More PLA quality issues

Getting good prints from PLA (Polylactic Acid based filament) is usually pretty easy – as long as you have a well calibrated extruder and good quality filament.

I once ran into quality issues with filament on the SAME filament reel. On the first limited test run of my Pencase, I started with a pale blue Matterhackers spool that went well, but then turned into total garbage by the end of the reel.

Since it was a new reel, or at least a newly ordered reel, I thought it was a material issue given the printer itself was also freshly calibrated, cleaned and maintained.

Hey, it happens. But the relative youth of a consumer or even pro-sumer 3d printing marketplace is going to have these kinds of hickups.

It’s one of the reasons I have always enjoyed using Protopasta filaments – the consistency of a material throughout it’s usage and lifetime in your shop is really important. And it’s clear from a sampling of materials that pricing might not reflect quality, but when there is consistent correlation between price and quality – you build some loyalty.

This sounds like more of a marketing blog than a 3d printing rant, but it cn be really tiresome trying to salvage a bad roll of remaining filament with different settings to compensate for brittleness, adhesion, clogging or other difficulties that come wwith inconsistent filament properties.

For instance, I actually sat next to my printer once with my finger on the temperature dial adjusting the filament temperature AS it was printing. If I saw or heard strain in the extruder I would adjust pressure slightly, or if I saw under extrusion I would briefly increase temperature, or even adjust speed. JUST to save on buying new filament.

I’m likely not going to do that again. It’s beside the point of having a robot in your living room, right?