Thermoplastic Elastomer 3D printing filaments are a family of plastics made from a mix of materials with both thermoplastic and elastic properties. TPE 3D printing filaments are incredibly flexible and elastic. They can be bent and stretched significantly before they break or loose their original shape. TPE has similar properties to rubber however as TPE is a thermoplastic it can be used for 3D printing, unlike rubber.
The softness of TPE allows it to adhere well to itself and the print bed however it also leads to some problems when printing. The most common problem is that it can buckle when being pushed through the extruder, something that is not a problem for stiff filaments like ABS or PLA. For this reason, TPE requires a very slow print speed, ranging between 5mm/second up to around 30mm/second. This helps to prevent buckling and also increases the precision of your print.
TPE is an excellent 3D printing filament for you to experiment with. It is useful both for flexible final products and prototypes like airless tyres! This high flexibility/elasticity is not very common when 3D printing so using TPE is a great way to broaden your applications of 3D printing.
Here at Filaments.directory you can select the right TPE filament for you using our constantly updated list of suppliers and our comprehensive search tool!