3D Printing: Choosing the Best Filament

This is the fifth in a series of blog posts highlighting what Groundworks teaches patrons about 3D printing. This page shares a couple general filament resources you can visit to learn about the different types of filament available for FDM 3D printers. Keep reading below or skip to another step using the links below:

General Filament Resources

Using a Prusa i3 MK3S+ printer with PrusaSlicer in Groundworks offers our patrons one of the most convenient features a slicing software can offer, filament presets. Prusa has tested over a dozen types of 3D printing filament across dozens of manufacturers and preloaded optimum print settings in PrusaSlicer. Please review Prusa's filament guide where the buttons above the table will help you quickly limit options by "suitable for mechanical parts", "suitable for tiny parts", "UV resistance", "impact resistance" and more. A couple tips using the Prusa Filament Guide:

  • Click on the ">" next to the type of filament to see a drop down list of tested brands.
  • Click on the information icon ( i ) next to each type of filament to learn detailed information, including pros and cons, best use cases and tips for successful printing.

Simplify3D has their own useful "Ultimate 3D Printing Materials Guide" with the same information, but an arguably more user friendly format.

Fusion3 Design also does extensive filament testing for their 3D printers and curates a searchable certified materials list which includes reputable brands not listed on the Prusa Materials List. It also has direct links to each manufacturer's website. HEADS UP! It may take some time and tinkering to determine the optimum print settings for filament brands that do not have a PrusaSlicer preset.

Where to Purchase Filament

Groundworks only has a limited supply of PLA filament on hand for purchase, but we have an open materials policy. Use of our 3D printer is free if you bring your own filament and we can help you choose what's best for your project based on the design and functionality of your part. 

Unfortunately, there are limited options when buying 3D printing filament locally. The 3DXTech is the closest brick and mortar store and is based in Grand Rapids. You can purchase directly from Midwest based filament manufacturers on their websites, including Atomic Filament (IN), COEX (WI), Fusion Filaments (WI), IC3D (OH) and Keene Village Plastics (OH).

Indiana based SeeMeCNC keeps top brands in stock through their online store as does iMaker, Matterhackers, and the Ultimate 3D Printing Store. The Fusion3 Design searchable certified materials list also has direct links to manufacturer websites.

Ready to print your model? Excellent! It's time to schedule a 1-1 appointment to get hands on time with Groundworks 3D printer. Check out Step 6: Print Your Model! to learn what to expect during your 1-1 appointment.

Learn more about 3D printing in Groundworks, located on the Main Library's lower level across from the Lego Lab.

Last Updated 8/20/2022