3D printing with flexible plastics

The most common materials for printing parts with soft plastics are TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) and TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer). TPU is a lineal chain elastomer with good chemical, wear, and abrasion resistance. The presence of hard and soft segments in its chemical composition mean that it can be combined in different proportions to adapt the hardness of the TPU to the mechanical demands of the specific application. TPE is a very elastic polyurethane based material, but additives are added to it in order to increase its capacity to warp and to recover its shape without breaking. It has a matt finish, unlike the shiny surface of TPU.


3D printing process with TPU and TPE

3D printers for soft plastics such as TPU and TPE require a special extrusion head to resolve any material retraction issues and to ensure that the material flow is constant.

Technical specifications of flexible plastics

  • Range of colours
  • TEP from 70 to 90 Shore A hardness
  • TPU from 93 to 98 Shore A hardness
  • Elongation at break point (TPE): up to 900% 01.
  • Tensile strength: 53 MPa 02.
  • Softening temperature: 100°C. 03.
  • Soft feel 04.
  • Parts printed with TPU and TPE have excellent amortigation and vibration absorption features.
  • Its simple and good bonding with other rigid plastics means that a TPU or TPE layer can be printed over a PLA, ABS, or Nylon layer to make the surface softer.
  • It has a high warp capacity without breaking, while also maintaining its good mechanical and chemical properties (gasoline and solvent resistant)
Technical data sheet


Custom parts of 3D printed TPU and TPE

Parts printed with TPU and TPE are ideal for any use that requires a certain degree of warping. The flexibility of 3D printing means that bespoke sealed joints can be produced, both in terms of geometrics and thickness.

The process step by step

3D File

Send us your 3D file ready to print.
If you do not have the file, send us the item and we will create the CAD file.
If you need a design from scratch, our designers will gladly prepare a quote for you.

3D Printing

We will create the process file adapted to the technology and materials that will be used to produce your item.
We prepare and condition the printer to guarantee optimum quality.

Cleaning and post processing

This step is key when meeting your requirements, and it is one that we are highly specialised in.
The removal of the printing support structures, heat treatments, and surface finishes (blasting, polishing, tooling) are some of the most common post processes.


Applications of 3D printed TPU and TPE

The flexibility and elasticity of TPU and TPE, together with their chemical resistance and large vibration and shock absorption capacities make them the ideal materials for the printing of deformable objects in industrial environments or for specific items.

Fashion industry
Protective casings
Deformable connectors
Shock and vibration absorbers

Printing machinery

Used with TPU and TPE
Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) 3NTR A2

3NTR is one of the leading professional plastic printer manufacturers. Its large AS model has a liquid cooled extruder that allows engineered plastics to be printed.


Large items can be printed up to 600 x 325 x 500 mm.


One of the best qualities of the 3NTR-A2 is that almost any FDM developed filament can be used.

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Other materials

In addition to flexible plastics, we offer 3D printing in plastic in the following materials. Take a look and decide which one best suits your needs.

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