Best Quality PLA

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Best Quality PLA

Postby Jon Lawrence » 2014-Feb-Wed-09-Feb

Can somebody who has tried multiple vendors recommend a supplier for high quality PLA?

I am trying to diagnose a transient issue, that may or may not be related to the filament I am using. In order to rule out the material, I would like to buy a roll of the best quality PLA I can find. I am hoping to get some recommendations on the the performance not the price. I am still new to the process, so I am looking for some sage advice from those who have been there / done that / got the tee-shirt on the best quality PLA.

Thanks in advance for the assistance.
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Re: Best Quality PLA

Postby evanalmighty » 2014-Feb-Wed-10-Feb

I've found a direct manf from China that I'm pretty happy with. If you want I can send you some samples. I also have 10 more rolls coming from another source that I think is just as good, if not better.
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Re: Best Quality PLA

Postby Jon Lawrence » 2014-Feb-Wed-10-Feb

evanalmighty wrote:I've found a direct manf from China that I'm pretty happy with. If you want I can send you some samples. I also have 10 more rolls coming from another source that I think is just as good, if not better.


Thank you for the offer, but with the issue I am chasing, I don't think a small sample will give the confidence I am looking for.

I lack the experience of using multiple vendors and the wisdom to be able to tell the good ones from the bad. How many different suppliers have you tried, and what problems have you experienced that can be directly related to the PLA quality?
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Re: Best Quality PLA

Postby evanalmighty » 2014-Feb-Wed-12-Feb

So far I've tried printrbot's brand, and 3 others that I believe to be direct suppliers for a majority of the US sellers. I'm only looking at manufacturers that follow a set recipe for each color and can produce high repeatability from one batch to the next. Diameter, melt temperature consistency, color consistency, moisture content are some if the things that I look for. Some of the bad ones I've seen seem to have inconsistent diameter that could cause feeding/jamming/clogging problems if the filament isn't being guided into the extruder carefully. Some others print nice, but they have small air pockets which I attribute to moisture. I'm going to compile a database of different manufacturers and put them all through a same set of parts using the same settings to compare how they perform with small parts, large parts, bridging performance, layer adhesion, bed adhesion, etc. If my budget allows, I will build another printer using a different hot end and run the same tests.
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Re: Best Quality PLA

Postby pantseatflyer » 2014-Feb-Wed-17-Feb

I've been really happy with a US seller on eBay. The seller's name is my_filament_shop. He's out of Texas.

He sells PLA and ABS in both 1.75 and 3mm. Prices are around $25/kg shipped.

The three spools I ordered were vacuumed packed with packs of desiccant.

I had a hard time getting black for a time from him because he said that NASA cleared out his stock of black and white.

The filament is very consistent and high quality.
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Re: Best Quality PLA

Postby Lemm » 2014-Feb-Thu-12-Feb

sainsmart has a good quality. But the shipping time is very long. I have also some 3d2print PLA here I wanna test.
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Re: Best Quality PLA

Postby Corey Warren » 2014-Feb-Thu-12-Feb

I have had great success with filament from ToyBuilder Labs.
I guess I should start with I have a Printrbot Simple V2.
I wanted to stick with filament from Printrbot, but, while they were out of stock I decided to try filament from ToyBuilder as I wanted more colors that Printrbot didn't supply. I was battling clogged extruder issues and now after reading some posts from others, I'm finding out that other people have had the same issues with Printrbot's metallic grey filament. I won't be using that anymore, I'm sorry that I bought another spool. I am having better success with Printrbot's bone white filament.

But, I'm going to be switching over to solely using filament from ToyBuilder Labs. I understand I should take this with a grain of salt, but, on their site they claim, "If you are looking for the highest quality ABS and PLA plastic filament...you have found the right place." The filament came shrink wrapped with the little anti-moisture bag, whatever its called and they send you a little sticker of their logo. They seem to be proud of their product. I like that.

I haven't had a single clogged extruder issue when using ToyBuilder Lab filament.
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Re: Best Quality PLA

Postby Jon Lawrence » 2014-Feb-Thu-12-Feb

pantseatflyer wrote:I've been really happy with a US seller on eBay. The seller's name is my_filament_shop. He's out of Texas.


