Walter’s Filament Collection – Metal

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For all the people who have asked about filaments, here's my list, spread across 8 different posts.  This list includes over a hundred filaments, with pictures, measurements, and impressions.  All are 1.75mm. Please don't read too much into my opinions, there's a lot of variation in filament and printers, and my opinions apply only to the spools I have on hand.  I try to be objective with these opinions, but my preferences and biases affect my opinion, so keep that in mind when browsing this list. Also be aware of the date, some of these filaments may no longer be available, or may be different from what is currently available.  I sometimes describe how I use and print some filaments just to provide another data point, it's likely that your optimal setup will be different from mine. 


PLA | ABS | PETGFLEXIBLENYLONMETAL | WOOD | OTHER


Diameter - Diameter readings are taken at several angles, across a meter or more of filament, at whatever part of the spool is currently accessible.  Sometimes the filament diameter variation is the result of variations in roundness, and may not have a significant impact on printing performance.  I've noticed that I've become less tolerant of filament diameter variation as printers get more precise, inconsistent layers or banding tends to overshadow filament diameter fluctuation.  One exception is with transparent filaments, where irregular layers aren't very visible.

Color - It's hard to know the exact color, transparency, and texture of the filament when you're buying online.  I'm hoping these pictures along with the descriptions will help you know what you're buying.  All the pictures were lit with the same basic setup (unless stated otherwise) so the colors should be somewhat consistent across different types and brands.  I have my monitors calibrated, and I try to adjust the pictures to match the actual filament as accurately as I can (which is not very accurately).  I don't put the same effort into the example photos or photos that contain multiple spools.

Transparency - Transparency makes a big difference in how these filaments print, but it's one aspect that I hard time getting reliable info on.  I'll use the following terms when describing the spooled filament.  This info is subjective, the surface finish of the filament will affect the perceived transparency, but it should give you a rough idea.

  • very high - Perfectly clear as far as I can tell, ignoring any color.
  • high - It's translucent, with a significant amount of fogginess or haziness.
  • moderate - It's opaque enough that it doesn't appear to be transparent, but light shines through it fairly easily.  If you press a bright flashlight against the spool of filament, about half of the spool will light up.  Infill is usually visible through one or two shell layers.
  • low - It's opaque enough that you probably won't see your infill showing through, but transparent enough to deemphaasize layer lines. If you press a bright flashlight against the spool of filament, you will see a large halo of light around the flashlight from the light filtering through the filament.
  • none - Completely opaque. If you press a bright flashlight against the spool of filament, you will see very little if any light bleeding through the filament.

Printers - I use a Eustathios Spyder v2 and a Rigidbot, both running E3D v6 Hotends.  The Rigidbot uses Printrbot gear head direct drive, the Eustathios uses a short bowden setup with a Bondtech extruder (160mm from gear to nozzle).  Both are fixed gap, symmetric grip, high torque extruders, so for the most part, all the filaments listed feed without jamming or clogging, (there are a few exceptions, like running metal powder filament through a 0.3mm nozzle or trying to print with cleaning filament).  I also used to own an Afinia H-Series Printer (US version of the Up! Plus), only a few of these filaments work well with that printer out of the box.  All the example prints have been printed on these three printers.  Keep in mind that filament isn't the only factors affecting print quality, choice of printer, experience, print settings, choice of slicer, etc. can have a bigger impact than the filament.

Environment - I'm not sure how much the ambient environment affects printing, but I live in San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA.  Temperature and humidity is moderate, indoor temperatures range from a low of 45°F / 7°C in the winter to a high of 80°F / 27°C in the summer with normal temperatures around 65°F / 18°C.  None of my printers are enclosed.

Links - There are affiliate links in this list, I may receive a small percentage of the total if you place orders soon after using the links (at no cost to you).  I've marked all affiliate links with an asterisk (*).  Many thanks to all who have been using these links!  Normally I only link to products I'd buy again, but for convenience and completeness, I'm linking all the filaments I can find a reputable source for (even the really bad ones, so read the description).  I usually link Amazon* when possible, unless I know of better sources for that particular item.


Metal Powder

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Colorfabb Copperfill PLA* | Copper | 2015

Diameter: 1.72 – 1.76 Density: ~3.9 g/cm³ | Origin: Netherlands

One of my favorite metal filaments.  When first printed, it comes out looking like reddish sandstone (I would use the filament for that look alone if it was cheaper).  The Colorfabb metal filaments are the only ones I’ve tried that really look and feel like metal after polishing, probably because of a higher metal content than the others.  I was able to print this filament with a 0.3mm nozzle, but 0.35mm or larger nozzles will probably be more reliable.  I usually polish the prints with a rock tumbler to expose the metal under the plastic.  Using a buffing wheel will bring out shine of the copper even more, but can melt the part if you’re not careful.  Usually cheapest if you order 1.5kg, but also available in a sample pack.


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Colorfabb Bronzefill PLA* | Bronze | 2015

Diameter: 1.75 – 1.77 | Density: 3.9 g/cm³ | Origin: Netherlands

Very similar to the CopperFill above, but in brown.  It’s lighter than I expected, but there are probably chemicals you can use to darken it (I haven’t tried yet).  Also available in a sample pack.


