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Best 3D Printing Material for Outdoor Use: A Comprehensive Guide

3D printing has been a game changer in the manufacturing industry, enabling creators to bring their ideas to life more efficiently. With the growing variety of applications for 3D-printed objects, there has been an increasing demand for materials that can withstand the harsh conditions of outdoor environments. Selecting the correct filament is an important aspect of 3D printing to ensure that your 3D-printed creations maintain their integrity and functionality in the face of UV radiation, temperature fluctuations, and other weather conditions.

ASA and PETG are top contenders for outdoor 3D printing materials due to their exceptional UV and weather-resistant properties. ASA, also known as Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate, is a popular material for objects exposed to sunlight. In contrast, PETG filament, known as Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol, is widely recognized for its adaptability and resilience. It can retain its form and aesthetic appeal, even when subjected to harsh environmental circumstances.

As advancements in 3D printing technology evolve, the ability to produce visually appealing and long-lasting objects steadily improves. By selecting the appropriate filament for outdoor use, designers and manufacturers can ensure their creations remain effective, regardless of the environmental challenges they may encounter.

Understanding 3D Printing Materials for Outdoor Use

When choosing a 3D printing material for outdoor use, consider the specific requirements of the application and the environment it will be exposed to. Key factors include resistance to UV light, high temperatures, and direct sunlight. Understanding the properties of different 3D printing materials will help you select the appropriate filament for your outdoor applications.

One of the most popular 3D printing outdoor materials is ASA (Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate). ASA is known for its excellent UV resistance and durability. This material is ideal for outdoor applications exposed to harsh weather conditions. ASA, as recommended by MatterHackers, provides superior UV resistance. It also exhibits greater resistance to color fading, warping, and cracking when compared to alternative plastics such as ABS or PETG.

Another great option for 3D printing outdoor materials is PETG (Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol). PETG is naturally UV-resistant and offers good tensile strength. As mentioned by 3DRIFIC, PETG is easier to print with due to its lower printing temperatures. PETG is also a recyclable and biodegradable plastic. This makes it an environmentally friendly option compared to ABS and ASA.

High-temperature resistance is an important element in selecting a material for outdoor applications. As written by Filamentive, PETG boasts enhanced heat resistance compared to PLA, allowing it to withstand higher temperatures in an outdoor environment.

To sum up, evaluate the UV resistance, high-temperature resistance, and environmental impact of a material before selecting it for outdoor 3D printing. ASA and PETG have distinct qualities that make them great choices for outdoor applications.

Comparing PLA, ABS, and PETG Filaments

This section will compare the pros, cons, and outdoor suitability of three popular filaments: PLA, ABS, and PETG.

PLA Filament: Pros and Cons

PLA (polylactic acid) filament is a popular 3D printing material made from renewable resources, such as cornstarch or sugar cane1. It has a low melting temperature and is easy to print, making it an excellent option for beginners1. Additionally, it has a glossy finish, which is ideal for decorative prints1.

However, PLA lacks in several areas for outdoor use. Because PLA degrades quickly and is not heat-resistant, it is not ideal for outdoor items exposed to sunlight and weather conditions. It is also more susceptible to warping and cracking over time1.

ABS Filament: Attributes

ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is a durable filament with better heat resistance than PLA2. It also has high tensile strength and excellent impact resistance, making it a good choice for parts that require durability2.

Despite its strength, ABS may not be ideal for outdoor use due to its poor UV resistance3. Over time, exposure to sunlight can cause ABS to lose its color and become brittle3.

PETG Filament: Outdoor Suitability

PETG (polyethylene terephthalate glycol) filament is another good choice for outdoor applications. PETG exhibits superior durability, weather resistance, and UV resistance compared to PLA and ABS4. It also has a high melting temperature and dimensional stability4.

In addition to its resistance to UV light and the elements, PETG is also quite strong. It is suitable for outdoor applications that require durability and resistance to harsh environments4.

Although each filament has its benefits, PETG appears to be the best choice for outdoor use due to its weather, UV, and heat resistance.


  1. PLA vs ABS vs PETG: The Main Differences | All3DP  2 3 4

  2. A Beginner's Guide to Main Types of 3D Printing Filaments  2

  3. Comparison of PLA, ABS, and PETG Filaments for 3D Printing - Wevolver  2

  4. The Best 3D Printing Filament for Outdoor Use | MatterHackers  2 3

Advanced Materials: ASA and Polycarbonate

When it comes to outdoor 3D printing, ASA and Polycarbonate are two of the most popular material choices. These advanced materials offer a combination of UV resistance, strength, and stability.

