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StinkyPete
(@stinkypete)
Eminent Member
Cheap vs Expensive Filaments

I am very new to 3D printing, and am enjoying the challenges of the steep learning curve.    However I cant find any information about the real world advantages of expensive vs cheaper PLA.   In Australia PLA filament cost varies from around $63 per kilo for Prusament, to $40 per kilo for FlashForge and down as low as $30 per kilo for unbranded budget stuff.

Any advice on why expensive is better than cheaper would be appreciated.  

Posted : 27/05/2020 6:47 am
JoanTabb
(@joantabb)
Moderator
RE: Cheap vs Expensive Filaments

Carbon fibre is the most expensife filament I have bought, it made stronger less flexible models. 

other more expensive filaments had artistic finishes... 

but generally the difference is production quality control... which helps a lot in multi material setups more so than single filament setups. 

I use a lot of inexpensive filament with success...

I used some lovely expensive filament for a model for a friend, Prusament Mystic Purple...    They sprayed it black... 🙁

Joan

I try to make safe suggestions,You should understand the context and ensure you are happy that they are safe before attempting to apply my suggestions, what you do, is YOUR responsibility. Location Halifax UK...
Posted : 27/05/2020 9:56 am
cwbullet
(@cwbullet)
Illustrious Member
RE: Cheap vs Expensive Filaments
Posted by: @joantabb

Carbon fibre is the most expensife filament I have bought, it made stronger less flexible models. 

other more expensive filaments had artistic finishes... 

but generally the difference is production quality control... which helps a lot in multi material setups more so than single filament setups. 

I use a lot of inexpensive filament with success...

I used some lovely expensive filament for a model for a friend, Prusament Mystic Purple...    They sprayed it black... 🙁

Joan

You have to love it when you spend all that time choosing the right color to have to customer paint it.  

--------------------
Chuck H
3D Printer Review Blog...
Posted : 27/05/2020 10:23 am
3DK
 3DK
(@3dk)
Eminent Member
RE: Cheap vs Expensive Filaments

I ordered and received 1kg Prusament PLA with my Mini when it was delivered. Since then I tried BasicFil PLA and Amazon Basics PLA as Prusament was out of stock. All print well using the same Prusament settings in Prusa Slicer. As a 3D print novice, my apprehension about choosing decent filaments seemed unfounded. Or maybe I just got lucky 😀. So to answer your question, so far I can't tell whey more expensive is better than cheaper, for regular PLA. That said, the sparkly black galaxy Prusament is a gorgeous colour and I look forward to ordering more, and other Prusament choices, in future.

Posted : 27/05/2020 10:49 am
JoanTabb
(@joantabb)
Moderator
RE: Cheap vs Expensive Filaments

The worst ever filament I had was a sample, to show the capabilities of a home filament extrusion machine. the dimensions of the filament varied wildly  between ridiculously bloated, to unusably thin...

converly, I was chatting to the demonstrator for an integrated filament extruder / winder machine at athe TCT Show in Birmingham Last Year, and asked for a sample,  the guy asked me to come back later and he would take a sample off the reel, that he was extruding as we spoke... 

anyway, after chatting for a while, I noted that the spool was about to overflow... so he opened the case, took the spool out, and gave it to me. to hold whilst he installed the next spool... which seemed like a painless task... 
then he told me I could take the whole spool...    which has worked brilliantly since I got it!  🙂

I didn't buy the machine. it was out of my budget... 

regards Joan

 

I try to make safe suggestions,You should understand the context and ensure you are happy that they are safe before attempting to apply my suggestions, what you do, is YOUR responsibility. Location Halifax UK...
Posted : 27/05/2020 11:59 am
jsw
 jsw
(@jsw)
Noble Member
RE: Cheap vs Expensive Filaments

I don't have the Mini, I have the MK3S, but this topic caught my attention so I'm replying here.

I've been 3d printing for a few years now, first at our local 'makerspace' and since February with my own machine.  I have yet to really get a handle on what's 'cheap' and what's 'expensive' as far as brand names, and it seems like the brand names get more and more each time I do an Amazon or Ebay search.

Before the Covid outbreak, I had kind of settled on Hatchbox as 'my brand' of filament, as I could get it readily in about any color in PLA and ABS in a few days, so that's what I used and had good luck with it.  It was very consistently in the (US dollars) range of $20-ish to $30-ish for a to-the-door total-cost-of-ownership price.

Now it seems like catch-as-catch-can, with Hatchbox being very spotty in availability.  I just received and Overture spool (black PLA) but have not used it yet and for white PLA about the only thing I could get for a non-extortive to-the-door price was a brand called Ultraline. (Last check with that vendor, they were out of everything, all types, all colors.)  As soon as the current job finishes in a few hours (O scale railroad car body, being printed in Hatchbox ABS) I'm going to start the white Ultraline doing a resistor sorting box, so I'll see how that goes.

