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Different PLA different results?

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Posted · Different PLA different results?

Hey folks,


So, I used up my roll of Silver PLA that came with my ultimaker and I had ordered another generic brand. (not really sure which)


I didn't think changing PLA's would make such a dramatic difference.


IMG 00000457


The foot on the right is the original PLA from ultimaker, and the left the new stuff.


It's hard to say which is better or worse, there are a few things at play here that make them both different.


New PLA:

-Seems more precise, detailed especially on edges and gaps.

-Doesn't stick as well to tape & itself

-Finish seems more wavey

-doesn't blend as well layer to layer

-Fill doesn't seem as 'compete' (gaps at edges)

-Less globules on surface


I thought it wasn't hot enough for the new PLA so I increased the temperature a little bit for this print, and increased the flow by 6%.


.15mm layer height



temp: 225

Flow: 106



Temp: 215

Flow: 100


Its 2 pieces, the middle seam is where it touches the bed.


Maybe it's a function of how the ultimaker PLA is slightly more translucent and the silvery fleks more sparse than the new ones which makes it look more different than it is?


Any thoughts on why it's so different? and if there are any tips to improve print quality, would be more than glad to hear it! I'm kind of looking for a middle ground where the finish is smooth like the right, but detailed like the left.


And a general question.. do you just kinda stick with one brand of PLA that you have tuned the settings to work for?




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    Posted · Different PLA different results?

    It's hard to tell the difference between old and new, since the 'old' on is rather out of focus in your photo.

    The new doesn't look too bad all things considered. but on the extreme left it looks like there's some underextrusion. It may well be that the new filament is a smaller diameter - have you measured it?

    What speed, layer height and wall thickness are you printing at?


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    • 3 weeks later...
    Posted · Different PLA different results?

    They look reasonably close to me. I have seen that much change printing the same part back to back.

    This may be blasphemous in the Ultimaker forum, sorry everyone;

    If you want the parts to match exactly, best way is to get 1 print you like, make a mold, and pour as many duplicates as you need. The mold needs to set overnight but you can pour a print every 20 minutes or so, with that one mold. Plastic of Different strength and flexibility's are available. You have to add the color yourself.

    Back to PLA, the consistency between rolls has been giving me headaches. "Is it the PLA or is it my printer?" I am finding that each supplier has a consistency of its own.

    The Ultimaker PLA is very good but getting it shipped to the USA is prohibitive in cost. Maybe someone knows a technique here for inexpensive shipping here that they could share.

    Ultimachine is my favorite supplier so far in the states. All the PLA seems to print well and consistently from them.

    My all time favorite is/was A2Aprinting from Canada. The layers stick together really well and there is great strength and flexibility in the printed piece. Unfortunately the shipping is nearly same as the cost of the plastic and their inventory goes Out of Stock.

    These are just my opinions. I am not an engineer and don't print for profit.

    I mean this next comment in the best way possible, your question is like "opening a can of worms" to use an old saying. You can follow many paths.

    A piece can print quite differently depending on the slicing software you use. Search that one in the forums.

    3d printing seems to have an unlimited amount of variables. These forums provide a wealth of information about these variables. Take that information and see what works best for you. Nothing is carved in stone, what works for one doesn't always work for the other.

    These variables make answering the details of your question difficult. The environment in which your printer sits can effect the print noticeably for example.

    To sum it up, your results look very good to me. Yes, to using the same roll of PLA if you want two prints to be as close as they can get. Second best is another roll from the same supplier ordered at the same time so they are from the same batch.

    Here's hoping something from my opinions helps you

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    Posted · Different PLA different results?

    Thanks for the comments. The picture is pretty terrible for comparisons. :/ will try to get a better comparison.

    I've since printed a bunch more stuff with the new PLA and it just seems it has a character of it's own.. Since you mentioned canadian retailers, I got it from voxel factory. Decent price, very fast shipping. But they have a different spool with a smaller center hole.

    I find the ultimaker PLA stick far better to both itself and the build platform. But this new PLA seems to be much sharper in detail. I find I have to print it hotter for it to stick properly, and seems a bit less consistent in extrusion, sometimes it seems to underextrude. I have cura set to 2.79, but the measured diameter is closer to 2.9.

    I guess I was just mainly curious as to people's experiences in switching to different brand PLA's and if it's normal to have such varying characteristics. I guess I just assumed PLA is PLA.

    Might give that A2A place a shot for my next batch since I'm in canada, and shipping might not be as bad.


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    Posted · Different PLA different results?

    Try some Diamond Age PLA from Printbl.

    Switching from Ultimaker PLA to the Diamond Age PLA is like having a different machine - it prints smooth, with great adhesion, a clean surface finish, and way better detail. It's also far less brittle than the Ultimaker PLA, which makes it stronger and easier to modify after printing. It really makes a huge difference - switching back to Ultimaker PLA after using the Printbl stuff was depressing.


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    Posted · Different PLA different results?

    I love the "grape" color PLA from printbl, but the "white" is totally different. White is fine but is - I don't know - gunkier when hot. It seems like it sticks to itself too much and has more stringing issues. Whereas the grape barely gets stringy even at high temperatures. Still I printed a tiny (HO scale) Porsche a few days ago with printbl white with .06mm layers and it came out very very nice.


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    Posted · Different PLA different results?

    Hm definitely worth a shot, though quite a bit more expensive than the generic stuff I'm getting. $31 vs. $48 / kilo. But heck if everyone swears by them might be worth it.

    I bought a roll of colorfabb along with my generic silver to see what the difference is as well but haven't tried it yet. I think per gram colourfabb is slightly more expensive of the 3.

    Any comparison thoughts of printbl grape vs. colourfabb?


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    Posted · Different PLA different results?

    Haven't tried the colorfabb but I can confirm that the Printbl Grape is an awesome material. I have two machines printing in front of me, one in Printbl Lime Green and one printing in Grape. The Lime Green is ever so slightly cleaner than the Grape, but that may just be due to machine calibration. Of the Printbl colors I've used a roll of, I'd rank them Lime Green > Grape > Banana Yellow > Ruby in terms of appearance of finished prints. Regardless, they are all wayyyyyy better than the Ultimaker PLA. Definitely worth the money.


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    Posted · Different PLA different results?

    I finally got a chance to try the colorfabb traffic red. The colours are brilliant! and prints quite well. I notice it's quite a bit less viscous than my regular stuff. Once a drip forms on the nozzle it'll just kinda stretch all the way down. It seems to bind very well to itself.

    Overall quite impressed with the quality, And the colors are quite fabulous.


    Here's a citris thingie I printed with it.


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    Posted · Different PLA different results?

    The world leader in PLA pellets is Natureworks, it sells the Ingeo 4043D and 4032D which are suited for 3D printing. That's what you should look for, but filament sellers might not know what they sell, refuse to tell you or lie to you/been lied to by their supplier, so you'll have to test. Also, filament manufacturers might add their recipe to the ingeo pellets or use other brands. Finally, the less colourant there is the better it prints. Silver and Gold are the worst, white and black are unfortunately not the best either.

    To evaluate a material, print Makerbot's and Make magazine's torture tests.


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