We greet you!
In this review, we will tell you about PolyMax PLA filament for 3D printers from Polymaker . Most likely many of you have heard of this brand, but not everyone tried to print them with plastic. In Russia, it is not yet as widespread as in the USA, Europe and China.
Polymaker was founded in 2013 by 4 PhD friends in polymer science at Changshu Innopark in China. They have set themselves a very ambitious goal – to create the best filament for 3D printers on the market.
And I must say, they did it. A small Chinese company has become one of the world’s largest manufacturers of the highest quality 3D printing plastic. Polymaker is respected and used almost all over the world by large companies and home 3D printer users. Stable diameter, high quality raw materials, rich beautiful colors and, of course, unique patented technologies.
The first technology that gave impetus to the development of the company was the so-called Jam-free technology for PLA plastic . Its essence is as follows …
Conventional PLA plastic for 3D printers has an amorphous (non-crystalline) structure and softens at about 60 degrees Celsius:
If the heat from the hot end spreads higher to the cold end and raises its temperature more than 60 degrees, the plastic begins to soften before reaching the nozzle.
This usually results in a plug in the extruder. Using Jam-free technology, it was possible to achieve a semi-crystalline PLA structure:
Thanks to this, the softening temperature of the bar increased to almost 140 degrees. Thus, even if the colddend temperature rises above 60 degrees, the plastic in it does not soften, which allows you to print stably without fear of jams. Even with all-metal extruders.
This technology is used in all PLA plastics from Polymaker. It is worth noting that this property of the material extends precisely to the bar itself; after printing, the parts already have a softening point usual for PLA, since the structure of the material changes after melting.
The next development of the company was the PolyMax line, which uses Nano Reinforcement Technology (nano-reinforcement technology).
This technology significantly increases the strength of materials (we will describe in more detail below using the example of PolyMax PLA). Later, Polymaker developed PolyFlex, PolyWood, PC-max, PolySmooth and many, many other materials, both original and already known, but improved. All Polymaker products are manufactured under strict control from the highest quality materials. With this plastic, you can always count on trouble-free printing from time to time, reel to reel, material to material.
Here are a couple of our PolyLite PLA models that show the quality of this brand’s plastic printing. Printed, like all models in this review, on a budget Creality Ender-3 printer.
Low poly crocodile in different angles:
Popular model Moon City (size 64.9 x 68.9 x 74.5 mm)
Now back to the highlight of our program, PolyMax PLA , which is the subject of this review.
In addition to Jam-free technology, excellent print quality and stability, one of the important features of PolyMax PLA is its very high strength, comparable to ABS, achieved thanks to the aforementioned Polymaker nano-reinforcement technology.
PolyMax PLA has a Charpy impact strength of 12.2 ± 1.03 kJ / m2, which is comparable to ABS (test method ASTM D256 (ISO 179, GB / T 1043).
Initially, we planned to repeat several tests from PolyMax PLA reviews from foreign bloggers. But in the process of research it turned out that most of their tests were not very objective and indicative. Therefore, we decided to conduct our own tests. They, too, cannot be called the most accurate, but they made it possible to objectively confirm / deny the unique features of PolyMax PLA, declared by the manufacturer.
Everything in order …
The packaging, like all Polymaker plastic, is excellent. A convenient box with a nice design, which can be further used for various little things. The boxes are delivered sealed in polyethylene, that is, even the box is protected from damage.
The coils are always well vacuumized, while the package has a zip-lock that allows you to reliably close the coil after opening. The colors are always dense and saturated. The winding can be said to be ideal, turn to turn.
The spool itself is transparent and has many holes for fixing the filament. The diameter of the bar is very stable, although not 1.75 mm, but 1.77 mm, but uniform along the entire length. It is enough to configure the flow in the print profile once and never think about it again.
Some numbers …
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The cost of a coil of plastic Polymax PLA is 3,900 rubles.
Test # 1. Checking the bar for break
First of all, we decided to check the bar for fracture. As a rule, regular PLA plastic will withstand no more than 4-6 folds. Esun PLA (yellow) withstood only 5, then broke:
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PolyMax PLA in black is surprisingly very difficult to break. It took as many as 27 kinks for the bar to break off completely.
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In the place of inflection, the plastic brightens, like ABS.
Test number 2. Jam-free technology test
Polymaker has specified a bar softening point of 140 ˚C before printing. We compared how much the PolyMax PLA would soften versus Esun’s regular PLA. For this, the table of the Raise3D printer was heated in a closed heat chamber to 100 degrees.
