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Evaluation: Amazon Fundamentals 3D printer filament PLA and PETG

Series of test prints made from Amazon Basics filament.  Photo from the 3D printing industry

Recently, the leading online marketplace Amazon sparked the rumor mill for 3D printing with the launch of its own Basics FFF / FDM filament brand. To examine the new range of materials for themselves, the 3D printing industry ordered two spools of the filament.

This test examines the print quality of Amazon Basics Black PLA and Red PETG using standard parameters set by our engineers in the 3D printing industry. The tests were carried out using two inexpensive desktop 3D printers, a Snapmaker 3-in-1 and a Wanhao Duplicator 9. The printing profiles for each of these machines are recorded at the end of the article.

Series of test prints made from Amazon Basics filament. Photo from the 3D printing industry

Amazon Basics Filament Unboxing and Delivery

When ordering Amazon Basics filaments, a delivery time of 1 to 3 months was initially specified. With the order on July 25th, the coils arrived on August 14th. The wait on delivery is expected as the order was taken by Amazon.com and the spools were initially sent to a company depot in California prior to shipping to the headquarters of the 3D printing industry. The filament is currently at an early stage of availability. As soon as the demand is assessed, Amazon could update the long delivery times.

Upon arrival, both coils were neatly packed in cardboard boxes and individually sealed with a bag of desiccant in resealable packages to protect them from dust / contamination.

The windows in the coils are a helpful feature in the design, and details of the materials are given in five different languages ​​(German, French, English, Spanish and Italian) for America and Europe. This suggests that Amazon plans to make the filament available in a larger number of regional outlets in the future.

Unboxing Amazon Basics red PETG filament.  Photo from the 3D printing industryUnboxing Amazon Basics red PETG filament. Photo from the 3D printing industry

Calibration test

For each filament, the engineering team printed three calibration test models in 3D: a 3DBenchy, an XYZ cube, and a Cali Cat. These models were 3D printed to get the optimal quality of the filament with a layer height of 0.2mm on both 3D printers and a printing speed of 0.2mm 40 mm / s on the Snapmaker and 50 mm / s on the Wanhao Duplicator 9. The models were also 3D printed with 15% filling on the Snapmaker, and the Wanhao Duplicator 9 was set to 10% filling.

Calibration of 3D prints of Amazon Basics red PETG and black PLA.  Photo from the 3D printing industryCalibration of 3D prints of Amazon Basics red PETG and black PLA. Photo from the 3D printing industry

None of the 3D printers in this test had extrusion issues when extruding Amazon Basics PETG or PLA. The engineers had no trouble stringing, loading and unloading, or filament breaks when swapping out to try out each model.

Calibration 3DBenchy Boot in Amazon Basics Black PLA on a Snapmaker 3D printer.  Photo from the 3D printing industryCalibration 3DBenchy Boot in Amazon Basics Black PLA on a Snapmaker 3D printer. Photo from the 3D printing industry

As a base filament, PLA is best suited for prototypes, toys and figures. With greater rigidity and chemical resistance than ABS, PETG is a polymer for more functional use.

Compared to 3D printing, the quality of the models is consistent. PLA figures are of good quality, although the finish is expected to be better on PETG models.

Layer lines in the red 3D printed PETG calibration models are less visible than those of the black PLA. The surface of the PETG has a shiny gloss.

Side by side comparison of Cali Cats 3D printed in red PETG and black PLA.  Photo from the 3D printing industrySide by side comparison of Cali Cats 3D printed in red PETG and black PLA. Photo from the 3D printing industry

Detailed 3D prints

As a further test of the print quality of the material, the engineers printed detailed 3D models of Michelangelo’s Pietà sculpture.

Only the Snapmaker 3D printer was used in this experiment. The layer thickness was set to 0.1 mm with 15% filling and 50 mm / s printing speed.

Both filaments have managed to capture small features, such as eyes, mouth, hair, folds of fabric, of the Pietà model and to achieve a good glossy surface. Removing the supports on a model with such fine features is always difficult, but a clean finish is achieved on any support area.

Michelangelo's Pietà in Amazon Basics red PETG and black PLA.  Photo from the 3D printing industryMichelangelo’s Pietà in Amazon Basics red PETG and black PLA. Photo from the 3D printing industry

Tested for purpose

To further verify the quality of the black PLA used for making figurines / toys, engineers 3D printed a model of the Maiwand Lion statue in Forbury Garden, Reading, UK.

All settings for this print on the Snapmaker 3D printer stayed the same as for the calibration tests in order to save time during the print as this was selected as a fast prototype / toy. Due to the layer height of 0.2 mm and the size of the model of approx. 650 mm x 250 mm x 350 mm, there are noticeable burrs in the finished lion. Over time, of course, the lion could also be 3D printed with a layer height of 0.1mm for a smoother finish. Despite the ridges, the lion maintains a strong shape.

Maiwand Lion 3D printed in Amazon Basics black PLA.  Photo from the 3D printing industryMaiwand Lion 3D printed in Amazon Basics black PLA. Photo from the 3D printing industry

In a second functional test, a wheel was 3D printed in red PETG (layer height 0.2 mm). Slight chaining is observed in photos between the spokes of the wheel and the rim has a smooth surface suitable for adding a tire.

A wheel made of red PETG filament from Amazon Basics.  Photo from the 3D printing industryA wheel made of red PETG filament from Amazon Basics. Photo from the 3D printing industry

Amazon Basics Filament – final thoughts

The team’s final verdict is that both Amazon Basics PLA and PETG produce good quality 3D prints and are easy to work with. Other online reviews had found an inconsistent color with the red filament, but no such error was found in this report.

At a single price of $ 19 per 1kg spool, engineers also noted the value for money of the material, especially given the superior processing of PETG. One final seal of approval was that an engineer in the 3D printing industry said he would buy the material for his personal work.

Print settings for checking the Amazon Basics filaments

Snapmaker Wanhao Duplicator 9
Slicer Snapmakerjs 2.4.3 Simplify 3.1.0
Layer height 0.2 mm (calibration tests, Lion)

0.1 mm (Pietà)

To fill 15% 10%
Print speed 40 mm / s 50 mm / s
PLA bed temperature 50 ° C. 60 ° C.
PLA printing temperature 200 ° C. 215 ° C.
PETG bed temperature 80 ° C. 70 ° C.
PETG printing temperature 235 ° C. 240 °

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The image shown shows a series of test prints made from Amazon Basics filament. Photo from the 3D printing industry

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