No two TPU filaments are the same.
TPU filaments are known for their flexibility or their ability to bend without breaking. However, each type of TPU filament has its distinct shore hardness and flexibility. You’ve probably seen the shore hardness level for each TPU filament brand. What exactly is this and how does it affect the way you approach TPU 3D printing?
Definition of Shore Hardness
Shore hardness is the measurement of the hardness of plastics. It tests the resistance of plastics against indentation. It has two scales, Shore A and Shore D. Shore A is assigned to soft rubber types, while Shore D is used for hard types. Shore A ranges from Extra Soft to Extra hard. On the other hand, Shore D consists of Medium Hard to Extra Hard plastics. The scales are then broken down into numbers. The higher the number is, the greater its resistance to indentation. While the lower the number, the softer the filament is and the harder it is to print with.
It doesn’t mean that one is better than the other. It just means that each filament is perfect for different applications. What is the difference between the shore hardness of TPU filaments? Read on below to find out.
TPU Filament Ranking: From Hardest to the Softest
Crystal Flex (Shore Hardness: D65)
Crystal Flex is a very durable and tough filament. Despite its toughness, it has the ability to be bendable for up to 230% until it starts getting white stress marks.
Python Flex (Shore Hardness: A98)
The Python Flex (coming soon to X3D) is a 3D printer filament that displays extra hardness. It can be stretched up to 450% until it breaks.
X3D Pro Flexible TPU and ColorFabb nGen_FLEX (Shore Hardness: A95)
The X3D Pro Flexible TPU and ColorFabb nGen_FLEX are both under the Hard level of the Shore Scale. Although they are rigid, they can make flexible prints when printed in single perimeter with little to no infill.
PolyFlex Material (Shore Hardness: A90 – 95)
Depending on the thickness of the print, the PolyFlex Material has a shore hardness that ranges from A90 to A95. This filament is so resilient that it can be strained for up to 400% before it fails.
NinjaFlex (Shore Hardness: A85)
The NinjaFlex (available soon) is incredibly soft and rubber-like with its shore rating of 85A. TPU filaments with this softness can cause difficulties for some 3D printers.
TPU filaments display a high level of flexibility, with outputs ranging from fashion accessories to durable feet for household items. If you want to try flexible filaments for your next project, check out our TPU 3D printing guide or order from our extensive collection of high-quality TPU filaments. Don’t know what to get? Want to pre-order the NinjaFlex and Python Flex? Contact our friendly X3D representatives at 08 6380 7488.