In January Adela carried out a complex test of 11 filaments of different producers, to find among them a perfect substitute of original Z-ABS for Zortrax M200. All in all, the winner was ABS from Spectrum Filaments, which we use to print with this 3D printer. Recently we received a new material from Spectrum to test – HIPS-X, which is – according to the manufacturer – the next, perfect substitute for Zortrax. By the way, they gave us also a spool of another filament – Ultra PET, which used to test it with the same 3D printer. Here there are results of the tests…
Before we start, I would like to stress, that the tests were carried out with Zortrax M200, in case of which is not possible to change parameters of print. Everything bases on choosing of a proper profile in the Z-Suite software, where you can choose one of the Zortrax’s materials (Z-Ultrat, Z-HIPS, Z-Glass, Z-PETG, Z-PCABS, Z-ABS). If you want to print from a substitute, you have to choose a similar profile (f.e. ABS -> Z-ABS, HIPS -> Z-HIPS, PET -> Z-PETG etc.).
I write about it, because one of the manufacturers of a material, which was used in the Adela’s test, still has a grudge against us, because of the results – “You just had to change the temperature of print!”. It may be true, but it is impossible in case of Zortrax M200. You can’t change any parameters of print. And if one of the materials had a bad result it doesn’t mean that it has a poor quality, but it doesn’t suit the Zortrax’s parameters…
Let’s get back to the test… I would like to start with prices and weights of each filament. HIPS-X costs about 18 € per small 0,5 kg-spool, so it makes 36 € per 1 kg. In comparison, the original Z-HIPS costs 47,97 € per 0,8 kg – what makes 59.96 € per 1 kg. So it is more than 20 € cheaper. Ultra-PET cost about 28 € per 0,85 kg (33,47 € per 1 kg). and Z-PETG also costs 47,97 €, so in the both cases material from Spectrum is cheaper.
How does the price correspond with a quality of the material?
The filament is (as always) professionally packed. In a characteristic, colourful box, besides the material, you will find also a manual, in which you will read about all settings of temperature. HIPS-X is snow white – and I mean that is “really white”. It is called Gypsum White and I can honestly say, that this name is adequate.
The filament is quite soft, in contrary to Z-HIPS, which is typically stiff. A suggested temperature for it amounts 210-245°C for a diameter of 1,75 mm and 225-250°C for 2,90 mm. A recommended temperature of the working bed is 100°C. The profile for Z-HIPS on Zortrax M200 sets a temperature about 240-245°C, so it suits for the filament from Spectrum. A temperature of the working bed is lower (about 65-75°C) but M200 is equipped with a perforated working bed, that’s why the difference of the temperature is not important. I used default settings for Z-HIPS and “medium” filling.
To test the filament I chose models which make a construction of RC-Car, stylised on bolid of Ayrton Senna from Thingiverse. I used files called: center_bottom, mid_body_front, rear_wing_red, servo_mount and triple_shock_mount. All of them are details with technical character, so they are typical of a material like HIPS. 3D The 3D prints were diverse according to their type and level of advance. The factor, which interested me most, was a shrinkage during printing and ease of removing of supports and rafts.
Over the first top went a fine detail – a center_bottom. It is not big (48 x 30 x 10 mm), but treacherous, because it has two floating wings and on this bottom there is a little slot, which requires generating of a micro support.
3D printing took nearly 30 minutes and for the first sight it looked perfectly. Unfortunately, there was a small problem with removing of raft. After longer wrestling with several tools, I cleaned it from rests of the supports. I decided to check, how would it look in case of the original Z-HIPS?
The raft and supports came off easier and quicker, however I didn’t see any difference between their quality. The only thing, which was different was their colour – perfectly white from Spectrum vs. mousy white from Zortraxa.
The next two models – servo_mount and triple_shock_mount didn’t cause any problems. Both of them were perfect, especially a flat triple_shock_mount. I assumed, that it could be a little bit bend… but it was perfectly straight.
By the fourth detail – rear_wing_red, there were some problems with retraction. M200 decorated wings of the spoiler with thin threads of the filament, fortunately, I removed them without using any tools. The right upper edge went a little bit up (for about 0,25 – 0,5 mm).
In the end, the biggest and the most complicated of all of the tested models – mid_body_front. It is quite big detail (131 x 142 x 93 mm), additionally it is angle of bend amounts about 45°. Its bottom has a slot, which requires a small support. Time of 3d printing is about 10 h.
