I’ve always been suspicious of low-cost 3D printer filament, as it can often be of questionable quality. However, MALPRO may have broken that barrier.
3D printer filament these days seems to have split into two sales approaches: cheap, lower-quality material, usually priced in the USD$20 per kg range; and premium material, usually priced at USD$30 per kg and up depending on the filament features and scarcity.
Typically USD$20/kg filament will generate printing problems. There may be jams because the filament is of inconsistent diameter, or unwanted color variations. Impurities may foul your hot end. Generally I now try to avoid the temptation to use “cheap” filament for these reasons: it’s too much trouble for any savings.
At the recent AMShow I encountered a Czech company called MALPRO, which turns out to be a typical plastics manufacturer, producing a variety of extruded plastic products, such as cable troughs, piping and electrical fixtures.
And now, 3D printing filament, too.
But there are many 3D printing filament vendors like MALPRO, so what caught my eye? The price.
We were told the price of 1kg of MALPRO filament is €11.00 (USD$12) !
Ok, I immediately thought this must be “cheap” filament to be avoided, but their representatives said some more interesting things.
Evidently the PLA is extruded from NatureWorks pellets, the same PLA manufacturer used by many other filament providers - including those who make premium filament. The ABS plastic used by MALPRO apparently comes from Germany, and is of similar quality.
Perhaps this “cheap” filament is not the same “cheap” as you may find with other budget providers. Might be worth a test.