The best 3d printer filaments for the best price, is it a fairy tale?

With the exponential growth of the desktop 3d printing scene, even more and more hobbyists and makers are looking for the cheapest plastic filaments for their self-built or out-of-the-box 3d printer. If you google ‘em, you can easily realize that you can get the best prices from the far east, but you should know you mostly get what you pay for when it is about the 3d printer filament prices and the material quality.

sculpture design by parametric | art 3d printed with cheap GigamaX3D filaments

sculpture design by parametric | art 3d printed with cheap GigamaX3D filaments

In this entry, I just want to make clear a few things about choosing the optimal 3d printer filament for your needs, depending on what you want to use your 3d printer for. There aren’t any 3d printer filaments for universal use, the maker itself has to decide in every 3d print job which kind of extrudable plastic is the best for the actual needs.

If there were an award for the most innovative desktop machine of the 21st century, it might well go to the desktop 3d printer. These machines, which turn digital designs and virtual 3d models into real physical objects made out of plastic or other materials like 3d printed wood or sandstone, are getting better, faster, simpler and cheaper at such a dizzying pace that it’s not hard to imagine a future in which they’re as pervasive as personal computers or mobile phones. Just think about the beginning of the internet. There are some common points and milestones in their history. And already, you can buy a basic desktop 3d printer for about €450.

building open-source 3d printers

Velleman open-source 3d printers in the GigamaX3D store

But it isn’t the best decision, however, to hung up on the incredible low prices of the 3d printers themselves. Just think about the most common and conventional 2d inkjet printers which need those expensive ink cartridges every month, affordable desktop 3d printers can work with open-source 3d printing materials with the specified diameter and 3d printing guidelines, other work with cartridges using a built-in chip which makes the system closed. Of course, 3d printer filament cartridges are more expensive than the normal PLA, ABS, HIPS or wooden 3d printer materials, although the material is made in the far east in every single case. Although the plastic pellets of the raw 3d printing material is quite cheap, the spools of plastic filament which a 3d printer layers into an object have a huge impact on the long-term economics of 3d printing.

If you don’t want to pay a huge amount of money for expensive, brand-specific 3d printer filaments, you have a lot of opportunities: if you’re a hacker kind of guy, you can produce your own filaments for your 3d printer by purchasing or building a 3d printer filament extruder like the Strooder, Filastruder projects appeared on Kickstarter a couple of months ago. If you don’t want to turn your bedroom into a plastic factory, you can search for the cheapest 3d printer filament suppliers on the web to get the best offer. It can build up some trust if you see a lot of people using the type of 3d printing material you want, it is always good to see the results of other 3d printers using the same plastic material from the same supplier.

We’ve complained about the high price of 3D printing filament, and cheered at the machines that makes filament for the 3d printer out of plastic pellets. Still, the costs of the material for our 3D printers is getting higher and higher, making every hacker and maker searching for the cheapest 3d printer filaments on the internet. Trying to find the best 3d printing filament supplier is always a work in progress. Canvassing suppliers on every continent for 1.75 and 3mm ABS, PLA, HIPS, PVA, Nylon, Conductive, Flexible or wooden 3d printing material for every possible color while accounting for different amounts and spools of filament and shipping is a whole lot of work. Therefore, I’m going to describe it from the european point of view, first starting with how much it will cost somebody like me to get a kilogram of usual 3d printer filament shipped to my door. And this way I only think about local 3d printer suppliers.

3d printed wood

Spiral by Akemake 3d printed with the TImberfill 100% wood 3d printer filament

If you do some research, you might realize that the cheapest spools are from China or the Far East, which means you have to pay the taxes and high shipping costs for your 3d printer filament spools. If you order it with airmail, it is incredible expensive, if you choose the normal transport, it can take months until the package arrives. A fact is a fact: you’d better choose a 3d printer supplier in your neighborhood because you can check the quality and have some warranty for the quality of the product. 3D printing materials aren’t easy to produce, it can be made wrong both overseas and here in Europe. GigamaX3D wants to bring 3D printing accessible to everybody, so that everybody with an idea for a product can turn it into reality. They think that open-source 3d printers like the Velleman K8200 3d printer KIT or the Flashforge Creator desktop 3d printer and cheap 3d printer filaments could help.

