- 1 How did We make This List?
- 2 Best 3D Printer For Flexible Filament
- 3 Types of Flexible Filaments
- 4 Challenges in 3D Printing Flexible Material
- 5 Buying Guide: 3D Printer for Flexible Filament
- 6 FAQ’s
- 7 Conclusion
For several years now, 3D printers have been enjoying wide popularity in the market. The ability to print ideas onto a sheet of paper used to be an incredible thing. However, we have moved onto bigger and better things.
Printing a 3D smaller version is all the rage nowadays. Usually, access to such high-tech devices was limited to big companies. But over time, more and more compact devices have been invented to cater to the needs of customers.
These compact devices are affordable, compact, and faster than their predecessors and have become the backbone for small companies or people with an interest in making 3D models.
A dreamer can always dream things, but a pragmatist wants to make those dreams come true. 3D printers do the same thing, they allow you to realize your ideas into a 3D-form reality.
For 3D printer beginners, there are various models available in the market with uncomplex and amazing features which are easy to operate.
Speaking of incredible 3D models, the next big question coming to mind is ― which is the best 3D printer for flexible filament?
Curious yet? Let us dive directly into the list of 3D printers.
How did We make This List?
We spend several hours searching and analyzing the available options in the market. We surfed the internet to get information about the products and they are received by the customers. We went through tons of articles, comments, YouTube reviews, and more from Amazon and third-party forums like Reddit to gather competitive data that will help us eliminate unsuitable choices.
We even connected to people from various platforms to know what they think about the 3D printers and the kind of experience they had with their products in question.
Best 3D Printer For Flexible Filament
The manufacturer of Creator Pro is a Chinese 3D printing company known as Fashforge.
Specifications and Features:
Creator Pro has a closed camber, so the filament does not get disturbed while making the model. A closed chamber helps the filament work alone and the heating-cooling process also happens faster than the other open ones.
Furthermore, it keeps the dust and foreign particles away from the structure. It also keeps the fumes inside which come from the filaments
This printer has a 6.3 mm thick aluminum alloy platform that helps the plate to heat up fast and equally to all corners. It is a very sturdy and stable platform that provides stability even if it is moving or tilted. Sometimes, models need some rotation to get the perfect shape so in this printer, it can easily happen.
It has a universal power supply, so it does not matter where the person is, they can still power it easily.
Creator Pro has the most effective and supportive user base, even for a beginner, it is easy to understand. A rookie can also start with this 3D printer. Usually, Creator Pro is used to teach students. It is really easy to understand and work with.
Creator Pro is entirely made up of Heat Resistant Metal. Moreover, the front door opens up after it reaches 180 degrees. So, it is great for the user to take out the model easily, and also because it is at that temperature and the cooling process also will take less time.
Creator Pro uses a direct drive system which is ideally made for its dual extruder. It is customized only for this 3D printer to work like spreading butter on a slice of bread. Its dual extruder and powder-coated steel frames make it really good with flexible filaments. Especially with TPU and TPE.
All 3D printers have their own cooling fans in them and Creator Pro also has its own. Because of the closed structure, the fans work really well as all the energy is directly going on the model to cool it down after the work is done.
Having a closed unit in Creator Pro reduces the print volume. Since it helps to maintain the temperature of the model. It is a safe product that does not allow the user to get burns or cuts from it.
It does not need much assembling as it comes mostly assembled. Just a few minutes and you’re good to go. Plus, Creator Pro is an open-source 3D printer that can be attached with multiple software like FlashPrint, Simplyfy3D, ReplicatorG, and Cura.
- It works really fast because of its dual extruder
- It has wifi connectivity
- It has a three-point leveling connectivity
- Open source for better performance
- Dual extruders help to use different filaments and colors at once
- It is a beginner-friendly 3D printer
- The robust and sturdy structure of the 3D printer is really stable
- It does not have any touchscreen. It has only buttons to give the commands
- The surface area is not that much, so much bigger models cannot be done
- Does not have filament running out of sensors. So we need to keep an eye
QIDI Technology is a well-known printer manufacturer in the market. It aims to offer a quality 3D printing experience for the users and is said to be the commercial industry’s most affordable 3D printer manufacturer.
