FAQ

Order with purchase order (company or institution)

My organization requires me to get a quote, generate a purchase order, and then pay by invoice. I can't use a credit card. Can I buy from KiwiFil that way?

Yes, absolutely! We know that many schools and companies have complicated purchased processes. We are happy to provide whatever you need to buy from us. Contact us to get it all sorted. :-) Your organization may also already have one of our retailers on your approved supplier list.

Shipping for large order

I want to order 100 spools for my school, but your webstore shipping options are only for up to 16 spools. What do I do?

Contact us and we will tell you the best shipping options! The regular couriers don't handle packages over 25 kg; that's why there aren't any options for larger orders in the store.

Bulk spools

I have a large 3D printer and prints a lot, can you provide filament on larger spools?

Yes, we can! We have 2kg and 5kg spools, and we can provide up to 20 kg spools. Contact us to discuss your needs. The filament is extruded onto ~20 kg bulk spools, and we would be happy to sell you one of those as well.

Colours and surface finish

Are you planning to add more colours?

Yes, absolutely! We are actively developing more fun and useful colours, and will add them to the collection as soon as they are ready. Come back soon, as make sure to follow us on instagram.com/KiwiFil and you will know immediately when we have new colours in stock!

How consistent are your colours? If I buy another spool of a colour I bought before, will it be identical?

We are working very hard to keep our colours consistent. However, just like with other pigmented products such as paint and fabric, there can be a slightly difference between different batches. It may sound surprising, but grey is actually the most difficult colour to keep consistent. Grey is a mixture of white and black pigments, and the amount of black is very, very, very small. A tiny bit too much, and the filament becomes too dark. Purple is another difficult colour because it is a mix of different pigments. We have a strict quality control, but it is possible that a spool of a slightly different colour may slip through. If you received a spool that doesn't look like you expected, please let us know. We are happy to either send you another spool, or refund you.

I bought two KiwiFil PLA spools in the same colour, but the filament on one spool is more glossy than the other. Will they print the same?

Yes, they will print identically! We are working hard to make our filament look exactly the same every time we extrude, but sometimes our filament extruder machine is a bit temperamental (BTW - it is an old drinking straw machine, and you can read about it here). We haven't figured out exactly why it sometimes is glossy and sometime isn't, but all our test printing show that it prints exactly the same, regardless of surface finish. If the surface finish causes a problem in your particular printer, let us know and we will send you another spool.

Strength and toughness of the material

What is "PLA pro"? Is it just PLA+ with a different name?

The short answer: Yes, PLA pro is just another name for PLA+, which indicates a PLA that is tougher than regular PLA. PLA pro/+ filament also doesn't tend to snap in your printer if you leave the filament spool loaded between prints.

The long answer: There is no official definition for different grades of PLA. The manufacturers can call their products whatever they want: pro, +, high performance, engineering, everyday etc. etc.

When we tried the grade of PLA that we use at KiwiFil right now - Total-Corbion Luminy LX175 made from sugarcane in Thailand - we were so impressed with the strength, toughness, and printability that we decided that we had to call it "pro". It is nothing like the cheap imported filament.

Most filament manufacturer will not reveal what PLA they use. They may also buy from different suppliers to get the best price, which may make the quality uneven. We are proud that we buy one of the best brands of PLA in the world, so we are happy to reveal our source. Of course, using high quality feedstock makes our filament a bit more expensive, but we hope you find it worth it. We don't use any additives to make the KiwiFil PLA pro tougher - it is just a great PLA in itself.

How strong and heat tolerant are parts printed with KiwiFil filament?

PLA is a strong and relatively tough material and works great for functional items used indoors. However, you need to remember that the softening temperature is around 60-70 degrees Celsius for all types and brands of PLA. If you leave your prints in a hot car in the summer, they may deform.

The manufacturer of the PLA plastic we use specifies that the tensile strength is about 45 MPa. However, we have measured the strength in the X-Y direction of finished prints to be around 55-60 MPa. The tensile modulus according to the manufacturer is 3500 MPa, and the elongation at break is about 5 %. You can find the full specifications for the raw material here.

PETG has slightly lower tensile strength than PLA when tested in the  laboratory. However, it is tougher (meaning that it can absorb more energy before it breaks), and may appear stronger in a real-life application. PETG is also more heat resistant than PLA, and can generally be left in a hot car without deforming. 

Can I 3D print a coffee cup ?

Because water boils at 100°C and PLA softens at 60-70°C, you cannot make a usable coffee cup from PLA. Boiling water may also deform PETG, but much less. Also, in general, you shouldn't use 3D printed material in applications that get in contact with (wet) food. The printed part has pores in the surface where bacteria can grow, and because of the low softening temperature of PLA and PETG it cannot be sterilized. 

Size tolerance

What is the tolerance in the KiwiFil filament?

The KiwiFil 1.75 mm filament has a maximum variation of ±0.05 mm. That means that no filament leaves our factory that is smaller than 1.70 mm or larger than 1.80 mm in diameter. However, the tolerance is typically even better than that; most of our filament is 1.75 mm ±0.02 mm. This ensures that it will never jam in your printer.

