Before explaining how the tests were carried out, a clarification must be made on our goals to compare filaments. You must remember the ultimate purpose of the blog and then these articles. In this case it is to provide novices and inexperienced a cornerstone, to be of help in all those operations and choices in the early stages of the adventure in the 3d press.
For this reason, the filaments have been printed with the same settings, to achieve our ultimate goal, which is to recommend a product that reacts in the best possible way even to the maker who does not have the technical knowledge to recognize the signals that can give us a print, but already manages to have some satisfaction “out of the box”.
We realize that these compare filaments tests do not reveal the true potential of a certain filament, but its adaptability. The criticisms that we can move towards a certain brand can be swept away by a more “ad hoc” calibration of the printer. With these tests we want to provide users with a starting point from which they can only move towards improvement.
Compare filaments: Used Printers
Precisely for this reason, the material considered was printed with Chinese printers, KIT mostly, the most widespread machine among the novices.
Our 3D printers are:
- Tevo Black Widow
- Tevo Tarantula
- Creality Ender 4
- JGAurora A5
- Creality Ender 3
- Alfawise U30
- Creality CR-10
- Tronxy X1
- Tevo Michelangelo
- Anycubic Chiron
The printers has been carefully adjusted to print in the best possible way, and therefore represents a sort of “best start”.
Printed objects for testing are the most common object you can find at Thingiverse or other repository of models for the printer.
If you are a manufacturer/retailer of 3D filaments and you want us to try your product, please write us through the contacts or at email@example.com and we will be happy to conduct our tests.
Compare filaments: Categories
Let’s describe the categories to which we wanted to give a score, which forms through an average the final score! This then will be turned into a judgment . We have indicated the categories that we think are most important, have we forgotten something? Suggest it to us in your comments.
The printed faces of each print are analysed to ensure that they are uniform, flawless and pleasing. At this point we give a completely subjective value.
Analysis of the small details in the prints, for this point we took into account the inscription at the bow of the Benchy and more generally everywhere could lurk the success of a particular, the letters of the cube and more.
Simple measurement of the calibration cube, which defines how precisely the filament maintains its actual dimensions and how much deformation it undergoes during extrusion.
* This test may vary depending on the interaction between the filament and the printer.
Besides being a personal judgement on the composition of a given filament that gives it a certain colouring, it is also an objective judgement on the variety of the available palette and on its availability.
It is reported if the filament has given particular problems for the extrusion due to a not constant diameter. If it creates jams or clogs the nozzle with ease.
We analyze the possible presence of filaments left by the filament during movements from one object to another.
Best way to determine the amount of air that the filament requires is through the analysis of the bow of the 3dBenchy. Or other curved prints. For Benchy: Step by step the tip part of the boat bends upwards if the filament requires more ventilation. By keeping ventilation at 50% we can see if the filament is more or less hungry for air. Obviously, the less air a filament needs, the higher our rating will be.
We try to break mechanically by applying force by hand and through tools on each completed print. The more the filaments resist, the higher the grade will be.
*This test may vary depending on the extrusion temperature.
Realization of overhang and bridge
Let’s analyze the overhang to see, from behind, until the degree of slope a filament does not present problems to be printed without supports. Using the bridge, we analyze the built beam: will the strength of the beam be compromised or only the aesthetics?
Value for money
This inevitable category tries to define whether a certain filament, given the tests above, is a good investment or not. Also in this case, while trying to observe numbers and results, the judgment is subjective.
Models and settings
You can of course replicate the tests we carried out, for this reason we leave you the links of the objects, which all come from thingiverse:
The slicer we using is Cura with default value
We would like to specify that these tests to compare filaments and conclusions represent only the opinion of the writer and do not want to be considered in any way scientific tests. We limit ourselves to carrying out some tests and to giving our very personal opinion on the matter. Some tests, such as dimensional accuracy, may be distorted by the filament-to-printer reaction and thus give different results with different machines under different conditions.
However, we are open to constructive criticism that could lead to the next tests being carried out as correctly as possible.