3DPC PCL Filament Review

PCL Polycaprolactone is a curious material, it has a v very low melt point, hot water is enough to melt it. This means it can easily be hand formed. This is the same plastic that Polymorph, Friendly Plastic, and a few other names, all intended for hand forming. it is in the polyester family. It suggests a working range of 70ºC - 140ºC.

This actually poses the first issue, printers are not typically run so low. Many printers have a safety protocols to prevent extruding cold. This means my first prints the extruder was not at all extruding.

I ended up adding an M302 ‘cold extrude’ command.

The first issue solved. The first attempt was a failure, bed adhesion.

I discovered the bed temps need to be around 35-45º

The first print that was ‘successful’ was printed too hot, 130ºC

Forefront. The print is a razor stand.

The second print at 100ºC was better, not awesome.

The third at 90º this was a much better.

The fourth I fixed the seam, cleaned up retraction.

For reference a PLA (Black) and PETG (Orange)

These are all at 0.2 layer height.

The material feels like a pop bottle cap in hardness. It is flexible but not soft. The thinner it is the more flexible the thicker the more ridged it is.

I ended up using a 1 mm retraction with a direct drive.

The scrap I put into a cup of hot water, and after a few moments took it out and rolled in into a ball, and pressed a spoon into it. This material is low toxicity and general safety precautions are needed.

Hand Formning. It is odd touching molten plastic and not being burned!


Neat, im still debating on getting a roll of it. Mostly beacuse i dont have any direct applications for it. Though the fact it can print as cool as it does is something ill keep in mind when i update my firmware to ensure i allow for printing at that temperature.

Would you buy it again if it came in a different colour?

@Dr.Marvin honestly, no. It is a novelty in most ways.

That said it is around the same price for polymorph and I would suggest it. They call it plastic plasticine. I use my blob for everything. I don’t think you can go wrong with having some around.

I printed razor stands with it. I shave with a Canadian made double edge razor (https://karveshaving.com in case you are curious) I like the history, no un recyclable waste. I thought it would be fine. Washing the razor in hot water and placing it in the stand has deformed the hole already.

I simply cannot see a use for printed components that soften so easily. I suspect I will end up pulling some off here and there to use for hand forming.

There could be some novelty items that might be fun, a printed snowman that melts in the summer heat if left in the window. I just cannot see wanting more.

I would suggest a roll is very useful in a shop. Perhaps a printed object would be needed for something in the future, perhaps not. I do think hand forming plastic is very useful and filament is no more or less costly that buying PCL in beads like it comes for hand forming. It is the ultimate recycling material all the scrap can be melted to be used for something else. Over and over. I melted all the bits down and added it to a blob of the ‘natural’ because I use it for holding things usually colour is immaterial.