ASA Filament for UV Resistance

ASA filament is ideal for outdoor use due to its high UV resistance. Compared to other types of plastic, such as ABS or PETG, ASA is more resistant to the effects of UV light and has a higher resistance to color fading, warping, and cracking. To make the most of ASA filament's properties, use the recommended 3D printer settings. The extruder temperature should have a setpoint of 240±10 °C.

Here are some of the key features of ASA filament:

  • Good UV resistance, making it suitable for outdoor applications
  • High resistance to color fading, warping, and cracking
  • Extruder temperature: 240±10°C

Polycarbonate: Strength and Stability

Polycarbonate filament is known for its high strength and impact resistance. This material is durable and stable under various weather conditions. Polycarbonate requires specific temperature settings to achieve the desired properties. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's recommended settings for successful printing.

Key features of Polycarbonate filament include:

  • High strength and impact resistance
  • Stability under various weather conditions
  • Requires specific temperature settings for successful printing

In summary, ASA and Polycarbonate filaments are exceptional materials for outdoor 3D printing applications. ASA offers excellent UV resistance, while Polycarbonate provides greater strength and stability. Select the material that best meets the needs of your outdoor 3D printing efforts.

The Importance of UV Resistance in Outdoor 3D Prints

3D-printed objects exposed to sunlight are subjected to intense ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which can cause color fading, material degradation, and eventual failure of the printed object. Choosing a material with high UV resistance is imperative to ensure that 3D prints are reliable and long-lasting.

UV-resistant materials are designed to withstand the harmful effects of UV rays from the sun. These materials exhibit improved durability and stability against UV exposure, minimizing the risk of brittleness, discoloration, or warping in the printed object. Because of this, 3D-printed objects made from UV-resistant materials will often remain functional and aesthetically pleasing despite outdoor conditions.

One of the best materials for outdoor 3D printing is the ASA (Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate) filament. ASA filament is recognized as being ten times more weather-resistant and UV-resistant than ABS. This makes it an ideal choice for outdoor projects like garden furniture, planters, and other decorative items, where resistance to UV exposure is a priority.

The material's composition, color, and thickness also influence the behavior of a 3D-printed material under UV radiation. The color of the filament can affect how it absorbs and reflects UV light. Darker colors tend to absorb more UV radiation, which can lead to faster degradation. Lighter colors, especially whites, and light grays, are generally more UV-resistant as they reflect more UV light.

The thickness of the 3D-printed object's walls can influence its UV resistance. Thicker walls provide more material for UV rays to penetrate before reaching the inner layers, potentially improving resistance.

Other options for outdoor 3D printing applications include PETG and polycarbonate (PC) filaments, although ASA is considered the top choice for UV resistance.

In conclusion, outdoor 3D printing UV resistance is critical to the longevity and durability of objects exposed to sunlight. Users can improve outdoor 3D printing performance by using UV-resistant materials.

Heat Deflection and Temperature Resistance

Acrylonitrile styrene acrylate, or ASA, is a popular option for outdoor applications because of its strong thermal and UV resistance. Compared to other types of plastics - ABS and PETG, ASA boasts a higher resistance to the effects of UV light, color fading, warping, and cracking. For ASA filament, it is recommended to set the extruder temperature between 230-250°C, with 240°C being the optimal temperature |1|.

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) is a filament with a high heat deflection temperature greater than 85 °C (185 ⁰F). It is a thermoplastic polymer commonly used in fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printing. While ABS is suitable for outdoor use, it has a poorer UV resistance than other 3D filaments. This causes ABS to become brittle and lose its color much faster than other filaments exposed to sunlight. Applying UV-resistant paint |2| can improve the UV resistance of ABS.

For high-performance filaments, PEEK and Ultem materials have substantial heat-resistant properties. PEEK Carbon Fibre (PEEK-CF) has the highest heat deflection temperature (HDT) at 280°C, while Ultem provides continuous use up to 170 ºC, outperforming PEEK |3|.

Here's a comparison of the key temperature-resistant properties of these materials:


Glass Transition Temperature

Heat Deflection Temperature

UV Resistance


110 ± 5℃

240 ±10℃



105 ± 10℃

>85℃ (185℉)



151 ± 8℃




225 ± 8℃

170℃ (Continuous Use)


The glass transition temperature (Tg) in 3D printing refers to the temperature at which a filament changes from a rigid, glassy state to a softer, rubbery state. Understanding Tg is crucial, as it influences a filament's structural stability during printing and its ability to withstand different environmental conditions.

