Filament is to 3D printers what gasoline is to cars. You need it to run your machine. You can get it from different places; and it is available in different quality levels. Not all filaments are created equal. Just as you can fill your car’s tank with premium gasoline for better operations, you can also charge your printer with nicer filament that optimizes the machine’s performance.
But which filament should you choose? Before you buy your next plastic spool from the bargain fans of the internet, check out this handy guide to the best 3D printing filaments out there. Your printer will thank you.
Hatchbox: cheap, reliable and huge
Hatchbox is a dream store for 3D printing enthusiasts. Whether you only need one or fifty spools, with Hatchbox you have everything under control. With every color of PLA and ABS you could ever dream of, as well as other specialty filaments like PETG and TPU, you can find not only what you need here, but what you want too.
In addition to its regular catalog of plastics, Hatchbox offers a variety of limited edition filaments such as: B. the special PLA in the dark. Overall, Hatchbox is probably the front runner when it comes to material diversity, color options and consistent quality from reel to reel.
Proto-pasta: fun, personal and interesting
ProtoPlant is the only company on this list that makes filaments using its own industrial extrusion technology. Why does it matter? Basically, it gives the company a greater degree of control over what types of materials it can process, as well as more control over the quality of the end result.
Thanks to this technology, ProtoPlant can (and is) very experimental with its filaments. It was the first company to release a carbon fiber composite reinforced PLA and has since released a wide range of other incredible materials including steel, iron, high temperature and conductive PLA. We are definitely excited to see what these guys will come up with next.
Taulman: professional, strong and nylon
Nylon and PETG are materials unknown to many 3D printing enthusiasts, but in great demand by others. Nylon and PETG filaments are more expensive, but offer numerous advantages over conventional plastics such as PLA and ABS. As such, you’d think tracking down these high quality plastics would be a chore, right?
Well, not with Taulman. With a thick catalog of plastics ranging from plain PLA to silky smooth nylon and PETG, Taulman has you covered. As an added bonus, the company’s website is also very simple and professional. If you are looking for a certain type of performance, Taulman’s no-nonsense spec breakdowns ensure you find exactly what you are looking for.
3Dfuel: environmentally friendly and pleasantly smelling
3Dfuel has an interesting policy about what goes into its plastics, and by that we mean almost everything goes into its plastics. We are not only talking about environmentally friendly biodegradable fabrics, but also about filaments from different types of industrial waste. In addition to normal spools made of thermoplastic, the company produces filaments from coffee waste, old wort and discarded hemp stalks. There is even a landfill made from plastic for upcycling landfill. Fortunately, the “landfill” is not included in the aromatic category that coffee and beer plastics fall into.
If all this craziness is not enough for you and you want more traditional plastics to get into your machine, 3Dfuel also has a wide variety of PLA coils to offer. From standard printing plastic to high-end products, 3D Fuel not only provides the plastic, but also the information to help you make the right choice.
NinjaTek: technical, flexible and professional
So we have extremely tough plastic, coffee and beer based plastic, and glowing plastic on this list. What else could you want? How about flexibility? NinjaTek is a leader in making flexible filaments, offering a wide range of plastics that you can use to make soft, squeezable parts in your printer.
To be fair, many print shops these days offer some sort of soft or flexible filament option – but in our experience, no one can get a handle on NinjaTek’s plastic for durability and performance.