Best 3d printer for flexible filament. Review & Buyer’s Guide

3D printing is a pretty fun activity, and it’s practical at the same time. When you want your model to be flexible and stretchy, you will work with TPU and TPE. Now, not every 3D printer out there is compatible with these materials.

That’s why I am here with the best 3D printer for flexible filament. These 3D printers specialize in printing models that use TPE or TPU. For the most part, you will end up with a good quality print that can stretch, which is the sole purpose of using a flexible filament.

So, let’s not waste much time and get started with the 3D printers.

Top 7 3D printer to use for flexible filament

The printers I have got here are pretty impressive in quality. You can rely on these for good-quality prints using TPE and TPU. Let’s get this started.

FlashForge 3D Printer Creator Pro

With some fast-paced 3D printing action, this can yield results for you that save up your time a lot. The performance you get is very much impressive especially considering the price. It’s just perfect for using flexible filament to get those stretchy models.

This is an excellent printer for beginners because it comes all assembled. You don’t need to go through any assembly process at all. Simply plugin and start printing. It’s also pretty easy to use, even if you haven’t used a 3D printer previously.

Something that sets this printer apart from any other printer is the speed. You get some fast and accurate printing action from this printer. This saves up your time in 3D printing your models.

Another great thing about this printer is the Wi-Fi feature. You can simply connect your device to the printer and start printing your models with the files in it. It makes the whole process much more convenient for you.

FlashForge 3D Printer Creator Pro
Click for Details

Specifications  

  • Nozzle: 0.4mm
  • Filament: 1.75mm
  • Print volume: 200mm x 145mm x 150mm
  • Max print speed: 100mm/s
  • Dimensions: 16.14 x 22.05 x 18.9 inches
  • Weight: 24.25lbs

Pros

  • The build quality is pretty impressive
  • You get quick and fast results from the printer
  • It has got Wi-fi connectivity for convenience
  • The print quality you get is commendable
  • It’s a value for money printer

Cons

  • It doesn’t have a touchscreen
  • The build volume can be a bit small

Dremel – 3D45-01 DigiLab 3D45 3D Printer – Best in performance

Do you want a professional printer to print those flexible materials? If you do, then this is the perfect pick. It’s not something that you would use for DIY projects or hobby stuff. Starting from the price to the performance and build, it’s all professional.

First of all, the build volume is relatively more significant than the other usual 3D printers you get to see out there. It has a build dimension of 10 x 6.0 x 6.7 inches, so you can see how large the space is. You can print small to large any kind of model on this one.

Coming to the durability factor, you won’t have any issues with it at all. The build and construction of this printer are commendable. You won’t have to wonder how long this will last, because the build is very reliable.

The best value of this printer comes in the print quality. You can hardly find a printer out there that gives you great quality prints like this one. It gives you professional quality printing that is accurate and looks pretty much flawless once you are done printing it.

Specifications

  • Nozzle: 0.4mm
  • Filament: 1.75mm
  • Print volume: 255mm x 155mm x 170mm
  • Max print speed: 100mm/s
  • Dimensions:23 x 18.75 x 18.75 inches
  • Weight: 42.8lbs

Pros

  • This is a professional quality 3D printer
  • It comes with great durability
  • You get a larger build plate than usual
  • It’s super easy to use with the IPS touch panel
  • It has got modern features like Wi-fi, printing software and HD camera

Cons

  • You can’t use 3rd party filament on this one
  • It’s quite expensive

Monoprice-113860 Maker Select 3D Printer v2

I wouldn’t recommend this to a beginner, but this is an excellent pick if you have a little knowledge of 3D printers. While it’s not particularly hard to use, it does require a bit of tinkering for the best possible performance. Aside from that, it has some impressive quality as well.

The build plate you get on this is pretty significant. You can have some complex models printed on this printer. Also, it’s compatible with a lot of materials, including TPE and TPU. So, you don’t need to worry too much about getting a particular kind of filament for this one.

This printer is pretty lightweight, so that you can carry it around without any issues. It’s easy to move around the printer. This makes working on your DIY projects much more convenient than usual. You can even take this with you to different places as it’s pretty compact at the same time.

One of the best aspects of this printer is its affordability. For the quality and features, this printer doesn’t cost you too much. You will surely be satisfied with the performance you get from this within that price.

Specifications

  • Nozzle: 0.4mm
  • Filament: 1.75mm
  • Print volume: 200mm x 200mm x 180mm
  • Max print speed: 150mm/s
  • Dimensions:19.7 x 18.9 x 11.2 inches
  • Weight: 0.9lbs

Pros

  • The 3D printer is very much lightweight
  • It comes with a good build plate size
  • This is a very affordable 3D printer
  • It’s compatible with a lot of different filament materials
  • It’s pretty quick to assemble

Cons

  • You have to level the bed on this manually
  • It needs a bit of tinkering for the best results

QIDI TECH 3D Printer, X-Pro 3D Printer – Best overall

Without any question, this is the best overall 3D printer you can get for flexible filament. Not only does it come at a reasonable price, but it also provides you with some excellent features. There is simply no way to be disappointed with this 3D printer whatsoever.

