Printer and Filament Recommendations
Author: Aaron Siegel
Here are some recommendations for printers and filaments that have been tested to work well with puzzle printing. If you have tips to share, let me know, and I'll try to keep this page updated.
- The Prusa i3 MK3S consistently earns the top spot on all3dp.com's list of best printers. It's my own workhorse (actually, I have the immediately preceding model, the i3 MK3), and it's still going strong after 18 months. The Prusa is available fully assembled or as a kit. The kit is cheaper, and the assembly process will teach you a lot about 3D printer internals, but it's a lot of work. The fully assembled version is nearly plug-and-play.
- For a budget option, others have reported good results with the Creality Ender 3 Pro, and it consistently receives solid professional reviews as well (as do the other models in the Creality line).
- Others have also reported good results with the Monoprice Voxel.
Here are some filament brands I've had success with and can recommend. All of them can be ordered at reasonable prices from amazon.com.
- Hatchbox is my top recommendation for an all-around quality PLA filament. It's reasonably priced and prints consistently well with low warping. On the downside, color options are limited to (mostly) basic primary colors.
- eSun PLA+ is another excellent filament that is available in a wide variety of color options. "PLA+" refers to a stronger, reinforced variant of PLA, and my own stress tests suggest that it is, indeed, more durable than basic PLA.
- AMZ3D is an overlooked brand that makes an excellent, high-quality filament (comparable to Hatchbox) with great color options. (Despite the name, there is no relationship between AMZ3D and Amazon Inc.; the "Amazon Basics" filament is a completely different brand.)
- Paramount 3D has a huge variety of unusual color options such as "Cadet Blue," "Harajuku Pink", and "Egg Yolk Yellow" that I've found nowhere else. It's somewhat more brittle than other brands, but with very low warping. Recommended for the unique colors, but only for printing less fragile parts.
- Others have reported success with SpiderMaker Matte PLA+. It's somewhat more expensive than the others, but prints with a nice finish and has some attractive color options.
Woodfill is PLA filament infused with engineered wood fiber. It's of obvious interest for puzzle printing! No one will mistake woodfill prints for puzzles made from actual hardwood, but they do have a noticeably different texture than prints made from ordinary PLA - smoother and less "plasticky". If you're going to be experimenting with Woodfill or other exotics, I strongly recommend upgrading to a hardened steel nozzle, as abrasive materials can wear out ordinary brass nozzles surprisingly quickly (and, as I can say from experience, trying to print with a worn-out nozzle is no fun).
- Hatchbox makes a generic Woodfill that prints clean with almost no warping.
- An easily overlooked brand is 3D BEST-Q Rosewood PLA, which the manufacturer claims is infused with genuine Padauk wood fibers. I can't verify this claim, but I can say that this is an excellent filament, with consistently great results and a lovely reddish-brown color.
In theory, Woodfill prints can be sanded and finished and will hold a stain. I haven't tried this, but I'd be interested in feedback from anyone who has!