3D Filament Review - MonoFiliment Direct - PLA

Whether you are someone that is just starting out in the world of 3D printing and looking for a good all around filament to print with, or someone that prints a lot of parts and wants something high quality and at a low cost, then Monofilament Direct's PLA is a good choice.
Sometimes it's better when a company does one thing and does it well. The two most popular filaments for 3D printing are PLA and ABS and that's exactly what Monofilament Direct offers.
monofilament direct filament pla

Right away i liked the look of this glossy black PLA filament.
monofilament direct

For more info you can also watch the video i created where i go into more depth about the filament and clips of it being printed:

3D Filament Review - MonoFilament Direct



I received a roll of their PLA filament for testing and review. When you order a roll from Monofilament Direct it will come in the mail looking like this:
filament shipping storage

Close-up of information on the box.
filament printing information
The PLA filament itself will come wrapped air-tight and look like this:
shrink wrap pla filament dry desicant

3d filament storage, air tight, dry
And when they say 1 kilogram they mean 1 kilogram. The spool is fully wrapped. Some other companies try to save money by only giving you 750mg and put it on a smaller roll, but Monofilament Direct's roll is full size.
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I received their black PLA, it had a very shiny surface and consistently measured 1.75mm in diameter. I really liked the black color, it made a lot of the parts i printed look more professional. I found myself printing the black PLA because i knew when it was done it would blend right in.
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For example, here's a fan adapter that i printed, added to my printer and it's hard to tell what is the stock part and what is the 3D printed part.
rapid prototyping parts, filament, 3d printer


Monofilament Direct's website is very clear and straightforward in what it offers. It makes it easy to quickly make a decision about what filament you want.
monofilament direct website .com cheap pla
They sell their PLA in every color you would want and every size. They even sell 2kg and 4kg rolls.
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I do wish that there was a little bit more information about the filament and how it should be printed. For example they don't give you the range of temperatures that it can be printed, whether or not you need a heated bed, tips for bed adhesion, and properties of the filament itself. It's also nice if the print temps were printed on the roll as well. Not that it's super important with PLA since it is so easy to print with and works with a wide range of temperatures.


I decided to print 4 test parts, each of which will show a different characteristic of the filament: 1. Chess Piece - (OVERALL) This is a good overall part to show how the filament will print. It has smooth round lines, slight overhangs, and detailed ridges at the top. If this chess piece prints well in all areas then you can be confident that it will print everything well. 2. Bottle Opener - (STRENGTH) I wanted to print the bottle opener to test the filament's strength in a typical, everyday type of part. See how it reacts to bending, stress, strain, tension, and compression. Whether the printed part will be rigid or deform when a force is applied to it. 3. Carabiner - (DUCTILITY) Similar to the bottle opener, the carabiner needs to be strong in tension, but it also needs to bend. This may be a difficult test for filament like PLA which typically has a rigid characteristic. 4. Yoda - (DETAIL) Both of these parts will really require the printer to be able to print in great detail and need to handle tricky overhangs. The settings for these parts will have to be slowed down to print accurately.


Like i just said, PLA prints very well under a wide range of settings. So the settings i used can be thought of a just a general guideline of where to start. Also i used Cura v15.04.06 because of it's clear and simple settings layout. For filament that is more difficult to print with, a different slicer program may be needed, and more advanced settings may need to be adjusted.
The first thing i do after opening Cura is to import a saved profile for PLA filament, then drag in the part to be printed. Obviously the 4 different test prints will need to have some settings different from each other. The Bottle Opener, which is focused on strength, will need a higher infill percentage but can be printed at a faster speed and higher Z axis. Where as the Chess Piece and Yoda will have little to no infill, but printed slowly for more accuracy. There are no specific suggestions for printing with their PLA, but the following is a good baseline to start with:
pla cura settings, simplify3d, slic3r,

And here are the Advanced settings.
cura advanced settings, version
I set my extruder temp right around 200deg C, and print speed around 40mm/s. I did use a heated bed even though it probably would have had good adhesion without it. Any other setting changes like retraction and shell print speed were only minor changes from the base setting. Once the gCode is saved and loaded into the printer we are ready to start printing.


I prefer to print directly onto glass and the majority of time i will coat the surface with a glue stick. However i did print Monofilament Direct's PLA on the glass without a glue stick and didn't have an issue. But there's nothing worse then being an hour into a print and have it lift off the print bed, so using a glue stick isn't that much work when using glass. Blue painters tape or hairspray would have worked well also. The PLA printed its first layer very well. I did not have any issue with the filament clogging or sticking to the nozzle. Sometimes it takes a bit of time before the filament is extruded, but this PLA printed almost immediately.

Before the printing starts i will manually slow the speed of the print down by roughly half, to ensure that the filament sticks to the print bed. After the first couple of layers are secure i manually turn the speed up to full.

filament on glass bed
The filament flowed very well, wasn't runny or stringy at all, and printed very clean lines.


Here's the printed results:
best results of pla printed abs petg

And here are some close-ups:
close up 3d printer


My initial thought on this filament was that it might be something that's good at printing whatever you want. After seeing the results of the test prints, my thoughts were confirmed. Monofilament Direct's PLA printed great for everything. Right out of the box i was printing great looking parts that i could use on my printer and it did not look at all out of place.
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prototyping parts, 3d printer

This filament printed well with any temperature i selected and any changes to the settings were only minor tweaks. I didn't have any issues with adhesion to the bed or clogging in the extruder. The overall look was clean, sharp and shiny.

The chess piece turned out quite good in a few areas. The top detail was sharp and crisp and the curved edge was smooth. The only issue i had was more from the limited ability of my budged 3D printer. The overhang required me to print slower or have a larger fan. Once i slowed the speed down the results were much better. Again, more a limitation of my printer's ability to cool off filament quickly.

black PLA filament

The carabiner showed the typical properties of a PLA. Very rigid and not a lot of ductility, but the part itself seemed quite strong in its rigidity.
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The bottle opener printed very well, the curved line edge was incredibly smooth. There was no flex in the arm and overall looked great.

3d printed bottle opener

Again i printed all of these parts, including the Yoda head, at 0.3mm z-height. Even with that large step up between each layer, the Yoda head looked very good. I did print this with an overhang but in hindsight i don't feel like i needed to. The PLA was very crisp and clean and looked really good.
yoda head, free, star wars, print, model

This filament is perfect if you want to print a ton of prototype parts and need a large amount of filament to print with. Also with a beginner printer like the Monoprice Select Mini it is a filament that prints with absolutely no problem. So if you are just learning about 3D printing and are looking for a filament that produces nice clean prints then Monofilament Direct's PLA will definitely work for you. The black PLA will look very professional and make the things you print look like you know what you are doing.

Visit Monofilament Direct to get a roll.

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