I've just started using this printer so I thought I put this information together while it's fresh for every spool I get. I also wanted to write this up since I am finding out that there is a learning curve to 3D printing like anything else, but the one thing you do en up with is a bunch of extra parts that you may not be able to use for many reasons like you using the wrong dimensions or it didn't work like you intended. This will add up very quickly which is the reason I'm now looking for more affordable filament that is not totally bad and can still let me make some useful parts without breaking the bank. I think it's just a matter of time before these get more affordable since companies have been manufacturing plastics for a very long time now. In the meantime, this is my experience with some of these.
Craftbot PLA (Black) - So far it extrudes fine, but I find it hard getting a smooth first layer down. I eventually got this working and things seem to work. Unfortunately I had way too many useless parts and basically ran out before getting something I was happy with. Comes sealed in a bag with silica pack. I noticed it is a bit brittle. Comes in a plastic spool.
-Cost when I purchased the CB with this- $29 for 1 kg
-Color - Solid Black (Matte Black, my amazon black is shiny. I just noticed this)
-Extrudes fine with defaults on the Craftbot
-Spool hole diameter is 56 mm
-Was a little brittle, but never broke by itself during extrusion
I'm about to finish the PLA that came with my craftbot and thought I take a picture and meaure this at the end here. I am finding that filament won't be perfect but as long as it's withing specs you will be fine.
Shaxon PLA (Red which is translucent, from Fry's Electronics) - I also needed to tweak this a bit but I went through most of the spool without any clogging. Comes in a nice box, sealed with silica. Net weight is 1 Kg though, so I'm not sure I got a whole 1 Kg of filament. This also comes in a plastic spool. Still not cheap if you need to buy more than one roll, specially if you're just starting since you will be making a lot of spare parts, literally that you can't use. I found the end of this spool to be crossed. Meaning that the next line is on top of the current one going out almost tying it into a knot if you will so I have to keep moving it by hand. The good thing is that it's on the very last two layers of the spool.
-Cost when I purchased it - $27.24 for 1 kg with taxes included. No shipping for me since the store is somewhat local for me.
-Color - Translucent red
-Extruded fine on the Craftbot with defaults
-Spool hole diameter is 39 mm
This is what the box looks like.
The part number.
What the actual filament looks like.
Of course it's harder to tell what these are from just pictures, but you can get an idea of the color.
So this filament is also within specs, not exactly 1.75 either but still worked fine on the Craftbot.
February 28, 2015
I stopped by this store and picked this up to try since I still had not received my Amazon filaments and I was there anyway. I didn't even know that they had any filament or 3D Printers which was pretty cool. They also have a variety of filaments so I will definitely try another brand I saw because of the prices. So far they have the best overall filament prices with 14.99 for 1kg Inland spools, but I have not tried that one yet. This clear spool though, I'm not happy about because of the bubbles.
-Cost - 18.99 plus tax so not inexpensive either
-Color - Natural (Clear)
-Extruded fine on the Craftbot and adhered fine to the bed with defaults but I had to keep shaving the parts to fit. I was at the store and found this and thought I give the clear or what they called natural a try. Unfortunately for the price I think this has been the worst filament I have gotten so far, although the Craftbot still has no problem extruding it. This is the Micro center brand. They also have Makerbot, Inland and some others. By far the best prices for another brand which I'll try next. Not this spool though.
-Spool hole diameter is 53 mm- This had the largest hole on the spool which caused sort of a yanking motion on the spool instead of a smooth pulling. So this was another thing I didn't like about this spool of filament. So now I do prefer the spools with the smaller center hole diameters to keep this from happening. I also noticed once I got home that the filament had a lot of air bubbles in it. You can see these on the picture below. I don't know if that is also what caused tiny clumps instead of a smooth extrusion but I know that is not good. The filament is also closer to the outside edge and it sometimes came off the spool which sucked. It was also very lose on there which may or may not be a good thing as it just wanted to unwind itself and I had no others do this. Once I changed to the red Amazon spool, it felt much better. So yeah, I don't recommend this one. At least it was within specs.
Air bubbles in the filament, all throughout the spool.
March 10, 2015
Today I finally received the micro center filament I ordered online. I wanted to try that and see how it went. Well, it takes exactly three days for them to ship the order, it seems like any order too. Seriously, three days to just ship something? There you go. On the other hand, they have the lowest cost filament I can find. Okay the Amazon purchase below was a bit less when I made the purchase. So here are the pictures for the inland filament I just got. I'm also doing a test print now. These are solid color filaments. Although the color choices seem to be about the same as any others, but these seem to all be solid. So not much more choices, but for your basic colors these seem to work. In short, you have to test filaments on your own unless you can see them in person to see exactly what they are.
Cost - 14.99 plus tax and shipping (So far the lowest price I can find, less if I drive an hour and pick it up there since tax is also less there than LA.)
