We put Prusa Polymers'under the microscope - literally. Join us, as we break down the numbers and get our print on with this handsomely packaged PLA filament.
3D printing’s perfectionist in chief, Josef Prusa, has taken it upon himself to provide superior filament to be printed on his superior 3D printers. That’s a lot of superlatives to chew through.
But, you don’t get to be one of 3D printing’s fairytale success stories without pushing for greater things – and that’s what Prusament filament is – the result of dissatisfaction with other companies’ filaments on the market and the attempt to better them.
So, settle in and reach for your comforter caliper, as we review what exactly Prusament — in this review’s case Prusament PLA Prusa Galaxy Black — is.
Well, for starters, it’s produced by none other than Prusa Research itself. Based in the beautiful medieval city of Prague, the company has a grand factory at its disposal for all manner of product expansions and testing.
Indeed, to accommodate the arrival of the Prusament brand, Prusa Research gutted an entire floor of its home factory to install five filament production lines. Packed to the rafters with precision measuring tech and robots for automation, these lines yield threads of filament with a claimed precision of +/-0.02mm.
Rather than a white labeling partnership to slap a Prusa label on another company’s wares, Prusament is an attempt to control the printing experience down to the very filament you use.
Though not explicitly stated anywhere, you could reason that by offering a filament that meets the company’s exacting requirements and specification, which is then printed on machines manufactured to the same standard, a superior experience will be had. Won’t it?
Spooled in such a way to both reflect the precision of the production itself, this picture perfect filament also comes on a custom honeycomb style spool. Using some 50% less plastic than a regular spool, and the subject of numerous ‘hacks’ and design projects to prolong the usefulness of them long after the filament has run out, the spools are a feature unto themselves.
Lastly, what makes Prusament stand out is the transparency in what you are purchasing. Beyond the typical material data sheet, Prusament also comes with heritage.
Bash in the unique identifier code that can be found on each spool’s packaging at Prusament.com (or scan the QR code with your smartphone), and you get a detailed readout of the production deviancy of that specific roll of filament.
That, and the exact date, time, weight, length, the standard deviation in microns, and ovality. Such spool-specific data is above and beyond what you can expect from the vast majority of — if not all — other filament manufacturers.
Accompanying your spool’s datasheet readout are tips, tricks, and general usage information for said material, and the option to buy more. In all, its a simple and effective service that colors the experience of 3D printing. To what exact effect half of data you are provided with is useful is up for question; a question we’ll attempt to address by the close of this review.
As far as blends of PLA go, Prusament Prusa Galaxy Black falls on the sparkly glitter side of the fence. Enriched with shiny bits of stuff that catch the light to the effect of looking like the sky at night, it has the added benefit of obscuring print defects.
Prusament is priced at a flat 24€/$24 and is available via the Prusa Research web store.
Coming in 1.75mm size — compatible with the company’s printers — you get approximately 1kg of material on each spool. At the time of writing, five colors are available: Prusa Galaxy Black, Lipstick Red, Silver, Ms. Pink, and Azure Blue.
For this review we’re taking a look at Prusa Galaxy Black, so named for the glittery powder-coated steel frame of the Prusa i3 printer itself.
As you might expect from a company that takes great pride in its packaging and the appearance of its products, a spool of Prusament is no exception.
Coming in a brown cardboard box, playfully decorated with chat window-like messages giving the definition of Prusa (a man from the Czech Republic named after a printer, no less) and assurances of quality, the real point of differentiation is in the label. Here you find a short overview of the specific spool’s production, along with the customary notations on the color and finish.
It’s all very Prusary (yeah, we’re coining a new term for this review).
Inside the box, you have the spool itself with a sachet of desiccant inside a resealable airtight bag. As mentioned before, the spooling of Prusament is picture perfect with no crossovers or overlaps between the loops of material.
We can’t attest to have had a better printing experience because of this. Perhaps more critical to avoid filament tangling is the tension and properties of the materials itself. Other filaments we’ve used will gleefully unwind, twist and knot themselves at the first sign of slack when changing materials for printing — we did not experience this with Prusament PLA, which unspools without a fuss.
As is the wont of 3D printing reviews, we began our test of Prusament with the jolly torture test, 3DBenchy. Printed on the Prusa i3 MK2S using Slic3r Prusa Edition’s inbuilt material profile for Prusament, the result is, for the most part, excellent.
Layer and shell bonding appears, to the naked eye, flawless. Flat planes are smooth, and the first layer printed on the PEI surface take on a glossy shine, bridges are bridged with nary a sign of sagging.