The company has more than six years of experience in making printers, which makes it an expert in the field.
Specifications and Features:
QIDI Tech X-Pro is a pocket-friendly commercial 3D printer in the market, with high-tech and advanced settings. Its affordability is definitely not a mark of what you are getting from it – amazing features.
It is really useful for consumers and students who are interested in or use 3D printing. The device has very low maintenance and is easy to set up.
It has a dual extrusion system which is really unique. We can use two different filaments at once to print. The size of the nozzles in this printer is 0.4mm and both the nozzles are highly suited for the TPU and PLA flexible filaments.
It has a 4.3 inches LCD touchscreen to give commands and control the printer. This
You can use more than one color in this printer, which makes it very artist-friendly.
QIDI Tech X-Pro has an aluminum plate bed, which is excellent for flexible filaments to perform a good job. In this printer, we can use PLA, PETG, and ABS types of flexible filaments.
Its maximum heating bed temperature is 110 degrees and maximum nozzle temperature is 20 degrees.
QIDI Tech X-Pro can be connected to phones via BlueTooth or with Wi-Fi. QIDI has an air blow turbofan to cool down the printing model which covers it from all four sides.
- Has a dual extruder from which we can use two colors at the time of printing
- This 3D printer took only a few hours to assemble
- Has 4.3 inches LCD touchscreen for easy commands to the printer
- Air blow turbofan is there to cool down the printing model fast from all sides
- The build plate in this printer is removable, so when done printing, you can take out the model along with the plate if it’s still hot
- Supports Wi-Fi connectivity for internet access
- Easily available online
- The Air blow turbofan is a bit noisy, so it could be unbearable for some people
- Wifi connectivity could be unbearable sometimes because it could disconnect in between the printing and could ruin the printing
- There is no USB connectivity available
Dremel was known for its rotary machines in the beginning, but a few years ago, it became a manufacturer of 3D printers. Its first ever printer’s name was Idea Builder 3D20 and fast forward to a few years, the company has gained a reputation for being one of best manufacturers of 3D printers. It’s all owed to how it sees what the market needs.
Among many feats, the Dremel DigiLab 3D45 by the brand won the Editor’s Choice Award in 2020, increasing anticipation from customers around the world. Hence, people expect to have great features in Dremel DigiLab 3D40.
Specifications and Features:
Like all the 3D printers, Dremel DigiLab 3D45 also has a single extruder. There is a single extruder in it which is made of aluminum, therefore it does not get clogged.
It is limited in filament usage, so you can use polylactic filaments that are PLA, instead of the thermoplastic filaments. It is because thermoplastic filaments are for more advanced 3D printers. For beginners, using polylactic filaments are great for learning purposes.
It is a mid-price range 3D printer. With this price range, we get great features and can create high-quality products from it.
It has basic features like Wi-Fi connectivity, a single extruder, USB connectivity, to name a few. The price range Dremel has put on this printer is really good for a beginner who is starting to learn about 3D printing techniques with limited budget.
In DigiLab 3D40 the plate is removable, since the magnetic attachments hold the plate. Therefore, the removing procedure is fast and easy as a pie.
DigiLab 3D40 is a closed chamber 3D printer and expedites the heating and cooling process. The closed chamber also keeps the bad fumes coming out from the heating filaments inside.
The heating bed in DigiLab 3D40 does not exist and that’s why it is really good for PLA filament.
The software in this 3D printer is really good, in that it creates a 30% faster process. It gives an ultra-high quality result if you need perfect edges and the best detailing possible.
The connectivity is this 3D printer comprises USB, SDcard, and Wi-Fi. Moreover, Dremel can also be connected to its Dremel print cloud from where you can command for printing.
DigiLab 3D40 offers ultra-high-quality printing, and comew with a setting feature with which you can set it on low-quality 3D printing when needed.
