indentation.

Typically, the durometer of a flexible material is denoted as being on either the Shore A or Shore D scale.  Softer materials such as flexible filament for 3D printing are measured on the Shore A scale, while Shore D is reserved for harder rubbers.

The Flexx™ Flexible TPU by Keene Village Plastics, which is now available directly through our store, comes in 3 different varieties:

Printing Flexible Filament - Things to Consider

Printing with flexible filament can be a delicate balancing act. To achieve great results, your printer needs to be a finely tuned machine along with using a good high-quality filament and perfecting the settings in your slicing software.  Here are five things to consider when printing flexible material. Remember, changing any of these can drastically change the print.

Due to the nature of flexible TPU filament and the potential to kink or buckle when being pushed through the hot end, it is highly recommended that you hit the brakes on your print speeds and slow them w-a-y down. Typical print speeds for non-flexible filaments can range from 30mm/second all the way up to 90mm/second. For flexible, slower is better so we recommended starting around 30mm-40mm/second and see what works best in your particular printer.

A direct drive extruder will work best when trying to print flexible TPU. However, you can print flexible on a Bowden-type extruder but with some increased difficulty. We are currently working on flexible extruder adapters that will allow you to print TPU easier on a printer with a Bowden-type extruder. If your printer is not equipped with a Bowden tube, then adding one to help guide the filament can give you a better chance of avoiding filament buckling.

Flexible TPU is especially sensitive when it comes to the temperature of your hot end. We recommend that with our material you start at 220°-245°C and fine-tune your settings for the best results. This will reduce the oozing material from the print head that can create messy or stringy prints.

Your retraction settings will also play a big part in getting good results and avoiding stringy prints. Retraction is when the extruder motor moves in reverse ever so slightly to avoid extrusion when moving across a gap in a printed design. Too little retraction and you will be left with cobwebs of material all over your print. Too much retraction will leave you with blobs of filament when the print head starts its next segment of printing.

Proper bed adhesion is key to any successful print but with flexible TPU, it is even more crucial. We recommend that you only try printing flexible on a printer with a heated bed with the temperature range set between 45°-60°C. Check out our article on bed preparation for more information.

Once you've prepped your printer with the right settings & selected your preferred filament, you'll be ready to make all kinds of flexible prints!

The Ultimate Guide to Best 3D Printer Filament

While technology has surely made things best for us, it has also made things a bit confusing with so many options to choose from. The very same issue applieswhen it comes to picking the best 3D printer filament for your project. Every strain of the best 3D printer filament has been designed to adhere to specific requirements of the users, be it industrial use or personal use.

In this blog, we will describe to you all about the popular 3D printer filaments and their characteristic properties to help you pick the best as per your requirement.

1-ABS Filament:

An acronym for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, the ABS is one among the commonly used and best 3D printer filament. It is used primarily for the creation of durable parts in need to handle higher temperatures. As compared to its contender, PLA filament, this option is more ductile and less brittle. When you are opting for 3D printing by using the ABS filament, it is recommended that you use a heated surface for printing. This is because ABS tends to contract upon cooling immediately which leads to warping of the parts.

Properties of ABS Filament:

  • Ductile and strong material that is heat tolerant and resistant to wear & tear
  • Commonly used for interlocking parts such as gears, UV exposed parts, prototyping
  • Wide range of options available for proper post-processing.

2-ASA Filament:

If you are in need of an excellent alternative to the ABS filament, you can surely go with the ASA filament. The Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate comes with a range of add-on features that isn’t dominant in the ABS filament. This particular 3D printer filament comes with enhanced weather resistance as well as keeps away from yellowing due to the UV light. So, if you are in need of the best 3D printer filament for outdoor purposes, the ASA filament is a must buy.

Properties of ASA Filament:

  • Resistant to weather, UV, as well as temperature fluctuations
  • Best for planters, outdoor clips, fixtures, etc

3-PLA Filament:

Also known as the Polylactic Acid, the PLA filament is the best 3D printer filament for someone who requires output with minimal warping. It is a highly recommended material for a broad array of printing needs. With features such as low-warping and odorless filament, the PLA doesn’t need the heated bed, making the printing processmore straightforward. It is created from renewable sources such as corn-starch, making it an environmental-friendly option.

