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Compare All Materials Available at Online 3D Printing Services

Online 3D printing services propose many materials. But they all name them differently and it’s hard to know which one is similar to which one. I created this comparison tables so that you can see what materials are available on the 4 main online 3D printing services: Shapeways, Sculpteo, I.Materialise, Ponoko.

3D printing materials sample (Detail Resin, Multicolor, Alumide, White, Black, Yellow, Red, Blue, Green Polyamide). Credit: Sculpteo

Keep in mind that you can usually get much more 3D printing materials upon request. I know for example that Sculpteo proposes more than 60 materials upon request (including 3D printing of titanium, gold, stereolitography, flexible resin and more) but it’s not advertised on the website yet.

For your convenience, all links below point to each specific material page.

 

PLASTICS

Plastics are widely used in 3D printing. All of the online 3D printing services propose them: Polyamid/Nylon powder (by Selective Laser Sintering), Multicolor composite material (Z Corp), Detail Resin (UV curated). Alumide is a new one in the list, it’s a mix of Polyamid and Aluminium powder, which gives strong products with a slightly metallic look.

 

METALS

Metals are the next big thing with online 3D printing services. Prices are still pretty high and most metals are only available upon request. Jewelry makers use a lot of silver, bronze and gold for their projects but it is sometimes less precise than making a mold. Lost wax casting is also doable by 3D printing (EnvisionTEC is an excellent brand of 3D printers for this kind of work).

MaterialShapewaysSculpteoi.MaterialisePonoko
SilverSterling SilverSilver (on request)Silver
GoldGold (on request)Gold
Stainless SteelStainless SteelStainless Steel (on request)Stainless SteelStainless Steel
TitaniumTitanium (on request)Titanium
BrassBrass
BronzeBronze (on request)Bronze

 

FINISHING

This table is not fully accurate. I invite you to ask your favorite online service is they do the finishing you want. As a quick reminder: resin is the easiest material for getting a great finishing result. Makers of figurines and models usually 3D print in Resin and Paint. Ceramics has also been the big deal of 2012. The product is first 3D printed using the Multicolor material and then glazed like a traditional ceramic.

MaterialShapewaysSculpteoi.MaterialisePonoko
CeramicsCeramicsCeramicsCeramicsGlazed Ceramic
Silver-coatingSilver
Gold-coatingGold Plate
Spray-paintSpray-Painted ResinPainting
PolishingPolishedPolished Plastic Polishing
Color DyeingDyeingColored PlasticDyeing/Painting
VelvetVelvet Finish

 

Additional Resource:

Jonas Neubert from Cornell University developed a great tool to compare prices between 3D printing online services prices: http://3dprintingpricecheck.com/

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8 Comments

  • Thanks for sharing the material available for 3D printing as I need it quite urgently.

  • this is great. but note that the “velvet finish” is listed under sculpteo but should be under i.materialize

    • Thanks for noticing! I made the change

  • by tanks for your site.how i can find material with jpg fomat that it can be use for 3D modeling in 3dsmax?
    tanks

    • What do you mean? Best option is usually to ask the service itself so that they give you their specs.

  • Thanks for this great detail of online 3D printing services. It could become very helpful to people who are looking to have a great 3D printing services.

  • Which material is the best for very small very detailed miniatures? I was leaning toward Imaterialise but with prices and because of locations, I’m considering others.

  • It is my distinct impression 3D Printing will not take off very soon since it is plain expensive. Even when using low-cost materials.

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