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ColorFabb Filament Review

5 6,833

ColorFabb is a filament company based in the Netherlands. They are known for their quality filaments, as well as being the industry leader in exotic filaments blends.

They approached me recently to test a wide range of their filaments. They sent me samples of their new high temperature (HT), as well as nGen and exotic blends.

I’ll review the exotic filaments in a latter blog. For this review I’ll focus on the new HT and nGen, as well as their PLA/PHA and XT lines of filament.

PLA/PHA 1.75 & 2.85 mm

PLA/PHA blend filament has not gotten much attention compared to other lines of the companies filament. This blend combines the ease of PLA with the low warping properties of PHA to produce a blend that prints at 210 C with no warping. Another great thing is that Colorfabb sells this in bulk on 2.2 kg (4 lb) spools along with their 750 g standard spools. For the bulk spool I had to make a larger holder (Spool of Thrones holder is available in the download area) to fit on my printer. The peace of mind knowing I have enough filament for large print jobs makes the time spend on a spool holder worth it.

I’ve used the bulk spools for large prints and test prints. Overall the blend is forgiving and good for general purpose printing.

Using my filament ranking system  I give it the following.

  1. Flexibility: Flexed through all 180 degrees. 12 pts
  2. Color: Solid color from start to finish. 3 pts
  3. Starting Quality: Started well. 2 pts
  4. Warping: No warping. 3 pts
  5. End of Print: Came clean off build plate, though some 1.75 mm likes to stick. 3 pts
  6. Environmental: No smell. 2 pt
  7. Special consideration: No concerns. 1 pt
  8. Processing / finishing the print: 2 pts

FINAL SCORE: 28 / 28

High Temperature (HT) 2.85 mm

This new blend from Colorfabb is designed to work at higher temperatures that its nGen and XT lines. HT is advertised to withstand temperatures of up to 100 C, which would help in applications where other filaments will start to flex.

However, it takes a high hot end temp (260 C) and bed temp (100 C) to print. Colorfabb gives a printing temperature from 250 C to 280 C, which will hit the upper limits of what some printers are capable of printing at. If you plan to use HT, check the temperature settings of your printer before ordering.

ColorFabb HT (white, bottom) and Proto Pasta HTPLA (brown, top)

Colorfabb also advise a more aggressive bed material like BuildTack. HT is an advanced printing filament for industrial purposes, which is something to consider in ordering.

I wanted to test the temperature resistant properties of HT, so I’ll return to the procedure I used for testing Proto Pasta’s High Temperature PLA . Like the previous blog, I printed a rice spoon. I’ll compare the spoon from the HTPLA test with the spoon printed in HT.

When I 3D printed the HT spoon, I saw quickly what Colorfabb meant about HT being an advanced material. As I printed with it I had to adjust the flow rate from 95% to 85%.  I was printing on blue tape because I do not have BuildTack. An hour into the print, dreaded warping happened on both ends of the spoon. If I had filament to spare, I would have stopped the print and tried again. But because I had just a sample size of the filament, I decided to continue with it to get a badly warped rice spoon.

Warping in ColorFabb HT (White spoon, top) compared to Proto Pasta HTPLA (brown, bottom)

Before testing them in boiling water, I noticed that the HT was more flexible than HTPLA. Like the raw HT filament, HT is very springy compared to PLA/PHA.

Just as in the previous blog, I boiled the spoons for a minute and squeezed them to see how flexible they were.

The HTPLA from Proto Pasta went from very stiff to flexible while hot. It also started losing some of its brown color.

HT on the other hand had no noticeable change. It was as flexible cold as it was hot, and I did not feel any difference in flexibility.

For me that means that Colorfabb’s claim that it can withstand higher temperatures is true.

After printing with HT, I had some problems purging the head with PLA. With such a high printing temp, you may have to use another filament like XT or nGen to purge your head of HT.

  1. Flexibility: Flexed through all 180 degrees. 12 pts
  2. Color: The sample was white, so I could not tell if there was a color shift. 3 pts
  3. Starting Quality: Difficult to start on blue tape. 1 pt
  4. Warping: Warped badly. 1 pt
  5. End of Print: Comes clean off, but purging print head may be a problem. 3 pts
  6. Environmental: No smell. 2 pt
  7. Special consideration: With a high print and bed temperature, some 3D printers may have problems reaching the required temperatures. You will also need an aggressive build plate material. 0 pt.
  8. Processing / finishing the print: HT is an industrial filament. Colorfabb has no recommended chemical finishing processes. 1 pt.

FINAL SCORE: 23 / 28

XT 2.85 mm

Colorfabb has a solid general purpose filament with its XT line. XT is a favorite material on my 3DHubs page, and I have enjoyed solid printing performance from XT.

Like the PLA/PHA, it comes on 750 g and 2.2 kg bulk spools. XT is also a forgiving filament that is good for beginning and advanced printers.

  1. Flexibility: Flexed through all 180 degrees. 12 pts
  2. Color: good color from spool to print. 3 pts
  3. Starting Quality: Starts well on blue tape. 2 pt
  4. Warping: no warping. 3 pt
  5. End of Print: Likes blue tape, so some prints don’t let it go. 2.5 pts
  6. Environmental: No smell. 2 pt
  7. Special consideration: None. 1 pt
  8. Processing / finishing the print: HT is an industrial filament. Colorfabb has no recommended chemical finishing processes. 1 pt.

FINAL SCORE: 26.5 / 28

nGen 2.85 mm

When I was developing my rating system for filament, I used nGen as a base filament.

nGen is a filament for intermediate to advanced 3D printers. Like the HT it may require a more aggressive build surface to start and hold the print down. In the sample I did get some warping.

This new filament from Colorfabb was similar in many ways to it’s XT line of filaments. The 230 C printing temperature may be more appealing to 3D printers that can’t print at the temps required for HT. I did have some problems with it sticking too much to the build plate. I did notice an onion smell that did not sit well with me.

Final Score: 24 / 28

In all 4 filaments, Colorfabb has a line for every skill level of 3D printing. PLA/PHA and XT lines of filament are good for beginning and intermediate 3D printers. HT and nGen filaments would work better for advanced 3D printers that have industrial applications for this filament.

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  1. Tom Baxter says

    Stan, Have you printed other colors in Proto-Pasta HTPLA? I had some samples from them and while some printed great, the black was a nightmare that jammed and failed incessantly.

    1. Stan Baldwin says

      Proto Pasta has been a reliable filament for me for all the colors of HTPLA and types I’ve tested. I’d call them up and see what happened with the black.

      1. Tom Baxter says

        Yeah. Surprisingly they did not offer much help beyond “it must be your printer/settings”. I explained that other filaments and even other HTPLA’s printed with no issue. I’ll take it as “angry printer gods” and move on. lol

  2. Richard Bynum says

    I like that ranking system you came up with. I have a lot more to learn about filaments and which ones work best at what temps and which hold better on certain kinds of bed adhesives. Reading your reviews have been great! I have made a lot of notes since I’ve started reading up on 3d printers and I think filaments has the most notes of all! There’s always new filaments coming out and always something to learn! Thanks for your great work!

    1. Stan Baldwin says

      There are new filaments all the time, and its fun to explore and print with them all!

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