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Virtual Foundry Filamet | Bronze PLA | 2016

Diameter: 1.73-1.76 | Density: 4.2 g/cm³ | Origin: USA

Similar to Colorfabb Bronzefill but a darker brown in color.  When polished it appears more metallic than bronzefill.  A more detailed comparison can be found here.


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Colorfabb Brassfill* | Brass | 2015

Diameter: 1.73 – 1.76 Density: ~3.9 g/cm³ | Origin: Netherlands

The filament starts off with an olive green color and after polishing, it never completely loses its green tint.  I was hoping it would be closer to the golden yellow color of polished brass.  This filament was a free sample from PrintedSolid.  Available in sample sizes.



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Proto-Pasta Magnetic Iron* | Very Dark Grey | 2015

Diameter: 1.73 – 1.78 | Density: 1.8 g/cm³ | Origin: USA

Darker in color than the stainless steel version, prints with an attractive grainy finish.  Attracts to magnets quite strongly, more than the ProtoFlux magnetic filament.  It doesn’t have enough density to feel like you’re actually holding a metal part but it also doesn’t feel like plastic either.  It’s also less dense than their stainless steel PLA.  I haven’t tried polishing or rusting it.


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Proto-Pasta Stainless Steel* | Dark Grey | 2015

Diameter: 1.71 – 1.76 | Density: 2.4 g/cm³ | Origin: USA

Lighter than the magnetic iron in color, a nice shade of dark gray.  It’s a lot lighter in weight than the Colorfabb metal filaments so it doesn’t actually feel like you’re holding something made of metal (doesn’t feel like plastic either).  Because it’s less dense, you get more filament per kg.  After polishing, you see particles of stainless steel embedded in the plastic, but there isn’t enough for it to form a continuous surface.  I could not print this reliably with a 0.3mm nozzle but it worked at 0.4mm.


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eSun eAlfill [beta] | Grey | 2015

Diameter: 1.73 – 1.76 [beta] | Density: 1.48 g/cm³ | Origin: China

I received a small beta sample at a trade show.  It feels much lighter than the other metal filaments I’ve used, and is lighter in color than the Proto-Pasta metal filaments.  Initial print texture and polishing are similar to the other metal filaments.  I’m looking forward getting some when it’s released.  I like this one much more than the eSun bronze or eopper filaments.  I saw the others at a trade show and the eBronze looks and feels like plastic.  The copper parts were very heavy which felt good, but the polished sections didn’t look like copper, they just turned a shiny brown.



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eSun eAlfill | Light Grey / Silver | 2015

Diameter: 1.68 – 1.71 | Density: 1.48 g/cm³ | Origin: China

This filament has a nice light gray color with a matte texture.  When polished with sandpaper or a brass wire brush, it appears much more silvery.  Printing with a 0.4mm nozzle is unreliable, some prints work, but there is a significant chance of the nozzle becoming jammed.  It seems to work fine with a 0.6mm nozzle so for, I haven’t tried it with a 0.5mm nozzle.


Notes on filament brands:

Atomic Filament - They target 1.72mm as the average diameter of their 1.75mm filament (according to their FAQ) so that's usually a good default diameter for their filament, their PLA is usually consistent enough that you don't have to measure each spool.  All their filaments are made in California and they help support this site.

Colorfabb PLA/PHA* - The extra flexibility of PLA/PHA is great for thin, small, or flexible parts that would be too fragile to hold up with regular PLA.  It also prints with a satin finish that looks better than the glossy finish I usually get with PLA.  Despite the PHA content, I classified PLA/PHA with the other PLA filaments as these differences are fairly subtle and it prints with similar settings.

eSun* - eSun filament is sold and sometimes rebranded by a lot of different sources and I don't know if there are differences between them other than the different spool styles.  For this list, I assume they're the same.  Microcenter's Inland filament is currently eSun filament and the cheapest place I've found for it (if you don't account for shipping).  They also sell Inland* filament on Amazon with free prime shipping.  Most of the eSun filament in this list is from Intservo*, who sells on Amazon, but I have also ordered from Microcenter* and Prototype Supply*.

Inland Filament* - I assume all the Inland filament is from eSun (see eSun above) and I've mostly linked to Inland spools because it's cheaper and I prefer the solid black spools.

Honeycomb Drone* - Some spools are advertised as 3lb spools, but are standard 1kg spools.  Prices fluctuate on Amazon, I've seen prices under 10 and over 40 USD.  The spools I ordered were between 9 and 14 USD. 

3D Solutech* - Proudly claims that "All our materials are purely grow and made in the USA", but the spools and the labels under their stickers are identical to other filament I own that came from China.

 


Places to buy filament:

Amazon* - One of the best places to buy filament, I believe they even accept returns if you don't like the filament (I haven't tried that myself, that's partially why I have so much of it).

Printed Solid - They only sell the good stuff (Colofabb, Taulman, Fenner Drives, Polymaker, etc.), and are kind enough to send me some samples to try occasionally.  They sell filament samples which are great for trying out some of the more expensive filaments.  They also have a store on Amazon*.

Atomic Filament - Good filament, free shipping, made in California.  I check their site often as they're adding new colors / types regularly.

Microcenter - Good place to order eSun (branded as Inland) filament if you have a store nearby or are ordering large quantities (Shipping where I'm at starts at $6 and increases by $1 per spool).  They also sell on Amazon* with free prime shipping.


PLA | ABS | PETGFLEXIBLENYLONMETAL | WOOD | OTHER