The 3D print was almost perfect – like in case of the previous model, its right side shrank a little bit (of ,25 – 0,5 mm). I struggled a little bit to remove a support, but the end effect was satisfactory.
Although I decided to print it once again with working fan. Unfortunately, the effect was worse in this case. A shrinkage was bigger and moreover a support stack to the model such strongly, that it was almost impossible to remove it. If you want to print from HIPS-X with Zortrax, switch off the cooling!
We were very impressed with the whiteness of the material, so we 3D printed a huge, pretty tooth from MyMiniFactory, which can be used as a toothbrushes holder.
Spectrum doesn’t lie – the HIPS-X is an ideal substitute of the Z-HIPS. It is not only cheaper, but it also doesn’t diverge from the original Zortrax’s filament. The above-mentioned disadvantages of the 3D prints are rather typical of FDM technology and low-budget 3D printers like Zortrax. The problem with the shrinkage can be solved on several ways – not only by switching of fan, but also by changing of positioning of the model on the working bed “3D printing with Zortrax in the box”.
All in all, HIPS-X is a prefect substitute.
It looks totally different in case of Ultra-PET. I can’ say that this test came off… To defend Spectrum I can only say, that no one promised anything – we received this material extra and it wasn’t destined for any tests, but we decided to check t out anyway…
Like in case of HIPS-X, Ultra-PET is packed in a professional box and the filament has an attractive, deep, navy blue colour. A reach of temperatures amounts 225-255°C for diameter of 1,75 mm and 235-265°C for diameter of 2,90 mm. A recommended temperature of the working bed is 65-75°C. I decided for default Zortrax’s settings for Z-PETG. A choice of the profile was consulted with representatives of Spectrum.
I used two previous models of the RC-Car – rear_wing_red i mid_body_front, a vase which I saved on my flash drive and a drone shell HUBSAN X4 H107, stylised on Millennium Falcon from the Star Wars, which we had tested in the past and described on your webpage.
Like in case of every transparent material type PET I started with a vase. Unfortunately, 3D printing of almost all models, which I wanted to release, took several – several dozen hours and I started them at night. By the first attemt there was a failure, which I could have avoided, if I had been present by 3D printing… On the back of Zortrax there’s a small, 3D printed detail, which inserts a filament from spool to pipe which leads it to the extruder. Some time ago this part broke and we printed directly from spool. Unfortunately, during the 3D printing of the vase, it enmeshed in the filament, which blocked on the roll and our vase looked like that…
What’s worse… I had to clean the blocked nozzle.
Because of that fact, I decided to 3D print a new Filament Tube Holder, to avoid similar situations in the future. Like in case of the vase, the detail was correct and I continued my tests… It turned out, that there were the last 3D prints created from this filament with Zortrax, which looked O.K.
Both details from the model of Ayrton Senna’s formula were tragic… In case of rear_wing_red the problems with retraction which I observed by 3D print of HIPS-X were even more serious and the model was totally deformed. And I don’t want to comment on the model of mid_body_front…
Firstly I thought that the filament blocked the nozzle, however I managed to extrude it… The problem with retraction was bigger than in case of the previous model, additionally by removing of raft and support, parts of the models damaged. I don’t need to mention about the shrinkage of the material.
In the end I tried with theoretically the most complicated model – the drone shell. It has very thin walls, to reduce its final weight and its inside was filled with support. It has also thin arms, which are needed to assemble a shell on drone. I worried, if an attempt of removing a raft from them would finish with crushing the model, similarly to separating of the support from the thin walls of the model.
Finally, my anxiety wasn’t justified – support came off almost perfectly, I removed also the raft from the arms easily, without damaging of the construction.
Unfortunately, a shrinkage of the material caused, that the shell was deformed, what denounces the 3D print.
The Ultra-PET is not suitable for Zortrax. Form the aesthetics of the 3D prints, through the problems with the blocked nozzle and the high shrinkage – if you look for substitutes of the Z-PETG, you won’t find them in the offer of Spectrum Filaments.
As I mentioned at the beginning, although the 3D prints had a poor quality, it doesn’t mean, that it is a bad material. Łukasz Długosz will explain in soon and carry out further tests, using another 3D printers.