It starts with the durability of this machine. Whether it’s the exterior or the interior components, you get durability throughout this printer. This is a printer that is sure to last long enough for your usage.

The printer comes with an excellent print volume. You don’t have to worry too much about the size of the 3D model that you want to print. It’s decent for doing most of the miniature 3D modeling at the highest print quality.

Several things make it a great option for flexible filament 3D printing. First of all, the direct drive extruder is an excellent component to have in your 3D printer. When you pair it up with a heated bedplate, you can prevent issues like jamming and even slipping.

Specifications

  • Nozzle: 0.4mm
  • Filament: 1.75mm
  • Print volume: 230mm x 150mm x 150mm
  • Max print speed: 150mm/s
  • Dimensions: 22.8 x 21.1 x 18.5 inches
  • Weight: 39.68lbs

Pros

  • It’s one of the best value for money printers
  • The print quality is utterly impressive
  • You get excellent durability out of this printer
  • The print volume is quite spacious on this
  • This provides excellent results for flexible filament print

Cons

  • The Wi-fi functionality can be unstable at times
  • The printer can get a bit noisy

ANYCUBIC Mega-S New Upgrade 3D

Now, this is a printer you should check out when you want quality out of your prints. With the value for money and excellent print qualities, you will never have to question your decision about this printer. It’s such a satisfying 3D printer, especially for beginners.

This is a printer that promises you durability. Whether it’s the outer construction of the printer or the inner components, you get reliable durability everywhere. You won’t have to worry too much about whether this will last long or not.

One of the best things about this 3D printer is the TFT touch screen panel. The panel is super responsive that makes using the printer a complete breeze. You don’t get any trouble while using this printer because all the functionalities are pretty easy to understand through the touch screen.

Adding to that comes the larger build volume. This printer gives you a build volume of 210mm x 210mm x 205mm. That is pretty large for creating small to medium-sized 3D print models. Along with that, it has that resume print functionality in case of sudden power failure.

Specification

  • Nozzle: 0.4mm
  • Filament: 1.75mm
  • Print volume: 210mm x 210mm x 205mm
  • Max print speed: 100mm/s
  • Dimensions: 16.14 x 15.95 x 17.83 inches
  • Weight: 24.25lbs

Pros

  • It provides you with good quality prints all the time
  • The printer is very easy to assemble
  • You can easily use this printer thanks to the touch screen
  • The print volume on this is pretty impressive
  • It comes with a sturdy aluminum frame construction

Cons

  • You will need to do the leveling manually
  • It doesn’t come with a cover hence can be a bit noisy

MakerGear M2 Desktop 3D Printer – Best value for money

Well, this may not be the most popular brand of 3D printer out there, but it doesn’t fail to deliver. You get excellent performance coming out of this 3D printer. Flaws? I don’t think you will find many in this one.

Starting with the printing performance, what you get is precise and solid printing results. You don’t need to go through any upgrades or tinker to get that kind of result. Just going through the basic bed leveling and minor adjustment is enough to get started with this.

This printer is pretty much compatible with all kinds of filament materials. Whether it’s TPU or ABS, or PLA, you can use any filament you want. And the best part is that you can use any 3rd party filament you want; there are no restrictions.

The next thing to love about this is the build quality. It comes with a rigid chassis that stands still and doesn’t shake around. This makes sure you are getting that accurate printing results and a hassle-free printing experience. And to top things off, this brings you a good build volume alongside.

Specifications

  • Nozzle: 0.35mm
  • Filament: 1.75mm
  • Print volume: 210mm x 210mm x 205mm
  • Max print speed: 200mm/s
  • Dimensions: 24 x 21 x 16.5 inches
  • Weight: 36.6lbs

Pros

  • This provides you with excellent print quality
  • The printer is pretty heavy in construction
  • It comes with a good print volume
  • The printing process pretty easy and accurate on this
  • It’s a value for money printer without any question

Cons

  • You have to keep it on a stable surface, or it jerks a lot
  • It’s not the best thing for beginners

ZD Bravo-I 3D Printer, Metal Plate Fully Assembled Large 3D Printer

Now, this is more like an underdog that you can’t underestimate. It comes up with some surprising performance for the price you pay for it. Sure, it’s not the best performing printer out there, but considering the price, you get good value, that’s for sure.

For instance, you don’t need to go through a troublesome assembly process to use this one. It’s completely assembled when you receive the printer. You just take it out of the box and start using it as usual.

To be very honest, this doesn’t provide you with the most professional print quality out there. However, the quality you get out of this printer is more than enough for hobbyists or DIYers.

The print volume you get on the printer is quite decent. It has a volume of 220 x 250 x 250 mm, which is not small. So, you can rely on this printer for printing some larger or medium-sized 3D models without any issues at all.

