Many 3D printing filaments have a matte or flat plastic finish to them, which may not make the most appealing artistic 3D prints. While there are methods to polish these prints to a high-gloss finish, using a chemical process can be messy and potentially dangerous.
Chinese filament companies have seen this need and have produced brands of filaments designed for artistic 3D prints. While 3DDPlus produces color gradient filament another Chinese startup filament company, Beaver 3D approached me to test their Silk-like PLA filament.
Out of the box I was impressed with the hi-gloss satin finish that put all my other filaments to shame.
The high gloss finish does go through the print, resulting in a satin gloss finish on the print. If you want this kind of finish to give some pizzas to your print, this is a solid filament to go with. Cosplay pieces would benefit the most when your prints need to have a permanent hi-gloss finish that does not require hours of polishing.
Printing with this filament was a breeze as well. The PLA printed smoothly the first time with no warping. For this print I wanted to make something I could take to the Tiny Home Jamboree. So I printed a pair of slip-joint pliers I found on Thingiverse. While I had enough filaments to print the pliers in one color, I wanted to show off by changing color a few times with this print.
The result was a multi-colored glossy pliers that turned into a wonderful talking piece at the Jamboree. The pliers came out beautifully with the multi-colored layers showing how 3D printing works. This tool became a valuable teaching aid at the Jamboree, as I showed it to people who had not seen a 3D printed object before.
I used the pliers as a talking piece at the Tiny Home Jamboree, and the public was amazed that 3D printing could be used to produce functional tooling. The pliers survive the public handling and being dropped in the dirt. As I returned from the Jamboree, the pliers still have the hi-gloss finish that they started with.
Using my filament grading system, I give Silk-like PLA the following rating.
Flexibility: It does kink at about 50 degrees but stays intact through 180 degrees. 12 points.
Color: Keeps the color and high satin gloss through print. 3 points
Starting Quality: Starts smooth and stayed on print bed. 2 points
Warping: No warping. 3 points
Finishing quality: Came clean off the build plate. 3 points.
Environmental: No smell. 3 points.
Special considerations: This prints as good PLA, so no special considerations needed. 1 point.
Processing / finishing the print: PLA requires mechanical processing, but in this case may be unnecessary given that it has such a hi-gloss finish. 1.5 point.
Final Score: 27.5 / 28
Overall Beaver 3D has produced a filament that is great for artistic prints where a high gloss finish is desired, without the dangers of chemical finishing. The printing quality was great, and the final result was an eye catching print that was used at the Tiny Home Jamboree.
If you have a new filament you want 3D-PT to review, please contact 3D-PT in the comments below or [email protected]
In a future blog, I’ll host the first annual 3D printing filament Olympics. I’ll combine the scores for all the countries that I have reviewed filaments for to see who has the best filament so far! I’ll also write about my experience at the Tiny Home Jamboree!
DISCLAIMER: Beaver 3D sent the filament samples to me at their own expense, with no expectation given for the review of this filament.
Also Dont Forget to check out Nathans List of American Manufacturers of Filament for 3D Printers