What alternative engineering materials can I use when printing my model?

The 3D model assistant notification may show up when using any of the following materials: ABS, CPE+, PC, or PP. These materials have a relatively high shrinkage and are therefore more prone to warping and/or delamination than the other Ultimaker materials. To avoid these kinds of artifacts from showing up, choosing another material can be a solution.

This table shows which materials are the best alternatives to ABS, CPE+, PC, and PP. Further on this page, you can read why these materials can be used as an alternative.

Material Alternative material(s)
ABS PETG, Tough PLA
CPE+ PETG, CPE, Tough PLA
PC

CPE+, PETG, CPE

PP Nylon, TPU95A

 

Note: These recommendations are general and may not be applicable to all models. If you are looking for very specific properties, it is advised to use the datasheets to compare the characteristics of the materials.

ABS

A good alternative to ABS is Tough PLA or PETG. While ABS is often used for its mechanical properties, Tough PLA has similar characteristics, mainly in terms of impact strength. Furthermore, Tough PLA has a much higher printability than ABS, as it is as easy to print as normal PLA.

Be aware that Tough PLA has a lower temperature resistance than ABS though (60 °C vs 85 °C), and is therefore not suitable for applications where the printed part is exposed to temperatures higher than 60 °C. If moderate temperature resistance is still required, PETG poses a good alternative to ABS, with respect to mechanical properties while still providing improved printability.

CPE+

The best alternative for CPE+ is usually CPE or PETG, as they are the same type of materials. This means they are both chemical resistant and tough, and have good dimensional stability. Additionally, Tough PLA can be used as an alternative because of its impact strength and ease of printing. Note that the temperature resistance of these alternative materials are lower than CPE+.

Tip:  More information about the difference between the three co-polyester materials (PETG, CPE and CPE+) can be found here.

PC

The material that is most similar to PC in terms of mechanical properties and strength is CPE+. Although CPE+ may also have difficulties when printing large models, it is less prone to warping than PC. This means that the severity of the artifacts is usually lower and that CPE+ can be used as an alternative to PC.

However, since CPE+ may also have difficulties while printing, it is recommended to use PETG, CPE or Tough PLA if CPE+ is not suitable and temperature resistance of more than 60°C is not required.

PP

PP is a semi-flexible material and shares this characteristic with Nylon and TPU 95A; where Nylon is a bit less flexible and TPU 95A more flexible. For this reason, both Nylon and TPU 95A can be good alternatives to PC. Besides this, these materials have good wear resistance in common.

For more detailed information about the use of each material, take a look at our Which material should I use? page.

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