Properties of PLA Filament:

  • The filament is stiff but tends to showcase instances of brittleness
  • Used mainly for prototypes, cosmetic prints, desk-toys, as well as low-stress application
  • Best for beginners

4-Elite PLA Filament:

The Elite PLA filament for 3D printing is an advanced variant of the PLA filament that is intended to produce high-quality, professional 3D prints. It comes with a visually distinct product finish with opaque, vibrant colors as opposed to the regular PLA filament. Created with a better tolerance factor, the filament can work best for all kinds of professional needs. So, if you are in need of the best 3D printer filament for professional work, do give this filament a try.

Properties of Elite Filament:

  • It is sturdy yet brittle depending upon the nature of use
  • Comes with an array of colors
  • Best used as a beginner material with low or no warp & shrinkage

5-PVA Filament:

If you are in need of the best support filaments, the PVA could be just what you need. An acronym for Polyvinyl Alcohol, this particular filament is translucent but with a hint of yellow tint. It is used primarily as support material for 3D printing, given its property of being water-soluble. This means the print will dissolve upon exposure to water. This filament is used mainly with the 3D printers that hold the capability for dual extrusion.

Properties of PVA Filament:

  • Serves as a stiff & water-soluble support material for 3D printing
  • Best used with models that require internal supports with incredible details
  • Best 3D printer filament to provide support for PLA printing given similar temperatures for 3D printing

6-PETG Filament:

The PETG filament comes as the variation of PET filament that has been modified with the addition of the chemical glycol. The resulting printed material is highly-durable & provides prints with no odor. Apart from that, the PETG filament is known to offer impact-resistance and durability. The addition of glycol removes the limitations that PET filament possesses.

Properties of PETG Filament:

  • No brittleness or warping issue
  • Flexible, recyclable, and highly-durable
  • Doesn’t absorb moisture or water from the air

7-Nylon Filament:

In need of a durable, strong, as well as versatile 3D printing filament? The Nylon filament should be your go-to material. While the material in itself is thin, this feature adds in a sense of flexibility to the material. The filament also has a high form of inter-layer adhesion that works well with parts such as hinges. Nylon filament is known to be a bright & naturally white translucent surface that can absorb colors that have been added post the printing process.

However, you need to keep in mind the fact that this filament tends to be extremely sensitive when it comes to moisture content. So, try and make sure that you store it in an air-tight container.

Properties of Nylon Filament:

  • Flexible and strong making it shatter-proof and break-resistant
  • Generally used for strong parts or living hinges
  • Needs to be dried prior to printing for glossy finish and added strength

8-HIPS Filament:

HIPS or the High Impact Polystyrene filament is similar to the ABS filament. The prime difference between the two is the fact that HIPS can actually be dissolved with the use of Limonene as solvent. This particular feature makes it an excellent option for being used as support material with the ABS-prints.

Properties of HIPS Filament:

  • A rigid variant of support material that dissolves only with limonene
  • Best used with internal as well as external support models
  • Best 3D printer filament for support material in conjunction with ABS


Before you purchase your 3D printer filament, it is essential that you determine your need for the same. Depending on what you need to print, your selection will vary. Another factor you need to keep in mind is the spool’s diameter, which needs to be round and consistent throughout. All-in-all, practice is what will make you perfect and help you understand your needs in a better way. So, try and test them all to get the best fit for your 3D printing needs.

Planning to start your very own printing project with the best 3D printer filament? With MakeShaper by your side, you do not need to look any further! Select from our range of high-quality 3D printing filaments,designed for industrial as well as personal needs, and start printing today!

Why Nylon Filament Could Be Your Next 3D Print Filament Choice?

The uses of 3D printing are soaring sky-high now, so as the new and improved inventions associated with it. Experimenting with new and improved 3D printing associated products will help you to get better results with your product design, durability, quality as well as the overall price. If you are tired of using ABS and PLA 3D printing filaments, it’s time for you to go with a new filament type for your 3D printing project, and nylon filament can well replace your previous choice with best ever 3D printing features.

Although PLA filament is an excellent choice for beginners starting with 3D filament and ABS filament is known for its durability and strength, they do have certain limitations. But, if you are searching for a high standard 3D printing material that is more durable, flexible, and tough, then go for nylon filament this time.

