Filament Advice – 5 Things to Consider Before You Buy a Filament
Category: Science & Technologyby syed Tutul
Are you looking at buying filament for your 3D printer? If you are then you absolutely want to make sure you’re getting the right one, right? Well, there are a few important things that you should take a look at when you’re deciding what filament to buy. We’re going to look at five important factors that you should consider before you decide to up and buy the first thing that catches your eye. You could easily end up with filament that isn’t worth the spool it’s wrapped around if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
1. Research the Brand
First up, know what brand you’re buying from. There are all kinds of brands that sell filament. Some of them are making the filament themselves and that’s even more important to research. You want to know what’s in that filament and how it’s formed. You want to know if there are different chemicals or what the additives are so you can determine if it’s actually a quality product and also if it’s going to be compatible with your machine. After all, not all filament will be.
You’re also going to want to look at the company doing the selling. If they don’t actually produce the filament that doesn’t mean you can just jump in and buy from anyone. You want them to be reputable too. You want to be sure that what you think you’re buying is what you’re actually getting. Not only that but you want to know that the company is going to stand behind their product. If you have any problems, for whatever reason, you want to know what you can do about it. Is the company going to give you a refund or swap out the product?
2. Buy What You Need
The filament is extremely delicate, which means you need to be careful about just how you’re storing it. It’s not designed to be left on your counter for days or weeks on end. Rather, it needs to be kept sealed. That way it doesn’t get wet and it doesn’t get too warm. After all, heat is the way that the filament is formed into something new. If you let it get too hot it can actually start to melt and break down way too early, which is also going to result in a big mess for you to clean up.
If you let the filament get wet it’s also possible that it could start to break down or that the chemical properties could be affected, which means that it won’t work properly when you try to put it through your machine and it could even damage the machine. That’s why the best thing you can do is only purchase the amount of filament that you actually need. You might want to pick up a little more than you think so you have extra in case you need more, but don’t think you’re going to stock up on large quantities unless you have a sealed, moisture-proof place to store it.
3. What Are You Making?
Look at what you’re actually planning to make. That’s going to tell you what type of filament you want as well. If you’re looking at creating a smartphone case or headphone case you’re going to use frequently you need a durable type of filament and you also want something that’s non-toxic. If you’re going to make a figurine you might want a specific color or blend. There are all kinds of different things to look at and you can absolutely create a piece that looks exactly like you want, but you’ll need to pay attention first.
Think about what you want your end product to do or look like and then research different types of filaments that are going to give you that. Want a wood tone with actual wood grain? You’ll need a wood blend. Want something shiny? You’ll need either a metal blend or a color that’s shiny. It’s going to be entirely up to you and the end result that you want for your product, but you should think about this before you ever buy a filament. You could end up with something that doesn’t look at all like you visualized. Plus, it’s easier to get filament that looks the way you want the end result to look than to try and paint it later.
4. What Kind of Printer Do You Have?
The type of printer that you’re using has a big impact on the filament that you can use. Not all filament can be used with all printers. So, take a look at what your printer manufacturer recommends and start from there. Sure, there are all kinds of off-brand products that will probably work just fine, but especially when you’re just getting started you want to stick with what the company says you should use. That way you can get the hang of how it all works before you start experimenting.
Keep in mind that even if you go with different brands of filament than is recommended you’re not going to be able to choose just anything. You’ll get to know what brands absolutely don’t work and which ones are okay but not the best. The key is just making sure that you look at the printer itself and that you do your research. Talk to other 3D printing enthusiasts and find out what types of filament they use with that printer. It’s going to be a great way to start.
5. How Much Can You Afford?
Finally, look at how much you can actually afford. Filament comes in all different types and styles and blends. All of those are going to cost different amounts of money. So, you may really want a specific type of filament by a specific company but you may not want to spend that much. So, look at the filaments that are available in your price range. You can get to those more expensive PLA filaments somewhere later down the line. For now, stick with what works for you.
Do your research on filaments from different price ranges. You might be surprised just what you can find. There are actually some great options that are available in the low price bracket and some not so great options in the high price bracket. Don’t assume that just because you’re buying the most expensive product you’re going to get the absolute best quality. You can learn a lot by doing some research and talking to other people who have been doing this a lot longer than you. They’ll be able to tell you about their own trial and error approach over the years.
If you’re careful about each of these things you’re definitely going to set yourself up a whole lot better. After all, you can create some amazing things with 3D printers if you use the right filament. You definitely don’t want to waste your time and money on something that just won’t give you quality. And you definitely don’t want to hurt your 3D printer because you picked up filament that just wasn’t any good. So, take a look at these important tips and start our Best PLA Filament here.