Best Filament for Newbie

Just ordered a Taz 6, at Black Friday discount.

Lulzbot has a bunch of filament types available, costing from $4.95 up to $80 per reel.

What is the best filament to start with for a newbie, that will give me the best chance of successful prints?


Many people start with PLA. Ngen is also a good newer choice that is easy to print and stronger than PLA. I personally started with ABS, which smells funny and is prone to warping, but makes for really strong parts. One thing to keep in mind if you want to try different fillaments is that they melt at different temperatures. if you try ABS which wants 240c, and then switch to PLA that wants a much lower temperature, unless you purge all of the ABS, you can appear to have a blocked nozzle. Make sure you heat the nozzle up to whatever the higher temperature material would need and extrude 40-50mm worth of plastic, then drop down to the print temperature needed for the lower temperature material.

When printing PLA, fan is a requirement to be on, otherwise things will look melty, but it will stick to the bed easier. For ABS, you want no fan to start (you use some fan for small layers and bridging operations, but you can ignore those until you print a few things and get the hang of things) but will be prone to lifting off the bed.

Your first dozen prints should all be calibration objects. Print the bed calibration pattern, a couple calibration cubes, a Benchy boat, etc. Look up calibration on and you should get a bunch to try. Once you can print those decently, you are ready to move on to printing those super complex neat toys you bought a printer to make.


Which brands of PLA?

Lulzbot sells 3-4 different brands of PLA.

You may get several answers to this, you may only get a few. Everyone will have a brand they’re generally loyal to. The filament you use can make all the difference in your final print.

Oye that Lulzbot is closing out their eSUN though I’ve never had anything but good results with eSUN (I did notice that the review of the TAZ 6 in the Dec/Jan issue of Make: magazine noted that simply changing the PLA made a noticeable difference in the print quality.)

Verbatim consistently gets good marks.
I don’t want to violate any forum rules but if you’re like me you will soon get this insatiable desire to buy every roll of filament you think about. I have well over $1000 of filament all purchsed with my wife’s knowledge and honestly a cost I wasn’t expecting when I initially purchased my first 3D.

I’ve found that Amazon is a decent place to get filament from and Hatchbox is a decent, inexpensive brand of filament in the low $20-$25 range (w/Prime).

Also sign up for Lulzbot’s newsletter so you’re notified of their filament sales.