Features of Nylon Filament

Compared to the list of other available 3D printing filaments, nylon filament is arguably the best versatile one and loaded with tons of features. When compared to ABS filaments, nylon filament is as easy as to print with it. It produces high quality and detailed 3D prints, and the finishing always stays smooth. At the same time, users also have to remember that nylon filaments must stay dry and don’t any absorb moisture before they start printing with it. Best standard 3D printing nylon filament will provide users excellent layer adhesion so that the end result is going to be perfect. 3D print designs with intricate design will receive great details for sure.

Best with Strength and Durability

The strength of high-quality nylon filament is going to amaze you. Users of it will not face any easy snap or brittleness. When we 3D print thicker parts with higher density infill and wider wall thickness, we can easily experience that nylon filament can easily produce tough plastic parts that are great impact resistance.

When it comes to 3D print thinner parts with the use of nylon filament, the products are going to be quite flexible. That’s why; best quality nylon filament is used to build moving parts. Products made out of it are friction coefficient and require a little or no lubrication. Nylon’s tensile strength is also extraordinary. If you have ever tried to break a cable tie, you must have known it’s impossible or very difficult. For your knowledge, it’s made of nylon.

Nylon 6 or Nylon 12 Filament – Which One is Best Suited for Your Purpose?

If you are new to nylon filament, then you must not be aware of these two variants available in the market. Just like other available 3D printing filaments and various grades available for it, nylon 3D printing material has two grades, and users must choose the appropriate one to best suit their requirements. Nylon 6 filament is the most commonly available and has various names in the market, such as nylon 6/6 or nylon 66. However, the nylon 12 filament is more chemically stable when compared to nylon 6 filament. Nylon 12 3D prints can hold its exact form even at varying temperatures. This type of nylon filament is also not highly sensitive to water absorption. But, nylon 12 filament could be a costly option when compared to nylon 6. We suggest that users must choose the right one according to their various requirements.

Properties of Nylon Filament 3D Printing

All types and grades of nylon filaments are hygroscopic, which means they will absorb water. Users must acknowledge that nylon filaments can absorb 10% of its water density in just twenty-four hours. As water retention is not good for 3D printing, users must keep the nylon filaments in airtight containers and bag with a desiccant. As nylon 12 absorbs half of the water density what nylon 6 does, you will definitely have better printing experience with nylon 12. If your nylon filament absorbs water prior to printing, the end results are definitely not going to be excellent. The prints may even pop in the extruder. If the nylon filament is dry, it will have a nice and smooth finishing.

Tips to Dry Nylon Filament

Making sure nylon filament stays dry before you start printing with them is extremely crucial. If you have stored it inside an airtight container with a desiccant, then you don’t need to dry it prior to your 3D printing. Otherwise, it will be best to dry the spool beforehand. To dry your nylon filament, pop it over with a temperature of 85°C for six hours. We suggest to don’t leave it attended. This way, Silica gel desiccants will be recharged, and the 3D prints you produce will be superior in every manner.

How to Get Best Result with Nylon Filament 3D Printing?

The recommended temperature to print with nylon filament is around 240°C. Users can easily experiment with a temperature greater than this so that they can find the best temperature for their printing objects. The temperature for the heated bed is recommended to be kept in between 80°C - 100°C as nylon filament is prone to fast cooling, which causes it to wrap. Again, users can experiment a little with the heated bed temperature so that they can find the best range for their 3D product print.

For adhesion, users can select PVA glue stick on a glass print or metal bed. Experts recommend using a Tufnol sheet as a bed surface for the best results. The incorrect surface is most likely to wrap your nylon printing. Users don’t need any cooling fan here. Nylon filament is inexpensive, durable, and tough. At the same time, it also requires a high temperature for printing, wraps prone, and easily absorbs moisture, which needs to be taken care of to ensure the best quality 3D prints.


If you haven’t try 3D printing with nylon filament, we suggest to give it a chance. MakeShaper offers high-quality nylon filament for 3D printing uses with the best ever market pricing. Check our website for complete details and order online with convenience. For more of our product details and query solving, give us a call at 1-330-753-0100 today.