FAQ


Our Frequently Asked Questions List. These are the ones we get asked a lot that have relatively simple answers.

How do I tell if this is PLA or ABS in my hand?
What temperature should I print my PLA/ABS/ASA at?
Why isn’t my 3mm PLA 3mm in diameter?
Is PLA suitable for food use?
Where is your filament made?
What exactly is a “Rainbow Pack”?
Why don’t you ship to my country?
What are the temperature and storage conditions for PLA?
Where can I buy your filament?
Is it true that PLA biodegrades easily?
Is 1.75mm filament more accurate?
What are the dimensions for your 125m Spool?
Help! I bought a loose roll instead of a spool!
My Extruder isn’t extruding, what do I do?
My glass bed has arrived with a large chip off the corner, what do I do?
What are the tolerances for your filament diameters?
How much does your filament cost per kilo?
Why is your 1.75mm filament not half the price of your 3mm filament?

 

1. How do I tell if this is PLA or ABS in my hand?


Set fire to it. Seriously. Do so safely, and blow it out  as soon as it catches. Now, carefully smell the smoke (waft, don’t snort). If it smells like burning plastic, it’s probably ABS. If it smells like burning food, it’s PLA.

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2. What temperature should I print my PLA/ABS/ASA at?

That depends on how accurate your temperature sensor is (typical variation is 5%) and where it is placed on the extruder (causing variations of up to 10%). We could say that you print PLA at 185C, ABS at 225C and ASA at 230C, but then you’d have to realise that the temperature as measured on your machine could be 20C or more higher or lower than this. The best thing to do is experiment and use the lowest temperature that works – finding the sweet spot is easier if you push the filament through by hand because human fingertips have very sensitive feedback and can feel when the filament becomes sufficiently fluid.

If you have a glass heated print bed, start off at 55C. If it doesn’t stick, bump it up 4 or 5 degrees at a time and don’t print too quickly on the first layer.

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3. Why isn’t my 3mm PLA 3mm in diameter?

When we invented the RepRap, we wanted to allow for people making machines in primitive circumstances. So, rather than making them hunt for a 3.2mm drill bit, we deliberately undersize the filament so that it will not get stuck in home-made 3mm extruders. This means that our 3mm filament will happily go through 2.85mm extruders that some companies have started to bring out.

For those worried about how this effects the amount of plastic you get, the exact weight of our spools of 3mm PLA are conveniently sized  in 1kg (125m) and 4kg(500m) units .

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4. Is PLA suitable for food use?

For sticking on top of a wedding cake, a cocktail, making a doily, one-off jelly mould, shotglass, that kind of thing, yes. For reusable crockery, no. Layered PLA has too many cavities to clean out properly and melts if you try to sterilise it. You can line it with kitchen film,  or smother in food-grade epoxy and hand-wash if you insist. We do use a small amount of  kerosene in making the luminous filaments, so technically we can’t call it food grade even though it evaporates during processing.

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5. Where is your PLA filament made?

Henderson, New Zealand. All of it. So is the ABS and ASA. We are a registered exporter and send filament to China.

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6. What exactly is in a “Rainbow Pack”?

10 rolls or spools plus a free one. Left to our own devices, we give you an assortment of the usual colours, some tints, some metallic etc. If you e-mail in a specific order, we’ll do our best to include or exclude colours as per your requirements and let you know if you’re asking for something that isn’t in stock. We also do a bigger version for clubs, inventively called the “Club Pack” available here. That’s 20 rolls or spools with 3 free, and one of the free ones can be luminous.

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7. Why don’t you ship to my country?

Apart from the ones we’re forbidden by law from dealing with, we probably do ship to your country but do not have the shipping details in our web server yet. Please e-mail us with your requirements and we will calculate it for you manually.

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8. What are the temperature and storage conditions for PLA?

PLA Won’t break down in normal household conditions, but the little bags it comes in act like baby greenhouses so store them out of direct sunlight. It will deform in a hot car, but then most common thermoplastics will on a hot enough day!

Keeping the filament for printing is a slightly different matter. The temperature range is not so important – whatever is comfortable for you is good for the filament, though below 10C or so it becomes much more brittle.

Humidity does matter. We’ve printed OK in 80% humidity and produced usable prints from filament left outside in the garden all winter. However, you want to keep the filament below 60% if you’re chasing perfection, particularly with the 1.75mm filament as it has a larger surface/volume ratio. In humid environments such as the tropics, keep unused filament sealed up with desiccant in large TupperwareTM tubs, or sealed in a vacuum duvet storage bag etc.

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9. Where can I buy your filament?

