How to choose materials​

When selecting materials, consider material properties, manufacturability characteristics, appearance and cost. Lori offers a wide selection of metal and plastic materials with a variety of color, infill and hardness options, and an extensive list of manufacturing capabilities to meet the specific requirements of your project. The following tips may help you determine the best material type for your parts:

1.  Metal produces parts with higher tolerances than plastic. 

2. Plastics warp slightly over time due to hygroscopicity and thermal exposure but are generally less costly to manufacture than metals.

3. Sheet metal parts usually cost less thancnc machined parts.

4. Stainless steel and aluminum are often the most cost-effective optionsfor prototyping and low-volume orders.


Aluminum is a lightweight, non-magnetic, silver-colored metal that can be formed into almost any shape.


Customers Include: Brass is a metal alloy made from copper and zinc.


Copper is a naturally occurring, non-magnetic metal known for its unique brownish-red color.


Steel is a popular metal alloy consisting mostly of iron and some carbon. Other elements are sometimes added, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten.

Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel is a steel alloy which contains a minimum of 10% chromium. The additional chromium provides a pristine surface finish and exceptional corrosion resistance not found in carbon steels.

Spring Steel

Spring Steel is a class of steel alloys which are typically heat-treated to optimize their spring-like properties.


Titanium is a transition metal often used in the aerospace, medical, and military industries. It is as strong as steel, but 40% lighter.


ABS also known as Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, is an amorphous polymer used in many everyday products.


Acetal also known by the brand name Delrin, is a thermoplastic first made by DuPont around 1952.


Nylon is a synthetic material first created in 1935 at DuPont. One of the most durable plastics, it is often used as a substitute for low strength metals and is easy to injection mold.


Acrylic is a popular thermoplastic available in opaque and optically transparent forms and is often used as an alternative to glass.


Polycarbonate is often used in construction applications requiring transparent material and is easily machined, molded, and thermoformed.


Design Guides

Spec Sheets

Manufacturing Capabilities

Cost-Savings Guide