In our efforts to empower our readers, we have reviewed another popular filament, colorFabb XT. This is a product of the Netherlands, a hotbed of 3D printing activity and development, so we have high expectations for this premium filament. Let’s put it through the tests!
colorFabb XT is a copolyester material that is mainly made up of PETG, a quite favorable material for 3D printing. It tends to be a bit more fibrous than other materials, so the shrink setting may require some adjustment for optimal results.
The spool is well packaged and the filament has a consistent roundness. It loads easily into the extruder and comes out of the die smoothly at 240°C. That higher print temperature should imbue printed objects with greater heat deflection than PLA, which we’ll test later. But first, as always, we start with Benchy.
Now that’s a clean print. All the features come out right, especially the bridges and pillars, and the walls are uniformly smooth. Its only weakness is the extreme overhang at the bottom of the arc, where the quality drops a few millimeters in height before recovering. I think more cooling would improve overhangs with this material, but this was the best my stock E3DV6 could do. This was printed at 0.2mm layer height, so there’s still plenty of room to improve detail with thinner layers.
The next step was the comprehensive testing of the all-in-one 3D printer.
Once again, colorFabb XT worked well on this print. Circles and thin walls printed with good dimensionality, while steep overhangs and skinny pillars struggled, if only a little. It really takes a great filament combined with a finely tuned printer and cutting profile to print thin columns without threads. And overhangs up to around 70° look good, which is pretty steep. Most of the raised text is legible and some of the embedded text is not; that’s to be expected without doing some extrusion adjustments. What really stands out on this print is the bridge, which is flawless. That excited me to do the bridge test.
Wow! Those are some straight bridges with virtually no buckling up to 50mm. Those two missing extrusion loops on the right are the only noticeable blemishes on the print. Some users spend a lot of time adjusting their print settings to get bridge results like this, but I used my standard PLA settings for all of these prints. Other than some minor tweaks to retraction and increasing the hotend temperature, I made no changes to the print settings.
All the prints had smooth walls so I wanted to see how the material performed with a higher resolution print.
This owl statue was printed with 0.15 layers and it looks pretty good, with a few exceptions. The protrusion on the bill and face was causing problems, and the tips of the ears were a little taut. Otherwise details are captured well and surfaces are smooth. This is an ideal material for prints that need to look good.
Finally, I ran a couple of functional tests. To test layer adhesion, I printed three copies of a drawbar in portrait orientation, attached them to a hanging scale, then put them under load until they failed. They missed at 102 pounds, 76 pounds, and 90 pounds, for an average of 89.3 pounds. Remember that our PLA failed at an average of 105.3 pounds, so it’s a respectable showing.
To test for heat deflection, I printed a rectangular bar, measured its dimensions, put it through an annealing process, and then measured its dimensions to detect any changes.
- Original dimensions: 120.5mm x 20.45mm x 5.65mm
- Dimensions after annealing: 120.5mm x 20.40mm x 5.9mm
Those dimensions have hardly changed, so it seems a bit more heat resistant than PLA.
Overall I am very satisfied with this filament. I had no failed prints or peeling edges. The opacity gives it a professional aesthetic. And it’s nice and strong. Bottom line: it prints well, looks good, has good layer adhesion, and bonds great. It needs a lot of cooldown to handle overhangs, but that’s its only real weakness. colorFabb XT is a premium multi-purpose filament.
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