[Review] The Proto-pasta HTPLA Aromatic Coffee, a flavorful filament for 3D printers

[Review] The Proto-pasta HTPLA Aromatic Coffee, a flavorful filament for 3D printers

This post is also available in: France

Disclaimer: the 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 Proto-pasta Aromatic Coffee HTPLA 3D printing filament was given by Proto-pasta for free to do the testing.

Brand Proto-pasta
Model HTPLA Aromatic Coffee
Price $70/kg
Rating 4.5/5

Introduction
Today, we‘re testing the Proto-pasta Aromatic Coffee HTPLA, an exotic 3D filament. This article aims to give a fair evaluation of this filament for 3D printer through the 3D printing of a standard 3D file, the famous Benchy model.

The cardboard filament spool of the Proto-pasta Aromatic Coffee HTPLA.

The cardboard filament spool of the Proto-pasta Aromatic Coffee HTPLA.

Proto-pasta filament is manufactured by ProtoPlant, a small engineering firm in Vancouver, Washington, USA. Proto-pasta launched after a successful Kickstarter campaign and is now a well established filament and extruders manufacturer. 

The Proto-pasta Aromatic Coffee HTPLA was delivered to us as a testing material by Proto-pasta directly. We participated to a Proto-pasta filament giveaway on Reddit and won a spool of their famous conductive filament. Generously, the brand sent us a package with a lot of different filaments, including the Proto-pasta Aromatic Coffee HTPLA we are testing today. This 3D printing filament is made in the USA from PLA and contains a very small amount of coffee (<2%).

The brownish caramel color of the Proto-pasta Aromatic Coffee HTPLA.

The brownish caramel color of the Proto-pasta Aromatic Coffee HTPLA.

3D filament used for this test: We have tested the Proto-pasta Aromatic Coffee HTPLA PLA 1.75 mm diameter filament in 500g spool, on a bq Witbox 2 3D printer equipped with a BuildTak 3D print surface. This 3D printer is not equipped with a heated print bed.

 

The delivery of several Proto-pasta 3D filaments, including the Aromatic Coffee HTPLA.

The delivery of several Proto-pasta 3D filaments, including the Aromatic Coffee HTPLA.

1. PACKAGING – 3/5

  • Unboxing: a simple plastic packaging

The Proto-pasta Aromatic Coffee HTPLA was delivered in a cardboard box containing several Proto-pasta spools (we’ll do more reviews in the coming weeks!), along with nice postcards and stickers from the brand. The Aromatic Coffee spool itself came along in a plastic bag (not vacuum sealed).

The Proto-pasta spools are made of cardboard instead of the usual plastic. That gives a less “high-end” feel to the product but they are as functional and eco-friendly.

 

  • Instruction manual: a summary of a few simple parameters

No information about the printing parameters is provided on the spool itself, we had to connect to the Proto-pasta website to get the 3D printing parameters for 3D printing this specific material. Few information is available and we had to rely on user comments and forums to get to know the correct parameters.

 

 

 

2. OVERVIEW AND  SETUP – 4.7/5

  • Software – 4/5

Our bq Witbox 2 is operated by the Cura software for the preparation of the 3D printing instructions in gCode from STL file. Except for the extrusion temperature of 230°C, no specific settings are required for the Proto-pasta Aromatic Coffee HTPLA (The HTPLA stands for High Temperature PLA) so we sticked to the default regular PLA settings of the bq Cura profile, which notably includes an extrusion speed of 60 mm/s and no specific offset.

  • Hardware – 5/5

The Proto-pasta Aromatic Coffee HTPLA does not require any specific tune up of the 3D printer. It tends to have a very good adhesion to the build platform, even without a heated printbed.

  • Getting started – 5/5

The overall setup experience was quick and easy. Our first print with the Aromatic Coffee HTPLA was successful.

 

3. EXPERIENCE – 5/5

  • 3D printing – 5/5

3D printing the Proto-pasta Aromatic Coffee HTPLA truly is a great experience. The filament smells very good, with a subtle flavor between caramel and coffee. It is simply the best smell we ever experienced with a 3D filament (along with some wood-based filaments!).

We performed several tests at different 3D printing resolutions (100, 200 and 300 microns) and even tried very fast printing speeds (up to 80 mm/s) and we never experienced any fails or bad surprises.

 

4. 3D PRINTS RESULTS – 5/5

1. Benchy

To evaluate the performance of the Proto-pasta Aromatic Coffee HTPLA, we started by printing out some Benchys, the “standard 3D model” which many use as a benchmark to evaluate the performance of a 3D printer or 3D filament across several parameters (surfaces, level of details, overhangs, …). All tests were conducted without using heating bed and at an extrusion temperature of 230°C.

Benchy being printed in Proto-pasta Aromatic Coffee filament with our bq Witbox 2.

Benchys 3D printed in Proto-pasta Aromatic Coffee filament with our bq Witbox 2. On the left with a 300 microns resolution and on the right 100 microns.

a) First we tested the medium 200 microns layer thickness (60 mm/s extrusion speed) and obtained good results. 200 layer thickness resolution is usually considered to offer a nice balance between print quality and the total time required to 3D print the objects.

Benchy printed with the Proto-pasta Aromatic Coffee at 200 microns resolution.

Benchy 3D printed with the Proto-pasta Aromatic Coffee at 200 microns resolution.

b) We then tested the 100 microns layer thickness (60 mm/s extrusion speed) and the result was perfect. No extra threads, great detail and perfect roundness for the chimney.

Benchy printed with the Proto-pasta Aromatic Coffee at 100 microns resolution.

Benchy 3D printed with the Proto-pasta Aromatic Coffee at 100 microns resolution.

This 3D filament has a glassy finish which makes results look very polished. It is also quite strong and requires few post-processing, with only a minimal number of extra threads of plastic to remove. The Benchys were also easy to detach from the print bed.

c) We then tried to test more extreme settings and chose a layer thickness of 300 microns, increase the 3D printing speed to 80 mm/s and the moving speed to 150 mm/s. The result was still very convincing and the Benchy was printed in less than 45 minutes.

Benchy printed with the Proto-pasta Aromatic Coffee at 300 microns resolution.

Benchy 3D printed with the Proto-pasta Aromatic Coffee at 300 microns resolution.

 

5. VALUE – 4/5

The Proto-pasta Aromatic Coffee HTPLA is an excellent filament which produces gorgeous 3D prints, while smelling very good. It is more expensive than standard PLA but the performance difference makes it a very interesting deal for demanding 3D prints.

 

ANIWAA’S OPINION – 4.5/5

Our overall rating reflects our experience with the Proto-pasta Aromatic Coffee HTPLA 1.75mm 3D filament printed on a bq Witbox 2.

Weight Rating
Packaging 1 3/5
Overview 2 4.7/5
Experience 2 5/5
3D prints results 2 5/5
Value 1 4/5
FINAL RATING 4.5/5

The Proto-pasta Aromatic Coffee HTPLA is a great 3D printing material with amazing quality results. The amazing smell of coffee and caramel aroma is definitely a nice plus (note that once printed, the object will not smell coffee anymore). This is a 3D material suited for any type of users (from beginner to expert) who want to obtain great results from the first print. The Proto-pasta Aromatic Coffee HTPLA is however a bit expensive and should be used for the most demanding prints.

The only downside is the lack of information provided to the users regarding the printing parameters. Adding some details on the filament spool would really improve the user experience out of the box.

 

We carry hands-on tests of 3D printers, 3D scanners and 3D filaments in our lab in Tokyo. Get in touch if you’d like us to review your products!

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