This post is also available in: France
Disclaimer: the ratings, comments and opinions expressed in this review are the results of our own (limited!) experience with the product. As always, we try to provide context to give a fair overview of the product. We strive to remain impartial and unbiased, and we have not received any payment or compensation of any form for writing this article. The Voltivo ExcelFil TECH Wood Composite and Voltivo ExcelFil TECH Aluminium printing filament was given to Aniwaa by Voltivo.
|Model||ExcelFil TECHWood Composite||ExcelFil TECHAluminium|
Today, we’re going to share with you our review of two filaments for 3D printers, from Taiwanese manufacturer Voltivo.
The Voltivo 3D filament we’ve tested are the ExcelFil TECH Wood Composite and the ExcelFil TECH Aluminium. They both fall into the “exotic filaments” category, which include filaments that are more than basic PLA or ABS (for example filaments with specific properties such as being flexible, or filaments partly made of wood or metal).
As their names suggest, the filaments we’ve tested are made from a mix of materials: 30% Wood and 70% Polymer Binder for the Wood Composite, and 30% Metal and 70% Polymer Binder for the TECH Aluminium. The compounded metal and wood particles have been milled so those filaments are compatible with nozzles of diameters down to 0.35 mm. The diameter and roundness accuracy announced by the manufacturer ±0.03 mm.
Here are the references of the 2 filament samples we tested, and the retail price:
- ExcelFil TECH Wood Composite – 0.5 kg spool – (retail price around $60).
- ExcelFil TECH Aluminium – 0.5 kg spool – (retail price around $80).
For this 3D filament review, we conducted several tests in order to see if it was possible to replicate the beautiful vases advertised on the manufacturer website (see picture below). Our goal was to explore how these exotic 3D filaments behave when you 3D print them and what is the final result. We tested the 3D filaments in their 1.75 mm diameter version (Voltivo also sells 2.85 mm diameter).
Packaging rating: 5/5
Unboxing: a nice vacuum-sealed package with QR codes linking to setup tips
We received two samples from Voltivo. The samples are packaged in vacuum-sealed plastic, with a specific QR code. I’s important to note that the packaging is vacuum-sealed because otherwise, humidity can get to the filaments and affect the print performance and results.
The QR code on the package can be read by any smartphone and directly links to a web page where you can find all the information about the 3D filament and useful tips such as the recommended extrusion temperature, temperature for the 3D print bed, mechanical properties, etc… That’s really nice and helps you start on the right foot.
OVERVIEW AND SETUP
Overview and setup rating: 3/5
Filament setup: a real spool changes everything!
We received the Voltivo 3D filament samples without a spool and decided to start printing anyway, using the ExcelFil TECH Aluminium. But as illustrated in the pictures below, we quickly realized it was a bad idea! The filament kept being tangled and several prints failed. In the end, we made a cardboard spool for holding in place the filament and it worked great
The wood filament was more brittle than its aluminum counterpart but we did not encounter any issue with it as long as we manipulated with care. Both filaments are easy to load and unload in the extruder.
3D printing parameters setup: some useful tips but still some tinkering required
To maximize our chances of successful 3D prints, we used the data displayed on the Voltivo website (accessible easily from the QR code), but we also had to do a bit of modifications on the print parameters.
The 3D printer we used for the tests is a MakerBot Replicator 2X. Although it can sometimes be difficult to operate, the overall performance of this desktop 3D printer is decent and the fact it has 2 extruders makes it easier for testing several materials. Here are the print settings we used:
- ExcelFil TECH Wood Composite: extrusion temperature of 209°C and a print bed temperature of 65°C.
- ExcelFil TECH Aluminium: extrusion temperature was set at 203°C and print bed temperature at 65°C.
The extrusions temperatures are the values recommended by Voltivo but regarding the bed temperature, we obtained better sticking results at 65°C compared to the recommended 40°C. The Replicator 2X is equipped with Kapton tape so that might explain the need to heat more the print bed to obtain good adherence to the print bed.
