3D Printing Materials Overview: 100 Materials & Finishes Explained

With such a great variety of 3D printing materials to choose from, it can be difficult and confusing to find the right one. But don’t worry — in this post, we’ll discuss all major 3D printing materials and provide you with small previews and links to learn more about each.

We’ll talk about all 21 materials and more than 100 finishes that we offer here on i.materialise now! To make things easier, we’ll split this article into the following three sections:

  • Plastic 3D printing materials
  • Metal 3D printing materials
  • 3D printing in other materials

Plastic 3D printing materials

For plastic 3D printing, the most popular choice is Polyamide — a strong and flexible nylon plastic. Its natural color is white, but it can be dyed in several colors. Its surface is somewhat rough, but it can be smoothed out. The printing option — laser sintering and Multi Jet Fusion — use powdered polyamide, enabling designers to use it for interlocking and moving parts (i.e., creating a chain).

Polyamide (SLS)

Natural finish

Various 3D Polyamide (SLS) prints with the Natural finish

Dyed finishes

Various Polyamide (SLS) 3D prints with the dyed finish


Various Polyamide (SLS) 3D prints in the Satin finish


Various Polyamide (SLS) 3D prints with Polished finishes

Spray paint

Various Polyamide (SLS) 3D prints with the Spray paint finish

Polyamide (MJF)


Various parts 3D printed in Polyamide (MJF) with a natural finish


Various Polyamide (MJF) parts dyed black


Various Polyamide (MJF) prints with a polished finish

Dyed and polished

Various Polyamide (MJF) prints with a polished and dyed finish


Polyamide powder can also be mixed with Aluminum particles.




3D-printed Polypropylene has properties similar to the injection-molded kind, and the natural finish has a sandy, granular look in a translucent off-white color.

Various Polypropylene 3D prints

Another popular plastic choice is based on resin. Resin 3D prints are made from a liquid photopolymer cured with UV light during the stereolithography 3D printing process and feature a smooth surface. Resin printers can be huge — our biggest printers can print up to 2,100 millimeters! With five different resin options, you’ll find what you’re looking for, whether that’s prints with an extremely high level of detail or our more affordable option: Gray Resin.

Gray Resin

Natural, basic

A 3D-printed sample part in Gray Resin with a natural finish

Natural, support marks removed

Natural Gray Resin parts with their support marks removed

Spray paint (A-side)

Samples of spray paint colors available for the Gray Resin material

High-Detail Resin


Various High-Detail Resin prints

Mammoth Resin

Our Mammoth Resin prints are available with a natural finish or spray painted in the following colors:

Samples of spray paint colors available for the Gray Resin material

Standard Resin

Natural, basic

Various Standard Resin prints

Natural with support

By opting for this finish, you’ll receive your part with the support structures still attached. You can remove them yourself with tools and sanding paper.

Various Standard Resin prints with support structures still attached

Transparent Resin


Various Transparent Resin prints with the natural finish


By adding a small amount of paint to the varnish, we can create a colorful look in white, yellow, red, green, blue, gray, and black.

Various Transparent Resin prints in different colors


Our final plastic material is ABS. This material will give you a print that is strong and accurate. ABS is very useful for functional applications because it matches 80% of the properties of real injected production material. However, the surface quality of the models produced with this material is rough in comparison with other materials.

Various ABS 3D prints

Metal 3D printing

All of our metal materials are printed from their powdered forms. While Titanium is laser-sintered directly, Steel prints are created with the use of a binding agent and curing oven.


Aluminum is a great option for strong, lightweight parts. You’ll notice a subtle sparkle caused by the presence of silicon in the alloy.

Various Aluminum 3D prints with natural finishes

High-Detail Stainless Steel

If you’re looking for an extreme level of detail, High-Detail Stainless Steel is probably what you’re looking for.


Various High-Detail Stainless Steel 3D prints with matte finishes


Various High-Detail Stainless Steel 3D prints with a satin finish


Various High-Detail Stainless Steel 3D prints with a gloss finish


Natural, polished

Various Steel 3D prints in a natural, polished finish

Natural, unpolished

Steel print sample with a natural, unpolished finish

Gold-plated, polished

Steel 3D prints with gold-plated polish

Gold-plated, unpolished

Steel 3D print with unpolished gold plating

Black, polished

Steel 3D prints with black polish

Black, unpolished

Steel parts in unpolished black

Brown, polished

Steel 3D prints with brown polish


Titanium is the strongest 3D printing material out there. It has a matte look and comes with an upscale price.


Titanium 3D prints with matte finishes


3D-printed titanium rings in a satin finish

Our precious metal models come in silver, gold, brass, bronze, and copper. Most of these metals have several finishing options.



Brass 3D prints with untreated finishes

Natural PU coating

Brass 3D prints with a natural PU coating

Yellow gold-plated polish

Brass 3D prints with yellow gold-plated polish

Red gold-plated polish

Brass 3D prints with a red gold-plated polish

Rhodium-plated polish

Brass 3D prints in rhodium-plated polish

Chrome-plated polish

Brass 3D prints in chrome-plated polish

Black color-plated polish

Brass 3D prints in black color-plated polish


Polished PU coating

Bronze 3D prints in polished PU coating

Natural PU coating

Bronze 3D prints with natural PU coating

Natural, uncoated

Bronze 3D-printed ring in a natural, uncoated finish


Although we polish copper models magnetically and by hand, the material is very sensitive to oxidation. By nature, copper has a reddish color but it will tarnish and turn green (verdigris) when it starts to corrode.

Copper 3D prints before and after tarnishing


Gold objects can be created in 14k and 18k and in yellow, red, or white gold.


14K 3D-printed Gold rings in various colors


18K Gold 3D-printed rings in various colors


Silver comes in five different finishes, including our ‘antique finish’.



Silver 3D prints in a gloss finish

High gloss

Silver 3D prints in a high gloss finish


Silver 3D prints in an antique finish


Silver 3D prints with a sandblasted finish


Silver 3D prints with satin finishes

3D printing in other materials


Multicolor is the only material that enables you to print models in more than one color. Models made of multicolor are constructed from a fine, white, granular sandstone powder. The interior of the model stays white while coloring print heads ‘paint’ the exterior of your model.


Various 3D prints in Multicolor



3D prints in Rubber-like are highly flexible and printed in Multi Jet Fusion machines. The surface of this material is fine and granular. Technically, Rubber-like is a plastic material; however, we put it in the ‘other’ category to highlight its extraordinary material characteristics.



Various Rubber-like 3D prints in a natural finish


Various Rubber-like 3D prints dyed black

Extra smooth

Various Rubber-like 3D prints with an extra smooth finish

Learn more about each specific 3D printing material in our overview table here. You can discover more information about all of our 100 different materials and finishes there. Once you’ve found the material of your choice, upload your 3D file here, select your material, and receive a high-quality 3D print right at your doorstep.