3D Printing Canada
With the sudden popularity in 3D printing there has been a race to create the perfect plastic material. Back when it was starting to go public there was only one big type and that was ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), which is strong but hard to print with because of its shrinking factor. As it is printing, any cool air makes ABS curl up on the corners making it hard to keep stuck to the bed.
Then came PLA (Polylactic Acid) which doesn’t shrink as bad and is much easier to print with. The best part of PLA is its biodegradability. Recently there has been a surge of newly created PLA filaments: PLA Plus, Advance PLA and now Select PLA.
I recently reviewed PETG (Polyethylene terephthalate with glycol), TPU (Thermoplastic polyurethane) and Wood filament for 3D Printing Canada, you can read that review here. Since I liked that filament so much, they’ve sent me their new Select PLA.
PLA typically prints at 180-205 °C. Select PLA prints best at 215 °C. Before 3D printing got popular it was hard to find cheap filament that was also good. As the industry grows the filament is getting better and better. Back then the cheaper filament cost around $60 for the good stuff. Now the $30 rolls is the good stuff and the value filament is around $15. And the $15 rolls are good enough for everyday use, although I haven’t tried the value filaments from 3D Printing Canada.
Select PLA is the filament you want for special items like display pieces, or if you sell prints to the public. For the price it’s good for everyday items as well. The value filament is probably something you would use for functional prototyping. I haven’t tried the value filaments yet, but I will be giving those a try.
3D Printing Canada gave me 4 colours to try. The first one I tried was White. First I printed a tolerance test to judge the printers accuracy. While I am reviewing the filament, I am also reviewing a 3D printer named JGAurora A5. The test showed me that the printer and filament can print articulate parts with a .2mm tolerance. That is a very good result. It means, if you want to print a hinge you would need to have a minimum of .2mm separation between the parts.
Then I printed something I have been wanting to print for a long time: the Skull of the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Some day I will print a large-scale model of the entire T-Rex. The skull came out great and it is displayed proudly in my office display cabinet. Being a nerd, or geek, I like interesting things like space, dinosaurs, and fantasy stuff like super heroes!
Next I printed a simple toolbox that attaches to the side of my printer. The prints really came out beautifully; I am so impressed with this filament – as well as the printer!
After that impressive Dino skull I wanted to try something else that shows incredible details. Many nights I look up at the moon in awe. It’s a massive rock spinning around our planet and interfering with such things as our ocean tides and our weather. As you can see it is as impressive as the T-Rex Skull, and much more detailed. Links to these files are below.
The Orange filament has a nice colour but I’m not sure what to print with it. The colour of the filament doesn’t matter because it’s easy to paint. I recommend sanding them down and using a filler primer to fill in the layer lines. The first orange print was the ever-popular 3DBenchy, the little boat that was created to be a benchmark test; it printed great.
I printed an articulate horse for my daughter because she loves horses. It has tiny hinges between each piece to make it flexible. That is one of the greatest things about 3D printing, you can make things that connect and move, all in one piece. To show the accuracy I also printed a 20mm cube. As you can see, all those are very close to 20mm. Accuracy comes from both the printer and the filament.
I love printing things for my 11 year old. She loves to display these proudly in her section of my display cabinet. We share the office, and she has her own special desk. Another hobby of hers is drawing, so I decided to make her a drawing robot. It is still in the works, but getting close. It will have WiFi / Bluetooth connectivity.
Using Yellow filament I added a mix of colours to the drawing robot. The yellow prints as good as the other colours. I promised my son I would print him a plant holder. He has a love for plants since his school coop placement in a flower store. Here in Canada students in high school get placed in a job, for experience and a high school credit. Because of his interest in gaming I printed a Mario game block he can paint and use to grow plants in. I had to drill holes for drainage.
The last color I tried was black. Black and white are useful for lots of things. Me, when I see black – I think of Batman! I printed a small pair of toy grippers for the kids and a bust of Batman for myself.
I’m very happy to have a Canadian filament supplier that is pricing their filament competitively. For far too long we have been paying way more than people in the US. Ordering from the US means we pay a lot for shipping and duties. So the Canadian suppliers have been charging a minimum of $30 for the cheapest filaments. To get this quality at $30 CDN is a good thing. I can’t wait to try the value filament which is currently on sale for $15 CDN. The electronics shop in Ottawa charges $30 for 1/2 kg rolls of cheap filament that doesn’t print well at all.
The Select PLA filament prints at 215°C and bonds very well. It is nice and strong for functional parts that you prototype or download.
These are my opinions and you should form your own, by trying the product or doing more research. But this filament is well worth the price. They also offer free Canada wide shipping for purchases over $120 or $10 flat rate below. My friends and I buy together in bulk to save the shipping costs.
Links to everything I’ve printed:
Horse, gripper and toolbox (I can’t seem to find these items…)
But there are plenty of things to print, on Thingiverse.com