Based on the analytics for the past week at ,

Based on the analytics for the past week at, it seems interest in PLA outweighs ABS on a 2:1 ratio. As for filament diameter, it’s roughly 8:1 in favor of 1.75 mm over 3.00 mm.

Perhaps it’s skewed by my active participation in the Makerbot operators group, but it seem like 3.00 mm ABS may be falling out of favor? If you couldn’t buy 3 mm ABS anymore, would you care?

Ummmm no?

Ive been using a Makerbot Replicator 2 while here in NYC and OMG so easy to use. I think it’s worth the money but sadly we don’t have it at the makerspace so we need to find someone to sponsor for us.

If 3mm filament all the sudden wouldn’t be available anymore, it would essentially make all the printers that still use 3mm (including mine) defunct. Not a good thing, imo.

@Thomas_Sanladerer He said ABS which makes me think he would still carry 3mm PLA.

@Tara_Tiger_Brown I have no interest in printing PLA, since I’m mostly printing machine parts which would break or deform when printed in PLA. Sure, for decorative things PLA is just fine, but it doesn’t cut it for me.

@Thomas_Sanladerer Gotcha. @Joseph_Chiu I think that you need to take a look at all the machines that use 3mm and then determine if you are going to be forgoing an opportunity by not selling to those folks.

I plan to support 3.00 mm users as long as I can with ABS and PLA. But at some point, it’ll end up becoming more expensive to stock the 3.00 mm ABS.

It’s not that 3mm ABS is inherently more expensive, but it will be because of volume economics.

BTW @Tara_Tiger_Brown , what was it about the Makerbot that you found easier and appealing?

@Joseph_Chiu just stock it as long as it is profitable, you’re not in this (presumably) as a charity.

You can always start by reducing the amount of types/colors/weights available, instead of cutting the entire category cold turkey.

@Joseph_Chiu Honestly, your metrics don’t surprise me at all. The most-accessible printers - the ones that ship pre-assembled or in kits - seem to largely use 1.75mm PLA by default.

I get why you wanted to double-check this with the community, but if you’re running a business your numbers matter more than our opinions. People can say 3mm ABS is the most important filament, but if you have 16x demand for the 1.75mm PLA over the 3mm ABS, that’s the decision you get to make.

It’s good that you want to keep supporting people even if they are in an economy that’s small volume and less lucrative for you, and if you are willing to keep doing so than kudos to you - it’ll probably garner you some favorable thoughts from the community.

I think people who use 3D printing as a engineering tool in real world situations will be the die-hard market for 3mm ABS. In harsh duty applications, I don’t think any other popular types give the same performance (I’ll be finding out how nylon compares soon.)
That said, for pretty, detailed work, 1.75mm PLA is probably the top contender. However under larger loads it is more prone to layer separation in a more brittle failure mode.

I haven’t printed in anything but 3mm abs yet, but I’ve been considering a switch to 1.75 mm. One of the reasons I’m still using ABS is because I vapor finish a lot of my parts, and I still have yet to see a moderately safe substance for PLA which gives the same results as acetone on ABS

@Anthony_White what makes 3mm ABS better than 1.75mm ABS as an engineering tool in real world situations? Easier to extrude and more accurate.

Unless you want to specifically print really large structures with really thick nozzles (see the KamerMaker, which is printing with like 1-2mm strands with a bot the size of a room), the only reason I can think of to use thicker filament (fewer meters of it, but the same kilos), is if it gives you significant cost advantages on a per kilo basis.

I find that a larger nozzle (0.5mm) and 3mm abs parts printed on a well dialed in mendel90 are dramatically stronger in certain loading situations when compared to .3mm nozzle and 1.75mm parts - albeit printed on a very well dialed in solidoodle.

you can get a .5mm nozzle with 1.75. It’s lovely too, because it takes silly little drive force.

Hmmm, that actually brings up an interesting point – I just recently received (but haven’t had installed yet) 0.1 mm and 0.2 mm nozzles from @Jerrill_Johnson – surely for a large number of people, it’s more about smaller features, and less about mechanical strength? I suppose what that’s really telling me is that I should start looking at resins! Kidding aside, does going from 3.0 mm to 0.1 mm even make any sense?

I kind of wonder if it might not make sense to use filament even smaller than 1.75 with those ultra tiny nozzles, maybe 1.0 or so.

There may be an economic reason to do this – a 1.0 mm filament would (if I interpreted the information correctly) not be subject to import duty in the U.S., which is an automatic ~6% cost reduction. The smaller filament potentially can go on smaller sizes spools without causing feeding problems. That improves shipping efficiency which I suspect could actually make a big impact on cost, too.

Filament has a pretty firm lower floor on diameter. Regardless of the size of the filament the way it’s created will lead to a certain radial tolerance. As your filament gets smaller that radial tolerance becomes a greater percentage of total radius, so cross sectional area and thus rate of flow into the hotend starts to vary more or more because of that tolerance.

Finer toleranced filament is much more expensive.