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Inland Vs. Hatchbox: Pros and Cons of Each Filament

Inland Vs. Hatchbox: Pros and Cons of Each Filament | 3D Printing Spot

Updated by

The Spot Team

/

February 16, 2021

For people who are excited about using their 3D printer, it can be challenging to determine which kind of filament is the best one for the job. Polylactic acid, or PLA, filaments are the most common ones in 3D printing, but even within that category, there are a ton of options to pick from. How do you know which one to buy?

Inland and Hatchbox PLA filaments have various pros and cons to consider, including:

  • Price
  • Diameter tolerance
  • Color selection
  • Ease of use

PLA is a biodegradable and cost-effective filament for 3D printing, but certain types of filaments are better suited to producing some types of products. Depending on what you plan to make, you might choose between two particularly common types: Inland PLA filaments and Hatchbox PLA filaments.

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Table of contents:

Inland PLA Filament

A single spool of Inland PLA filament is 1kg of PLA filament and works best when used in a nozzle that ranges between 419-446 degrees Fahrenheit. The filament has a 1.75mm diameter and an approximately 1,080-foot length when unspooled. For Inland PLA filaments, the manufacturer states that the diameter tolerance for their spools is +/- 0.05mm.

Your 3D printer must have nozzles that are capable of handling a higher temperature for building than with Hatchbox PLA filaments. You can change the temperature settings when you initially program a new project. The temperature is compatible with most 3D printers, although you should check yours to make sure it can handle the heat.

As we touch on further down, Inland PLA filaments tend to perform better in 3D printers with heated building platforms. By maintaining the filaments’ heat after they have been printed, you can enhance the subsequent layers’ adhesion so that each layer of the filament will bind to the previously printed ones for a smooth appearance.

Many customers have found that Inland PLA filaments perform well in larger jobs that do not require as high of quality, like with prototypes and items that will not be offered for sale, but that they fall short when it comes to printing time, variety of textures, and their durability.

Pros

  • Good for large projects
  • Affordable
  • Can handle higher temperatures
  • High cylindrical tolerance

Cons

  • Lower quality than Hatchbox
  • Fewer colors to choose from
  • Requires a slower speed (50-75% average speed)
  • Not very reliable
  • Requires a heated platform

Pros

For people who want to print a large number of objects in a set or a single oversized thing, Inland PLA filaments are perfect. Each spool is incredibly affordable and will not eat into your 3D printing budget, as many other brands will. If you are looking for quantity and are willing to sacrifice a little bit of quality, Inland is a fantastic choice.

Depending on your printer’s current settings, you may need to adjust the heating nozzles to accommodate the Inland brand’s need for a higher temperature than Hatchbox PLA filament spools. However, plenty of alternative brands also use higher temperatures, so your settings may already be prepared for Inland PLA filaments.

We go into the specifics of diameter tolerance in the sections below, but Inland PLA filament spools have a relatively low one at +/- 0.05mm, the same as Hatchbox PLA filament spools. Suffice it to say, any kind of PLA filaments that have a diameter tolerance of +/- 0.05mm is a good idea if you do not wish to be continually fiddling with printer settings.

If you are looking to 3D print objects that are made for show or decoration and not for repeated and heavy use, Inland PLA filaments can work well. However, as we get into below, the level of quality and reliability in these spools is not high enough to produce long-lasting objects that can stand up to the wear and tear of daily life.

Cons

Unfortunately, a low price means that the manufacturers are not as concerned about quality as you might be. Many customers have noticed that Inland PLA filaments are not as high-quality as other brands and actually vary a lot based on the individual batch. That means that if you are unlucky enough to get a bad batch, you might notice that your project just feels odd.

In addition, Inland does not hold a candle to the vast expanse of color options offered by Hatchbox. You are much more limited in your color selection when shopping with Inland spools, and there is no guarantee that what is listed as blue on one website might be the same blue as another. This can make matching spool hues a big problem.

