PLA (Polylactic acid) is the favorite beginners’ filament for 3D printing. It is biodegradable and made from sustainable resources; unlike petroleum-based ABS. It 3D prints at low temperatures (190 – 210 C) and is easy to recycle.
For this blog I’ll combine my past reviews with updates based on the scoring system I developed in a past blog.
All of these reviews are based on past testing with the filaments. The filaments are ranked from the lowest average score to highest.
#5 Proto Pasta
US based Proto Pasta is a company known for their exotic metal PLA blends. I got a chance to test 4 blends, and I enjoyed all of them.
Because some of their filaments like magnetic iron and stainless steel are abrasive, they will require a hardened nozzle. They also require extra time and equipment if you want to polish. Watch for sharp bends between the spool and extruder, as this filament is on the brittle side. Overall Proto Pasta filaments are for advanced 3D printers that want to explore exotic filaments.
Stainless steel FINAL SCORE: 18.8 / 28
Magnetic iron FINAL SCORE: 18.8 / 28
Aromatic coffee FINAL SCORE: 24.2 / 28
Conductive FINAL SCORE: 23.2 / 28
AVERAGE FINAL SCORE: 21.25 / 28
#4 3Dom USA
Another US based company, 3Dom USA is building its brand on environmentally friendly filaments. They made waves when they introduced their filament made of beer bi-products.
Other PLA blends include coffee and glass filled. All three I tested were solid printing filaments, but like other exotics they were brittle. The smells from the Wound Up (coffee) and Buzzed (beer) filaments was slight, so you should not be offended by the smell as you print.
Buzzed (beer) FINAL SCORE: 21.6 / 28
Glass Filled FINAL SCORE: 21.75 / 28
Wound Up (coffee) FINAL SCORE: 23.3 / 28
Average FINAL SCORE: 22.2 / 28
#3 MakerBot 1.75 mm
For all the shortcomings of the MakerBot 5th Gen 3D printers they have found redemption with their filaments.
I’ve run 1.75 mm through Makerbot and my current Lulzbot 3D printers. While it does become brittle with time, it still remains flexible enough to work with. This PLA does tend to warp on large prints.
FINAL SCORE: 22.3 / 28
#2 Prototype Supply 1.75 mm
This Chinese brand has been the dark horse in my filament supply. P
Among the first filaments I purchased, it has been my favorite for draft prints and test. Even at retail prices it was cheap from the store. The color does lighten, which is the only reason this is not the top performer.
FINAL SCORE: 27 / 28
#1 ColorFabb PLA/PHA
ColorFabb PLA/PHA blends are innovative in the filament industry. This blend results in low warping and solid printing performance.
DISCLAIMER: 3D-PT is not paid to endorse any brand of filament. Proto Pasta and 3Dom USA provided samples at their expense, with no expectations given for 3D-PT’s review.
3D-PT is always looking to review your filaments! Please contact him in the comments or firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements.