Is 3D Filament Getting Too Cheap?

Hello fellow enthusiasts,

I’ve been pondering an intriguing aspect of the 3D printing world lately – the steadily declining prices of 3D printing filament. With more suppliers entering the market and competition increasing, it seems like filament prices are hitting new lows. While this might seem like a win for consumers, I can’t shake the feeling that there might be some downsides to this trend.

Recently, I stumbled upon, a site offering 3D printing filament at remarkably low prices. Initially, I was excitd about the prospect of saving money on filament, but it led me to question whether these budget-friendly options come with compromises.

Cheap filament might seem like a cost-effective solution, but could it potentially sacrifice quality? Is there a risk of encountering issues like print failures, nozzle clogs, or inconsistent prints when using low-cost filament? Moreovr, what about the environmental impact? Are these budget filaments produced using sustainable practices and materials?

I’m keen to hear from the community about their experiences with inexpensive filament. Have you tried budget filament before? If so, what was your experience? Do you belive there’s a point where filament becomes too cheap, and if so, what factors should we consider beyond just the price?

Let’s engage in a thoughtful discussion about the trade-offs between cost and quality when it comes to 3D printing filament.

Looking forward to hearing your perspectives!

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This is quite an excellent question, thank you for this!

I am curious about this too, looking at this website the company seems to offer lots of different materials, each of them at a fantastic price. Based on the print quality pictures the filament looks to be very nice, although you never know if this is legitimately what the material is actually like.

It seems that it can’t be ordered outside of sweden where it is produced so I will be unable to give it a test run at this point. I would say that the price of this filament could be realistic depending on what they are getting the raw materials for along with how many people they are staffing. One thing I did notice is that it seems they have longer lead times for their materials, my guess is that they take all the orders over a 2 month period or so and then they run a big batch of exactly how much they need of the color. This cuts down on overhead costs like storage, spools, and excess material. It also cuts down on labour costs because instead of producing many different colors over the course of the day on multiple different machines they can do big batches of a specific color all at once. This would also mean that theoretically they would need less staff to do the work which would also come out of the cost of the spool.

Here at 3D Printing Canada we sell our standard PLA at around 22$ at the moment, which I believe is a pretty decent deal for what you are getting. The price of their standard PLA there is around $17, I think by implementing these changes it would be reasonable to get the prices down to this level while maintaining a profitable business.

One other thing that I noticed is that in the checkout you have the option to pick it up directly from the manufacturers or have it shipped. For a single spool of filament to be shipped inside of Sweden seems to be around $10-11 (All the prices I have mentioned are CAD btw, I converted sek to cad), I am unaware of what shipping costs are like inside of Sweden but this could be another area where a bit of profit is made.

I don’t know, this is my 2 cents I guess. What do you think about all of this?


Certainly, Matt!

In addition to learning about your production line, I’m also curious about your perspective on what makes a plastic filament “bad.” Specifically, do you believe that the quality of filament is primarily determined by the manufacturing process, or is it more dependent on the materials used?

Some might argue that issues with filament, such as brittleness, poor adhesion, or inconsistent diameter, stem from flaws in the manufacturing process. Others might attribute these problems to the quality of the raw materials themselves, including factors like purity, moisture content, and additives.

Given your experience in the industry, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on this matter. From your standpoint, what are the key factors that contribute to the overall quality and performance of filament? And how does 3D Printing Canada ensure that the filament you produce meets high standards in terms of both material quality and manufacturing excellence?

Exploring this topic further could provide valuable insights into how manufacturers like yourself approach quality control and address potential challenges in the production of filament.

An example of bad filament is string trimmer line. 0.069 happens to be 1.75mm, so it would fit perfectly.
The problem is that the diameter is not tightly controlled, and the plastic itself can have wildly different densities along its length. Even voids, “bubbles” if you will.
Some cheaper filaments are not as tightly controlled as you would want them to be.
Just my 2.8 cents (adjusted for inflation)

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Hi there,

I generally don’t classify filament as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, filament is sort of an art at this point so I like to treat it as such.

As well as that there are many issues with filament production which can be unique to the type of filament you are producing. For example materials absorb moisture at different rates, so having wet PLA off of the production line is not a huge concern, whereas this is a big problem for PETG. These issues are fixable after production of course, but they are still factors which must be taken into account.

Then you have your issues which are consistent across the board of materials, these are your issues such as inconsistent diameter, particulates, etc. We do have solutions to these problems, but they are not perfect and can cause other issues. For diameter related issues you can measure the diameter of the filament and then use rollers to stretch the filament to meet the needed diameter, this however does not account for diameter which is too small. For particulates in the material you have mesh filters which the material must travel through while being extruded. These do work pretty well for the most part, but they do degrade quite fast which requires maintenance and machine downtime. Another thing that this affects is that the material is not able to be extruded as fast as it normally would, this adds more production time and subsequently cost to the material, these filters also cause extra pressure buildup inside the machine and more internal stress to the material which can make it easier to crack and break.

We are lucky enough to have our factories set up to produce reliable repeatable results for our material here, and we can generally trust that the material that we receive in a shipment will be high quality product. However, there is still a margin of error which we must account for when producing and selling this material. No matter how much effort we put into the production of this material there will always be the odd couple of rolls which are not to spec. But we are always willing to replace those rolls for the customers, it is only fair. Some things we have to accept cannot be perfect, such as moisture content in PETG, but overall I believe we have made this as small of an issue as we can in our power.

There’s my 3.5 cents (jeez this is getting bad), let me know if that all makes sense or if you want more clarification on anything. I’m always happy to chat!


The cost of basic PLA and PLA + is not bad for what you get and going to cheap may be a problem. What hurts is the shipping costs. They have skyrocketed, not just for filament, twice what they where a year of two ago and even then the cost for shipping a kilo was way to much. This doesn’t bod well for online shopping.

That is a great point,

The price of shipping is becoming ludicrous, and with rising gas and labour costs amongst other things it is not looking like it will be getting better any time soon.

I think this is part of what has skyrocketed Amazon into where it is now. The ability to have free fast shipping with relatively small order sizes is amazing! The problem, at least for 3D Printing, is that you never know how long the filament you are being shipped has been sitting in a warehouse. So far I am yet to have a good experience using filament purchased on amazon, and I suspect this is the reason why. I am not saying all amazon filament is bad, I know of many people who regularly use amazon filament with no issues. But from my own personal experience the amount of people who have issues vastly outweighs the amount of people who don’t.

I haven’t bought any filament off of Amazon, the prices don’t seem to be any cheaper actually more and the selection isn’t that good either.