Is "high speed" filament a real thing?

First consider this Polymaker Polylite PLA:


As you can see if you zoom in on the photo, it says right on the label that the permitted printing speed is 40-60mm/sec, which these days is pretty slow.

Compare/Contrast that with this Anycubic “high speed” PLA, which it says can be printed at up to 600mm/s if you increase the hotend temperature (see highlighted text in the following picture).

Is it a real distinction or a bogus, false distinction? i.e. just clever advertising with no substance behind it?

The “high speed” label is not limited to PLA. Various manufacturers are attaching it to their flavor of PETG, ABS, etc.

Has anyone tested one of these "high speed " claims? Besides the obvious interest in finding out if there is any truth behind these claims, someone could eventually sue them (the ones proven to be false) for misleading and deceptive commercial practices and seek compensatory damages.

The claims are not necessarily misleading, but are mostly meaningless.

Achieving speeds “up to” 10X faster depends on both the filament used for the comparison and the printer being used. Neither is specified.

The only useful comparison is the one done on YOUR printer.

Yes. Based on brand you can see up to a 10mm³/s increase in flow. The main point of this fillament is not increasing your speed higher then PLA but maintaining the color at higher speeds around 25mm³/s. Where it won’t change from a glossy finish to a matte then flat based on speed and improve later adhesion at higher speeds.

That being said not all highspeed is created equal. Some is better then others but there’s only a few actual manufacturers so a lot of the different brands are from manufacturers like sunlu just sold under another brand.

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I think it falls into the sales hype category–Just like “PLA Plus”. All that means is the filament MAY have a tighter tolerance on size. I emphasize MAY. The tolerance can be in a range of .02mm to .05mm. That’s 0.0007874016" to 0.0019685" or less than two thousandths of an inch for all PLA.

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@Ken-N-Texas PLA+ usually denotes that the pla filament has an additive in it that makes it stronger than normal pla. I’ve never heard the claim that it’s for tighter tolerances on diameter

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I made some flow rate tests with polymaker polysonic PLA, it handles 22~24 mm³/s, so it performs more or less like bambu basic PLA

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Do a max flow rate test and you will see the difference in high speed pla

For example regular sunlu stuff starts to under extrude at around 16 mm3/sec, or change colour/shinynessm High speed PLA “just works” at those speeds.

I started this thread with a lot of skepticism as to whether “high speed” might just be little more than a buzzword. However, I subsequently found this post by Polymaker:
PolySonic™ PLA
where they actually do define what they take “High Speed” to mean.

TL;DR: It means being able to support a minimum of 24mm3/s flow rate while maintaining most of the properties you would expect at more normal and slower speeds. Worthy of note: one of those properties is maintaining the same sheen level, even though the temperature is typically fluctuating all the time as the print speed is constantly changing. From an aesthetic point of view, this can be very important.

In the case of the polysonic, they tested it to flow at 29mm3/s, albeit with a volcano hotend and a Hemera extruder. Well, this is where I think their definition becomes a bit squishy, because I’d wadger they could get an even higher flow rate than that if they tested using an even more powerful hotend and extruder. Nonetheless, provided they stick to just this particular test rig for evaluating all their different filaments, then it becomes a common yardstick for judging which are good enough for the label “high speed” and which are not good enough for that designation.

In any event, it further explains how they arrived at the 300mm/s speed number. That’s the wrong figure of merit though. Rather, it’s the maximum volumetric flow rate which is fundamental and is what really matters.

If it were purely a scam, I think they’d probably label everything in their catalog as “high speed,” but they do not.

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I just now finished characterizing Sunlu’s Meta PLA, which is a purchase I had originally made by accident. In the title of its listing it says “Fast Printing”. Anyway, I found that I can print with it on the X1C at a maximum volume rate of about 20mm3/sec. That compares favorably against the default generic PLA print profile given in the orca slicer as 12mm3/second.

^^^^This. I concur. with this, as that is what polymaker’s website says is an important part of their definition also.

Meta black changes its shine at those speeds. That’s the only meta I tried.

As it happens, Black was the color I tested. I didn’t notice much of a change in appearance all the way up to ~20mm3/second when running the orca slicer to determine the diagnostic. My eyes aren’t well trained though, so maybe I overlooked it

I’ve never heard that Plus makes it any stronger or has any additives. Just goes to show the seller makes up whatever they want Plus to mean. If you have seen a standard for PLA, I’d like to see it. I read mine off the label on one of my spools. There was no mention of being stronger, faster or more productive.

I can’t make any claims to ever specific brand and types of filaments, however I’v done the max flow rate test in orca slicer on a bunch of different filaments through my X1C. With some brands their regular filament maxes out at 13-15mm^3/s flow rate before a change in print quality occurs while their high speed filament maxes out at 18-22mm^3/s flow rate before a change in print quality occurs.

Maybe a good question to ask would be: which brands and types of filaments do the people who run large print farms like to use the most? Presumably they have the resources to test a lot of different samples and to converge on the ones that 1. print the best and 2. cost the least.

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Almost all manufaxcturers that make it claim that the “+” or “pro” are modified PLA with better mechanical strength.

For example looking at 3 (very) large filament companies, Sunlu makes this claim (SUNLU Filament PLA and PLA+ - SUNLU official online store – Affordable 3D Printing Filaments and Resins) as does eSun (eSUN PLA+ Filament PLA Plus 3D Printer Filament PLA Pro) and Overture (https://overture3d.com/products/overture-pla-professional-filament).

As you say there is no universal official standard, but it’s clear that the industry unofficially uses Pro or + to denote tougher PLA. (Which I would argue is a “de-facto standard”).

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Are there any neutral 3rd parties doing testing of different brands/products and publishing results? Sorta like Consumer Reports did for house paint.

There used to be a lot, but the filament people kept changing the recipies either deliberately, or as their supply situation changes

There’s a few youtubes on it, but the vidoes quickly become outdated.

It’s not like acrylic hobby paint where the exact same shade and consistency is maintained over 10+ years.

I’m surprised. If there’s one thing people want, it’s consistency. Who wants to re-run tuning every time a new filament arrives? I’d much rather just load and go if at all possible.

I guess the only solution then is to buy a large batch of something you like, so then at least you don’t need to re-test as often.

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