Some people have noticed that a slower printing speed can reduce the number of times the spool will become jammed within the printer and increase your projects’ quality. However, it can also be a hassle to slow down your printing speed because then it will be that many more hours of listening to and smelling the printing process before you finish the product.

Unlike Hatchbox, Inland’s filaments do better in a heated building platform. The heat can increase the adhesion between layers during the printing process. However, many customers have complained that the layers do not adhere very well, compared to other filaments brands, which can lead to brittle or fragile finished products.

Hatchbox PLA Filament

Hatchbox PLA filament spools are offered on Amazon and are a popular choice for many 3D printing enthusiasts. A single spool contains 1kg of PLA filament and works best when used in a nozzle that ranges between 356-410 degrees Fahrenheit. The filament has a 1.75mm diameter and an approximately 1,080-foot length when unspooled.

Diameter tolerance refers to how much of a difference you will see between the various parts along the length of a single spool’s filament. Ideally, you want to look for the smallest diameter tolerance possible so that you will not have to worry about accounting for significant fluctuations during the printing process.

When you switch between spools and filaments, the spool diameter is important to consider in the 3D printer’s settings. If you know that you will be changing brands or spool diameters, you will need to update your printer’s settings to match the new spool appropriately, so finding a brand with a diameter tolerance of 0.05mm or fewer is best.

For Hatchbox PLA filaments, the manufacturer states that the diameter tolerance for their spools is +/- 0.05mm. Depending on the individual spool, you may find that they are even better than the extremes given there. The diameter tolerance given by Amazon is just how much they can be different, not how much they necessarily are different.

Pros

  • Large selection of colors
  • High cylindrical tolerance
  • Affordable
  • Easy to use
  • It does not require a heated platform

Cons

  • Frequently out of stock
  • Pantone color assignment

Pros

The Hatchbox PLA filament spool has quite a few benefits. For many people, the wide selection of colors is among the top picks. Buyers can choose between high-gloss, matte, and sparkly coatings or filaments that have a bark or marbled texture. Some spools are transparent if the product is supposed to imitate glass. There are even neon and metallic options to get fancy.

For experienced users of 3D printers, they will be pleased with the high cylindrical tolerance that the Hatchbox PLA filament spools have to offer. For the uninitiated, that leads to less jamming in the guts of the 3D printing machine than you might notice with other filament brands. Each layer also sticks to itself and the print bed, which makes the whole process more efficient.

Unlike other filament brands, Hatchbox does not require a heated print bed. That is very helpful, especially when PLA is so sensitive to heat and has such a low melting temperature. For all of these features, Hatchbox PLA filament spools are surprisingly affordable on Amazon and can fulfill all of your 3D printing needs for a low price.

Whether you are a beginner or an old-hand at 3D printing, Hatchbox PLA filaments are easy to use. You do not have to worry about any special settings or other requirements to use it on your machine. Hatchbox PLA filament spools work like other brands if you have experience with them, and the learning curve is relatively low.

Cons

Like all things that seem like they are too good to be true, the Hatchbox PLA filament spools on Amazon do come with a single drawback: they are frequently out of stock. Considering the superior quality of the product and the low price, that should not come as much of a surprise, but it can still be annoying if you are looking for a particular color.

It is generally recommended to buy all of the filament material that you will need for a single project before embarking on it if you want to make use of the Hatchbox PLA filament spools because you do not want to be in the middle of a project and realize that you do not have enough to complete it and then find out that the color or texture is out of stock.

It can also be a hassle for some people to keep track of the Pantone number that is given with each colored spool. Your mileage may vary with this feature, as some people actually see it as a pro. While you do always know exactly what hue the spool should be, and you can match it exactly with the next one, keeping track can be a real pain for some.

Other Aspects to Consider

In addition to the price, diameter tolerance, color selection, and ease of use, there are a few other essential things to think about when selecting a brand of PLA filaments. Some of the major benefits of PLA filaments, like their non-toxic nature, may be compromised by the process of making them into 3D printer-friendly filaments.

