PLA Filament Review by Norbert DavisBeau Kuhn
I’m not a big review person but I did promise to the MakeShaper guys that I would do one when I purchased my PLA from them a while back and well, here it is.
I had made a purchase on the MakeShaper site with the 10% discount on the first order special that they have advertised on this site and while there was a problem with the coupon at first, a quick message the MakeShaper team soon remedied that. I am new to 3D printing with only just under 4 months of designing and printing on my Monoprice Maker Select (Wanhao Duplicator i3 clone). I love my machine and have had little problems with it up until recently where I was getting a lot of clogs and jams in the extruder and nozzle. I had from the start ordered Hatchbox PLA filament and have been quite satisfied with the quality of the material and the prints with them. I suspect that I became spoiled by Hatchbox because I noticed that their filament was always smooth. I had ordered some PLA samples and found them to be rough and they did not seem to have the high tolerance for the diameter that I got with Hatchbox. So when the shipment from MakeShaper arrived I immediately broke into it to check it out. There was Grey, Blue, and Neon Green. Colors that I had not have from Hatchbox. I was excited to use the filament. I did a few runs with them and found that I was having some difficulty with printing correctly as it did not want to stick to the bed and was just printing, well, crappy. But again, a quick email to the MakeShaper team and they came back with some printer settings that made things print quite decently. The one thing that I thought was presenting a problem before I wrote to MakeShaper was the fact that the filament was fairly rough compared to the Hatchbox filament. I was hoping that it really didn’t matter when it went into the hot end and melted then extruded from the nozzle but in the back of my mind I could see where perhaps the roughness was contributing to any imperfections that I saw in the print.
The prints came out decent after the printer setting adjustments and I was fairly impressed with the filament. I did see some things but not every spool of filament is 100% perfect so I will see an issue every now and then but nothing terrible. Then things started getting bad. The printer was sputtering filament whenever I chose the MakeShaper filament and the only thing that seemed to print well was the Hatchbox filament. So naturally, I thought, “Yep, that MakeShaper rough filament is affecting the hot end and making all these problems.” And you probably would have thought the same too if when you switched back to a trusted filament that things went back to normal and you got good prints. You blame the new filament. Well, a couple of weeks later even the trusted filament could not print worth a darn to save its life. I started getting clogs, jams, crappy output (if any) and I had to shut things down for a couple of days while I contemplated the right move; replace the nozzle and PTFE tube with the same stuff or go for the Micro-Swiss All Metal Hot End Upgrade for the Mk-10. Well, the total upgrade it was! It was going to happen eventually and so better now than later. So after a few days, the new equipment arrived and I installed it… twice. It seemed that while most everyone else in the world with the MK-10 would not need to use thermal paste to make the new hot end work, I would.
OK, new Hot End is in and working fine. So, was my earlier issues with MakeShaper filament because of the filament itself or was it really the hot end’s fault (or inability)? Well, as it seems, it was the hot end being temperamental and failing to properly heat the incoming filament and give a good smooth extrusion. So after a few test runs to make sure the hot end was 100% I decided to retry the MakeShaper filament (and because my son chose the neon green for his can holder) to see what it could do. Well after a few prints I was really impressed with how the filament was able to lay down some really consistent layers. They were perfect (from an extrusion sense) and the only real imperfections that happened were due to the machine itself (X & Y) anomalies showing up due to wear and tear on the machine. The filament despite the roughness, or being less smooth than Hatchbox, performed really well. With the new hot end and the updated settings for printing PLA with the new hot end really eliminated stringing and even the overhangs that should have had some real problems did really well.
On searching on the internet, the information available calls PLA filament as one of the best filaments to print 3D parts. It is perfect for printing mechanical and computer parts as they are very strong, and durable material. PLA filament is made from natural resources, which is one of the reasons why they are considered as safe and efficient. They are quite different than other plastics. Its reliable as its readily available as compered to other types of thermoplastic.
One of the things that make PLA filament guilt-free for many of us is that they are capable of breaking down after they are discarded. This ensure that you are not guilty about using it. Many of us use the filaments for better prints and we also need to consider the pros and cons of using it. Plus, when I print, I don’t really have to worry about the harmful smoke or toxic fumes.
One thing I liked about the PLA filament was that it was easy to print. Yes, it’s mentioned that PLA filament can be printed at low temperature without the loss of quality. Right temperature is essential for printing with the PLA filament and its very forgiving filament unlike others that can affect the quality of the prints. My experience with the PLA filament from MakeShaper is excellent. It has helped me print some good quality prints and the results have been satisfactory. I would definitely recommend it and like to buy some more in the future.
Overall the MakeShaper PLA filament did excellent in the overhang department as well as basic layer to layer adhesion. It extruded really smooth and gave me some really consistent prints. Would I recommend this PLA filament to anyone, a resounding “YES”. IT delivers what you expect from a good PLA and the price was good too. I am including some photos of the puzzle and the can holder that I printed with the MakeShaper Blue and Neon Green PLA.
If you have any questions or comments please feel free to let me know.
Thanks, MakeShaper and I will be back for more. Once the CFO allows me some more filament budget. lol
Elk Grove, Ca
Monoprice Maker Select
w/ Micro-Swiss All Metal Hot End