Prusament seems to sell for anywhere between $20-ish (US) to $70-ish, depending on the phase of the moon.  As expected, I've always had good luck with it.

On a related topic, the spool that came with my printer was the Prusament silver gray, which I liked, but I have never been able to find it again, anywhere, either from the Prusa site or third-party sellers.

I would be interested in hearing more opinions on brands, prices and issues or lack of same, regarding filaments.

Posted : 27/05/2020 7:55 pm
cwbullet
(@cwbullet)
Illustrious Member
RE: Cheap vs Expensive Filaments

I try to stick with name brand filament after a bad experience with generic ABS.  I got jams and had to replace two hotends.  

 

--------------------
Chuck H
3D Printer Review Blog...
Posted : 27/05/2020 10:38 pm
Chocki
(@chocki)
Prominent Member
RE: Cheap vs Expensive Filaments

Don't dismiss cheap filament.

Some up and coming filament suppliers produce some really good filament at what are cheap prices, so sometimes it's worth taking a punt on one, but check they have a lasting presence as there are some companies whom have bought a job lot to sell and will never have any more, do a bit of background research to see if they actually manufacture the filament or are simply a reseller on Amazon. (If they sell cat toys, trinkets, voodoo mystical bracelets and filament and a whole heap of other stuff nothing to do with 3D printing, then I would stay well away)

Sunlu seems to be producing decent filament and so does TechnologyOutlet, whereas Sunlu PETG is some sort of blend which prints well, Technology Outlet PETG is more of a pure PET so is semi transparent, needs a higher temperature and generally a bit more tweaking, but when you get it right, it is really good, Sunlu is easier to get right, but being a blend, it prints at a lower temperature so cooling has to be minimal else you wont get good layer adhesion, but both produce really good prints and both are cheap.

Sunlu do some really nice looking silk PLA's, but I just checked prices, and everything has gone up since this virus struck. ( I foresaw this happening so stocked up on filament and IPA and if I were to sell these now, I would return a nice profit, but I wont.)

Normal people believe that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain’t broke, it doesn’t have enough features yet....
Posted : 28/05/2020 8:07 am
cwbullet
(@cwbullet)
Illustrious Member
RE: Cheap vs Expensive Filaments

I am not opposed to the cheap filament.  

Here is a list of several filaments I have tried with success.  Many of them are cheap:  

LIST OF RECOMMENDED FILAMENTS

I really like Polymaker Polylite PLA and Polymaker Polylite PETG.  Although not super cheap, they print reliably and have a great list of colors.

--------------------
Chuck H
3D Printer Review Blog...
Posted : 28/05/2020 10:13 am
StinkyPete
(@stinkypete)
Eminent Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: Cheap vs Expensive Filaments

Thanks for the most helpful ideas and suggestions.

Posted : 28/05/2020 11:16 am
jweaver
(@jweaver)
Honorable Member
RE: Cheap vs Expensive Filaments

I have a contraversial view on this... I started 3D printing about 6 years ago and have built a huge stock of colours (over 30) and ALL of my filaments are cheap.

They dont' get stored particularly well (i.e not sealed) but I have printed 100s of rolls with my Printerbot and then MK3 and now Mini with literaly zero problems.

Most of my filaments have cost me less than £10 per kg, except at times where the price has gone up due to supply issues (like now).

I have used many different types at difference price ranges, and these days just get what ever is the cheapest. I prefer to have a libary of colours, over a few colours in High Quality/Expensive filament.. But thats just me.

I actually run a small business where I print a couple of objects in PLA.. Another in PETG.. And another with PETG+TPU and because I  charge for this service, I used to keep my "best" filament for these prints.. But after doing this for a year or so, I finally did some comparitive tests (cosmetic and strength) and could find no difference.. So I just print with what ever I can get my hands on these days.

I know that others might disagree with this.. But this is what works for me, and I have had no problems what so ever after printing 10s if not 100s of KGs of filament.

This post was modified 2 years ago 2 times by jweaver
Posted : 30/05/2020 11:11 am
kennd and Oxygen liked
jsw
 jsw
(@jsw)
Noble Member
RE: Cheap vs Expensive Filaments
Posted by: @jweaver

Most of my filaments have cost me less than £10 per kg, except at times where the price has gone up due to supply issues (like now).

That would roughly equate to US $12 and change, and I've never seen any brand of filament that cheap, except for maybe some 'open box' (and I assume open wrapper too) on Ebay and such.

I just started buying filament late last year.  Before I was using the stock filament at the local 'makerspace', where they weigh the roll before and after your session and charge you accordingly.

The only real off-brand I used is the Ultraline I mentioned before, and I just did a long print with it and it was perfectly fine.  I was also a bit suspicious of the Amazon Basics at first, as I'm very sure it's sourced from various low-bidders, but that has worked fine for me too.

