How “advanced” of a PLA is the Algix APLA really?
Algix claim improved, well, everything over standard PLA with their Advanced PLA filament – but does it hold up in the tough Filaween 2 tests?
I’ve previously reviewed ALGA filament from Algix, which incorporated some organic algae matter into the filament. However, that’s the only filament from Algix that does that, thankfully, so today’s APLA or advanced PLA is just a regular PLA blend. Again, working off of the tiny 100g sample, I didn’t have much material to spare, but since printability was much better, I actually got a full data set and, look at that, a hero print out of it.
The filament retails at about 50€ per kilogram, which is quite expensive. However, as an advanced PLA, I’m gesturing air quotes here, Algix claims better adhesion, strength, stiffness, higher heat deflection temperatures, yet lower warping, which seems contradictory, so we’ll put that to the test.
Recommended print temperatures are between 195 and 210°C, which is perfectly normal for PLA, and my test prints at 190, 200 and 210°C, shown from left to right here, all turned out fine, so I went with the highest temperature to possibly improve strength. Visually, this Majestic Gold color looks more like a brown-ish brass, but it does have a very deep metallic effect, which I think looks very nice. It doesn’t show up on vertical surfaces much, they just end up with a darker, dull finish, but top and bottom surfaces get a really nice depth to them. These samples were all printed during the same print and with the same settings, the only thing that changed was the direction they were oriented.
Quality is fine otherwise as well, the slight drooping and stringing we’re seeing can still be tuned out probably even with just a slightly lower print temperature.
Mechanically, it’s kind of interesting. There seem to be two different popular types of PLA, one is more of a ductile, tough, almost ABS-like type, the other is harsh, brittle and likes to crack and APLA is definitely part of the latter group. Tensile strength and impact resistance are good, but there are other PLAs that are better. Now, for the claim of improved thermal resistance, well, there are about four different behaviours I’ve seen with the boiling water test ranging from PLA becoming chewing-gum like to polycarbonate not caring at all. With APLA, I honestly couldn’t tell a difference to any other PLA, so while there might be a marginal measurable difference, it certainly does not make a difference in the real world.
In conclusion, Algix APLA is certainly a great filament. I like the metallic color, but if that’s not factor for you, there are other PLAs out there that give you a much bigger bang for your buck. Keep in mind that value does not factor into the final rating, so with that ignored, APLA gets ranked in the top tier of filaments.