It has automatic nine-point calibration which helps to stick the model to the plate properly and also allows the extruder not get clogged.
In most 3D printers, it is either auto-leveling or manual leveling. However, DigiLab 3D40 offers a semi-leveling plate bed that allows accurate calibration. It comes with a touch screen which shows how to precisely level the plate bed with the knobs.
- It is a beginner-friendly 3D printer
- Comes with a one-year warranty card from the company
- Prints ultra high-quality 3D printing
- Dremel has its own Dremel print cloud from where you can command and edit the printing
- It has a closed chamber
- No assembly time needed as it comes mostly assembled
- It is a very quiet 3D printer compared to other 3Dprinters in the market
- It works best with PLA filament
- Offline as well as online connectivity available
- The software of the printer has great features and is easy to understand
- Only PLA filament can be used, and not other thermoplastic filaments
- Difficult to adjust the setting in between the printing process
- Works great with Dremel’s own filaments, but they are quite costly
- The surface area is not too big
Monoprice Maker Select Plus is a great 3D printer if the buyer seeks an affordable and good performance printer. Monoprice company has been known to manufacture effective and affordable printers. It is a part of the select plus series but much more advanced than its relatives.
Specifications and Features:
Maker Select Plus features great software and also provides continuous upgrades and new features to it from time to time. Monoprice set up a great baseline for the affordable printers in the market by providing a good quality product at a reasonable price.
It has an all-metal body, which makes the design firm and stable. Furthermore, With its very integrated structure and modular design, this printer is more stable and more advanced than the other products from the series.
Maker Select Plus does not come pre-assembled, however, it does not take much time to assemble it. The setup is easy, fast, and can be done by anyone.
The printer also has 4.3 inches of touchscreen attached to it for the commands, which can be really effective to the user. Where most of the budget-friendly 3D printers come with cheap LCD screens, Monoprice on the other hand developed and installed a color screen that also shows the new programs and commands for the printer.
Maker Select Plus can do offline printing via manual bed leveling or microSD or USB. Usually, retraction and layer changing behavior have to be done in a rhythm and this printer does that job perfectly. With this, the end results of the models always come great.
The most notable feature of the Maker Select Plus is its tempered glass print bed. Its glass bed is coated with ‘Aluminium’ which makes it heat resistant and makes it ultra-fluid even on the first layer of the model. The glass bed is installed on the aluminum plate, which makes the surface even and lets you move the model more easily.
XY axis tensioners in the Monoprice Maker Select series will let you tighten the belts for a better printing experience. This feature is helpful because even if the printer is old you can still get better results.
Monoprice Maker Select Plus is the very best 3D printer for ABS. Plus, It is easily available in the market.
Although, the printer can be quite noisy when it starts working, however, it does not make it a deal-breaker as it is not that noisy as the other 3D printers in the market.
Moreover, It has only one type of extruder which is known as Bowden, The Bowden extruder’s preferred filaments are PLA, ABS, PETG, and APU.
- The printer is affordable and offers great features
- It does not come assembled, however, it is easy to set up and assemble
- The printer could be operated offline so no internet is needed for the 3D printing
- The construction of the printer is quite strong because it is made of aluminum
- The alignment is in level to perform well
- provides decent 3D printing results
- This 3D printer is not for beginners
- This printer takes a little more time than other 3D printers
- XY axis tensioners are quite difficult to understand in the beginning
- This 3D printer can have inconsistent performance
Anycubic has become one of the most successful 3D printer labels in the market. Because of its great loyalty to its labels and researches. They produce simple, affordable, easy to handle, and high-quality 3D printers for their consumers. Which is appealing to professionals as well as people who have a passion for 3D printing.
Anycubic Mega-X is the bigger version of the popular 3D printer Anycubic i3 Mega S. Since Mega-X is the new and bigger version of i3 Mega S, it has also upgraded its software and hardware of the printer.
Specifications and Features:
This Chinese company shocked everyone with the quality and price point of this 3D printer.
