Filaments.directory has updated their system to provide a useful search function.
We’ve said it before: there has been an explosion in the number of possible 3D printer filaments available in the market. This is likely due to the emergence of the “Professional” 3D printer market, where engineers, industrial designers and architects are using desktop machines for serious prototyping.
These disciplines are much more demanding than the previous hobbyist market and thus require the use of more advanced materials. The market responded in a very big way, making available countless materials of many types in many formats. The choice has never been better for 3D printing filaments.
However, with that choice comes a challenge: How to find filament you need. Filaments.directory hopes to solve that dilemma with their latest interface upgrade.
Filaments.directory, who have been around since 2015, have gradually accumulated a very comprehensive catalog of available 3D printer filaments. Today they say their database includes an astounding 10,500+ different 3D printer filaments.
Now you can understand why I say there is a challenge in selecting filament.
Filaments.directory is a web-based service that exposes their database to the public using an increasingly sophisticated interface. The latest version includes some fairly complex searching capabilities. They say their goal is to answer these questions for users:
Which material do I need?
Where can I find it?
How do I use it?
And it seems they mostly accomplish this.
3D Print Filament Superpowers
You can now search on these filament properties:
“Superpower”: 58 different properties in 11 different categories (like “Mechanical”, or “Electrical”, etc.)
Diameter: 1.75, 2.85, 2.90, 3.00 mm
Plastic Type: 36 different types
Filters: Including color (in six ways, including full text search), Producer, Mechanical (including all major engineering characteristics) and packaging
The company has also instituted a means by which the public can upload print profiles for using a particular filament with a specific 3D printer model. This could be useful, but is highly dependent on the interest of the public to do so. There’s also the question of quality control, as it would be entirely possible for someone to upload a bad profile. However, this is a very good start, and there is a rating system for profiles to help decided whether one is useful.
Search Filament By Color
One very useful feature is to see “Print settings in other colors”, if there doesn’t happen to be any available for the color of filament you’re inspecting.
The detail page for a filament shows all the basic information, and in particular the price per kg, which is quite useful when comparing options. You can also directly load the material’s technical datasheet right from this page.
There’s also links to purchase, which I presume is how Filaments.directory funds itself through commission payments. Note that these would not increase the price over whatever you would normally have paid.
Filament Producer Maps
The filament business is typically regional in orientation due to the shipping cost of the materials, and so Filaments.directory provides a map to show what filaments are available in your area.
When I used this feature, it didn’t seem particularly useful, as the number of vendors was quite a bit lower than actually exist, at least in my area. It appears that only local manufacturers are shown, rather than local distributors. It also doesn’t seem to account for resellers bringing in materials from distant locations in bulk, saving on shipping costs and overcoming the regional barrier.
Nevertheless, Filaments.directory is now a very useful tool for those seeking open filaments for their 3D printer.