Getting Started with Protopasta Filament
Are you tired of creating cheap, shiny, plastic trinkets?
For a premium finish, without sacrificing ease-of-use, print with Proto-pasta's high quality filament. Create functional, beautiful, and high performing prints in a variety of exciting materials on your desktop 3D printer!
Like their name implies, exotic (also called specialty or composite) filaments, are advanced materials for your FFF/FDM Style 3D Printers. They combine 3D Printing appropriate thermoplastics (PLA, ABS, or similar) with a variety of ingredients (like metals, carbon fiber, glow in the dark compounds, etc.) to create hybrid materials with unique properties (such as magnetism or the ability to polish).
What kind of printer can print exotic filaments?
When buying exotic filaments, be sure to note the thermoplastic used as its base. Many are PLA based, such as our Stainless Steel PLA. PLA is a kind of thermoplastic usable by nearly every model of desktop printer, including Makerbot, Ulitmaker, Printrbot, Lulzbot, Dremel, FlashForge, Type A Machines, Robo3D, SeeMeCNC, etc. Other composite materials are ABS based, which require 3D printers with heated beds, and usually an enclosure.
Each filament comes with its own list of suggestions for use, handling, and recommended printer settings. Most PLA-based exotics process similar to standard PLA settings, but can be tweaked for a more optimal result. Unsure about how the material might process on your printer? Our 125g loose coils are an affordable way to test a material before investing in large spools.
Abrasive Exotics are not for Everyone
Some of our filaments include materials which, even when finely ground, will increase the wear on your printer nozzle if your nozzle is made of a “soft” metal, like brass. After printing as little as 500 g of filament, there can be measurable increase in the diameter of a brass nozzle. Ideally your nozzle is made or coated with a hard material. In either case, you should be both financially and technically prepared to replace your nozzle (have at least one extra on hand).
The following Protopasta filaments are noticeably abrasive (ordered most to least abrasive):
- Stainless Steel PLA
- Magnetic Iron PLA
- Carbon Fiber PLA
Replacement nozzles cost less than $5 and as much as $25. Hopefully, replacing a nozzle is worth the ability to print with metal and other advanced materials on your afforable 3D Printer. In the meantime, we are investing in solutions to minimize the cost, complexity, and downtime associated with frequent nozzle replacement. Some machines are not easily serviceable so please make sure yours is. For this reason, abrasive exotics are not for everybody (but pretty amazing for the adventuresome).
Our Conductive PLA and PC-ABS materials are not noticeably abrasive.