3D Printing Materials

One of the fantastic benefits of an Ultimaker is the open source filament system that allows you to utilise a vast array of materials from a number of different suppliers. This means you are not locked into any one particular machine manufacturer and can get a wide range at economical prices as its a competitive market.

Ultimaker’s materials marketplace is a great place to find all the new materials coming out which directly link to Cura materials profiles, increasing your capabilities to get a right print the first time.


Shown below is the material compatibility of Ultimaker materials by machine type


What are some of the materials that can used on an Ultimaker

PLA (Polylactic Acid)

PLA is a biodegradable polymer that is ideal for prototyping 3D models with pleasing aesthetics. It has good surface quality, is somewhat glossy, and prints details with a high resolution. PLA is a reliable and easy-to-print material that can be printed at low temperatures. It has a low shrinkage factor and does not require the use of a heated build plate. It is the perfect choice for creating concept models, visualization aids, or for use in education.

Overall, PLA is not as tough as more technical materials but does have a high tensile strength. It is not recommended for functional and mechanical parts. Items printed with PLA can lose their mechanical properties and may become brittle over time.

Tough PLA (Polylactic Acid)

Tough PLA combines the ease of printing that is typical for PLA with increased mechanical performance. Specifically, Tough PLA has an increased impact resistance and therefore does not have the same brittle failure as normal PLA. It has a good surface quality and the 3D prints have a more matte appearance. Ultimaker Tough PLA can be used for functional prototyping, tooling and manufacturing aids.

The temperature resistance of Tough PLA is similar to PLA and limited to approximately 60°C.

Lightweight PLA

LW-PLA is the first filament of its kind using an active foaming technology to achieve lightweight, low density PLA parts. At around 230C this material will start foaming, increasing its volume by nearly 3 times.

Users can decrease material flow by 65% to achieve lightweight parts, or use the expanding properties to effectively reduce print time by using big layer heights or single extra thick perimeters.

Due to the expanding property of the material users can decrease flow while still printing dimensionally accurate models. Users can realize a 65% weight reduction compared to regular PLA.

LW-PLA prints in a fantastic matte looking surface finish and is very easy to post process. Any oozing or stringing artifacts rub right off and the surface is easily sanded for a smooth finish.

ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene)

ABS is a well-known material used by professionals for mechanical and technical applications. It has excellent mechanical properties and can be used for objects that require toughness and durability. With a thermal resistance of up to 85 °C, ABS can be used in warm environments. These properties make ABS a good choice for prototyping and fit testing.

Ultimaker ABS is specially formulated to minimize warping and ensure consistent interlayer adhesion.  This makes it easier to use than standard ABS filaments. Ultimaker ABS has pleasing aesthetics and results in a matte finish when printed.

ABS is adversely affected by exposure to UV light, so it is strongly recommended not to use ABS for applications that are exposed to UV light for extended periods.

CPE (co-polyester)

CPE is a popular material for mechanical applications. This co-polyester is similar to PETg, but with enhanced chemical resistance. It has the same strength as ABS but also has high tensile strength, dimensional stability, and improved chemical resistance compared to PETG. This means that CPE can be used in combination with most industrial oils and chemicals without adverse effects. CPE is odorless and emits few UFPs (ultrafine particles) and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) during printing.  This makes it a safer choice than many other materials.

CPE should not be used for parts exposed to high temperatures as it may deform at temperatures above 70 °C.

CPE+ (co-polyester)

CPE+ has a higher impact resistance than CPE, which makes it suitable for applications where toughness of the object is key. CPE+ is primarily used for functional prototyping and modeling. It has greater thermal resistance than CPE, and therefore parts printed in CPE+ can be used at temperatures up to 100 °C without deforming.

Printing in CPE+ is more challenging than CPE because of the high temperature required to print.

PETG (glycol modified polyethylene terephthalate)

PETG is the go-to material in industrial environments and for industrial applications, for example manufacturing aids, parts for industrial use and functional prototypes. It is versatile, safe and easy to print and available in many colours. Compared to PLA, it has enhanced mechanical properties, such as toughness and wear resistance, better chemical resistance and with higher temperature resistance (up to 76°C)

PC (polycarbonate)

PC can be used for various engineering applications. It’s one of the toughest print materials, making it a perfect choice for printing strong objects. PC has a high mechanical strength, good UV stability, and high thermal resistance. It retains its form at temperatures up to 110 °C. In addition, PC has a good dimensional stability and has flame-retardant characteristics. These properties make it suitable for lighting, molds, engineering parts, tools, functional prototyping, and short-run manufacturing.