Specifications

  • Nozzle: 0.4mm
  • Filament: 1.75mm
  • Print volume: 220x250x250mm
  • Max print speed: 100mm/s
  • Dimensions: 16.14 x 16.54 x 18.9 inches
  • Weight: 26.15lbs

Pros

  • It has got decent print quality for DIY projects
  • You don’t need to assemble the whole thing
  • The price is surprisingly low
  • It is a comparatively lightweight and compact printer
  • The print volume is quite large

Cons

  • The print results you get on this are inconsistent
  • The build quality isn’t that good

Buying guide for a 3D printer for flexible filament

Sure, you can find a lot of 3D printers out there. But getting something that works with flexible filaments and gives you quality prints isn’t going to be easy. There are lots of things you have to consider in that case. Let’s get through the factors you should consider when you are buying a 3D printer.

Filament compatibility

The very first thing you should consider is the type of filament. When it comes to the filament, you get two flexible options. It’s either TPU or TPE. There’s another flexible filament material called soft PLA.

When you are buying your 3D printer, you have to make sure that the printer is compatible with these materials. Otherwise, you can’t even print using these materials. So, you have to be aware of the fact that the printer is compatible with these.

Now, most printers out there are compatible with PLA, PETG, and ABS, but finding something compatible with TPU or TPE is going to be difficult. So, you will need to spend a bit of time finding the perfect 3D printer.

Extruder type

Here’s something that can have a lot of impact on the printing results for flexible filaments. Certain extruder styles give you better results with flexible filament. The most common extruder style is the Bowden style. However, it’s not the best one for working with flexible filament.

So, when you are buying a 3D printer for flexible filament, make sure to get a direct drive extruder setup. This type of extruder gives you the best results for flexible filaments.

Print volume

This mostly depends on what kind of printing you will be doing with your printer. If you are making large models, then you will surely need a printer with a larger build volume. But if you are doing smaller models, then you don’t need to worry about that too much.

Typically going for a print volume of around 200mm x 145mm x 150mm is enough for the most part. If you can get something larger than this, then sure go ahead. But a larger print volume also means a bigger printer. So, you have to be aware of that.

Print speed

Well, a higher print speed means quicker print results. However, it’s not that straightforward for flexible filament. You have to make sure that the speed is quite slow on your printer. A higher speed may somehow affect the print quality in some cases. So, make sure to go for a printer that gives you decent speed to print correctly.

Usually, a speed somewhere around 30mm/s to 40mm/s is more than enough for flexible filaments. A slow pace is necessary for Having a print speed between that range can yield good results within a short period. However, this works for more petite or miniature 3D models.

Print quality

Print quality is something you have to keep in mind, especially if you are using the printer for professional purposes. Even as a hobbyist, you need to consider somewhat decent print quality.

What do I mean by print quality? Well, this just means how accurate your printer can print. This results in getting detailed prints that you can admire when you look at them. These prints usually end up looking pretty clean.

Ease of assembly

Many 3D printers will come assembled and some require assembly. If you are a complete beginner, you should try getting a printer that comes made. But if you have some knowledge of 3D printers, it’s not even necessary to consider this factor.

Usually, assembling a printer isn’t that hard. However, something that can be pretty difficult is bed leveling. So, if you can use a printer that doesn’t require any tinkering or bed leveling, aim for that. Especially if you are a beginner.

Ease of use

Once again, as a beginner, you have to consider how easy it is to use the 3D printer. Using a 3D printer gets much simpler when you have a touchscreen panel on it. This makes using the printer much more accessible and convenient.

When you consider all these factors, you should end up with a 3D printer for a flexible filament that suits your needs the most. Other than these, you will, of course, need to consider the price and budget of your 3D printer. Usually, it’s not that much if you aren’t going for a professional-level 3D printer.

FAQ

Let’s go through some common questions related to the best 3D printers for flexible filament –

  • What are flexible filaments?

These are the kind of filaments that you can stretch and curve. These have elasticity, and they are pretty flexible. Usually, they are TPE or thermoplastic elastomer and TPU or Thermoplastic Polyurethane.

  • What is the best extruder for flexible filament?

The best extruder you can use for flexible filament is direct driver extruders. They yield perfect printing results with flexible filament. On the other hand, you can’t correctly print flexible filament on a Bowden setup which is the more common option.

  • What’s the best speed for flexible filament?

It’s best to use a slow speed of around 30mm per second to 40mm per second. Using quicker speeds can build pressure in the nozzle with the filament.

Final thoughts

To sum up, getting the best 3D printer for flexible filament comes down to the factors you have to consider. At the same time, there are some technical kinds of stuff like choosing the right extruder and the right speed. Then, there are some general things like the print quality and volume.

Well, every printer I listed above has good quality so choosing one can be difficult. That’s why I have some suggestions to help you out. Now, if you want the best value out of your money, then go for the MakerGear M2 Desktop 3D Printer.

Isn’t money a worry? In that case, Dremel – 3D45-01 DigiLab 3D45 3D Printer gives you the best performance that fulfills professional needs. But if you want a balance of quality and affordability for your DIY projects, then I would say QIDI TECH 3D Printer, X-Pro 3D Printer is an excellent choice.

Aside from these three, you can choose anyone from the list and end up satisfied. There is no question about that at all.

Leave a Comment