This is the first post of 3D printing for teens! In this weekly series I will share my experience and tips and tricks. The goal for this series is to get more teenagers excited about 3D printing and to help them master the craft.


In advance

In the world of 3D printing there are lots of plastic filament to choose from. But which filament is right for your application? What is the best way to print these plastic filaments? What is the best overall plastic type? I will answer these questions and more in this post. Consider this as a manual for choosing the right plastic. In this post I will cover the basic plastic filament: PLA, ABS, PETG.



Polylactic acid(PLA) is the best type to start your 3D printing journey. It is the most popular plastic in the market with lots of brands and colours to choose from. Most people like this plastic because it gives the best printing results! Use it for prototyping, low wear objects, models.

The advantages:

  1. When heated non-toxic fumes.Doesn’t warp as easily. Example of warping:    
  2. Has lower printing temperature and is compatible with all 3d printers.
  3. Biodegradable plastic and environmentally friendly .
  4. High strength.
  5. Heated print bed not mandatory.

The disadvantages:

  1. Might have high strength but is very brittle and not meant to be used in mechanically intensive parts.
  2. Pliable at 60℃ which is low.


  • Print temperature: 180℃-230℃.
  • Print bed temperature: 40℃ – 70℃ (not mandatory).
  • Non-toxic fumes.


Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene(ABS) is in my opinion the worst type to choose. This plastic ranks at second place for most used filament which I don’t understand. I do not recommend using this plastic because of its toxic fumes which will lead to undesired diseases overall! Instead of choosing ABS I have another alternative which in my view is much more superior: PETG.

The advantages:

  1. High strength, medium flexibility, high durability.
  2. Resistant to higher temperatures.

The disadvantages:

  1. Heated print bed is mandatory to avoid warping!
  2. Toxic fumes. Needs a filter of well-ventilated room.
  3. Harder to print than PLA.


  • Print temperature: 220℃-250℃.
  • Print bed temperature: 80℃ – 110℃ (not mandatory).
  • Soluble in acetone. (NOTE: handle acetone with care, its toxic).



Polyethylene terephthalate glycol-modified(PETG). This is my favourite plastic to print with. It is just a tad bit harder to print than PLA and doesn’t release toxic fumes as its counterpart ABS. PETG is more flexible a durable than PLA and safer and easier than ABS. Be aware of a few things you should keep in mind:

  • Store PETG in a dry place. If the plastic absorbs to much moisture, it will give worse prints.
  • PETG scratches more easily than ABS but it is not significant.

PETG is now my go to plastic (used to be PLA). It is an amazing allrounder with a cool semi-transparent look 😊.

The advantages:

  1. Amazing layer adhesion.
  2. High strength, medium flexibility, high durability.
  3. Easy to use.
  4. Non-toxic fumes.

The disadvantages:

  1. Absorbs a bit of water so store in dry place.
  2. Heated bed is not that mandatory but to get even better results I recommend using it.


  • Print temperature: 220℃-250℃.
  • Print bed temperature: 60℃ – 80℃ (not mandatory).
  • Non-toxic fumes.



I will cover expert level plastics and some other exotic plastics.

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2 Replies to “3D printing for teens (1): Choosing the right plastic filament”

  1. I’m just writing to let you know of the wonderful encounter my cousin’s girl had studying your webblog. She came to understand a good number of things, which included what it is like to possess an incredible teaching heart to have many others effortlessly master a variety of advanced topics. You really did more than people’s expectations. Many thanks for presenting those important, healthy, edifying not to mention cool tips on that topic to Ethel.

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