Printing in PC can be challenging due to the high temperature required to print.

PP (polypropylene)

As the second most used polymer worldwide, PP offers many possibilities for both prototypes and end-use parts.

Ultimaker PP is durable with a high toughness and fatigue resistance. This means that PP retains its shape after torsion, bending, or flexing. It has very low friction, allowing parts that are in contact with each other to move smoothly over each other.

PP is also semi-flexible. While it’s not as flexible as TPU 95A, it can still be a good option if you’re looking for a material with slight flexibility. Besides this, it has good chemical resistance and high electrical resistance, so it is ideal as an electrical insulator.

Another key advantage of PP is that it has a low density, making it perfect for the creation of lightweight parts. Furthermore, it has good translucent properties.

TPU 95A (thermoplastic polyurethane)

TPU 95A is a semi-flexible material for use in applications that demand the qualities of rubber and plastic.

TPU 95A has a score of 95 on the Shore A Hardness Scale, with an elongation break of up to 580%. TPU 95A is flexible, strong, and can withstand high impacts without deforming or breaking. It is also resistant to many common industrial oils and chemicals and easily resists normal wear and tear.

Unlike other (semi-)flexible materials, Ultimaker TPU 95A is easy to use, prints quickly, and does not require a high level of expertise to use effectively.

TPU 95A is not recommended for applications that will be exposed to UV light, moisture, or high temperatures for extended periods.

Nylon (polyamide)

Nylon is a well-known material used for printing tools, functional prototypes, and end-use parts. It combines strength, impact resistance, and flexibility. Nylon 3D prints are both strong and slightly flexible. Ultimaker Nylon is very durable due to its abrasion resistance and corrosion resistance to alkalis and organic chemicals. Ultimaker Nylon can be used at temperatures up to 80 °C without deforming.

Unlike standard nylon filaments, Ultimaker Nylon is considerably easy to use – it features reduced humidity absorption for easy and reliable printing.

PA6-GF (Glass Fibre)

Chopped Glass fibre Nylon/polyamide based filaments deliver engineering properties intrinsic to Nylon with the ease of printing. PA6-GF is a glass fiber reinforced PA6 (Nylon 6) filament. The glass fibre reinforcement provides significantly improved stiffness, strength and heat resistance with outstanding layer adhesion.

We highly recommend to use a wear resistant nozzle and to keep it with dry conditions (relative humidity of 15% or less) at all times to maintain the best printing results.

PA6-CF (Carbon Fibre)

Chopped Carbon fibre Nylon/polyamide based filaments deliver engineering properties intrinsic to Nylon with the ease of printing. PA6-CF is a carbon fiber reinforced PA6 (Nylon 6) filament. The carbon fibre reinforcement provides significantly improved stiffness, strength and heat resistance with outstanding layer adhesion.

We highly recommend to use a wear resistant nozzle and to keep it with dry conditions (relative humidity of 15% or less) at all times to maintain the best printing results.

PVA (polyvinyl alcohol)

Although PVA is not typically used for printed objects, it is an ideal material to choose if you’re looking for removable support structures. Ultimaker PVA is biodegradable, has a good thermal stability, and is less moisture sensitive than other PVA filaments. After printing in combination with another material, PVA support structures can easily be removed by dissolving in water. This makes PVA a good support material and allows you to print models with large overhangs and complex geometries.

PVA is only supported on dual extrusion printers and is currently optimized to serve as a support structure for either PLA, Tough PLA or Nylon. BB Print cores need to be used with this material.


If your looking for an alternative to PVA you can’t go past BVOH. A high quality water soluble support material that can be used with a number of different polymers and easily dissolved in cold water. This environmentally-friendly material provides support for printing objects with overhangs or particularly complex structures. BVOH will typically absorb less humidity than PVA and if you find PVA challenging to print with give BVOH a try.


Ultimaker Breakaway is an alternative support material. In contrast to PVA it is not water-soluble but needs to be manually removed using pliers. Therefore, Breakaway is mostly suited for technical models that do not contain any unreachable surfaces but still require a smooth finish. It has increased compatibility and in addition to PLA, Tough PLA and Nylon, Breakaway is also compatible with ABS, CPE and CPE+. It has a longer shelf life and is less affected by moisture compared to PVA.

Breakaway is supported in dual extrusion print cores, using AA print cores.