Print on glass and Galaxy Black Prusament gains a mirror-like finish that, combined with the varying shapes and sizes of glitter, gives it a strange sense of depth.
The added glitter does a great job masking layer lines and generally leaves a smooth looking print that is optically forgiving where print flaws are present. Indeed, our test Benchy suffers from a whisper of under-extrusion in places — not necessarily caused by the filament, it could be a clog that worked itself free — but only by getting up close and personal with the print would you be able to tell.
The feel in hand is smooth, but not glossy. We’d liken it more to a matte finish, but the ocean of glitter sparkles leaves prints glowing under direct light.
Printing at hotter temperatures appears to darken the grey to a more charcoal color, which isn’t unpleasant, but is noticeably different from what we imagine is the intended dark, dull grey.
Putting Prusament Prusa Galaxy Black under the microscope, we get a clear look at the additive guff that gives this filament its shine.
Hopping from a Prusa-optimized machine printing Prusa-optimized filament to the TEVO Flash (slicing using Repetier-Host using middle-of-the-road print settings) provided additional clarity for our main thoughts using Prusament: this filament is fiiine.
Printing on a machine such as the Flash, that attempts (with varying degrees of success) to print fast, is the ever-present specter of ghosting. Due to the lustrous finish of this particular color of Prusament, it is natural that the different directions of scattering light highlight such artifacts, making them stand out even more. Just a cautionary note.
Overall we’re pretty pleased with our time printing Prusament Prusa Galaxy Black PLA. Prusa Research (or rather Prusa Polymers, to give due credit to this particular branch of the Prusa empire) has achieved no small feat in being able to provide exacting data specific to each spool, and for their efforts the resulting filament a fine material to print with.
Speaking on the provided data, much like the ticker-tape diagnostics that come paired with every printer that leaves the company’s warehouse, it’s this level of thought and care that makes the company stand apart.
Admittedly, for as much as we’re fans of the sharing of such data, we’re a little in the dark on the value of some of it for those (read: us) doing day-to-day printing with Prusament.
It’s one thing to claim an ovality target of 2% in the filament production process, but to tell us that our spool is at 2.2% leaves us wondering what we’re missing out on. “What if it was 1.9%? What if that jerk next door has an ovality of 0.5% – he’ll brag about it for days!” And so on…
Of course, don’t let such silliness overshadow the meaningful data given with each coil of Prusament. The exact weight and length of your filament can improve your costings for prints if that matters to you. It would just be nice to see some visible use for the rest of it.
Does Prusament PLA print better than other sparkly PLA blends? Not necessarily — it might not tangle as much, but this would require far greater testing to verify. It prints as well as any other premium PLA filament, which is as much as you could ask for.
Fed through a perfectly dialed in printer is where you will likely see the gains from the tighter tolerances of Prusament. On all other machines that inflect their mechanical misgivings on the prints, we imagine the supposed superiority of Prusament is rendered moot.
For the transparency behind its production and the wealth of data given to you, the customer, with every spool, we’re big fans. Will we exclusively be printing Prusament PLA from now on out – probably not. For those looking for a bit of provenance with their printing paired with a quality feeling and looking PLA, Prusament does the trick.
Users of Prusa-made 3D printers will find default a Prusament PLA material profiles in an up-to-date version of Slic3r Prusa Edition. Those wanting to give Prusament PLA a spin on other machines can use the following settings. For a deeper dive yourself, here’s the data sheet and safety sheet (PDF download).
Filament diameter: 1.75mm
Nozzle temperature: 200 – 220 °C
Bed temperature: 40 – 60 °C
Print speed: Up to 200 mm/s
Every spool we test is brand new and unopened.
First, we 3D print a Benchy and check for any inconsistencies. Then we print one or two other 3D printables – and provide you with the results. Slicing is done in the latest version of Cura unless noted otherwise. The prints aren’t post-processed in any way; we remove the support structures.
As for the printing settings, we take temperature and speed recommendations directly from the manufacturer. If the manufacturer offers a range, we go for the arithmetic middle. So if the manufacturer offers a range from 180-220 degree Celsius, we will set the printer for 200 degree Celsius (unless noted otherwise).
Of course, every spool is different. Even within a filament range, quality may vary. We‘re also aware that tweaking other settings like retraction can be the gap between a successful and a failed print. So if you own a spool of that filament, we would love to hear from you. Any interesting experiences? How did your prints turn out? Please feel free to add to the comments section.
License: The text of "Prusament PLA Prusa Galaxy Black – Filament Review" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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