Which 3D printer filament is the best?
3D printing has come a long way since its beginnings in the mid-1980s. At the time, it was an expensive technique reserved for professionals. Today you can get printers for as little as $200. Filaments used as “ink” have also advanced to the point where you can print almost anything with the right one – including biomechanical organs.
The best 3D printer filament is provided in the Mika3D PLA 3D printer filament kit. There are 16 lots to choose from, in all kinds of colors.
What to know before buying 3D printer filament
3D printer filaments are available in three thicknesses: 1.75, 2.85 and 3 millimeters. The 1.75 millimeter is by far the most common. The thickness you need is determined by your printer nozzle, so double check before ordering.
3D printer filaments are available in spools of varying quantities, measured by weight rather than length, and in the metric system. Most reels weigh 1 or 0.5 kilograms, which converts to 2.2 or 1.1 pounds. Some coils can also be found with 0.75 kilograms or 1.65 pounds.
3D printers can go through a lot of filament, especially if you print large items or print regularly. As such, you can find just about any type and color of filament bundled together for a discount.
What to Look for in Quality 3D Printer Filament
3D printer filaments come in several varieties, all of which are suitable for certain types of items.
- polylactic acid is the most common material. PLA is great for getting started and testing new designs before moving to more expensive filaments, but it’s often too fragile for many other things.
- Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene is a more durable but more expensive filament than PLA. ABS can be difficult to manage due to its toughness, but it is strong enough to make protective gear such as bicycle helmets.
- Nylon doesn’t have a fancy scientific name, but it’s one of the strongest and most flexible filaments. However, this increases your print time.
- Polyethylene terephthalate that’s what water bottles are made of. As such, PET is an excellent choice for printing food containers.
- Thermoplastic elastomer is what you use when you need maximum flexibility. You can even print new flip flops or slides with TPE.
- polycarbonate is not made for messing around. The PC is extremely strong, durable and very heat resistant. It’s also hard to work with, but the right design can stop a bullet.
Some 3D printer filaments include additional materials built into the base material to add special properties.
- Metal powder can be added to achieve a metallic appearance, add conductivity or make it magnetizable.
- Wood fibers can be added to achieve, well, a wood look.
- Carbon the fibers are often blended to create professional quality structures.
How much you can expect to spend on 3D printer filament
Small spools of basic filament can cost $10 or less per spool, while the medium spool costs between $15 and $25. Specialty, professional-grade filaments typically cost upwards of $30 per spool.
3D Printer Filament FAQ
Are there eco-friendly 3D printer filament options?
A. Only PLA filaments are environmentally friendly, as they are made from a mixture of sugar cane and corn starch. However, it is technically still plastic and takes at least 80 years to break down on its own. It may, however, be forced to break down more quickly in professional environments.
Can I really 3D print anything?
A. Yes, as long as you can turn the drawing into a stereolithography file. There are several software options for creating your own STL files, and you can also find countless ready-to-use files on most 3D printing websites.
Can I mix and match 3D printer filament materials when printing?
A. Yes, but it’s not recommended, for two reasons. First, different materials and even similar materials from different manufacturers have different melting points, so the chance of blockages increases dramatically. Second, most filament materials don’t bond well to each other, so the point of contact can be a structural weak point in your item.
What is the best 3D printer filament to buy?
Best 3D Printer Filament
Filament pack for Mika3D PLA 3D printer
What do you want to know: This unique bundle store has everything you need to print whatever you want.
What you will love: There are 16 bundles to choose from, with five containing 12 reels and seven containing three reels. There are dozens of colors among the bundles and you can find transparent or metallic colors in addition to solids. Each spool contains 1.1 pounds of 1.75 millimeter filament.
What you should consider: 12-spool sets aren’t cheap, and you might not want some of the colors included. A few consumers said the finished products were more brittle than expected.
Or buy: Sold by Amazon
Best 3D printer filament for the money
Geeetech PLA 3D Printer Filament
What do you want to know: If you only need one coil, make it this one.
What you will love: It’s available in 15 colors, including black, white, and red, and solid and clear. There are also two black and white packs. It comes in a vacuum sealed bag and includes a storage bag. Each spool contains 2.2 pounds of 1.75 millimeter filament.
What you should consider: Not storing it properly can quickly make filament and finished products brittle. A few customers have had clogging issues.
Or buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Glow-in-the-dark Amolen PLA 3D printer filament
What do you want to know: Check out this range of glow in the dark filaments if you’re feeling funky.
What you will love: It comes in eight vibrant colors, including green, blue, and the special “starry sky,” and is black or white in normal light. It is compatible with most 3D printers and 3D pens. Each spool contains 2.2 pounds of 1.75 millimeter filament.
What you should consider: Some buyers were disappointed with the glow, finding it dimmer or shorter than expected. Filament can cause excessive wear on thin brass tip extruders.
Or buy: Sold by Amazon
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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their buying decisions, saving them time and money.
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