Beginner filament recommendations

I just bought a Lulzbot Mini, which I am giving on extended loan to a teacher at a local elementary school. I’ve ordered a couple of rolls of HIPS from the Lulzbot store to get them started. Initially, this will probably be mostly just kids learning to use TinkerCad or a similar program similar and playing with different shapes and designs. Eventually, though I’m guessing they’ll be getting into more complex projects.

I’m interested in opinions on what type of filament they should consider as their main “goto” filament. They are on a budget (since I’m not going to supply them indefinitely), but I know that budget pricing isn’t always the best way to go. They don’t want to be fighting with inconsistent or flawed filament.

In addition to filament materials, if you have any brand recommendations, I would appreciate hearing them. I suspect initially we may stick to what’s available in the Lulzbot store, since that’s probably better quality brands. However, it would be nice to know what to look for if we run out and need to make a run to Walmart or Best Buy or something to tide us over.

From my NSHO, I think that you have started with an excellent choice. HIPS is generally less expensive than many other filaments and is easy to use. I would stay away from ABS simple due to the issues that folks can have with warpage and thermal delamination.

PLA would be a close second. It seems to have more colors available. I tend to keep away from PLA due to its stiffness (small parts are fragile) and its lower melting temperature.

Thanks, George. We’ll see how the HIPS works out for them. Some of the kids were in an after school program last year where they stayed 2 days a week and got to use TinkerCAD and do 3D printing. (They loved it.) I believe they were using PLA, since that was what the printer a parent lent them for the program was set up for. 95+% of what they are making is not critical - someone will be bummed if it breaks, but they can redesign and try again.

It’s tough to find HIPS any place locally, so it would all be mail order. Since the school is not funding any of this, keeping supplied is going to depend on donations from parents and class fund-raising (I want to avoid having the teacher go out-of-pocket for supplies.) I can imagine that having a more or less local source of filament would be helpful at times.

I’ve debated looking at one of the machines that allows you to make your own filament from recycled plastic. Some of them seem to have pretty good control over filament extrusion - assuming we could get good feedstock.

How are people finding the quality of Gizmo Dorks HIPS filament? Does it run fairly reliably? Are you finding you need to change your settings much from the eSun or Village plastics HIPS profiles that come with Cura Lulzbot Edition?

What about Gizmo Dorks ABS and PLA filaments?

I have had good results with Gizmo Dorks filament. I actually prefer their filament over eSun. I have also had good results with eSun.

I use eSun exclusively. Order online off Amazon and its here in 2 days with Prime membership. Those kids are going to learn so much with that printer. The Mini is a Awesome printer to use, very little problems.

They had a blast with their after school “mini-course” last year. It was taught by the mother of a 4th grade student who had printed a prosthetic hand on their home 3D printer. The kids were totally wrapped up in the subject - making a print, figuring out what went wrong, revising their plans and trying again. They were using TinkerCAD, which they all seemed to have no trouble learning. My daughter still plays around with TinkerCAD today, almost a year later and swaps files with her classmates. They are all clamoring for another after-school class, and the teacher has plans to incorporate the use of the printer into the regular school day.