Guide-Breaking-Down-Specialty-Filaments MakerHero Australia

Guide: Breaking Down Specialty Filaments

When introduced into the world of 3D printing, we start off with the stock standard filaments like PLA and PETG which are perfect for most uses. However, you may have begun to notice some more interesting types of filaments like wood or metal blends that are capable of making some truly special prints. In this post, we’ll be taking a look at some of the specialty filaments out there, their benefits, their uses, and their drawbacks.

In our blog, we’ll be going through the following list of specialty filaments, so scroll down to find out more!

  • Wood PLA
  • Metal PLA
  • Carbon Fibre PLA/PETG
  • PVA
  • Particulate PLA
  • Conductive PLA

Wood PLA

Wood PLA is PLA that has been mixed in with approximately 20% - 40% wood powder. Depending on the wood powder used, prints will have varying surface finishes. Prints have a wood-like look and feel, which can be further accented using post-processing techniques like sanding and staining. It’s important to note that wood PLA is abrasive and absorbs moisture easily, so a steel nozzle should be used to reduce wear, and the filament must be stored correctly in an airtight container. Shown below is the breakdown of wood PLA
Pros Cons
  • Wood-like texture
  • Prints easily
  • Abrasive
  • Absorbs moisture easily
  • Lots of stringing when printing
  • Post-processing required
Here at Makerhero we supply two types of Wood PLA, mixed in with Beech wood powder and Tasmanian Oak wood powder to give two natural, unique finishes. Click the button bellow to grab a spool!

Metal PLA


Similar to wood PLA, this is PLA that has been mixed in with up to 50% magnetic material. Using this filament makes prints magnetic (using neodymium for best effect) and allows prints to rust. The rusted look is a unique finish that may be desired for some prints. Like wood PLA it is important to use a steel printing nozzle to prevent wear, and to store the filament in an airtight container to prevent it from absorbing moisture. Shown below is the breakdown of magnetic PLA:


  • Magnetic Prints
  • Rustable Finish
  • Prints Easily
  • Abrasive
  • Absorbs moisture easily
  • Post-processing Required

Here at Makerhero we make our very own Rustable Magnetic Iron PLA, PLA mixed in with black iron powder to give it metallic properties. Click the button below to grab a spool!

Carbon Fibre PLA/PETG

Credit: BCN3D

This filament has small fibres of carbon fibre mixed in with either PLA or PETG. These fibres greatly increase the strength and rigidity of the prints created. As the mix with the filament is fibres instead of particles, this filament is much more abrasive and has a greater tendency to clog. To prevent these issues, a steel nozzle with a larger diameter (0.4mm+) can be installed. Carbon fibre filament can be used for 3D prints in model aircrafts, robots, lightweight applications, shock-resistant applications. Depending on the mix of PLA or PETG used, the strength of the Carbon Fibre filament is further improved. Shown below is the breakdown of Carbon Fibre filament:


Pros Cons
  • High strength and rigidity
  • Good strength to weight ratio
  • Abrasive
  • Brittle
  • Steel nozzle recommended

Here at Makerhero, we produce our very own CF Blend Carbon Fibre PETG and PLA filament. Click the button below to grab a spool!


Credit: Simplify3D

PVA is a very soft, rubbery filament with the special feature being that it dissolves completely in water. While there are few applications when used on its own, PVA filament is fantastic for use on dual extrusion printers to create dissolvable supports. Prints with PVA supports can simply be washed with water and the supports will all dissolve away. However, due to this soluble property, it is imperative that this filament is stored in a dry and airtight container, even while printing as air moisture will cause the filament to degrade quickly. It’s also important to know that PVA burns when left hot for too long so hot, idle extruders will quickly lead to a filament clog. Shown below is the breakdown of PVA filament:

Pros Cons
  • Used for dissolvable supports
  • safe for human touch
  • Filament clogs if burned
  • Only useful with dual extrusion
  • Airtight storage is required

Particulate PLA

This is PLA that has particulate material added purely for aesthetics. The material properties of such filaments remain much the same, however they are slightly more abrasive than ordinary PLA. Some of these aesthetic particles can include coloured flecks or bits of glitter. Shown below is the breakdown of Particulate PLA:

Pros Cons
  • Aesthetic look
  • Same print settings as normal PLA
  • Slightly more abrasive than normal PLA

Here at Makerhero, we produce our very own Particulate PLA. We supply Black Magic PLA a deep black PLA with sparkling glitter, and White Natural Stone PLA, a smooth white PLA with grey particulate for a rugged stone look. Click the button below to grab a spool!

Conductive PLA

Credit: LATI

This is filament that has had carbon powder added to it to make the material conductive. While the conductivity of such filaments has a far higher resistivity than is appropriate for wires, these prints can be used for ESD applications and in some cases, electroplating. The resistivity of Conductive PLA varies greatly between manufacturer and even print settings used, thus some fine tuning is required for each application. The material properties of Conductive PLA again, remain mostly unchanged from ordinary PLA apart from being slightly abrasive.

Pros Cons
  • Conductive
  • Slightly more abrasive than PLA



All the materials covered in this blog are only some of the many filament types out there. There are many, many more weird and wonderful materials out there like glow-in-the-dark, colour-changing, clay, aromatic, and so much more. Make sure to keep your eye out for some of these amazing materials and let us know which filaments we should explore next!

Make sure to click on the link below to head to our MakerHero materials guide for detailed material properties on all of our filaments.

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