Algix-3D produce 3D printing filament from nuisance algae – smart marketing or the next big thing?
Algix.. Algix.. Al… Whatever. These guys make filament, quote, “from nuisance algae, thus helping keep ecology in balance through remediation”.
Then they go on to explain that they actually use 80% PLA and just 20% algae-based materials for the ALGA filament, so I expected it to perform much like a standard PLA.
Then they go on to explain that they actually use a blend of PLA and some Algae materials for the ALGA filament, so I expected it to perform much like a standard PLA.
It sells for about 68€ per kilogram and the cerulean-colored prints actually come out with a nice surface finish and feels less harsh and plasticy and instead almost like a piece of wood, maybe. Algix recommend a rather low print temperature range of 175 to 190°C and the calibration prints confirm that. The main set of tests was printed at very low 175°C, a 40° heated bed, straight onto the Prusa’s PEI sheet, where it stuck well, almost too well. Bed adhesion is not going to be an issue. It’s much like PLA, just printed with a lower temperature.
What’s different, though, is the intense smell that comes along with printing ALGA. I guess the best I can describe it is a mix between burnt grass and cheap perfume, it almost smells like there’s an intentional fragragrance added to the filament. My stomach didn’t like it a single bit and I’d definitely recommend ventilating your printing area to the outside. I did have two, well, three, failures during printing, one was a seemingly random hotend jam, the genuine E3D v6es usually never jam on me, the other was the loose filament coil getting caught on things because they didn’t send a spool, they just sent a loose 100g coil. And this plays into issue number 3, I specifically asked for 200g of filament to complete my prints, for some reason Algix thought it was ok to only send 100, so you guessed it, it ran out during the last print for the strength test. Just, why? It also means I’m running low on things I can show you in this video because I don’t have a hero print, so let’s get to it.
Print quality is fine, it’s not spectacular, but it’s fine. ALGA does like to string a bit, but again, the surface finish is rather pleasing, so you win some, you lose some. Strength does not impress as it performs consistently at about 20% worse than PLA, both for impacts and tensile strength. Heat resistance is just like PLA.
So, to be honest, I don’t see the point of ALGA. Maybe, yeah, if a cornstarch-based filament, that’s PLA for you, isn’t eco enough, then give ALGA a go, but otherwise, it’s inferior to even the most basic PLA in every one of my tests. Plus, the smell of ALGA really bothers me, yet it is about 3 to 4 times as expensive as PLA.
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