Well, you can buy it off us, or at our friends MakerShop. If you find anyone else selling our filament, get in touch so we can verify it is indeed our stuff.

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10. Is it true that PLA biodegrades easily?

Nope! We’re not sure where this rumor has come from, but please be reassured that PLA will not biodegrade unless properly composted.

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11. Is 1.75mm filament more accurate?

No. The thinner filament is not inherently more accurate, in fact the reverse is true. Thin filament has great advantages in making the machinery that uses it light and cheap, and in extreme cases move faster (though 3mm is mechanically more robust). The chief disadvantage of thin filament is that it comes out the filament maker at the same speed as 3mm, and as the material cost of the filament is actually quite low compared to processing costs, it ends up costing about 3 time as much per kilo as 3mm filament. However, it’s cheaper to make machines that use 1.75mm, and pass the cost on to the consumer – you. Nasty trick.

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 12. What are the dimensions for your 125m Spool?

Our 1.75mm x 125m Spools have a Outer Diameter of 205mm, Inner Diameter of 90mm,  Bore Diameter of 34mm (that’s the hole in the middle) and a Width of 48mm. (Thanks to Jared for these measurements)

 

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13. Help! I bought a loose roll instead of a spool!

That’s okay! You can buy a reusable roll holder from us to hold your filament. If you’d rather print your own, you could try this filament holder, or one of our DIY Solutions.

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14. My Extruder isn’t extruding, what do I do?

Try our Troubleshooting area here

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15. My glass bed has arrived with a large chip off the corner, what do I do?

Don’t panic, that is in fact deliberate. If we just had a plain glass square as a print bed, then there would be nowhere for any purged plastic to go when testing if the printer is hot enough or when changing filaments.

The cut corner allows spare plastic to ooze down, when the bed height is properly calibrated the ooze is then wiped off on the edge of the glass when the print is started.

16. What are the tolerances for your filament diameters?

We pride ourselves on our filament being of the highest quality. Our filament diameters should be between 1.60 and 1.80mm in diameter for our 1.75mm filament, and between 2.7mm and 2.9mm for our 3mm filament.

17. How much does your filament cost per kilo?

Standard 3mm PLA filament: $49.25/kg
Luminous 3mm PLA filament: $80.00/kg
Tactical Matt Black 3mm PLA filament: $55.00/kg

Standard 1.75mm PLA filament: $95.60/kg
Luminous 1.75mm PLA filament: $112.00/kg
Tactical Matt Black 1.75mm PLA filament: $114.00/kg

Standard 3mm ABS filament: $67.50/kg
Luminous 3mm ABS filament: $80.00/kg

Standard 1.75mm ABS filament: $143.60
Luminous 1.75mm ABS filament: $187.30

HIPLA/IMPLA 3mm filament: $50.00/kg
HIPLA/IMPLA 1.75mm filament: $108.00/kg

Please note, all prices above are in NZ$ and do not including GST or shipping.

18. Why is your 1.75mm filament not half the price of your 3mm filament?

The cost of our filament is mostly due to manufacturing costs. The expensive part is the extrusion process, which has to be done slowly in order to prevent the plastic from warping or constricting as it cools. Our filament needs to have an even diameter, and if you make the filament come out of the manufacturing extruder too quickly, you end up with uneven filament as it cools at different rates. This means that the longer it takes to make the filament, the more expensive it is. The 1.75mm filament actually takes longer to make, as it’s more crucial to make sure that there are as few variances in size in the filament as we can – and this means a slower cooling process. A 0.1mm fluctuation in diameter makes more of a difference in 1.75mm filament than it does in 3mm, so we run it slower.
In addition to this, it takes longer to squeeze out a kilo of plastic through a 1.75mm hole than it does through a 3mm hole. This means that even without the extra care and attention we put into our 1.75mm filament, 3mm is going to be easier and faster to produce.
 

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Your stupid FAQ doesn’t have the answer to my obviously frequent question! WTF! Arrrgggghhhh!!! >bang< >bang< >bang<

Dear Frustrated, simply comment to this page or e-mail sales@diamondage.co.nz. You’ll need someone else to fix that plasterwork though.

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21 comments on “FAQ
  1. Russell says:

    Have you had any feedback from Australian customers about Australian Customs charging GST when importing your 3D printers? After drooling over one of your printers at LCA recently I’m interested in ordering one, and would like to know if I have to factor that into the budget.

  2. Ramon Lewis says:

    Hi

    We are having the PLA lift off the glass problem with anything bigger than 25*50mm square, while the nozzle seems to hit previously laid plastic making a grating noise. We have been using the glue stick! Actively cleaning back to glass and relaying the glue carefully doesn’t stop it happening. The last printout I tried having a 3mm skirt about the objects to try and keep them stuck down.