In order to find the right brand for your 3D printing projects, you should always take every specification into careful consideration. We have compiled the main aspects to consider when examining specific brands or individual products. These aspects include:

  • The addition of impurities may decrease biodegradable and food-safe abilities.
  • The color and texture consistencies between spools or batches within a singular brand.
  • The proper storage of PLA filaments and their corresponding spools both during and after shipment.

Impurities

One of the main benefits of polylactic acid, or PLA, filaments is that they are rated as safe for contact with food by the FDA. However, that rating only applies to filaments made of pure PLA. To decrease costs and improve durability, many companies add other ingredients to their PLA filament spools, which obviously adds impurities.

Extensive testing has proved over and over that PLA filaments are safe for many different kinds of uses, like medical stitches and food packaging. It may smell a little strange during the printing process, sweet like the corn syrup it was made from, but the odor should be weak. Impurities may enhance that odor and cause your house to stink while you print.

If you plan to make products that will hold your food, you will want to check the packaging to see if the manufacturer guarantees that the spool, or batch, is safe for food contact. Additives like coloring dye or to add fun textures can also decrease the overall purity and should be considered as well.

Another thing that impurities may affect is the PLA filament’s ability to biodegrade. Scientists have touted the biodegradable abilities of PLA as a renewable resource and one that is better for the environment, especially when used in single-use plastic components or serveware. If the additives are not biodegradable, it decreases that environmental friendliness.

Consistency

Diameter tolerance and the resulting width consistency along the entire length of the spool is not the only type of consistency that 3D printers should be concerned with. Consistency in color is equally important. When you are printing a large project, either with many components or something that is oversized, you may end up using multiple spools to complete it.

If you are trying to make a bunch of artistic decorations that are all the same color and texture, it behooves you to choose a single brand and their color, instead of swapping between brands and colors if you are looking to make a uniform project. Besides the possibility of one blue being different from another blue between brands, you do not want that variation between spools.

Finding a brand with color consistency is essential so that you can purchase, however, many spools you need for a project, and be sure that your project will have the same color throughout. Otherwise, you might end up with some pieces being more matte or glossy than others. Or, you might even see the differentiations in the layers where the spools end and the next begin.

This may lead you to purchase slightly more expensive brands of PLA filaments, like Hatchbox, especially if you are making products for sale. Your customers will want to see 3D printed objects that all look alike. The variations in color and texture that multiple lower-quality spools provide can be disappointing for customers.

Storage

PLA is very porous and easily absorbs the moisture out of the air. If you are ordering spools from a company based overseas or located very far from you, the hassle does not end with the long wait time for the spools to arrive. A long wait time also means that the filaments have more time to be exposed to humidity if not properly packaged.

Similarly, when you have ordered spools, you should be sure to order from a manufacturer who uses high-quality packaging so that it will seal the filaments and prevent both air and moisture from entering and being absorbed by the PLA. When you take it out of the packaging, you should use the spool in your 3D printing as soon as possible.

Like all filaments, PLA is highly susceptible to kinking if it is not wound tightly around the spool before being packaged, and the last thing you want to deal with is the spool getting jammed inside of your 3D printer and possibly damaging the tiny parts in the guts of the machine. Some brands are less likely to kink up than others.

However, you do not want the filaments to be too tightly wound because that can cause the delicate filaments to bend or break, especially near the bottom of the spool. If for some reason, you are winding unused filament back onto a spool, you should be careful to wrap it neatly without pulling it too tight on the spool and then put it away in thick plastic.

In Conclusion

If you want to make something cheaply with your 3D printer that is meant for decoration on a wall or shelf, Inland PLA filaments are the perfect solution. However, their lower quality and reliability preclude them from objects that need to hold up and be durable. Hatchbox PLA filaments neatly fill the category for higher-quality 3D printed objects.

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Inland Vs. Hatchbox: Pros and Cons of Each Filament

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