I already have the return tag printed for Amazon but I am not obligated to return it.
The question here is; should I be more forgiving or am I setting too high an expectation? Would you trust something that fails to meet it’s own specification or send it back?
So I purchased two spools on the recommendation of someone here. They went on sale for $13 US. I just opened them up. One RED the other Black.
I really don’t see myself printing at this low a temperature. So I ran a Max volume test and I was impressed. 25mm. However, then I run a temp tower using my preferred temp ranges which is typically 220ish. This allows me to mix filaments when I’m doing my poor man’s AMS.
Here’s the result. Range was set from 185-215C. I though I was being generous with that range.
Didn’t even make it to 200c
Then I tried the RED one. Same story.
I reran the test twice with the same result. Then I tried another filament that I had only about 1meter left on the spool. I used the same exact settings and the test ran fine.
I should also note that the filament itself is anything but round. You could feel the flat sharp edge and the beginning of the spool was very brittle. It loosened up after unwinding about a meter. But the real kicker is that it was very flat on one side and completely asymmetrical and if this was supposed to be 175mm ± .03 I’d like to know what instrument they use I got values anywhere between 163mm and 181mm.
I might forgive one spool escaping QC, but two different colors from two different production dates?
I did run another test between 205 and 245. The layer adhesion improved but there was no temperature range that produced an acceptable output. Either it was too stringing, too overhangish or just plane bad.
So the problem is clearly shown in the filament label, the temperature range is for the “noozle” (sic).
edit Also you have an expensive printer, not a badly tuned Ender. Is cheap filament worth the trouble?
That’s a good question. If how does one define “cheap”? Is cheap inexpensive or is it poorly made as in this case? Does one solely judge quality based on sticker price? Because to me that should be called “Sucker Price” for anyone who doesn’t do their actual homework and verifies manufacturer claims on their own.
I used to fork out $28 each for 6 spools of Bambu filament. Thanks to Bambu’s inventory mishandling, I was compelled to seek alternative sources for basics like black PLA. What I learned from this experience is that the label on the box and the price you pay aren’t necessarily connected. While I admit that Bambu’s spools are superior to most, I don’t own an AMS, and frankly, I have no intention of getting one. The only brand that even comes close with a comparable clear acrylic spool is Amolen, but I absolutely refuse to cough up $30 just for a pretty spool.
Since June, I’ve consistently bought black PLA filament for less than $14, and I’m creating a spreadsheet to track the best and worst sources. Thankfully, Amazon’s return policy helps manage financial risks, as long as you’re willing to invest some time. Personally, I enjoy the competitive aspect of finding deals while shopping, almost as much as optimizing the performance of budget filament through slicer profile adjustments. Breaking the code on slicer settings is why I’ve exclusively switched to Orca; their built-in calibration tools have made me a devoted user.
Here’s an example of being frugal, not cheap: the Colido brand. They’ve consistently delivered quality at a $14 price point. I even used their filament when I couldn’t find black PLA from Bambu for over a month. However, like William Shatner in Priceline commercials, I’m always looking to find a better deal. I keep trying to beat Colido’s $14 price, but the challenge is finding a maker who charges the same price every time due to market fluctuations.
So I put the question back to you in another way.:
Is a $13 or $14 Spool of PLA that performs as good as the $28 spool “cheap”, or is it just being an educated consumer?
In the end, I plan to rate every sub-$14 Amazon seller and share the information here, although it might take some time. This effort will result in a list of trusted vendors, enabling me to make price-based purchases. I’m adopting this practice from my 40 years of experience in my day job, where we vet various sources for electronic components to ensure we choose high-quality suppliers and eliminate imposters. So, it’s become a natural part of my technology purchasing routine.
We can get Kingroon PLA and PLA+ for under $12/KG here in the US and I’ve had good luck with it. I did, unfortunately, just buy 16 rolls of Fremover PLA+. Spool #1 didn’t make it through the first layer before it clogged up my A1 Mini but good. Micrometer says 1.89mm-1.92mm. I emailed them and await their reply. How the heck can it be that far off?