This 3D printer comes semi-assembled, so it is easy to assemble and does not consume much time. After the assembly, you can start the printing process by using a few steps.
The explanation in the manual is easy to understand even for a beginner. Furthermore, Mega-X has a sturdy and robust aluminum body that ensures the duration and effectiveness of the product.
It has a bigger space so it can make bigger models. It significantly has a larger surface area that is 300 x 300 x 305 mm which is more than other 3D printers available in the market.
The frame is very stable which significantly helps to reduce the vibration on the machine and also it helps to get a better 3D printing experience. Usually, the knobs that come with other printers are small which makes the leveling difficult. However, in Mega-X the leveling knob is bigger, so it is more convenient and easy to level the plate.
Anycubic Mega-X has a new filament holder. These new holders make the printing clear and smooth. It helps to hang the filament and allows the filament to come out smoothly.
Anycubic Mega-X 3D printer is not only affordable but also gives a great result. It is a 3D printer that does work amazing without breaking the bank and is capable of producing fantastic end products.
The smart design of Mega-X is really neat and clean. It has a robust design with great surface area to make bigger models and because of the strong structure, the plates stay balanced.
Mega-X has a big print bed. Moreover, it has an ultra-base print bed. This bed can be heated up to 60 degrees in two minutes, it has a maximum temperature of 90 degrees.
Mega-X has a single titan extruder. It is capable of heating up to 250 degrees with the help of PTFE tubing and can bear this much heat easily. However, when the temperature of PTFE gets hotter than usual, it creates a gas that can be harmful to the user.
In Mega-X it takes some work to change the filament because it is inserted upside down. Thankfully, it comes with a funnel mounted on it, so it is easy to insert the filament in with the help of it. Ideal filaments for this printer would be PLA, PTFE, and ABS. These filaments offer no problem to the extruder and can provide good 3D printing in less time.
Nowadays, 3D printers come with screens to command the printer and Mega-X is no exception. It has 3.5 Inches touchscreen, the software has all the info and options to command the 3D printer.
Connectivity options to the printers are via SD Card and USB. These connections do not need any internet connection.
In Mega-X, there are filament runout sensors. This sensor notified the person immediately when the filament is finished and needs a refill.
- Mega-X comes with a one-year warranty, which ensures its durability
- It comes with an easy-to-use manual book, so you don’t have to spend numerous hours understanding how it assembles and work
- The printer provides great customer service for its consumers. So, in case of any malfunction, there is a great team for help
- There is a touchscreen to command the 3D printer
- It is an easy-to-use 3D printer and can be operated by anyone
- It does not come with an auto-leveling feature
- The printer can make a lot of noise during the printing process
- The print bed is medium size, so, cannot make much bigger models
- The ultra-base glass plate could be chipped in very special circumstances
Types of Flexible Filaments
Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) is probably the most commonly used flexible filament. It is highly admired because of its exclusive hardness, allowing the printing in the easiest way possible compared to the other flexible filaments.
Priline TPU is the highest grade and most known flexible filament. It can easily print at the temperature of 190 degrees to 250 degrees, which is the most common temperature in 3D printers.
Thermoplastic Polyamide (TPA) is the second most used filament in printers. It is a blend of nylon and Co-polymer of TPE. This blend of filaments gives a smooth 3D printing experience. Because of the nylon in it.
it also gives a shiny appearance to the model. TPA has a blend of different materials so nylon gives it hardness and co-polymer gives the filament smoothness and flexibility.
Thermoplastic Copolyester (TPC) is not very famous among 3D printing hobbyists and enthusiasts. It is most common with engineers because it is an engineer-grade flexible filament. The main TPC property is that it can take high temperatures and is used for hard 3D printing work.
TPC is less flexible as compared to other flexible filaments, therefore it is notably stronger and has high-performance strength in heat resistance.
Soft PLA is the combination of TPE and TPU. So, it is the mid-range quality of both the filaments. It is less prone to shatter and has to add durability and strength to the model.
PLA+ is not a very flexible filament but the companies gave it a name because it has the properties of PLA filament.
