The 3D Printing world is a minefield of different printers and for every different printer there are 100 different filaments, different materials, different sizes, different colours and even different capabilities (I’m talking flexible, elastic and paste). I have tried a number of different filaments and this post is the first of a number on my experiences with them.
First up is Elixir, by Polyalchemy. This is a blend of PLA and ‘other’ polymers, but their scant website has no hint as to what other polymers could be in the mix. It can be printed without a heated bed, which is good for me and my Fisher, at nozzle temperatures of 200-225 Celsius. Usually I would print in PLA at 200C but found after an initial failure (see later) that 210 would get better results. The USP of Elixir is its finish, claiming a smooth shiny finish not achievable with other filaments, something I noticed at last years TCT show where I got my sample from.
I’m printing something useful, an iPhone 6 dock from Thingiverse, thinking that as a desk based object something nice to look at, with a good finish would fit the bill.
So, STL sliced and uploaded to my Fisher it’s time to start printing…and stop quickly. My first attempt suffered from extrusion issues, only extruding a small amount of fillament and stuttering. That’s fine, I started at 200C which is the minimum for this so cleaned the bad and started agin at 210C, better this time though still looked like it was struggling a little so mid way through the first layer so I upped the temp to 215C.
Once the temperature was elevated the rest of the print went surprisingly well, a little difficult to bridge over the cable channel though this may be the fault of the design as much as the fillament, and no further extrusion issues. However one thing is more noticeable than on other filaments, the perimeter seams look more obvious than on other prints. My guess is that this is more noticeable because the fillament is shiny and reflects more light, the change of direction in the surface making the seam more visible. Not a fault with the fillament as such but something to be mindful of, try to get your seams somewhere unnoticeable.
There was no smell from the fillament during printing, some I have used can have a bit of an odour, especially if they’re not pure PLA, a definite bonus in the cold weather, I don’t want to have to open the windows!
Overall I think I’d reserve this for printing objects that are going to be seen in various locations around the house or office. The surface finish, undoubtably satin as shown below, also puts me in mind of wood grain, would be interesting to print in woody colours. At £28/kg the price is on par with others and with a claimed diametral tolerance of just +/-0.03mm looks to be very good quality if this is sustained along the length.