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Flexible Filament

Flexible filaments are known for their elasticity
Overview | Positives & NegativesHardware Requirements

An Overview of Flexible Filament

Flexible filaments are made of Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE) which are a blend of hard plastic and rubber. As the name suggests, this material is elastic in nature allowing the plastic to be stretched and flexed easily. There are several types of TPE, with Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) being the most commonly used among 3D printing filaments. In many cases, these terms are used interchangeably, along with popular brand names such as Ninjaflex.

The degree of elasticity in the plastic depends on the type of TPE and the chemical formulation used by the manufacturer. For example, some filaments can be partially flexible like a car tire but others can be elastic and fully flexible like a rubber band. This guide will cover tips to help you with both of these variations of flexible filaments.

Positives
  • Flexible and soft
  • Excellent vibration dampening
  • Long shelf life
  • Good impact resistance
Negatives
  • Difficult to print
  • Poor bridging characteristics
  • Possibility of blobs and stringing
  • May not work well on Bowden extruders

Typical Hardware Requirements

Printer Bed

Vibration dampening
Grip Sleeves
Phone cases

Build Surface

PEI
Painter’s Tape

Filament Extruder

Temperature: 225-245 °C
Direct Drive Extruder Recommended

Cooling Fan

Cooling Fan Required

Getting Started

Common Applications

  • Vibration dampening
  • Grip Sleeves
  • Phone cases

Popular Brands

  • NinjaTek Ninjaflex, Armadillo, Cheetah
  • Polymaker PolyFlex
  • eSun TPE
  • Sainsmart Flexible TPU

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