Cheap 3D Filament: Is it Worth the Cost?


There are numerous options when it comes to buying 3D printing filament, and there are some sellers online who are willing to part with their merchandise for significantly less than their competitors. However, users should be wary when approaching these sellers. From clogged nozzles to ruined prints, cheap filament can spell disaster for a 3D printer. Considering the extra money and time that 3D Print enthusiasts will spend attempting to correct the problems caused by poor quality filament, buying the better quality filament actually costs less in the long run.

Problems Caused by Cheap 3D Filament

Cheap Filament ProblemSometimes, sellers who offer the filament at steep discounts don’t always store their merchandise properly. It’s not uncommon for consumers who buy low-cost filament to experience popping sounds that result from air bubbles in the filament. This popping sound is indicative of filament spurting from the nozzle instead of forming a tiny, precise bead – meaning a ruined print – perhaps just minutes into production, or after hours of extruding. Even if they’ve stored the filament properly by keeping it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, users may still pay for a seller’s carelessness. Though It is possible to dry the filament and remove moisture, the process is time consuming, and users often run the risk of inadvertently overheating and melting the filament completely. Furthermore, once absorbed, it’s difficult to remove all moisture from filament.

Besides poor handling, air bubbles can happen because of a void formed during lower precision manufacturing processes.Regardless of how they occur, air bubbles can ruin prints. They often cause splattering and blowouts from the nozzle, which result in missing pieces in the plastic buildup. This imprecise filament placement can create an object that’s not as structurally sound as one built without air bubbles in the filament. In some cases, this can even lead to complete breakdown of the print due to compounding, as the imprecision becomes multiplied with each consecutive layer.

How Cheap 3D Filaments Affect Printers

Another common problem associated with using the lower end cheap 3d filament is clogging. Low-cost filaments are more prone to the inclusion of foreign particles, which can clog the nozzle. If the particle doesn’t melt after a while, you will have to turn off the printer, take the nozzle apart, and clean it. However, it’s rare for users to find the particle that was causing the clog. If the foreign matter was smaller than the extrusion nozzle’s hole, it could be printed into the object. Under these conditions, the final product may show signs of the nozzle’s clogging and unclogging, resulting in an uneven, low-quality print. In addition to creating poor prints, filaments with foreign particles in them can damage the printer by causing abrasions in the thermal isolator.

Long Term Cost

Discount Filament ProblemUsers who purchase the cheapest filaments available may save money upfront, but over time, they will end up spending more as a result of that initial purchase. Low-cost filament may sound like a great deal, but considering the problems that arise from using it, consumers would be wise to avoid it. Because these filaments often result in ruined prints, consumers have to use more of it to print their design again. Working with low quality filament is also more time consuming; in addition to reprinting because of poor results, users may have to attempt to remove a clog from their nozzle or dry the filament to remove moisture.

Purchasing quality filament from trusted merchants is one of the best ways to reduce problems associated with inferior, cheap 3d filament. When stored properly, superior filament is easy to use. Consumers simply insert it into their printer and let the machine build their design. Saving money over the long run requires users to invest in their printer by selecting the proper filaments – quality ones that reduce the chances of moisture or foreign particles causing problems. When selecting filaments, users should keep in mind that the printed objects will only be as good as the filament that created them.

Our 3D Filament

Here at 3D Supply Guys, we offer a wide variety of filament from a number of reliable brands. Some of our popular name brands include Leapfrog, Flashforge, and 3Doodler. To a see our full inventory of filament, please click here.

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