In the GigamaX3D 3D print webshop you can find the cheapest 3d printer filaments with a high quality. They also offer premium 3d printing materials for special applications with higher accuracy and strength, but you also can order ABS, PLA, HIPS, PVA, Nylon, Wood, Conductive or Flexible 3d printer filament spools at an incredible low price starting from € 12.70 / 1 kg. The premium filaments are made in the EU by Fillamentum, which is a czech plastic filament manufacturer with the highest quality materials and most beautiful colors. You also can find filaments from the far east, the cheapest spools are made in China by Esun and are widely used with success around the world since it’s one of the most popular 3d printing filaments.

All the chinese and european 3d printer filaments distributed and used by Gigamax 3D printing technology are extruded with inline laser diameter control for guaranteed quality, and have a tolerance in the cross section dimensions better than +/-0.10mm. They just have started a promotion offer, which means, if you place an order above 10 spools (except the discount white PLA) you can get FREE SHIPPING to the EU using the coupon code 10PLA at the checkout! That means, you can get many colors of PLA, ABS, and HIPS 3D PRINTER FILAMENTS for € 16,50 / 1 kg spool with free shipping! In my own opinion, it’s the the cheapest 3d printer filament available in the EU I ever met. But price is one thing, let’s have a look at the quality of the 3d printer filament. PLA and ABS plastics are the most common 3d printing materials, but the devil hide in the detail and it all goes about the diameter accuracy. I can’t test if the given tolerances were true or not but I know a lot of people who are using Gigamax 3D printer filaments with amazing results on different types of 3d printers with FDM technology. An architect/designer and 3d printing enthusiast, who runs parametric | art generative 3d print studio in Hungary works always with the cheapest Esun filaments purchased from GigamaX3D, a girl who makes unique jewelry with a 3d printer mentioned GigamaX as a filament supplier on her blog as well. The universities and high schools use 3d printers and filaments for different use, the technical and material support is mostly provided by the Hungarian 3d printing company.

3d printe sculpture with fine detail

model downloaded from Thingiverse – 3d printed with cheap white PLA 3d printer filament

Just have a look at these 3d printed movie monsters like Diablo, the Terminator, the Alien or the Predator, they all have been 3d printed with the cheapest GigamaX3D PLA 3D printer filament on a Makerbot Replicator 2 desktop 3d printer with default settings! And you can get this cheap PLA 3d printer filament for € 12,70 / 1 kg spool! That sounds irresistible, don’t it?

high quality 3d printer filament

LIMITED OFFER – 1 kg spool white PLA 3d printer filament for € 12.70

Feel free to ask the guys at GigamaX3D, they can tell you everything about the filaments and 3d scanners they offer. They are working on several projects from movies to medical applications, with key point on education and open-source solutions! Do you want to try something new? Check out the special 3d printer filaments or search the blog for useful tips and tricks about 3d printing!

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3D printed generative jewellery with affordable desktop FDM printers

I remember that it wasn’t a long time ago that 3D printing was a little-known term of the high-tech industry. And now, today it is a household name and an accepted technology entering its next major development phase. Right now, we can see 3D printing and all the hybrid additive manufacturing solutions for production taking off and we believe will fundamentally change the world of manufacturing.

In the last couple of years, the global media has given 3d printers a fair amount of attention and the industry now has great expectations placed on it. Perhaps the greatest asset of 3D printing is that it is an enabler . for both corporations and individuals. In fact, 3D printers is being used in three types of manufacturing and fabrication processes: personal manufacturing, augmented manufacturing and alternative manufacturing.

The oversimplification of 3D printing in the media and in conversations does the job of grabbing attention and drawing focus to the highlights of this fabrication process’ capabilities. That big picture has involved more and more people and attracted more interest in 3D printing than ever before. But of course, for an average customer, the details are missing. Without them, you can make poor decisions and you may conclude that 3D printing isn’t quite right for you. But you might know that the devils is in the details, and as the idiom indicates, getting to them may be a challenge for you.

The jewelry industry already understood the importance of harnessing the power of 3D technologies and additive manufacturing for the benefit of the industry in general – and training the next generation of jewelry designers. Parametric design processes like computational algorithms and data based design are the new tools for young designers, and the digital design combined with fully digital fabrication allows them to create some really amazing pieces using a CAD software or only coding.

generative lampshade designed by parametric | art 3d printed by GigamaX3D on a Leapfrog Creatr Dual extruder 3D printer

generative lampshade designed by parametric | art 3d printed by GigamaX3D on a Leapfrog Creatr Dual extruder 3D printer

There are some breathtaking projects around, you have to check out Nervous Systems Kinematics Home app to create custom generative jewellery pieces which can be downloaded and 3d printed on your personal 3d printer at home. Of course, you’ll need a desktop 3D printer with a resolution of 50-100 micron to be able to make high quality prints, nobody wants to wear something barbed. Post processing might be necessary, ABS prints can be smoothed in acetone vapour to get a shiny finish (fine details and contours often disappear during the smoothing process).

