TPE filament is probably one of the coolest filaments out there because of its complete flexibility. It is very much rubber like but is very difficult to print with. TPE filament is great for 3D printing gaskets and seals to block off anything you might need that you can’t with regular solid filaments. You can make some very unique 3D 0bjects like Flexible snakes, RC PLane wheels, Gaskets.
The cool thing is that this works great for waterproofing applications because this 3D printing filament is flexible yet durable at the same time. This 3D Printing material is known to be compared to Rubber or Rubber like material.
It’s also super smooth to the touch which is great as well!
The full name of TPE 3D printer filament is called “Thermoplastic elastomers“. The full name of TPU Filament is called “Thermoplastic Polyurethane.“ We will be talking about the difference in the next section.
Some Specifications that you need to know when 3D Printing with TPE Filament & TPU Filament is that you need to slow down.
Keep your 3D Printing speeds at a maximum of 40mm/s with the first layer at half of 40mm/s.
Temperature range is pretty normal and should be set at around 210 Degrees Celsius to around 235 Degrees Celsius.
You should also have your 3D Printer heated bed at around 45 degrees celcius so you can promote good adhesion. To further promote 3D printer Bed adhesion you should use glue sticks or hair spray.
I’ll link where to get those at the bottom of blog.
The difference between TPU filament and TPE Filament is not only in name but also in characteristics. TPE Filament is more soft and is less durable and chemically resistant compared to TPU. TPU 3D Printer Filament is much harder and less elastic compared to TPE Filament. TPE Filament is more spongy and can be compressed more. Next section we will discuss important information you should know when 3D Printing with these materials.
NO BOWDEN. You cannot 3D print with a Bowden style extrusion system! If you try to 3D print this 3D Printing material with a bowden THE 3D Printing material will get clogged because of the friction that will be caused by rubbing on the bowden tube.
SAFETY FIRST. Many customers do not know what TPU and TPE 3D Printing filaments are made up of so you might want to use a insulate the fumes. This is because we’re not sure what this material is made up of and are not sure if it is safe to inhale like PLA 3D Printer Filament.
START SLOW. Ha that’s what she said. But really you want to 3D Print with this filament slowly at around 30 to 40 mm/s because even with direct drive 3D Printing you can still get it clogged. Every 3D printer is different so you need to make sure you dial in and calibrate your 3D printer to make it work with this type of 3D Printing Material.
You can find amazing TPE Filament here. One of the most expensive TPE Filament brands are NinjaFlex going at around 45 USD to around 80 USD. Usually they sell around 25 USD. This is for a Kilogram of 3D printing filament NOT 250 grams or 0.500 KG. You can get great hairspray here and get some good glue sticks here.
Are you looking for more 3D Printing materials to learn about? Well that’s good, you should check out my article about other 3D printing materials!
If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of 3D Printing TPE filament or TPU Filament you can always check out our low costing 3D Printing Service. You can check it out here.