best starter filament?

hi guys, got my TAZ6 on the way and just want to get started and learn the ropes. whats the best general purpose filament to start with? Also any recs on where to buy HQ filament at a good price. thanks!

There are two schools of thought on the subject of best starter fillament. Most people reccommend starting with PLA. PLA is lower temperature, doesn’t smell, sticks pretty easily, but is also very picky when it comes to fan airflow. Too much fan, you ruin your print. Too little fan, you ruin your print. if the center fan fails on your extruder, your fillament bore locks and appears to have jammed, etc. It’s not as useful a plastic for replacing something that will go in a hot car for example, and it can be brittle, but it also doesn’t lift off the bed, and it has very good adhesion qualities. PLA is also much more important to store in a moisture free environment otherwise it can turn brittle.

The other main school of thought is starting with ABS. I started with ABS, and I like printing ABS personally, but I’ll be the first one to tell you it smells funny, it can be a pain in the ass to learn good bed leveling and adhesion, and the way to get a good ABS print is basically the complete opposite of how you print PLA (PLA likes lots of fan, ABS likes little or no fan, etc.)

There are also newer fillaments that are the best of both worlds. Things like Ngen are strong like ABS, but do not warp like PLA and don’t smell funny.

If I were giving someone advice on which to start with, I’d probably still reccommend starting with ABS. You may not get great looking prints right away with it like you might with PLA, but you will learn much more about how your printer works, the importance of layer thickness, how to properly level a bed, the importance of fillament tension, etc. I’m also sure 99% of the people on the planet would disagree with me and tell you to start with PLA.

For plastic sources, I tend to use Village plastics or Push plastics ABS interchangably. You want to go with good quality fillament with known good properties especially while you are learning to print. Bad fillament can include lots of crap filler material like melamine powder that makes for really bad prints even for an expert. If you start with something good and use that to dial in your printer and your skills, you can work around bad stuff later. I’ve seen too many people get fed up with 3d printing because the cheap chinese fillament they got off ebay didn’t work worth crap.

Whatever you do, learn on a more mainstream fillament first before you attempt any of the flexible fillaments or the filled ones.

Hope that helps!

thanks for the thoughtful response!

so a roll of this:

and a roll of this:

will keep me busy for awhile? these are HQ i assume

yes, both of those will work great. Be aware that there are some minor differences in printing temperatures when it comes to fillament color. Neutral fillaments (no coloring) tend to print at a slightly lower temperature than blue or black for example. And white fillament tends to either need a higher or lower temperature depending on what colorant was used in it. You’ll also want to make sure you measure your fillament with a digital calipers and set that value in Cura when you are printing. Cura uses 2.85mm by default, which should be close, but if you get a roll that is actually 3.00mm in diameter, you will be overextruding. Different colors tend to use different machines with different production nozzles, and some minor variance is not unexpected even with good fillament. ( one color at 2.83 and one at 2.87mm for example is not abnormal)

Another thing to keep in mind is temperature. For a Taz with ABS you want to start with a nozzle temperature of 240 and a bed temperature of around 110 or so. PLA requries a much lower temperature at the nozzle. if you switch from ABS to PLA, you need to make sure all the ABS is purged out of the nozzle at ABS temperatures, which means extruding 30mm or so of PLA at 240c until the color runs clear, then dropping the nozzle back down to temperature. Going from a cooler material to a hotter material like PLA to ABS this is much less important to do.