Put a piece of PolyMax PLA (black) and a piece of Esun PLA (yellow) on the hot table. We waited a few minutes for them to warm up and tried to bend and stretch the plastic.
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Esun’s PLA is completely soft, it looks like a rope, stretched out into a thin string when stretched. But Polymax PLA really passed this test, it became just a little more flexible, but at the same time it remained firm and did not stretch at all when stretched. Apparently, Jam-free technology really works. And with PolyMax PLA plastic, you can not be afraid of thermal plugs, both with poor cooling of the cold, and with an all-metal extruder.
Test number 3. Flexibility
The next test was to test the flexion resistance. To do this, we printed 4 identical parallelepipeds from different plastics: ESun ABS (black), Esun PLA (orange), PolyLite PLA (blue) and, of course, PolyMax PLA (white).
Model size 130 x 10 x 3 mm. Filling 100%.
After printing, they tried to bend them.
The first test subject was ABS, it withstood a fairly strong bend, but at the very end it broke, without breaking completely into two parts.
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Normal PLA withstood the bend slightly less, then burst and shattered in two.
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Polylite PLA lasted slightly longer than previous test subjects. It only broke after the third bend.
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And PolyMax PLA was the last to be bent, and it was a very pleasant surprise. It withstood almost full flexion without any problems, even without a hint of kink. Just as calmly, he withstood the bend in the opposite direction. And so over and over and over again. In the place of the bend, the plastic just stretched a little, while not bursting or breaking.
Only after a couple of dozen bends, signs of destruction began to appear on the part. At the same time, the part did not break until the end. It was possible to break it a little only when twisting it.
Test number 4. Impact test
And the last test was devoted to checking the impact strength.
Polymaker says PolyMax PLA should have roughly the same toughness as ABS.
Since we do not have specialized equipment for measuring this mechanical characteristic, we had to improvise. We dropped the sledgehammer on the printed models (100% coverage). It is difficult to call this test absolutely objective, but we still managed to obtain comparative data.
Printed models of different plastics used in this test were originally planned for the flexion test. But bending them proved to be extremely difficult, so they came in handy in this testing.
Esun PLA (yellow) was the first to go under the sledgehammer.
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From the blow, a rather strong dent was formed. The plastic at the impact site collapsed, and even crumbled a little.
Then Esun ABS (black) came under the distribution.
He took the blow much better. Impact dent is much smaller than PLA. At the same time, the plastic did not collapse, but rather sold out. A small crack formed on one side.
And the last one flew in PolyMax PLA (black).
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The dent on it turned out to be almost the same as on the ABS. The plastic has not collapsed. The depth of the dent is exactly the same as on ABS. Even a small crack formed exactly in the same place.
Of course, this test is approximate. But it is obvious that in terms of impact resistance, PolyMax PLA is indeed significantly better than conventional PLA and is very similar to ABS. We believe that the impact strength declared by the manufacturer can be considered confirmed.
Polymaker is positioning PolyMax PLA as an analogue of ABS in terms of strength, which sounds very tempting. And if we did not even doubt the quality of the printed models and the absence of problems when printing with this plastic, since there was plenty of experience working with filaments of this brand, then we really wanted to test its impact resistance.
We were very pleased with the results of the comparative tests. In the impact test, PolyMax PLA proved to be identical to ABS plastic, and even outperformed the latter in the bending test. Of course, we failed to verify the accuracy of mathematical calculations, but the comparative test turned out to be quite indicative.
We also tested the proprietary Jam-free technology, which protects against thermal plugs, PolyMax PLA also successfully passed it.
As for the quality of printed models from PolyMax PLA: due to the fact that this plastic is only available in black and white, the quality of printed products is not easy to evaluate from photographs. But it can be clearly seen on models from a more budgetary polymaker filament PolyLite PLA in blue.
Of course, PolyMax PLA is far from identical in all technical parameters to ABS material; models made of it certainly should not be used at high temperatures, like any PLA.
But if you need to create functional products that will be subjected to mechanical shock in the future, you can safely use PolyMax PLA instead of ABS. Benefits include low shrinkage, no toxicity and odor when printing, and trouble-free printing.
The developers, most likely, had a goal to create a kind of mix that combines the advantages of PLA and ABS plastics together, and as far as possible, they succeeded.