When it comes to getting the best out of 3D software and a desktop 3D printer, we can keep in mind that this technology is still a complementary tool, it supports and enhances traditional techniques (like lost-wax casting for example), not replacing them.  It’s a technology that gives the jeweler a new set of tools (both for design and fabrication), but it’s not a replacement for traditional skills. When we are talking to a designer and they want to design a conventional wedding ring, they would not need to take advantage of the things 3D printing offers because on many cases, traditional manufacturing techniques are better placed to do so. According to this, we can say that a 3D printer won’t put a traditional jeweler out of his job. The whole new process of 3D printing only saves designers from having to model the initial part of the design from scratch.

It is a really nice idea for students of for those trying out the technology, to push the technical boundaries of jewelry design and manufacturing with new digital tools as a pattern language. Fashion design, industrial design, architecture and jewelry already adopted the parametric design language which allows the designer to generate a huge amount of variations and iterations for a defined situation depending on fitness values and genetic algorithms. There are some open-source tools for generative design, which makes this game much more fun!

gyroid pendant by parametric | art

gyroid pendant by parametric | art

A dear friend of mine has designed the generative 3d printed jewelry pieces shown in the pictures I’ve inserted, I think they all look really unique, and they all came out from an affordable desktop FDM 3D printer. Most of them are 3D printed on a Leapfrog Creatr Dual extrusion 3D printer, some of them have been printed on a RepRap Huxley or the Velleman K8200 3D printer. In some cases, he has made some test prints on a Makerbot Replicator2 as well. I bet you’ll like all the stuff of the parametric | art 3d printed generative jewelry collection, for some design, there are already uploaded design files (.stl) on Thingiverse, so you only have to download and scale it, and then 3D print it!

'chiselled' bracelet by parametric | art

‘chiselled’ bracelet by parametric | art

The illustrated 3d printed jewelry pieces are great examples for the quality which can be reached with a well-calibrated 3D printer and using premium quality 3D printer filaments. For the chiseled details and overhangs, you’d better print these kind of objects with high resolution (100 micron or finer) and use water-soluble PVA 3D print support material to avoid the trouble while removing supports manually.

'vorocuff' bracelet by parametric | art

‘vorocuff’ bracelet by parametric | art

If you want to design and 3d print your own generative 3d printed jewelry (for example like the voronoi bracelets on the picture above), you don’t need to buy any expensive stuff. You don’t need a professional CAD software which are really expensive, there are plenty of open-source and free tools which you can use as well. Just like I described in a former blog post about 3d modeling for 3d printing, you can use Meshlab, Grasshopper for Rhino and Meshmixer for the modeling work and Netfabb or similar software for optimizing and repairing you meshes before generating the g-code. If you want to learn this stuff, there are some really nice workshops offered by Gigamax 3D printing technology.

DIY 3D printer workshop GigamaX3D x parametric | art

DIY 3D printer workshop
GigamaX3D x parametric | art

Actually a dear friend of mine runs gigamax3d.com and GigamaX3D facebook page.
They are the official european distributors of ESUN filaments and Velleman 3D printers. They sell nice quality ABS/PLA/HIPS/PVA 3d printing filaments with 1.75 and 3 mm diameters in 1 kg spools in 16 vibrant colors, which I’ve already tested on my Replicator2 and they are all good (I’ve had some serious troubles with 3d printer filament diameter issues before).

3d printed with purple PLA filament http://goo.gl/eHuKrM

3d printed with purple PLA filament
http://goo.gl/eHuKrM

They also carry consumer and prosumer desktop 3D printers like the Leapfrog Creatr or the Tricolor Mendel RepRap model and also offer print on demand services and training/education workshops. A lot of RepRap parts and electronics are available on stock as well. Gigamax 3D printing workshops offer an impressive scope of standalone desktop 3D printing technology, the Leapfrog Creatr dual extruder model, tricolor Mendel, K8200, Reprap Huxley to name just some of the best ticket items being put to use and build by this busy little center.

GigamaX 3D Printing http://gigamax3d.com

GigamaX 3D Printing
http://gigamax3d.com