Even if we try our very best to make filament that is perfect, every printer is a bit different. If your print is coming out too “dry” (it doesn’t look like enough plastic is being extruded), you can increase the flow either in the slicer (such as Cura) or in the menu directly on your printer.

I print a tight-tolerance product and I need filament that has a maximum tolerance of ±0.02 mm instead of the normal ±0.05 mm, can you deliver that?

Yes, we can select our absolutely best filament for you and provide that data showing the tolerance for the specific spools you receive. There will be an extra charge for this service. Please contact us to discuss your needs.

2.85 mm filament

Do you sell 2.85 mm filament?

Kind of... However, we may or may not have it in stock because of the low demand. If we don't have your colour in stock on the website, please contact us. For an order of at least 10 kg, we can make any of our standard colours of virgin PLA pro. We can also make custom colours of 1.75 mm and 2.85 mm - please see more below. Unfortunately, we currently cannot make 2.85 mm filament from our recycled feedstock. We use different extruders for the recycled material, and they can only make 1.75 mm filament.

Custom colours

Can you make custom colours?

Yes, we can make almost any colour you want, and we would love to do it! Creating new colours is one of the best things with being a filament manufacturer. Minimum order for custom colours is 30 kg, and the delivery time could be several weeks, depending on how difficult the colour is to create. Please contact us to discuss.

Re-selling

Can I become a KiwiFil re-seller?

Absolutely! Just contact us.

Origin of the materials

Where is the filament made?

KiwiFil is not a typical influencer business where you buy cheap stuff on AliExpress and retail it. Instead, we manufacture our own filament here in Auckland, New Zealand. The machine we use is an old drinking straw machine that we have converted. As a matter of fact, a lot of the parts on the machine are actually 3D printed! You can read the story how an old machine got a new life here.

Where is the PLA and PETG coming from? Where is the packaging made?

The PLA plastic we use for our regular PLA pro filament is made in Thailand by Total Corbion. It is made from European sugar beets and Thai sugar cane, which is GMO-free. Making PLA from sugar cane and beets is a complicated process that requires a large processing factory. We buy the PLA as small pellets. The pellets are transported by sea to New Zealand, which is a very efficient way of transport. In New Zealand, we melt the pellets, add colour, and extrude the 3D printing filament. We have calculated the emissions from all these steps, and you can read all about it here.

For our 100 % recycled filament, the material is local. For the rPLA, the feedstock is discarded 3D prints, filament that didn't meet the size or colour requirements, or local PLA waste from other manufacturing. The rPETG is made from local post-industrial scrap. 

The boxes and spools are printed and die cut in New Zealand from cardboard that is also made in New Zealand. The cardboard contains a total of 78 % recycled fibers. The flutes on the inside of the cardboard is all recycled, while the "skin" on the cardboard is FSC certified new fibers. The new fibers on the outside are necessary to make the box strong enough for shipping, or the spools stiff enough to hold the filament.  You can read about our all-paper spools here.

Environment

Is PLA a sustainable material?

PLA is made from plants instead of petroleum, which is a great start. However, everything we do affects our planet and no plastic material is really "sustainable". Because environment is truly important to us, we have dedicated a whole page to environmental aspects of 3D printing - click here to get to it.

Is PLA compostable?

PLA is considered compostable, and our PLA is certified "industrial compostable" according to EN13432 and ASTM D6400. However, a normal household compost may not have the right conditions for PLA to breakdown quickly. Instead, you can return your discarded 3D prints to us for recycling. If you run a maker space or other place that generates a lot of 3D printing waste, please contact us and we will send you a nifty 3D print recycling bin to put in the space. When it is full, just return it (or at least it contents) to us for recycling into new 3D printing filament. Note - it is really important to separate different materials! We currently accept PLA and PETG for recycling.

Is PLA and PETG recyclable?

All thermoplastics is "recyclable". However, PLA and PETG are not being recycled in the regular recycling streams. Your discarded 3D prints should not be placed in the recycling bin, as they can contaminate the recycling of other plastics.

We are trying to figure out a nationwide system to collect discarded prints for recycling. If you have discarded prints you want to get rid of, you can send them back to us for recycling. You will find our mailing address on the contact us page.

Even if plastics can be recycled, it is still important to not use more material then you need. Minimize your plastics use by making sure you print the correct file, only use support when needed, and use settings for infill and wall thickness to minimize the material use. Less material often also mean less printing time. Also, keep your 3D printer well maintained and calibrated to ensure your prints don't fail.

ROHS compliant

Are the KiwiFil filaments RoHS compliant?

Yes, our filament uses all RoHS compliant materials.

 

Prints are failing

Help - my prints are failing. Could the KiwiFil filament be clogging my nozzle?

If you prints fail, you should first check that you are printing at the correct temperature. You can find the recommended print settings for KiwiFil filament here.

Secondly you should consult the manual or the support page for your 3D printer. It is rare that the filament is the problem. We have a thorough quality control and do our very best to prevent contaminants to get into the filament. However, at very rare occasions, particles that don't belong in the filament make it into the filament. If you think this is the problem in your case, please contact us, and we will send you a new spool free of charge. We might want you to cut off the bad section of the filament and mail it to us, so we can investigate what has happened and make sure it doesn't happen again.