Naturally, the choice of heat-resistant and temperature-stable filaments for outdoor use will depend on the project's specific requirements. Consider durability, UV resistance, and end product use when choosing an outdoor 3D printing material.

High Tensile Strength for Outdoor End-Use

When deciding on the most suitable material for 3D printing for outdoor use, it's also worth considering the required mechanical features of the printed object. This is especially important for functional prototypes and structural components that require high tensile strength.

One of the popular materials for outdoor use is ASA (Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate). While ASA does have relatively high tensile strength, it is suitable for applications that require durable and mechanically robust 3D-printed parts. Designers and manufacturers often choose ASA when they need 3D-printed objects that can withstand both mechanical stresses and the challenges of outdoor environments.

Another option to consider is PETG (Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol). PETG offers good tensile strength, making it suitable for applications requiring durable and robust mechanical properties outdoors. Unlike ABS and ASA, PETG is easier to print with due to its lower printing temperatures. It is also recyclable and biodegradable, making it an environmentally friendly choice for outdoor use.

HIPS (High-impact polystyrene) also balances mechanical strength and impact resistance. While HIPS has an acceptable heat deflection temperature for outdoor use (80°C and 176°F), it should be noted that prolonged UV light exposure can cause the material to become brittle and discolored and lose its mechanical properties. Although similar to ABS in terms of printability, HIPS is less suitable for extended exposure to sunlight.

Lastly, PLA (Polylactic Acid) offers some UV resistance but lower heat resistance than other materials. It has a glass transition temperature of around 57°C, at which the polymer changes from a hard, glassy state to a rubbery or dense state. Therefore, the increased air temperature and humidity may risk degrading PLA over time. Consequently, it is not the most optimal material for long-term outdoor use, as noted in the UV resistance guide.

To summarize, designing 3D printing material for outdoor uses is based on the required mechanical components, robustness, and practicality. UV resistance, heat resistance, and mechanical properties are critical to the longevity and mechanical performance of a 3D-printed object. ASA and PETG are two of the more suitable choices for outdoor applications.

A Guide to Print Settings for Outdoor Parts

Selecting the Right Wall Thickness

Wall thickness determines the strength of the printed object, affecting how well it can withstand outdoor elements such as wind, temperature fluctuations, and UV exposure. Larger prints require a thicker wall to maintain stability, while smaller prints can utilize thinner walls.

To determine the ideal wall thickness for your project, consider these key elements:

  1. Size and Scale: Larger prints benefit from increased wall thickness to maintain structural integrity. Evaluate the dimensions of your design and scale the print accordingly.
  2. Material: Different materials offer varying levels of durability and strength. Research the properties of your chosen filament and adjust the wall thickness based on the intended use case.
  3. Functionality: Opt for a thicker wall for parts that will bear more weight or experience significant stress. This enhances the part's overall performance and lifespan.

Adjusting for Temperature and Strength

When adjusting print settings to account for temperature and strength, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Printing Temperature: Higher temperatures result in stronger layer adhesion, enhancing durability. Adjust your printer's temperatures as recommended in the material guidelines.
  • Part Cooling: Proper cooling is crucial to print quality, especially when producing outdoor parts. Ensure consistent cooling to avoid warping or reduction in strength.
  • Infill Density: Adjusting infill density can significantly impact an object's strength. Higher infill percentages result in more robust prints; however, material usage and print time also increase. 

Design Considerations for Outdoor 3D Printed Parts

Some popular materials for outdoor use are ASAPETG, and PolycarbonateASA filament is a great choice for UV-exposed parts, as it offers excellent UV resistance and is resistant to discoloration. PETG is another suitable material, as it is naturally UV resistant, has good tensile strength, and is recyclable and biodegradable. On the other hand, polycarbonate filament is highly durable and resistant to harsh weather conditions, providing good impact and UV resistance.

To ensure the durability and longevity of your outdoor printed parts, keep the following design guidelines in mind:

  • Wall thickness: Opt for thicker walls to improve the part's structural integrity and strength.
  • Overhangs: Minimize overhangs, as they can decrease the part's strength.
  • Infill: Choose a higher infill percentage to increase strength and durability.
  • Supports: Ensure proper support structures are used to maintain the shape and overall quality of the print.

In addition to the material properties and design considerations mentioned above, selecting proper post-processing techniques is essential. These can include methods such as coating with protective layers to help increase resistance to harsh outdoor conditions.

By carefully considering materials, design elements, and post-processing techniques, you can create outdoor 3D-printed parts that withstand the elements and perform well in various end-use applications.

