Are you ready to get started with 3D printing but just aren’t sure about what filament you’re using? You’re definitely not alone because with the multitude of different filaments out there it can really get complicated. You find yourself overwhelmed while you’re trying to research because it seems like everyone has a different idea of what the best option is and it can easily seem like you’re being pulled in different directions. So, let’s take a closer look at how you can make the right decision.
Check the Instruction Manual
The very first thing that you should do to find the right filament is to check out the instruction manual that comes with your 3D printer. You want to make sure you’re looking at the options your printer manufacturer recommends. That doesn’t mean you have to go with these, but you should at least take a closer look at them to see if they’re going to be a good fit and so you can better evaluate them. These are also filaments that fit your printer well, so look at what they have and then compare some of those features with other filaments.
Chances are your printer manufacturer either makes their own filaments or has a partnership with some filament maker. They’ll tell you a lot of the positive things about that brand and what you can get when you work with them. But you want to make sure you’re doing at least a little bit of additional research for yourself as well. You want to look up what other people are saying about those brands and also look to see if you can find less expensive options as well. Plus, you might find a range of unique options for filaments if you keep looking.
Check for User Advice
Next up, look at blogs and reviews from people who have 3D printers and have used them extensively. You don’t want to know about the first filament they bought unless they’re still using it. Instead, you want to know about the brand that they still use to this day. You want to know about the way that they use it and how well that product seems to be working for them. All of those things are going to make it easier for you to find something that will work for you, without having to go through the trial and error process that they did.
You want to know why they’re using those products and how long they’ve been using them. This information is going to help you decide what actually works and how your filament can be used to create different types of products. You’ll also want to know what type of filaments work for different types of things. You may want one style for one item and a different one for something else. Looking at what actual users are doing means that you’ll be able to pick out a few different types of filaments, from different materials to different colors and more.
Evaluate the Filaments
Okay, here’s where you’re going to start with the process of finding something for yourself. You want to make sure that you’re looking at the best products and you want to start with the ones that you find from the categories above. Gather together a list of the top brands that are recommended by your printer manufacturer. Then gather a list of the top brands recommended by 3D printer users. See if any of the products match up and start your search with those brands, but don’t feel limited by those brands.
Evaluate the Company
First, make sure you’re looking at the company that makes the filament. Most companies will produce different qualities and styles so you want to look at them overall before you start narrowing things down to the specific filament you want. Make sure the company has been around for a while and that they’re upfront about their products. You want tight tolerances and you want to check out some samples of their product if you have the opportunity. Sometimes you can request free samples or you can get inexpensive ones.
Evaluate the Product
Next, start narrowing down the products that the company has. You probably already have a list of the specific filaments that you want to check out. So, once you’ve narrowed them down by weeding out a few companies you’re ready to look at the information you can find about each specific product. Consider the size and style of the filaments and what temperatures they need to be used at. Compare the requirements of the product against your specific 3D printer. That’s where you’re going to weed out a few more possibilities.
Types of Filament
There are a number of different types of filament out there but there are a few that we definitely recommend you take a closer look at. You can make your own decision between these or check out some more information about why we prefer some of them to others. The options we think that you should take a look at first are PLA, PETG, ABS, and ASA. You’ll be able to create a range of different projects and you may actually decide to use different types of filament depending on what you’re going to create at that time.
- PLA – This is actually one of the most popular options when it comes to filaments and the reason is that it’s super easy to use and it’s actually biodegradable. It’s also strong and gives you a great looking product. SO it’s a great way for the beginner to get started with.
- PETG – This is another quite popular option that’s made with plastic and it’s extremely durable and strong. You don’t have to worry about just about anything breaking it down. You’ll also have an easy process to use it for whatever you want to create, so it’s still good for beginning users.
- ABS – Here you’re going to have the strength and you’re going to have some flexibility. You’ll also have a good amount of flexibility. The other side of that is you’re going to have to cool the material down more slowly, which means you need a 3D printer that has a heated pad.
- ASA – ASA gives you a number of the same benefits that you get from ABS, but it’s a little bit newer and less well known. You get the durability and you don’t have to worry about how to cool the end product down slowly, as you do with the ABS.
When it all comes down to it you can absolutely find a great 3D printer filament by doing a bit of research and taking a look at the manufacturer’s opinions. You’re going to have all kinds of variety and you’ll definitely be more than happy with the end results. Your products are definitely going to look great and they’re going to be a lot of fun to create too. You can create a lot with a 3D printer and the more you know before you start the easier it’s going to be. Check out your printer and how you can customize everything with a unique look and style of filaments.