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New technologies make it possible to achieve printing results that move not only in two dimensions but also in three dimensions. Rapid prototyping technology makes it possible to let your imagination run wild. But 3D printing is also establishing itself in the manufacture of orthoses in the medical technology sector, for example orthopedic technology. Due to the range of different thermoplastic materials, the question arises which material is suitable for which application. Commonly used materials are PLA and ABS.


Polylactide (PLA) is a biodegradable plastic that is made from renewable raw materials such as corn starch or sugar cane. However, PLA is very suitable for use in the food sector. This is also the reason why it is often used for packaging materials, foils, cans, bowls or cups.

For beginners it is advisable to start with the PLA. It is easy to print because there are no significant processing problems. Very good mechanical-physical properties are an additional advantage for use in 3D printing. In general, PLA is harder than comparable filament materials.


Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) is a thermoplastic, which is characterized by high strength, high hardness and good scratch resistance. Typical ABS products are e.g. Lego® blocks.
The processing of ABS is more difficult compared to PLA. Above all, the so-called "warp effect", the bulging of the component due to different cooling temperatures, requires a certain amount of experience in processing.

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