I have sent him a message, but haven't heard anything back yet. Do you know if he manufactures it, if his product is made in the USA, or it is a China export? Unfortunately, I have a little too much knowledge about manufacturing and quality control practices in China, and this is not something I am looking for in this application.
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Re: Best Quality PLA

Postby Jon Lawrence » 2014-Feb-Thu-12-Feb

Corey Warren wrote:I understand I should take this with a grain of salt, but, on their site they claim, "If you are looking for the highest quality ABS and PLA plastic filament...you have found the right place."


Good to be cautious. Every supplier thinks they have the best thing since sliced bread, or at least that is what they tell you. Gotta love those marketing folks...

I'll add them to the list of "Possible" suppliers. Thanks.
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Re: Best Quality PLA

Postby Jon Lawrence » 2014-Feb-Thu-12-Feb

Lemm wrote:sainsmart has a good quality. But the shipping time is very long.


Thanks Lemm. I see them all over Amazon and didn't know if they were good, or just big. Lead time is not an issue for me, so not a problem.
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Re: Best Quality PLA

Postby Jon Lawrence » 2014-Feb-Thu-12-Feb

evanalmighty wrote:... I'm going to compile a database of different manufacturers and put them all through a same set of parts using the same settings to compare how they perform with small parts, large parts, bridging performance, layer adhesion, bed adhesion, etc. If my budget allows, I will build another printer using a different hot end and run the same tests.


Fantastic! Please keep me posted on your results.
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Re: Best Quality PLA

Postby pantseatflyer » 2014-Feb-Thu-17-Feb

Jon Lawrence wrote:
pantseatflyer wrote:I've been really happy with a US seller on eBay. The seller's name is my_filament_shop. He's out of Texas.


I have sent him a message, but haven't heard anything back yet. Do you know if he manufactures it, if his product is made in the USA, or it is a China export? Unfortunately, I have a little too much knowledge about manufacturing and quality control practices in China, and this is not something I am looking for in this application.


I'll shoot him a message as well.
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Re: Best Quality PLA

Postby PxT » 2014-Feb-Thu-17-Feb

I think everyone has an opinion on this, however I have been very pleased with the faberdashery, Ultimachine & Protoparadigm filaments.
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Re: Best Quality PLA

Postby pantseatflyer » 2014-Feb-Thu-20-Feb

Here's the response I got this afternoon. I plan on doing some test prints and will be glad to upload pics of the results as well as the exact diameter and quality of the filament.

"Our engineering group do R&D in US and ofcourse the manufacturer is in China. It will be too expensive to manufacture this in US.
We have a huge stock of filaments in our warehouse in Texas. We do same day shipment most of our orders."
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Re: Best Quality PLA

Postby pantseatflyer » 2014-Feb-Fri-01-Feb

Seems to be good quality.

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Re: Best Quality PLA

Postby Jon Lawrence » 2014-Feb-Fri-08-Feb

Can't argue with the cost, worth a trial roll at least. May not fit this application, but there are always others...
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Re: Best Quality PLA

Postby Jon Lawrence » 2014-Feb-Fri-09-Feb

PxT wrote:I think everyone has an opinion on this, however I have been very pleased with the faberdashery, Ultimachine & Protoparadigm filaments.

True, I expected everybody to love or hate their own suppliers. I lucked into one supplier and am very happy with their quality, manufactured in USA, good pricing, all good things. I simply have not had a reason to search for other vendors and have been buying from the same location ever since. That is why the request for those people who have experience with multiple vendors, and hopefully I could learn from them.

Occasionally I have some inconsistencies on large prints. I tend to have to chase the melt temperature up or down 10-15 degrees here and there. I am not sure it is the material, or some other cause. I guess I was hoping that there would be a gold star vendor with rock solid consistency, every roll, every time. This way I could eliminate the material as a source in only one purchase. Now it is appearing that most people try one or two vendors, find one they are happy with, and stop the comparison shopping. Heck, that is what I did...
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