A filament review

In the few months I’ve been doing 3D printing I have used several different filaments. I wanted to try a bunch of different ones to get a feel for them. I figured it was a better idea than just sticking to one brand and not knowing if there’s better options out there. So here’s what I have learned about the few I’ve used. They’re all 1.75mm PLA.

So here goes:

1. Worksteel, white

I must say this is probably my favorite filament. It is also the first filament I tried, so I spent the most time fiddling with it to get used to printing. It prints smoothly with no bubbles or zits. It has a slightly transparent feel, which is great if you are printing lithophanes. The best printing temp for this is 210°. And it prints very well with a 1.5mm layer height.

2. Inland, purple

I like the color of this filament very much. It is a really rich color. It prints fairly well, but needed a lot of tweaking to get it to print somewhat ok. There’s probably a better purple out there though. It prints the best at 210° as well. A 1.5mm layer height is pretty good for this one.

3. Hatchbox, black

It took a lot of testing to get this one close to right. I’m still not a fan of it though. But it’s better than the generic brand I tried first that did nothing but clog my machine. I couldn’t even get one test print out of that one before I returned it out of sheer frustration. This one also printer the best at 210°. You’ll want to slow your print down though to about 75%. It seems to prefer the lower speed. It printed best at a 1.0 – 1.5mm layer height. Be careful with the finer details, it gets a bit spotty on the small parts when printing.

4. Dazzle Light, grey

I liked this one. It printed smoothly and required only a little bit of fiddling with setting to find one that worked for this filament. This one likes a bit of a higher temp at 215°. For speed I would keep it at the standard setting. As for layer height I would say either 1.5mm or 2mm works well. It can get a bit spotty on finer details like the Hatchbox though.

5. Dazzle Light, blue

This color required a lot of setting adjustments to get it close to right. It strings easily, even with high retraction settings. It like the same temp as the grey, 215°, but it prefers a slower speed. The best layer height for this was 1.5mm. The higher ones makes the print turn out very linear. I only use this one if I have to as I don’t personally like the color. Not a fan of blue. But it is a good medium blue.

6. ZYLtech, wood

I really like this filament. It prints the best at 205-208°, and gives you a nice neutral matte color. If you want a more shiny, dark color you can up the temp. 215° makes it pretty dark, but that makes it look more like plastic than wood. It is really lightweight, like balsa wood, and feels a touch like particle board to the touch. The thicker your walls are the darker the material gets too. It’s rather fragile with a 1.2mm – 3 wall – shell, so don’t drop it from a great height. It does get lots of strings and zits, so to reduce that up you retraction speed to 80 mms and retraction distance to 6.5 mm. Also up the flow for this one to about 120%. It reduces gapping throughout the piece. Use a larger nozzle for this, a 0.5 or 0.6.

7. Ziro, glow-in-the-dark(glows blue)

I’m not a big fan of this filament. It’s really transparent, and doesn’t have a whole lot of glow additive. It looks like a bubbly print, but it really isn’t. It like a slower speed, about 75% of standard, and a higher temp of 220°. It will produce a very lined print not matter what you do, and it is ok on the small print details (minor bits of gapping). The gist of this is to print slow and hot in order to get it to print adequately. Use a larger nozzle for this, a 0.5 or 0.6 (0.6 works the best).

8. AmazingStuffs, white

I was really disappointed with this filament. I don’t like how shiny and utterly plastic-like it looks. Yes, I know it is plastic, but still… No amount of fiddling got it right. I played with different temp settings in 5° increments, with no luck other than stay above 210°. Fast or slow didn’t make much difference when printing in this one. Its utterly opaque, so don’t try to print anything that you’ll want a little light to shine through, like a lithophane. It also doesn’t do well with the very fine details, lots and lots of gapping. It just acts and feels cheap. I don’t recommend it.

9. SainSmart: aluminum

I kind of like this filament. It definitely has a metalic sheen to it, but it still have a very plastic feel. It is 40% aluminum and 60% PLA. I recommend printing at a temp of about 223°, 80-90% standard speed, with a flow of about 105-115%, a layer height of 1.5mm, and using a .5 nozzle. Have a back up nozzle as well if you’re doing a lot of printing with this. It wore through one nozzle about 3/4 of the way through the small roll. I’m glad I had spares laying around. 

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