Engineering Polymers Overview


In the ever-evolving landscape of 3D printing, engineers and enthusiasts alike are constantly seeking materials that not only meet the demands of complex designs but also provide durability and versatility. Engineering polymers have emerged as key players in this realm, offering a wide range of options for 3D printing applications. In this article, we’ll dive into the world of engineering polymers, exploring their unique characteristics, advantages, and potential drawbacks.

Understanding Engineering Polymers:

Engineering polymers are a class of materials known for their exceptional mechanical properties, thermal stability, and chemical resistance. These polymers are designed to withstand harsh conditions and are commonly used in industrial applications where standard plastics fall short. When it comes to 3D printing, these materials open up a new realm of possibilities, allowing for the creation of durable and functional prototypes, end-use parts, and more.

Key Engineering Polymers for 3D Printing:

  1. Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS):
    • Pros: ABS is widely used for its affordability, impact resistance, and versatility. It is suitable for a range of applications and is readily available.
    • Cons: ABS emits fumes during printing, requiring adequate ventilation. It can also be prone to warping.
  2. Nylon (Polyamide):
    • Pros: Nylon is lauded for its high tensile strength, flexibility, and resistance to abrasion. It is an excellent choice for applications that require durability and impact resistance.
    • Cons: However, nylon’s tendency to absorb moisture can impact print quality, and it may require careful handling to prevent warping.
  3. Polycarbonate (PC):
    • Pros: Known for its high impact strength and optical clarity, polycarbonate is a top choice for transparent and impact-resistant parts.
    • Cons: PC has a high melting point, making it challenging to print without specialized equipment. Warping can also be an issue.
  4. Polyether Ether Ketone (PEEK):
    • Pros: PEEK is renowned for its excellent mechanical and thermal properties, making it suitable for demanding applications, including aerospace and medical.
    • Cons: PEEK requires high print temperatures and specialized equipment. It is also relatively expensive.
  5. Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol (PETG):
    • Pros: PETG strikes a balance between the ease of printing and mechanical properties. It is known for its transparency, strength, and chemical resistance.
    • Cons: While less prone to warping than ABS, PETG may still require a heated bed for optimal results.

Pros and Cons of Engineering Polymers in 3D Printing:


  • Durability: Engineering polymers are designed to withstand harsh conditions, making them ideal for functional prototypes and end-use parts.
  • Mechanical Properties: These materials often boast high tensile strength, impact resistance, and thermal stability, meeting the demands of various applications.
  • Versatility: The range of engineering polymers available provides users with options tailored to specific needs, from flexible materials to high-performance thermoplastics.


    • Printing Challenges: Many engineering polymers require specialized equipment, such as high-temperature extruders and heated beds, making them less accessible to casual users.
    • Cost: Some engineering polymers, like PEEK, can be relatively expensive compared to standard 3D printing materials.
    • Post-Processing Requirements: Certain polymers may require additional post-processing steps, such as annealing or surface treatments, to achieve optimal results.
  • Heat resistance: Even if engineering polymers are way more heat resistant compared to other polymers they fall behind metals and ceramics.


Engineering polymers have undoubtedly expanded the horizons of 3D printing, enabling the creation of robust and functional parts for diverse applications. While challenges such as printing requirements and costs exist, the benefits in terms of durability and mechanical properties make these materials a compelling choice for those seeking to push the boundaries of 3D printing technology. As the field continues to advance, the role of engineering polymers is likely to grow, offering even more possibilities for innovation and creativity in additive manufacturing.

Not sure yet which polymer is the right one for your application? We can help you. Call or write us here.

Different high-performance polymers printed by different printing systems (FDM, SLS and MJF) 

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