An honest review of Silk Silver PLA filament by Hello3D, from unboxing to complex model printing.
All the Rage
Silk metallic PLA filament has become the hottest filament of choice lately. As a result, there are multiple different colour options from many different suppliers available. This weekend, I had the opportunity to test Silk Silver produced by Hello3D. It was not my first experience with silk metallic PLA filaments. However, several noticeable differences made this offering unique from others I had used before. What follows outlines my personal experience and opinions about what Hello3D has produced.
Hello3D straight out of the box
A standard brown box with Amazon’s smiling logo happily greeted me at my front door. This seems to be the case more days than not, recently. Once I brought it inside, I made quick work of the outer packaging. I was delighted to see that the Silk Silver came in a well-vacuum sealed bag, that was re-sealable. Hello3D is the first manufacturer (of more than twenty that I have bought from) that I have seen to offer this feature. The filament is advertised as “nice reel and evenly wound”. However, as you can see below, I was not thrilled to see the lack of consistency in the winding of the spool.
I sought to validate the claims Hello3D listed throughout my tests. I found that their advertised tolerance of 1.75 mm ±0.05 mm held through multiple readings across different points in the reel. This is a massive plus in Hello3D’s favour, as most other brands I have tested exceed their advertised tolerances. I used about a third of the roll during my testing.
Also, I checked the claim that this Silk Silver filament was “bendable instead of brittle. It’s not easy to break compared with other PLA silver filaments”. This was certainly true for me. Additionally, I need to conduct further, long-term testing to see if this claim holds; especially after the filament has been exposed to the air for an extended time.
Temperature does Make a Difference
I found through temperature tower and stringing tower tests that printing at or above 200C resulted in their claim. That “Shiny silver PLA printer filament is shiner than standard PLA, replicat[ing] a realistic metallic look, it has a similar sheen as silver spray paint”.
In other words, printing at any temperature below 200C resulted in a matte finish. You can see this clearly in the image of the model I printed of the USS Enterprise from the show, “Star Trek”. Fab365 produced this great model. I forgot to remove the post-processing scripts I had loaded in Cura4.0 for the two-tower tests. This led to a small layer of shiny finish, and the rest of the model coming out in the matte finish.
In conclusion, I loved tinkering with Hello3D’s Silk Silver filament. It presented me with new challenges that standard PLA did not. Dialling in the stringiness at or above 200C was the most challenging. I love feeling like I have two different filaments in one roll, based on my temperature settings.
This is why I am looking forward to experimenting with other filaments that Hello3D has to offer in the near future. They may not provide the cleanest winding on the spool, but I have certainly seen worse. The Silk Silver was priced at $22.99 at the time of this writing; additionally, there is a 5% coupon, via Amazon. Therefore, this price is about average for similar offerings from other manufacturers.
You can read about a comparable alternative filament in the article, Eryone Silk Copper Review: Print Copper For Pennies! By Andrew Delisle. Want to know more about Fab365? Read Fab365 – The Fantastic Folding 3D Printable Models! By Michael Bird.