good general purpose filament for test parts

If I just need to print a prototype part to see if it is correct, but know that I probably will change the design and print another, I don’t want to use up my good filament (and degrade the bed)

Is there a filament that good and easy to print, preferably cheap and that would serve just for proof of concept? If it can be accurate, strength and toughness are not necessary



I get the impression that PLA is falling out of favor to some degree (looks like Lulzbot is pushing nGen lately), but I use eSun’s PLA+ (aka PLA Pro) for that sort of purpose. I’ve had mixed results with other PLAs – inconsistent diameter being one big problem, heat-creep being another. I also try to avoid white filaments; whatever they use to create that color just seems to cause difference temperature characteristics regardless of manufacturer.

When it comes to evaluating precise size, particularly when fitting multiple printed parts together, I’ve found it best to just use the same filament – things like shrinkage will bite you if you don’t. A little persistent searching on eBay is a great way to find low-cost spools of filament sometimes – for example, I’ve a couple of spools of Village Plastics ABS that I picked up cheap to use for throw-away parts, the only issue being that they’re just plain awful colors that I’d never use for anything else!

(Don’t want to give the impression that I don’t like nGen – I do, it’s just really expensive, and requires special prep on the bed, which I like to avoid for experimentation with fit, etc.)

If fit is your factor you want to keep, then you will need to keep the material the same to keep die swell the same. Otherwise the expansion of the different material will smack you around in circles. :slight_smile:


cheap = bad = poor quality

inexpensive = good = acceptable quality.

Thanks - good point about the different shrinkage rates, I’d never considered that



I like eSUN ABS, inexpensive and consistent. Extrude at a slightly higher temp (Black 250C, White 252C).

PLA will be easier to print and a little less stress on the PEI. A good tool will help reduce stress on the PEI also.

I’d recommend staying consistent with the filament brand and color. Easier to dial in slicer settings and get consistent results. Use a thicker layer height (.3 with the .5 nozzle) to reduce prototype time.