I’ve been very interested in 3D printing for a few years now. I enjoy reviewing printers because it gives me a chance to see new printing technology, but also lets me see how companies differ on the same technology. For instance the different types of hotends. I have used many different types and brands of filament but never gave it much thought; to me it was just a consumable. Sure there are different colors, but there are generally three main types used: ABS, PLA and PETG. Each filament comes with its own set of strengths and weaknesses. For instance, ABS is strong and withstands higher temperatures but it’s very hard to print because it shrinks as it cools and pops off the build plate. You need an enclosed printer to print ABS. PLA is easier to print with less shrinkage but isn’t as strong as ABS.
So when asked if I wanted to review filaments from 3D Printing Canada I at first said, no thanks. Then, after giving it some thought, I figured why not try filaments outside my wheel house. So I chose one that I haven’t used, one that I have only used once before, and one that I have used a few times with mixed results. These are, wood, TPU and PETG, in that order. 3D Printing Canada has not paid me in any way to write this review, they provided the filament for free, and that’s all.
Wood filament is very cool but costs a bit more, and has a limited use case. So far I have only seen people print vases and Groot from the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. It is PLA with infused wood fibers, however it is hard on the brass nozzles commonly used on 3D printers (The nozzles are very cheap). I received the filament last week and asked on a 3D printing Facebook group what I should print. Of course, they said Groot and vases. As I wanted to be a bit different, I decided to go with a wooden shelf with a secret drawer.
The first print I started didn’t go too well. Not the fault of the filament but the printer itself. I started and it was going great, but when I went up stairs the Y axis started missing steps which caused major layer shifts.
So I increased the current to my Y stepper motor because it was lower then the others, and started the shelf again. This time it printed great. Not perfect, because of a bit of shrinking on one part, but luckily that was the hidden part so not a huge deal.
The next item I printed was a square mug, and a circle mug.
Just kidding, that is one mug! Holding this mug in the right or left hand gives you a different perspective. The person who came up with this design must be highly intelligent. The person who made it for people to download and print is Devin at the Make anything Youtube channel. I don’t know if he came up with the idea, but he is smart and has great 3D printing content, you should look him up.
This being my first time to use wood filament I can’t say it’s better than any other brand. What I can say though is that it is a very good filament and I’m happy to use it. I may try a Groot some day soon.
TPU, like wood, has a specific purpose and costs a bit more. I have purchased a roll of SainSmart TPU and used it for my printer reviews in the past. The 3D Printing Canada TPU filament has a softer feel to it. TPU is a rubbery type of filament, good to print things like RC tires and phone cases. It may also have uses for gaskets, rubber dampening parts for vibration control, and other specific use cases. I have no use for it at the moment, so I decided to print soft toys for the kids to play with.
The first was a MatterHackers mascot Phil A Ment. He is a cute little astronaut. The print that came out was softer than the tiers I printed with the SainSmart TPU. The 3D Printing Canada TPU also printed better. To make your prints stronger, use more outline layers and higher percentage of infill.
After seeing the astronaut the kids wanted a minion. So off to Thingiverse and MyMiniFactory to find one suitable to print with TPU. I found these two; one with one eye, and one with two eyes. That was to keep track of which was whose (2 year olds are very protective of their toys.) The one with the single eye needed support for the eye since it sticks out. Supports for any other filament are not an issue. TPU supports are hard to remove because they stick so well to the part. It being a tiny bit, I was able to cut these off with a pair of side covers.
PETG was created to be the best of both PLA and ABS. It’s supposed to print with the ease of PLA, and be strong like ABS. In the past I have had mixed results with PETG and wasted a lot on failed prints. So I chose PETG in the hope of getting a good source. Not only was it good, it is located here in Canada and I don’t have to pay duties! My first PETG print was the ABS temp tower with PETG temps. This is two pillars with a bridge across every 60 layers or so. You set the start temperature at the highest, and decrease it by 5 degrees every section of the tower, then you look for the temperature that prints the best, and use it for the prints. Being made for ABS, the temps on the part are not what I used. I went from 250 to 225 and found 235 to be the right temp.
PETG is used to print parts intended for heavy duty or outside use. For instance, my friend is printing railing mounts for a deck he purchased a while back, since the company is no longer in business to sell parts. I offered to print a couple of mounts, so now he has a good source. The other filament sold in Canada that we tried didn’t have very good PETG. I printed parts for him with this PETG and was pleased with how they turned out. PETG is stringy, so you have to play with retraction setting for every roll, or do a bit of post print clean up.
Comparing it to the last brand, you can see a difference. (3D Printing Canada on top) Also not noticeable in the image is that 3D Printing Canada prints are a bit shinier.
While I was hesitant to review printer filaments, I am very glad that I did. The biggest issue with reviewing filaments is that it can be hard to ascertain what is the fault of the filament and what is the fault of the printer, or even slicer settings. 3D Printing Canada has gained a new customer in me! Additionally, their prices for premium filaments is very fair. I hope you give them a try. I look forward to testing their PLA and PLA+ filaments.