When comparing NinjaFlex Flexible Filament vs Makerbot PLA Filament, the Slant community recommends Makerbot PLA Filament for most people. In the question“What are the best filaments for 3D printing?” Makerbot PLA Filament is ranked 2nd while NinjaFlex Flexible Filament is ranked 5th. The most important reason people chose Makerbot PLA Filament is:
Since this filament was designed to be used with high-end, expensive Makerbot hardware, its mechanical parameters exceed the standards for regular PLA plastic, as shown in the raw [datasheet](https://eu.makerbot.com/fileadmin/Inhalte/Support/Datenblatt/MakerBot_R__PLA_and_ABS_Strength_Data.pdf) of the material. It's properties are very well balanced; the filament is quite ductile, meaning tensile strength is a bit higher than that of standard PLA, while maintaining the same high material elasticity. While it isn’t a groundbreaking filament, you can be assured that there is no aspect of this product that can be considered substandard.
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Pro Recovers original shape after deformation
This is truly elastic material, which means that the material will deform under stress (stretched or compressed), but the moment stress is removed, the material original shape is restored. The exception is if tensile/compressive yield point is reached: in this case permanent deformation occurs. This filaments tensile yield point takes place at 660% elongation, which means it's very hard to break this material only by applying tensile stress.
Pro Good chemical resistance to a variety of substances
This filament has limited resistance to a variety of alcohols, alkali and organic substances (fuels, oils, etc.). This contrasts with what happens with many other 3D printable material, that can't even withstand contact with water.
Pro NinjaTek has published several case studies of filament applications
Several examples of how NinjaFlex was used in real-world applications are available. This is a great move from NinjaTek, since, even though it is useful to see how good a product is “on paper”, it’s even better to see examples of how it was actually used. All case studies are well documented and provide visual evidence of successful use.
Pro Can be used with virtually any standard 3D printer
You can use this filament with pretty much any standard 3D printer, since it's available in the two most commonly used diameters: 1.75 mm and 3.0 mm. The 3.0 mm spools are cheaper than the 1.75 mm ones. This is because it’s generally cheaper to produce 1 kg of 3.0 mm filament than 1 kg of 1.75 mm filament.
Pro Available in 10 different colors
This filament is available in 10 different colors, all of which are of very high quality and look rich.
Pro No heated printed bed required
This filament can be used with a printer without a heated bed, which is very convenient, since many 3D printers don't come with a heated bed by default or don't even have the option of adding one. Nevertheless, if your machine does have a heated bed, you can set it to 40ºC (recommended) and improve surface adhesion.
Pro Above average mechanical parameters
Since this filament was designed to be used with high-end, expensive Makerbot hardware, its mechanical parameters exceed the standards for regular PLA plastic, as shown in the raw datasheet of the material. It's properties are very well balanced; the filament is quite ductile, meaning tensile strength is a bit higher than that of standard PLA, while maintaining the same high material elasticity. While it isn’t a groundbreaking filament, you can be assured that there is no aspect of this product that can be considered substandard.
Pro Health risks are lower than with ABS
3D printing PLA poses fewer health risks than ABS.
Pro Has proven its value with the 3D printing community
As most Makerbot products, this filament has earned some popularity within the 3D printing community. While Makerbot recommends this filament with their own 3D printers, plenty of people have used this filament for non-Makerbot printers and are quite satisfied with the quality of the results.
Pro No heated bed required
Using a PLA filament does not require your 3D printer to have a heated bed.
Pro Available in 10 different colors
This filament is available in 10 different colors, all of which offer consistent quality and looks.
Pro Proper packaging protects filament from mechanical damage, air and humidity
Makerbot’s packaging keeps the filament inside safe from damage The thick cardboard box protects from mechanical damage while the vacuum-sealed film (together with an included silica pack) keeps the filament safe from air and humidity. This is very important, as filaments absorb water extremely fast.
Con Complicated to print without a direct-drive extruder
The filament itself is very flexible, which means that non-direct-drive extruders will have the issue of their bowden tubes clogging up. This is normally fixed by experimenting with the material feed rate and the extruder temperature (this tweaking process takes some time and effort). Double check if you have a direct-drive extruder before purchasing this filament, which avoids this bothersome process.
Con Unprotective filament packaging
The filament packaging doesn't provide adequate protection for the material, which is quite surprising, considering its high price. The spool is shipped simply sealed with a vacuum film (without a silica pack) contained in a simple box. There's no proper external packing to protect the filament from mechanical damage. If the film breaks, the filament becomes vulnerable to air humidity, absorbing water and, consequently, compromising the printing process.
Con PLA's applications for 3D printing are quite limited
In terms of 3D printing applications, PLA is very limited. While it’s great for general prototyping and poses fewer health risks, it cannot withstand hot or humid environments: it degrades dramatically when exposed to direct sunlight, high temperatures (above 60ºC) or water. It is way less durable and flexible than materials like ABS and lacks chemical resistance. You need to be aware of what the limits are when using this material.
Con Impossible to be used with a 3.0 mm extruder
If your printer has a 3.0 mm extruder, you won't be able to use this filament, since it only comes in 1.75mm form. For Makerbot, this is justifiable, since all of their hardware uses 1.75 mm.