I also can't remember any specific clusters of reports on the Interwebs saying that any particular brand is consistently bad.

Another factor is what I call the 'to the door total cost of ownership', as a US $18 spool with $13 shipping charge (not uncommon on Ebay) is more expensive than a $30 spool on Amazon with free shipping.

Posted : 30/05/2020 5:28 pm
Crawlerin
(@crawlerin)
Prominent Member
RE: Cheap vs Expensive Filaments
Posted by: @jsw

On a related topic, the spool that came with my printer was the Prusament silver gray, which I liked, but I have never been able to find it again, anywhere, either from the Prusa site or third-party sellers.

 

This one? 

Posted : 30/05/2020 5:56 pm
xhillb61
(@xhillb61)
Trusted Member
RE: Cheap vs Expensive Filaments

I also mostly use the cheapest filament I can get my hands on. I bought 12 Kg of 2nd quality filament for 8,90€/Kg works great. Spools are not winded nicely but that doesn´t effect the printing quality.

Posted : 30/05/2020 7:15 pm
jsw
 jsw
(@jsw)
Noble Member
RE: Cheap vs Expensive Filaments
Posted by: @crawlerin
Posted by: @jsw

On a related topic, the spool that came with my printer was the Prusament silver gray, which I liked, but I have never been able to find it again, anywhere, either from the Prusa site or third-party sellers.

 

This one? 

Thanks.

That looks like it.

The US Filament PM site appears to have it in stock, a 2kg spool for $38.70, which is not bad.  I think I'll snap it up while I can.

The US site does not have the 'Can be found in every Prusa printer package' banner but says 'A quality 3D printing filament made in the heart of Europe in the Czech Republic', so I'm assuming it's the same stuff.

Posted : 30/05/2020 7:22 pm
cwbullet
(@cwbullet)
Illustrious Member
RE: Cheap vs Expensive Filaments

@crawlerin

It is a top-quality filament and is available from Amazon in the US.  

Filament-PM PLA on Amazon

--------------------
Chuck H
3D Printer Review Blog...
Posted : 30/05/2020 7:47 pm
jsw
 jsw
(@jsw)
Noble Member
RE: Cheap vs Expensive Filaments

Hmmmm ... I'm wondering why the Stateside vendors don't more obviously tie it in with the Prusa stuff, even if they can't technically use the Prusament brand.

Posted : 30/05/2020 8:46 pm
3Dprintedgr
(@3dprintedgr)
Estimable Member
RE: Cheap vs Expensive Filaments

I don't think I have ever come across such a cheap filament. Until now I have purchased filament at about 17-20euros/kg but from named brands. The results so far are pretty good and I think what makes a difference is how you store it and how well you preserve it after opening the sealed bag.

Other than than the winding and the width tolerances play a major role but I believe not as much as the humidity.

The European brands that I have found is Azure Film, Das Filament, Filamentum, Prusament, Real Filament and 3D Jake.

Original Prusa Mini + Smooth PEI
Prusa Slicer 2.2.0...
Posted : 02/06/2020 5:59 am
Julian
(@julian-3)
Trusted Member
RE: Cheap vs Expensive Filaments

I am using both cheaper and more expensive filament - although all "branded". From the shady chinese sellers on Amazon and eBay I stay away, but there's a local producer who sells PETG for €20/kg. There is a noticeable difference in material strength and temperature resistance when comparing this one to the expensive €30/kg Prusament, but it does print well and so is an ideal choice for my prototype prints or applications which don't demand the maximum performance from the material.

To note, I don't keep any of my started PETG spools bagged - only the PLA, Flex and PC ones. I am still printing with PETG spools that have been open for over a year and they still work like at the beginning.

But I would say €20/kg is the lower bound already, else you probably end up with stuff that destroys more nerves and gear than it saves you in material costs. Among the ~20 or so spools of the cheap PETG, I had one that apparently was contaminated and would unfixably clog the printer nozzle. Can't expect good QA at this price point. On the other hand, even the premium stuff like Prusament isn't free of this - recently bought a PLA spool that obviously was a mix of PETG and PLA. Clogged nozzle at PLA print temps but worked okay on PETG settings. Color changed over time from shiny to matte.

So far I have bought from Prusa (both Prusament branded and whitelabel), DasFilament, FilaTex3D, 3DPrima, Janbex, and Polymaker.

This post was modified 1 year ago 2 times by Julian
Posted : 13/06/2020 6:45 pm
cwbullet
(@cwbullet)
Illustrious Member
RE: Cheap vs Expensive Filaments

I would add to this list:

  1. Ziro PLA Pro Orange
  2. FilamentOne PLA PRO Select Glint Blue
--------------------
Chuck H
3D Printer Review Blog...
Posted : 13/06/2020 7:50 pm
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