There are a lot of different filament out there. The characteristics varies between different types/brands. It can be difficult to find the right filament that suits you and your projects needs. I always like to try different filament to test and see their characteristics. I buy almost my filament exclusively from 3DPrima because of its ease of access.
So my line-up contains
- PrimaValue PLA, Easy to use, budget option.
- PrimaSelect PETG, Easy to use, difficult with initial settings, mid option.
- PrimaSelect CARBON A PETG mix with 20% Carbon fibers, expensive option.
- PrimaSelect PLA, Easy to use, mid option.
- PrimaSelect FLEX Haven’t tried yet, expensive option.
- PrimaSelect METAL, Easy to use, expensive option.
- PrimaSelect ABS+ haven’t tried yet, mid option.
- PrimaSelect ASA+, haven’t tried yet, expensive option.
So when I started 3D printing a few months back I started printing with PLA, This filament was so easy. I Just set the settings that was typed on the spools and I was printing on no time and the prints came out great. PLA is a great filament to start with and also a cheap option that can be used on a prototype level. The characteristics of the filament suits indoor usage because of the limited UV resistance and the low softening point.
Most of my projects and future projects will need a better UV resistance because they will be used outdoors. So looking around in the jungle of different types, I found PETG, which is a Glycol Modified version of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), which is commonly used to manufacture water bottles. It is a semi-rigid material with good impact resistance, but it has a slightly softer surface which makes it prone to wear. The material also benefits from great thermal characteristics, allowing the plastic to cool efficiently with almost negligible warpage. One off my mayor problems was to get started with this filament, It took a long time and I had to try lots of different settings before I was satisfied. This filament was superior to the PLA filament, easy to print and very strong with a degree of flexibility. So for now I exclusively print with PETG.
For the final prototype of the Robot, I will print with PrimaSelect ASA+ (Acrylonitirle Styrene Acrylate) filament. Especially developed to be used in demanding environments where you need UV and water resistance, thermal stability and improved chemical resistance. ASA+ can withstand UV light 10x better than ABS and this makes ASA+ perfect for parts to be used outdoors where it will be exposed to the sun. I haven’t tried to print with this filament yet, but characteristics of this filament is what I need in the end.
The price levels varies quite a lot, The cheapest PLA is around 30USD/kg and the high end metal filament a whopping 124USD/kg followed by the carbon filament at 95USD/kg.