We sell plastic filaments for the RepRap, RapMan, UP! Printer, Makerbot, Solidoodle and similar 3D printers world-wide. Our recommended standard filament is made from PLA, a plastic sourced from biomass rather than from oil. It is biodegradable, recyclable, non-toxic and widely favoured by the 3D printing community. For those trying to decide between 3mm and 1.75mm machines, 3mm filament is substantially cheaper per kilo and differences in accuracy of the printer’s output are negligible.
As you can see, we stock a wide range of 3D printer filaments in a variety of colours and effects. We normally supply 3mm and 1.75mm filaments, but can do other diameters on request. These are manufactured in PLA and ABS, on loose rolls and cored spools. We also do Impact Modified and High Impact PLA on request, and can supply other plastics such as the clear, flexible PETG, the low-temp CAPA (Also marketed as “Flexible Filament”) and the HIPS used as a support material in some commercial printers.
Please, check our range of colours and feel free to ask questions.
PLA, or polylactic acid, is an ideal material to use in 3D printers. It is pleasant to work with, available in optically clear forms, and produces no noxious fumes when extruded; the odour has been likened to candyfloss and it is made from the natural acid present in yoghurt. The Natural filament has no additives and is quite safe to use with foodstuffs – the material is used to make soluble sutures for surgery and it doesn’t affect the lactose intolerant.
Mechanically, it fuses together well when molten and will shatter rather than bend. Its melting point is relatively low at 180C and it softens in boiling water. When molten, the clear forms have very low viscosity and so extrude rapidly. Opaque colourants stiffen the plastic, lessening its tendency to shatter and preventing it from flowing away. It also has a very low resistance on steel bars and is used for printing sliding bearings. Our feedback is that the Purple and STD Yellow provide the best finishes.
We generally extrude it at between 180C (320F) and 190C (340F). Clear PLA is suitable as the core for investment castings, as the plastic vapourises leaving no char. It will not biodegrade unless properly composted, so do not fear that your workpiece or stockpile will unexpectedly crumble. Please ensure that your extruder sections are clamped together tightly to avoid leakage though, as PLA will easily flow where ABS does not! For more details on PLA see Wikipedia. We suggest PLA be considered first as it is much kinder to the environment. 3mm PLA weighs roughly 8g per meter, so a 100m roll weighs 800g, and a 125m spool has 1kg of filament on it (with 300g of spool making the total weight around 1.3kg). 1.75mm PLA weighs around 3.3g a meter, so a 100m roll weighs 330g and a 300m spool has 1kg of filament on it (with 250g of spool bringing the total weight to around 1.25kg).
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene is a common plastic, used to make such things as Lego bricks (Which may be switching to PLA soon) and monitor cases. It is recyclable but does produce styrene fumes and other gasses when heated that some find unpleasant, and good ventilation is recommended. It is tougher than PLA and withstands 60C with ease – hot coffee if you’re careful. It flexes rather than shatters, but abrades away when pressed on by axles etc. Extrusion is done at anywhere between 220C and 270C, and any blockages should be cleared with acetone while cool as ABS will turn to char if you try to burn it out. We are happy to provide samples of ABS and PLA so that you can determine which is appropriate for your needs.
Note: Standard (marked STD) colours are colour matched across batches. Non-standard and custom colours are done as a best-effort match unless a colour matching service is paid for. We supply loose 3mm filament bagged coils of approximately 100 metres in length (325 feet) and weighing roughly between 0.75 – 0.9kg (1 3/4 – 2lb) depending on the composition. The nominal diameter is 2.9mm, and it is designed to pass down a 3.0 – 3.2 mm extruder barrel. Each roll is approximately 300mm in diameter and 60mm thick. The 1kg spools (125m) cost the same per metre but we add a few bucks on for the spool. We can also provide 500m (4kg) and 750m (6kg) spools on request. Our 1.75mm diameter filament is roughly 300g per 100 metres. All our filament is checked by a physical size die.
More flexible than PLA or ABS this plastic has a extremely low melting point and becomes malleable at 60°C. This means you can print a object, put in hot water until it goes clear and them mould it to your delight or until it chills. It can be heated and cooled indefinitely and once you are done with your object, the plastic can be used as a nifty putty for things like makeshift bridging, customised handles, and linear bearings. Sometimes called “Flexible Filament” this was the original plastic used by the RepRap Project and we first melted granules of it and hand-rolled it into filament. We later approached our current filament manufacturers and they pioneered the production of CAPA as a extruded filament for 3D Printing.
Other filament manufacturers have only just caught on to this wonderful plastic and have taken to calling it a whole new item, but it is the same ol’ beasty as before. Currently only sold in uncoloured 3mm 100m Rolls, but this may change if demand increases.