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Try Our New 3D Printer Filament: TPU

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  • TPU filament is flexible
    TPU filament is flexible
  • 3D objects printed with TPU filament
    3D objects printed with TPU filament

Jeremy, Old Post Office | March 27, 2021

One of the main reasons we wanted to purchase a new 3D printer was to give the community the opportunity to experiment with and access new 'abrasive' materials. These types of materials have a larger possibility of applications and uses because they are more resistant to wear, tear and dynamic loading. However, they are also a little more tricky to print with than typical PLA (Polylactic acid).

We recently purchased a spool of TPU (Thermoplastic polyurethane) that members can now request to use with our new Ultimaker S5. TPU has very neat properties, including resistance to grease and oil as well as extreme flexibility. TPU is commonly used in wet environments and you can think of it as a hybrid between hard plastic and soft silicone.

Since TPU is a more temperamental filament to work with, it is not designed to be used with supports. Thus, if a particular design requires supports, it will not work with TPU. It is also prone to ooze so it requires a much slower print speed and there is a higher chance of failure. However with that said, it's a great thermoplastic that bridges the gap between plastic and rubber.

TPU has wide variety of uses and you can find many designs specifically created for this material. See Thingiverse for inspiration and downloadable designs.

If you would like to try TPU, email a file or website link to oporeception [at] ideaexchange.org. As long as it meets the requirements above, we would be happy to print it for you! Material costs of 20 cents per gram of filament apply.