    Cheers for any help.

    • Tamara says:

      Sounds like it might be the temperature, try upping the first layer temperature by 10C (SLic3r, config, filament settings, filament) and see if that helps.

  3. Gordon says:

    Having gone through almost a whole roll of 3mm black PLA in setting up and testing my printer, I now have a box of bad prints and outright disasters which volometrically have quite a lot of PLA in them (black). Is this recyclable i.e. can we send it back for reprocessing into 3mm filament?

    • Tamara says:

      Unfortunatly not, after printing the plastic tends to pick up lots of impurities that, if fed through the machines again, would clog up and possibly ruin the extruders. Some people have started trying to make their own recycling ‘bots despite this, I would suggest checking out people like FilaBot and the like.

      If you are worried about the eco-cost as it were, you can put the waste into a bag and label it ‘PLA Plastic’ and chuck that into your usual rubbish collection. This way it is more likely to be properly identified and composted by the Recycling Plant.

  4. Kerry says:

    Is PLA suitable for exterior trim on cars? e.g. is it UV stable? Can it be painted? Would Clear PLA be usable to make a fog light protector – suitably transparent?

    Thanks!

    • Tamara says:

      We generally recommend ASA for car parts as it is much more UV stable and has a higher heat tolerance.

      PLA can be painted, but we recommend using a filler to bog it, sanding it down, bogging it again, sand again, painting with primer and then using the final colour. A bit tedious, but it gets the best result.

      Clear PLA’s transparency depends on the quality of the print. If the layers are not fine enough then they refract the light too much and misdirect the beam. The finish is usually more frosted glass-like than utterly clear.

  5. Augur says:

    Hey Vik, I had heard that you have a shop in Henderson. Is this a retail store front, or are you just running it from your home? I live in Hendo myself, so I was thinking of popping in at some time.

    • Tamara says:

      Hi, I know this was directed at Vik but I thought you might want a response. Yup, we live on site above the shop so we are generally reachable. General rule is, if the gate is open, we are in.

  6. Owen Bailey says:

    Hi

    Does your IMPLA or HIPLA have a different glass temperature to PLA

    Owen

  7. Kelvin says:

    Is there a way I can track my order on your site?

    It seems your sales process is a little slower than the other sites I purchase from. I’m not too bothered if your process is slow for good reason, but being able to track progress would definitely ease the suspense.

    Also, if I make a mistake on this form all my answers are erased!!! Could a script to store the data on submission please be implemented?

    • Vik Olliver says:

      At present, no, there is no order tracking on the site. It also does not integrate with our accounts system, and we’re not happy with it either. It will be changed, now that we’re in the new offices. First we have to pay a few bills associated with that, and then we’ll get a much nicer website up. One that doesn’t wipe forms. Our focus though is that high-quality filament and that takes all our man- and woman-power.

      If frustrated, please feel free to simply e-mail us directly and tell us what you’d like, and we’ll beat up the website on your behalf with great enthusiasm.

  8. Frank says:

    Two questions and a comment.

    Do you offer samples of your product? If so, how do I get them? Would printbl do the same (I’m in the US)?

    What colors are in the rainbow pack? Is it random or the same 10+1 colors every time?

    You might want to list somewhere that all prices on your site are in NZD. It isn’t clear since many countries use $.

    • Vik Olliver says:

      Yes, just e-mail sales on the diamondage.co.nz server with your address and sample request. Ah, in the US of A you’ll need to do the same thing for printbl.com, which will probably be quicker for you.

      If you e-mail in an order and specify the colours you want or don’t want in a rainbow pack, we’ll do our best. Generally we keep pretty good stocks.

      We try to give people a bit of a clue about the dollar with the .nz domain. I see you spotted that 🙂

  9. Pablo says:

    Hi! I was wondering which are the best humidity and temperature conditions for storing your PLA. Thank you!

  10. Andy says:

    Why do you not ship to the UK? The Czech Republic seems to be the only EU country you ship to.

    • Vik Olliver says:

      We do! Our website does not contain shipping tables for very many countries just yet. E-mail what you’d like to us together with the shipping address and we’ll sort you out. Now in the FAQ as #5.

  11. Sri Bhagvan Tyagi says:

    Hi,
    Happy to see your post that you make such good product.
    Just curious to know that you manufacture PLA yourself or just do modification after procuring PLA. and made these nice products.

    Regards
    Sri Bhagvan

    • Vik Olliver says:

      We blend the granules rather than actually making it ourselves, though we do develop our own additives and are trying to encourage the NZ milk industry to produce some PLA.

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