The next great all purpose filament
December 17, 2015 10:22PM
Just thought I'd get some opinions about the newer filaments. Is there a PLA/ABS killer out there for all purpose printing? I like ABS for heat resistance and toughness, dislike it for warp and poor inter-layer adhesion/bed adhesion. PLA is great for low warp, good bed and inter-layer adhesion, not so good for higher temp applications, toughness. Is there a filament that will do it all? I would love an all purpose filament with all the good qualities of PLA and ABS combined into one. Something easy to print with that won't be brittle or fall apart at layer interfaces. Something with a quick glass transition so the printed layers solidify before the next layer is laid down. Something that doesn't require 110C heated bed just to print warp free parts.

And please don't just reply about how you can overcome some or all of the deficiencies of ABS/PLA with different printer settings or design changes to the printed part. I've been printing with ABS and PLA for quite a while now. I understand them pretty well. I'm ready for something better. Not just something different with a niche application in some category or other.
Re: The next great all purpose filament
December 17, 2015 11:07PM
Take a look at PET/PETG. It's supposed to be as strong as ABS with the warp of PLA. The big downside I've heard is that you have to print slowly.

Nylon is also pretty awesome. It takes a different sort of build plate to stick properly, but it's tough and strong and slippery, and is good for anything that doesn't require super-high stiffness.

Carbon-reinforced filament is also nice, since it reduces warp while increasing stiffness. I probably can't print in it because of my Bowden tube, and it eats brass nozzles, but it gives nice advantages without much downside if you can print it.

If you have the capability to print more exotic filaments, polycarbonate is great. It costs a bit more than ABS or PLA, and it warps a ton. If you can manage it, though, you'll be rewarded with amazing strength and toughness, with little downside. Plus it's optically clear, like PET, though it seems to frost if you don't deal with it carefully.

There is no single answer, because if there were everyone would use it, but there's a best filament for every job.
Re: The next great all purpose filament
December 17, 2015 11:38PM
+1 on PET-G. One disadvantage of it is that it doesn't come in many solid colors. Black, white and red is all I have seen.
Re: The next great all purpose filament
December 18, 2015 02:17PM
Great timing on this thread. I'm testing new materials, and I just happened to do my first PETG print today. (for the other material I'm testing see my separate thread on POM).

From the start I have to say that I'm in love with PETG after this print. I think it will become my new go-to all-purpose material.

I used Greg's extruder small gear as my test object, as it has become my standard test for new mats. Settings on my i3v Prusa 10" were very similar to ABS: J-head 0.5mm at 225 degrees, bed at 80 degrees (i.e. lower than ABS). Same print speeds: 30mm/s perimeter, 60mm/s infill. I used 3mm clear PETG filament from user "leox-life" on ebay.

This is by far the best print of the small gear that I ever made, in any material - and I've printed it dozens of times. No warping at all. Excellent adhesion to my standard bed (3mm glass with a light coat of hairspray) - I'm sure that I could lower the temperature of the bed even more, and do away with the hairspray, but the glass was already coated, so... Great print definition, no stringing or bridging AT ALL. Very clean holes, excellent contour of the spokes. Great layer adhesion, the object feels at least as solid as ABS, but again with no warping.

In other words, my test print with PETG was PERFECT. Many more to come!

The only downside I can see is that it's somewhat more expensive that your run-of-the-mill ABS or PLA.





(edit) I have just printed another test object. This one is a tall, hollow rectangular prism with very thin walls (0.5mm, basically 1 layer). It also printed perfectly well. Comparing it mechanically using fingers only with the same object printed from ABS, it is very similar. The PETG is a bit more flexible but doesn't feel flimsy. And at this thinness it is basically transparent. Again, great print resolution.

I just went ahead and ordered all of the PETG that the above ebay user had in stock. smiling smiley

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/18/2015 02:56PM by stamasd.
Re: The next great all purpose filament
December 19, 2015 03:29AM
One comment about PET-G:
I've build a Kossel Delta with corners, carriers and effector from PETG.
I was pretty happy but soon found out, all screws were getting loose. Effector and carriers were out of shape after 3 month.
The material seems to creep a lot, when under pressure/tension.

