|Have a particularly challenging 3D print coming up that requires precise color rendering? We've developed this comprehensive color guide for 3D printing filaments to ensure that you get consistent, reliable results that are both practical, beautiful and true to life representations of the colors you expect in your creations. |
In this color guide, we have taken all the guess work out of what our various filaments will look like, by mapping color names to industry standard color measurements such as RAL (Reichs-Ausschuß für Lieferbedingungen und Gütesicherung), RGB (Red, Green, Blue), CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) and the Pantome color system.
We sell a broad array of 3D print filaments in ABS, PA, PETG, PLA, SEBS, TPU and many others.
ABS - Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) is an opaque thermoplastic and amorphous polymer. “Thermoplastic” (as opposed to “thermoset”) refers to the way the material responds to heat.
Thermoplastics become liquid (i.e. have a “glass transition”) at a certain temperature (221 degrees Fahrenheit in the case of ABS plastic). They can be heated to their melting point, cooled, and re-heated again without significant degradation.
Instead of burning, thermoplastics like ABS liquefy, which allows them to be easily injection molded and then subsequently recycled.
By contrast, thermoset plastics can only be heated once (typically during the injection molding process). The first heating causes thermoset materials to set (similar to a 2-part epoxy), resulting in a chemical change that cannot be reversed. If you tried to heat a thermoset plastic to a high temperature a second time, it would simply burn. This characteristic makes thermoset materials poor candidates for recycling. ABS is also an amorphous material meaning that it does not exhibit the ordered characteristics of crystalline solids.
PA - Nylon (polyamide) is an extensively used material for its unique mechanical and chemical properties.
Thanks to characteristics like durability, flexibility and resistance to corrosion, Nylon is ideal for multiple applications in the 3D printing field, like end-use parts or custom jigs and fixtures.
PETG - glycolized polyester, is a thermoplastic widely used in the additive manufacturing market, combining both the simplicity of PLA 3D printing and the strength of ABS.
Polylactic Acid, commonly known as PLA, is one of the most popular materials used in desktop 3D printing.
It is the default filament of choice for most extrusion-based 3D printers because it can be printed at a low temperature and does not require a heated bed. PLA is a great first material to use as you are learning about 3D printing because it is easy to print, very inexpensive, and creates parts that can be used for a wide variety of applications. It is also one of the most environmentally friendly filaments on the market today. Derived from crops such as corn and sugarcane, PLA is renewable and most importantly biodegradable. As a bonus, this also allows the plastic to give off a sweet aroma during printing.
Styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene, also known as SEBS, is an important thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) which behaves like rubber without undergoing vulcanization.
SEBS is strong and flexible, has excellent heat and UV resistance and is easy to process. It is produced by partial and selective hydrogenating of styrene-butadiene-styrene copolymer (SBS) which improves the thermal stability, weathering and oil resistance, and makes SEBS steam sterilisable. However, hydrogenation also reduces the mechanical performance and increases the cost of the polymer.
Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU material) is a flexible, abrasion resistant thermoplastic. It’s being used in a number of manufacturing processes for both consumer and industrial use. In certain blends it can become very soft, but TPU material offers many benefits and features. 3D printed parts with TPU are durable and have the ability to withstand ambient temperatures of up to 80 degrees Celsius.
TPU filament is abrasion resistant, can withstand impacts and is resistant to many chemicals. Its versatile and used in many different industries. There are different versions of TPU material but in the main it can be classed as two types. Firstly known as Polyether Polyurethane and secondly Polyester Polyurethane. With both having different characteristics that can be suited to a specific need.
* Some colors are matched to internal color codes which do not correspond to generally published color guides such as RAL, CMYK, RGB or Pantone. Some colors also contain finish elements such as glitter, matte or metallic which cannot be accurately matched to a common color guide.
** This color guide should be used a resource for making a purchasing decision. Any color matching that is necessary to meet a final customer or OEM specification should be tested on the final part only. While CPA strives to provide accurate color guidance through this chart, a final color on a molded or printed part can be effected by processing temperatures, pressures or other external environments or processing methods. Customers should always test their final parts for color accuracy instead of referring only to this guide.