We also find out that it was better to change the settings of the slicer and make a bigger gap between the print and the raft because the ExcelFil filaments gets really hard and layers tend to fuse with each other. That was useful for both 3D filaments.
Experience rating: 5/5
In both cases the 3D printing went very nicely once we corrected the sticking issues.
We used as a test model the Twisted Hex vase designed by BKPSU and available on Thingiverse. This is a nice model for testing because it’s big enough (60 x 60 x 100 mm) to highlight the quality of the material and it is also quite fast to 3D print, with only a 1 hour 20 minutes print at 200 microns resolution. Last but not least, the vase looks really good
The vase was 3D printed several times, at resolutions of 100 and 200 microns, and in different sizes (100%, 70% and 60% of the original), all on the same extruder and the same 3D printer. Here are a few comments from the prints.
- ExcelFil TECH Wood Composite
This filament smells really good when 3D printing! It is difficult to make the first layers stick directly to the print bed, we recommend using higher temperatures or BuildTak. Hairspray also works.
- ExcelFil TECH Aluminium
Very easy to print, once the bed temperature was high enough everything went smoothly. This filament is really strong and reacts almost like metal when you remove the raft.
3D PRINT RESULTS
3D print results rating: 4.5/5
1. Hex vase
3D print quality for ExcelFil TECH Wood Composite and the ExcelFil TECH Aluminium : a very nice surface quality and feel, even at low print resolutions.
The two vases on the left are 10 cm tall and were 3D printed with a 200 microns resolution. Both results looks really good. Because those 3D filaments tend to fuse layers very well, the quality of the surface is great. The ExcelFil TECH Aluminium feels heavy and strong, while the ExcelFil TECH Wood composite smells really good and has a nice wooden texture. Pretty amazing to print objects with such specific feels on a regular FDM 3D printer!
In order to compare the quality of the filaments, we conducted a series of tests with several other materials, including MakerBot ABS (on a Replicator 2X) and Zortrax Z-ABS (on a Zortrax M200). We must say that the results obtained with the Zortrax were better but that’s likely not due to the filament but to the performance of the 3D printer.
On the picture below, the vase on the far left (white) was 3D printed with the Zortrax M200. The other white ones are made of MakerBot ABS on the Replicator 2X. The grey vases are made of ExcelFil TECH Aluminium, and the brown one is of ExcelFil TECH Wood Composite, all 3D printed on the Replicator 2X.
A. VALUE ExcelFil TECH Wood Composite – 4/5
The Voltivo ExcelFil TECH Wood Composite is a very good exotic 3D filament. It offers great 3D printing results but is very expensive.
B. VALUE ExcelFil TECH Aluminium – 4/5
The Voltivo ExcelFil TECH Aluminium is a very good exotic 3D filament. It offers great 3D printing results but is very expensive.
Aniwaa’s opinion: 4.5/5
Our overall rating reflects our experience with the Voltivo ExcelFil EVO BETA 6 and the Voltivo ExcelFil PLA 3D filaments printed on a bq Witbox 2.
|Weight||RatingExcelFil TECH Wood Composite||RatingExcelFil Aluminium|
|3D print results||2||4.5/5||4.5/5|
The Voltivo ExcelFil TECH filaments produce excellent 3D prints with a very interesting appearance and texture. The overall 3D printing experience was great, with useful QR codes on the packaging and a well organized website. These are definitely high end exotic 3D filaments.
Our preference goes to the ExcelFil TECH Wood Composite because of its aspect, which closely mimic the wood. It was a little more difficult to make it stick to the 3D print bed and we had to test several settings before getting a good result. Regarding this part the Aluminum was easier to handle.
The ExcelFil TECH are an interesting pick for artistic work or producing stylish objects, but remember: at $50-$60 a 0.5kg spool, they don’t come cheap!
We carry hands-on tests of 3D printers, 3D scanners and 3D filaments in our lab. Get in touch if you’d like us to review your products!