AFAIK the only material, that can be finished/polished and cured against bad layer adhesion is ABS.
If finishing the parts is not necessary, then PETG is good for non-functional parts. Single wall gadgets are best, because they don't need retraction.
I like to print functional parts from PLA.
-Olaf
Re: The next great all purpose filament
December 19, 2015 03:46PM
PETG is great - I have been using it for quite a while.
[reprapworld.com] have a selection of colors.
[www.ecoreprap.com] can supply any custom color at a good price in 5kg quantity. email
analucia@ecoreprap.com .
Re: The next great all purpose filament
December 23, 2015 01:42PM
Sounds like PET-G is the clear choice for modern filaments so far. I'm also starting to reconsider my past tolerance of ABS. The warping causes so many issues that I wonder why I haven't dropped it from my general purpose filament list a long time ago. I understand that once you get a filament and settings that work well with your machine ABS can be just fine to print with, but I'm almost convinced that it is more of a niche filament in the general scheme of things. It will surely be in my bag of tricks if I need to do acetone smoothed prints or some other specific thing, but honestly I think I'm ready to retire ABS as a standard filament in my printer at this point.

To be perfectly fair, I am currently hating ABS in part because I just got some of the crappiest ABS filament in the universe from Monoprice. It is brittle, warps like a beast even compared to other ABS I've used and doesn't seem to stick as well to my platform. It also has a lower softening point. In short all the disadvantages of ABS and none of the advantages. So maybe I'm being a little unfair in my time of bitterness. But I think the point is still at least partly valid. Especially for beginners it seems like PLA and possibly PET-G would be a better mix.
Re: The next great all purpose filament
January 11, 2016 02:25PM
You can get it in other colours. I have PETG in Black, white, Clear, Green, Yellow.


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Re: The next great all purpose filament
January 11, 2016 02:45PM
Worst part about PETG is clean up. unlike PLA or ABS. its hard to dilute PETG, if you have a clogged nozzle, you need to heat it up and drill it out. to clean it.. with ABS you can just soak it


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Re: The next great all purpose filament
January 11, 2016 02:46PM
Quote
makerparts
Worst part about PETG is clean up. unlike PLA or ABS. its hard to dilute PETG, if you have a clogged nozzle, you need to heat it up and drill it out. to clean it.. with ABS you can just soak it
That for me is the biggest disadvantage as well.


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Re: The next great all purpose filament
January 12, 2016 06:42AM
Quote
bryanandaimee
I like ABS for heat resistance and toughness, dislike it for warp and poor inter-layer adhesion/bed adhesion.
  • When printing at the correct temperature the inter-layer adhesion is not an issue at all.
  • Using a PEI print plate will solve any bed adhesion issues.
  • Using an enclose will limit but not eliminate warp

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/12/2016 06:46AM by [email protected]
Re: The next great all purpose filament
January 12, 2016 04:20PM
Thanks for the suggestions guys.

For clogged nozzles I use a length of PLA and do a warm pull regardless of what was in the machine at time of clog. For stubborn clogs I sometimes persuade it a bit with a needle from the front first before pulling everything out with the PLA at about 80C. Nozzle always ends up squeaky clean. Haven't used PETG yet but I imagine the same process would work.

As for temp, I agree to some extent, but there is a trade off. If you use a high enough temp to get perfect layer adhesion you can also often lose print quality due to heat build up on small features.

I do need to get some PEI to play with, but that still goes to my point about ABS being a specialty filament requiring more experience and better equipment to print with.

Having to build an enclosure and worry about drafts is kind of making my point about ABS being more difficult to print with, hence making it more of a specialized filament than a general purpose one.
Re: The next great all purpose filament
January 12, 2016 04:48PM
I have tried a pull. but so far havent been able to like i have previously with ABS / PLA


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Re: The next great all purpose filament
January 12, 2016 09:21PM
Right. I think PLA is probably the only common filament that works really well for this. That is why I use PLA to pull gunk out the the nozzle even if there is ABS in there from the previous print. I imagine it would work fine for PETG as well. Warm the nozzle till you can pull the plastic you are using out of the hot end. It's OK if some gets left in there. That's the reason you use PLA. Other plastics don't pull out cleanly. Then heat to the melting point of any plastic that may still be in there and push some PLA through. Even if your nozzle is clogged you can usually get some plastic through. Then cool the nozzle to 80C or so and slowly pull the PLA out. It should bring everything out with it. You may need a couple tries, but it doesn't take long to heat up again. And like above if two or three tries doesn't get the nozzle squeaky clean there might be a grit lodged in the tip. This can be persuaded from the front with a small needle or other similar. I don't like tiny drill bits because they are often made for circuit boards and are very brittle. I wouldn't drill my nozzle just to clear a clog. Your mileage may vary.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/12/2016 09:24PM by bryanandaimee.
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