Color - Solid
Extrusion - So far the test print is doing find on my craftbot, so go for it. I will know more once I really start using it though, but for now it is printing fine.
Center Spool Hole - ~54mm
Test Print Temp- 214c head/60c bed (I used the usb stick for the test piece so this is what it was set at. I normally just run it at 220c/60c for PLA)
NOTE: I decided to test print with the orange. I just noticed that at 220c it melts a bit too much, so I'm lowering the temp to 210 for this filament. The purple printed fine at 214, but I noticed this one was almost like butter since I used the higher temp. I'm printing some very tiny pieces so that may not help either.
The filament comes in a nicely sealed bag and box.
The center hole is 54mm. The spool looks similar to the Craftbot PLA, but not the same though.
I also got one orange spool.
And a white. I just bought three because I wanted to test these first before I spend any more. You just don't know with these things until you actually try them.
Here is the the actual color with the flashlight on it. My only guess for the blue is the lighting.
This is what the filament actually looks like.
So far it looks to be within specs.
This filament looks similar to the craftbot but as you can see the spool fits in the cb spool too. It also feels a bit brittle like the cb felt. I just hope it works better since I had a few issues with adhesion on the black cb spool at the beginning.
The center hole is actually a bit smaller than the craftbot spool which I don't mind. I just don't like the larger holes on the spools now since this works better on the Craftbot unless you make a different mount which I don't need.
The spool filament won't unwind lose by itself like the micro center branded. Neither did the Shaxon or the Amazon spools.
My test print just finished and the purple looks fine.
February 28, 2015
Amazon Repko printing PLA (Red and Black) - Since I'm practically out of both of the above filaments. I found some lower priced filament sold by this company on Amazon. Yeah I went through a whole lot of them before I found it. One reviewer had good things to say about their filaments so I thought I give them a test myself. Unfortunately the price was raised to 15.95 after I purchased which sucks as this is not the first time this very thing happens to me. I hate when a company does this right after I make a purchase, not that they can't do whatever they want, but it's just one of those things that really bugs me I guess. With that said, the seller was really nice and shipped fast so I do recommend them. We'll see how this one performs. Frankly I don't worry too much unless the filament has had many complaints from users since the craftbot seems to take anything I feed it which is nice.
I finally got my amazon PLA which took a week to get here and here's why. The USPS managed to tear this box apart somehow. The good thing is that both PLA spools where in sealed bags and no harm was done to them. This was sent two days priority mail too. Aside from this the PLA comes in a spool similar to the Shaxon from Fry's. In fact it looks and prints identical to it even though I was told it was plain red. Okay maybe a tiny bit on the orange but that may just be my lighting in here.
-Cost when I purchased it- 13.99 per 1kg roll and free shipping. Blogger is having problems letting me upload pictures at the moment so I'll do that once that gets fixed.
-Color - Black (Shiny not Matte)
-Color - Red Translucent and not solid color like I was told which is fine but it's always good to know exactly what the colors specially if you are looking for a particular color and texture on a part.
-Extruded fine with the Craftbot and cost less
-Spool hole diameter is 39 mm (same as the Shaxon from Fry's) I could swear this is from the same company too.
-Has the same plastic spool as the Shaxon with smaller hole diameter which works fine on the Craftbot
-I contacted the seller and he was very nice. He answered my questions and aside from the USPS, I recommend this seller and filament. It has a bit of smell and not the sweet smell but you really have to put your nose pretty close to the spool to actually smell it. You don't smell anything when printing either. Unfortunately I guess they didn't have much in stock as they ran out fairly quickly. I was told that they were working on that, but in the mean time you can find filaments in other places for a similar low price that also work fine.
It's not perfect either but within the correct range.
March 10, 2015
Now I just need to get me a scale so that I can weigh these before and after to see if they are what they say they are since they all come in different size plastic spools. So I may look into that but I don't think I need to add any more filaments here unless I think it's something very different. This should give you an idea of what is out there and what to look for. There are a few others I would like to try like the glow in the dark and a maroon I think it was that looked interesting. But for now availability is still something that keeps us from finding them but they are getting much more common so this should only get better and easier to find now that printers are also being sold at Fry's and Micro Center for example. In short, all the above filaments have extruded fine on my Craftbot and no clogging yet. There is a minor annoyance with the print head leaking, but that's about the printer and not the filament.
As for printer Kapton tape, I saw Fry's now carries it if you're in a hurry, so if you're in the USA and have a local Fry's nearby, you can pick this stuff there too which is nice. They do sell some no name brand 3D printer and a small makerbot I think. Micro Center also has a few stores around the US and also sells other printers too. You can always get a roll off ebay or other electronic suppliers.
July 24, 2015
Here's the second page of filaments I just received.