PLA+ is generally mixed with TPU which takes away the brittleness of the filament and makes it more durable and strong.
Challenges in 3D Printing Flexible Material
Putting the Filaments in the Extruder Properly
Sometimes, it could be difficult to put the filament in the extruder, especially the flexible filaments and it could even cause jam in the extra if not done properly.
To get the flexible filament inside the extruder, the best way is to put it when the extruder is not very hot as it can deform the filament and could clog the extruder.
Sometimes Material gets Clasp in the Machine
The nature of flexible filament sometimes causes pressure in the filament which causes buckling, when it is pushed to the end. Usually, the cause behind this is when the printing is happening too quickly or the pathway is not tight enough for the filaments to flow.
Buying Guide: 3D Printer for Flexible Filament
1. Type of Extruder and Plate Bed
Flexible filaments could be difficult to print because of their flexible and sensitive nature. Keep in mind that the print bed could comfortably reach 50 to 60 degrees temperature, and it can go from 225 to 250 degrees.
Direct drive extruders are most recommended but a Bowden extruder can still work. The plate bed should have good adhesive to keep the model stable in the machine.
2. Types of 3D Filament?
There are two things to consider in a 3D filament, strength, and flexibility. It is important to figure out what mixture of these qualities is best for your needs.
There are different types of filaments available in the market. Every filament has a different density and sturdiness. A flexible filament has a soft rubber-like texture whereas a strong filament will be rigid and stiff in nature.
3. Purpose of Use
3D printers can be used by professionals as well as people who have a hobby for 3D printing. Hence, it is important to know what kind of printer will be better for you. Generally, people who just want to goof around with the printer can go for basic 3D printers while professionals usually prefer advanced 3D printers that can provide quick output.
4. Print Resolution
There are four factors to keep in mind, it should have smaller interchangeable nozzle sizes, small layer heights, motion control, and material. When we are making a bigger model small details are really important and nozzle sizes can affect those details. However, when there are smaller details the smallest nozzles do miracles and are capable of providing high-resolution output with the more detailed product.
What is the most Flexible 3D Printing Material?
It could be confusing as there are different types, and brands in the market. The best one is Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU), as it is the most flexible filament. Most of the 3D printers available in the market can support TPU filament.
How do We Print with 3D Flexible Filaments?
For a rookie, it could be difficult to use flexible filament in the beginning, if the person is experimenting with 3D printing. PLA is a very forgiving flexible filament for the beginning and for their learning time period.
What type of Extruder is the Best?
There are 2 types of extruders available in the market, that is a single extruder and a dual extruder in 3D printers. It all depends upon the person’s choice of what they would like.
What Budget should be Best for 3D Printers?
There are two types of 3D printer classes, one is for hobby and the other is for professional printers. It all depends upon how much the buyer’s pocket is allowing them. There are lots of 3D printers out in the market. The main thing to keep in mind is what features and usage of the printer are needed.
Which type of 3D Printing Technologies are Available?
There are few different technologies in the market for 3D printing. The most common technology is Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). in this filament heated up and extruded by the nozzle, it deposits the molten filament layer by layer onto the plate.
Next is Stereolithography (SLA). In this method, the plate is lowered onto a bath filled with photopolymer resin. The resin becomes solid when opened to a laser beam. Each section is layered onto the cured resin and this process keeps on repeating.
What are the Advantages of Flexible Filaments?
Flexible filaments are the most versatile product. They are waterproof, shock-absorbing, and temperature resistant. They are so flexible but the end result is sturdy and high quality. Plus, minimal energy is required to shape a form.
As you have seen, while buying a 3D printer you will need to pay attention to a lot of different specifications and features of the model. Features like the speed of printing, extruder type, single or dual extruder are the basic component features you should look for.
In the end, the above-mentioned products are the best in the market. We have given you the best options possible with great features and specifications. If you are looking for a 3D printer you can go through the list and see which one stands most for your needs.
All the 3D printers are amazing, just pick the correct one you require for the jobs you plan to do.