Choosing the Most Durable Filaments for Outdoor Use

When selecting the best filament for outdoor prints, durability and resistance to environmental factors are of the utmost importance. There are several materials available that offer high-impact resistance and can produce durable parts.

PETG is a popular option for outdoor use, as it is naturally UV resistant and possesses almost the same tensile strength as ABS. It is also easier to print due to its lower printing temperature requirements. Additionally, PETG is an environmentally friendly option, as it is both recyclable and biodegradable.

Another option worth considering is ASA filament, known for its excellent UV resistance. It is ten times more weather-resistant and UV-resistant than ABS. Due to its resistance to discoloration and strong weather adaptability, ASA filament performs exceptionally well in outdoor environments.

Tough PLA is another material for durable parts with high impact resistance. While not as UV resistant as PETG or ASA, it provides higher mechanical strength and toughness than regular PLA.

Those looking for the strongest filament should consider carbon fiber-infused materials. These materials can provide additional stiffness and strength, making them suitable for high-performance and impact-resistance applications.

In conclusion, the best filament choice for outdoor use depends on the specific requirements of your project. Among the mentioned options, PETG and ASA take the lead when prioritizing UV resistance, while tough PLA and carbon fiber-infused materials offer enhanced strength and durability. 

3D Printing for Outdoor Projects: A Practical Guide

When working on outdoor projects, selecting the right material is crucial for obtaining durable and weather-resistant results. Two common materials recommended for such applications are ASA and PETG.

ASA is known for its excellent UV resistance, making it the top choice for outdoor use. Compared to other materials like ABS or PETG, ASA is more resistant to UV light and has a higher resistance to color fading, warping, and cracking. Extruder temperatures for the printing process with ASA should be around 240±10°C.

Another excellent option for outdoor projects is PETG. This material is naturally UV resistant, with tensile strength similar to ABS, but easier to print due to lower printing temperatures. Moreover, PETG is a recyclable and biodegradable plastic, making it more environmentally friendly than ABS and ASA. You can learn more about how PETG is suitable for outdoor printing here.

When it comes to rapid prototyping or creating a next print for outdoor parts, consider these factors:

  1. Weather resistance: The material should resist temperature fluctuations, humidity, and UV light.
  2. Strength and durability: Ensure the material has sufficient mechanical strength to withstand the intended use and environmental stress.
  3. Printing ease: Printability is important to avoid print failures and reduce time spent on troubleshooting.
  4. Eco-friendliness: While not a priority for every project, this is an important aspect for environmentally conscious users.

Aside from ASA and PETG, other filaments may also demonstrate suitable properties for specific outdoor applications. To explore more options, refer to this list of six best 3D filaments for outdoor use.

When printing spare parts or printed models for outdoor projects, testing a small batch of prints is wise to evaluate their suitability under real-world conditions. This will help ensure the 3D-printed parts meet the desired quality standards and perform as expected.

In conclusion, aligning material properties with the intended use, environmental conditions, and printing requirements will contribute to creating durable and functional outdoor parts. 

Maintaining the Longevity of 3D Printed Outdoor Items

To ensure the longevity of 3D-printed outdoor items, select a suitable material that can withstand various outdoor conditions. Choosing the right material is the first step towards creating durable and sustainable pieces that will last a long time. Some popular options include Polycarbonate (PC)PETG, and ASA, known for their UV resistance and ability to withstand high temperatures.

When using these materials, take note of the following factors to help your 3D-printed items maintain their integrity under various outdoor conditions:

  1. UV Protection: Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can cause degradation in certain materials. Opt for filaments like PC and ASA, which have built-in UV stabilizers that prevent damage from UV rays.

  2. Heat Resistance: Outdoor items may face extreme temperatures. Opt for materials with high melting points. For example, PC has a recommended extruder temperature of 290±20 °C, which provides better heat resistance than other filaments like PLA or ABS.

  3. Moisture Resistance: Choose a material that can withstand humidity and water exposure. PETG is a good choice in this regard, as it is water-resistant. 

  4. Durability: Consider the material's tensile strength and impact resistance, ensuring that your printed items endure daily wear and tear.

When creating 3D-printed items for outdoor use, try to design your 3D objects with sustainability in mind. Opting for renewable resources or sustainable materials is not only eco-friendly but may also contribute to the longevity of your items. PETG is biodegradable and recyclable, the more environmentally conscious choice of material.

In conclusion, selecting the appropriate material and adhering to proper design principles can significantly improve the longevity of your 3D-printed outdoor items. We aim to maintain the functionality and attractiveness of our outdoor 3D items for as long as possible.

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