Verbatim Filaments: to Be or Not to Be
A couple of months ago many people from 3DToday got samples from the company whose name is so familiar that it rings a nostalgic bell – the famous Verbatim. For some of you the brand has always been the guarantee of high quality of CDs and DVDs, since the beginning of the 2000s, when we used them to copy games and software. Anyway, the majority of those who received the samples are still keeping silent without leaving any feedback, so there is little we know about its quality and characteristics.
Considering the tendencies and the popularity of 3D printing, we always anticipate new producers and their materials. I am especially expecting new materials for my Ultimaker2, as there are only a few serious producers of plastic. As a user, I am interested in getting raw materials of exceptionally high quality as I work with detailed projects.
Having waited a months and a half I got the opportunity to try this plastic. I want to thank igo3d.ru and Konstantin Zakharov for such an opportunity. Konstantin always helps me and supports my creative projects.
The first thing we pay attention to is the package, which is well performed. I liked it at once – firm cordite, reliable plastic handle to carry and labeling. It looks trendy, simple, but laconic. Verbatim supplies everything from design to information. On one of the sides you will find the colour, (pay attention!) the lot number, and some advice about the printing temperature – from 200-220 degrees with the 1 kilo weight. However, what surprised me most was that the plastic was made in China, whereas I expected one of the European countries.
Let’s have a look at what is inside. There is a 1-kilo PLA plastic spool wrapped in a little rugged vacuum package. There is also a manual in several languages. The spool looks trendy, with a Verbatim-logo and punches. As we know, the company is an experienced player on the market, and, by the way, the high quality of their materials is achieved thanks to its own productions of materials and expendables. The spool is really good, I didn’t even dare to throw it away. The spool also had the lot number, weight and diameter, and the company’s web site.
The manual is worth reading as it contains some important points and warnings, to which you should pay attention.
As for the plastic itself, it’s white, almost milky, a bit matt, no shine. The colour is smooth. As I later found out, when the plastic is melted and stretched, the colour changes and becomes a little transparent, which is unusual. The plastic does not crash. It features some smell, which is typical of all the materials, whatever you may hear from others.
The Verbatim plastic does not resemble Innofil3D, ColorFabb, REC or Ultimaker plastic, and probably that is good, as I started looking for the new ones suitable for 3D printing.
I want to point that this article is not an advertisement, it consists of facts only.
Well, I have tucked the feed bar into the feeder and waited for the PLA to extrude from the nozzle. The Ultimaker 2 feeding motor did not make any unusual noise. While melting there was a slight smell, which resembled the one that is exuded from a range of plastics from Europe plus with a slight scent of melted plastic. Then I started doing ordinary tests that I always do. I did not make any retraction settings.
The first thing I need to point is that this kind of plastic has low adhesion to clear glass even if the table is heated to 50 degrees Celsius. I managed the situation heating the table to 65 degrees. Simultaneously I heated the nozzle from 210 to 215 degrees, as it is written on the package.
The first testing code from Ultimaker 2 is Minicalltest – everyone who has this printer has this code. The printing speed is 70 mm per second, each layer is 70 microns. With no adhesion, there was some trouble with the first two layers. However I did not stop the test and let it print to the end. As the result the surface was not perfect – different layers could be distinguished because of differences in temperature and printing speed.
I decided that this plastic requires more precise study of printing speed and temperature. So I started studying.
I moved further to test speed and sub-extrusion on the basis of Ultimaker2 code. There was only one contour – without retraction but with the growing speed in segments. The table was clear, its temperature being 65 degrees, the nozzle – 230 degrees. The test went on pretty well. The result was unusual – like the “golden mean” effect with the printing speed from 3 to 5 mm per second. We could see the plastic change with temperature. We remember that in this test it is invariable – 230 degrees. There is also a good printing zone at 5 to 9 mm per second, or even to 10 mm. If you remember printing with ColorFabb in the same conditions, layers of plastic can be seen almost everywhere.
As the result, we have Verbatim plastic as the most suitable “candidate” for printing at high speeds. The majority, as a rule, print with high speeds, so probably this is an important fact.
I am not really interested in draft prints, that’s why I switched to printing the testing code with layers of 40 microns at 25 mm per second speed. The first layers were printed with nozzle temperature of 220 degrees, and then it was lowered to 200. The result was a decent one; the plastic reacted nearly as the plastic by Innofil3D. It means that there is an opportunity to work with detailed prints. Keep in mind that apart from the plastic quality, everything depends also on the colouring.
We still have not figured out how plastics of other colours will react. As far as we know REC and Innofil3D have some really good plastics of various colours. Working with them is limited by speeds available and the height of each layer. As for printing with Ultimaker2 – you can achieve better printing results with the bar diameter of 2.85mm, and not 3mm.
What conclusions can we draw? Verbatim plastic with high-quality package and other features is the best one for Ultimaker 2. Innofil3 is good, but it goes in plastic only. I want to pay your attention once again that Verbatim plastic needs carefully installed and regulated temperature and speed for better printing. The color is good, and it works well at various speeds. As for me, this kind of plastic is somewhere between Innofil3D and REC. If you have Ultimaker2, you know that it’s better to use high quality materials, and this particular plastic is worth using. Professional users of 3D printers should try this plastic, compare it to others and decide on its better and worse sides.
When I was just about to use this plastic I expected to achieve far better results. I suppose that more profound study of the material will tell more about its characteristics and will show the ways how to use the plastic to its maximum. Before making conclusions I would prefer to get acquainted with other Verbatim products of various colours. I wish the company good luck and hope to see a wide range of bright plastics.