Cura 'fuzzy skin' experimental option
Hopefully you'll see enough in the photo to get an idea of what I'm talking about.
Several months ago there was a discussion on that 'fuzzy skin' option that's available in the new(er) versions of Cura. At the time I printed an internal non-visible support piece using it, just to try it out. I admit that at the time I was underwhelmed by the result, but I kind of filed it away as a possibility to use in the future.
For a model building I'm working on (a power plant) I was thinking about the surface I wanted on the outside of some sections, and I was playing around and thinking of doing some kind of texture or 'block veneer' or maybe doing the most visible surfaces on the textured sheet when I remembered that option.
What you see below is part of a test print with the 'fuzzy skin' option, after playing a bit with the settings, and it actually came out very nice, and I will probably use it for the final prints for the model.
I've been playing with this more lately.
For a piece I recently did in black PETg, I used the Prusa textured sheet for one side and the Cura fuzzy skin for everything but the top, which will not be visible. They work very well together and my wife could not tell the difference in the texture between the sides. I notice the difference, but it's not obvious to a casual observer.
I used the Hatchbox PETg for the piece I cited above. It has more of a shiny surface than the Paramount PLA used for the piece in the photo above.
I've never found quality issues with it. I have found availability issues, however, and everyone seems to currently be out of the Hatchbox black 1.75mm PLA except for some Ebay and Amazon price gougers who are asking $40-55 or so USD for a spool. It's only the 1.75 that seems to be in short supply now, 3mm seems to be common.
I'm approaching the end of a spool, and I did find a generic 'black' from Paramount at a reasonable to-the-door price so I'm going to try it as I've been happy with Paramount filaments. (I think you (CW) were the one who turned me on to Paramount so many months ago.)
You only have to find one bad roll.
I guess I've been lucky. I have yet to get a roll that's been unusable, either with my own machine or back in the 'makerspace' days.
There are some brands that I like more than others, such as Hatchbox, Paramount, and of course Prusa(ment). Solutech, at least the spools I've used, definitely have less pigment than those listed above so I've been avoiding it.
RepRapper is one that seems to fly under the radar but I've had real good luck with it. Unfortunately availability seems to be spotty.
I've even had decent luck with some off-brand and unbranded spools back in the (first) height of the pandemic. Ultraline is one that I settled for when I ran out of white PLA and none of the majors were available at a semi-decent price. I would swear that the one I got was re-spooled Hatchbox.
If/when I do get a spool that I'm sure to be bad, I will not be quiet about it. 😉