How to Succeed with Quantum Dichromatic PLA Filament

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What is Quantum Dichromatic PLA Filament?

MatterHackers Quantum PLA is a dual-color, or dichromatic, filament that creates beautiful, visually striking 3D prints. Every color option includes a blend of two different colors so when you rotate the part the colors visibly change. Quantum PLA is available in a wide variety of colors in both 1.75mm and 2.85mm, and it works on every FDM 3D printer. 

Create color-changing prints with Quantum PLA
Create color-changing prints with Quantum PLA

What kind of 3D printer or equipment do I need to print with Quantum PLA?

Quantum Dichromatic PLA works on every FDM 3D printer. If you are currently using PLA filament on your printer you will be able to use Quantum PLA

Smaller melt zones are better for Quantum PLA - Volcano-style hotends can produce mixing that reduces the dual-color visual effect. We recommend using an E3D v6 or Slice Engineering Mosquito, but generally, most stock 3D printer hotends will work great for printing Quantum PLA. 

Use Quantum PLA on any 3D printer!
Use Quantum PLA on any 3D printer!

The Best Bed Surfaces for 3D Printing with Quantum PLA

You can succeed with Quantum PLA filament on a wide variety of 3D printer bed surfaces, so more often than not you will not need to make any adjustments to your current 3D printer. Here are a few common surfaces and upgrades that you can use when printing Quantum PLA: 

  • Glass - If you want a glossy smooth bottom to your 3D prints, this is the way to go. Often you don't even need adhesive to get PLA to adhere to bare glass but a little bit of adhesive solution can help lock the print down.
  • BuildTak - An adhesive sheet you can apply directly to your 3D printer's bed or on top of a Flexplate. No adhesive solution is necessary, simply wait for your bed to cool and use a BuildTak spatula or twist the Flexplate to remove your print. 
  • LayerLock Powder-Coated PEI - A textured, flexible build surface that can add a unique look to your 3D prints. Make sure you already have a magnetic system in place for this to work properly and consider a quick smear of glue stick to help the PLA stick down solidly. Please note, if you are using this bed sheet when printing with Quantum PLA, adjust your printer's bed temperature to 65°C.
  • BuildTak PEI - An adhesive sheet you can apply directly to your 3D printer's bed or on top of a Flexplate. Basically magic. Sticks solid when hot and pops off with a gentle tap when cool. Please note, if you are using this bed sheet when printing with Quantum PLA, adjust your printer's bed temperature to 65°C.

In addition to build surface upgrades, there are also a wide variety of 3D printer adhesives that you can apply to your 3D printer's bed to get a great first layer. These adhesives are specifically developed for the 3D printing industry, so you can trust they have been tested to be tried and true 3D printer adhesives. Here are the best 3D printer adhesives that you can use to get the best first layer for Quantum PLA filament

3D Printer Temperature Settings for Quantum PLA

  • Hotend Temperature: 225°C ±10°C
  • Bed Temperature: 50°C*

*If you are using a LayerLock Powder Coated PEI bed surface, adjust your printer's bed temperature to 65°C.

Getting the Best First Layer with Your Quantum PLA 

The first layer is the most important part of any print - it sets the foundation that the entire print builds on. You can check out the in-depth article on how to get a perfect first layer here, or for a brief summary of what to consider below are the few things you need to do to get the first layer to stick well.

  1. You need the print bed to be level.
  2. You need the nozzle to be the correct distance from the bed at the start of the 3D print.
  3. You need a good base material for your Quantum PLA to adhere to (see the bed surfaces above).

Below is a video from MatterHackers' 3D Printing Essentials series that will help guide you in the right direction for getting a stellar first layer. In this video, we'll walk you through the steps mentioned above in detail so you can succeed when 3D printing with Quantum PLA filament.

How to Orient Your Quantum PLA Parts on Your Printbed for the Best Results

Because Quantum PLA is a dichromatic filament, you may want to angle your part a certain way to make it as visually stunning as possible. We recommend downloading and printing this Quantum Calibration Coin to determine which angle you should orient your print. 

Before starting a big print, we recommend printing a small Quantum Alignment Coin that will tell you exactly where the color change line is on your specific printer and filament setup. The angle will be different for every printer setup, but we have found that if the printer and filament stay in the same orientation, the alignment doesn't change from spool to spool. 

Once you know the angle that your Quantum filament is extruding through your printer, you can adjust your model in your slicer to achieve your desired effect. 

Download the Quantum Calibration Coin here

Use a Quantum Calibration Coin to orient your 3D part
Use a Quantum Calibration Coin to orient your 3D part

Printing outside perimeters in the same direction

Quantum PLA prints look the best when the outside perimeters of the part are all printed in the same direction. While this isn't a feature in many slicers, MatterControl has the option to force outside perimeters to always travel in the same direction, making your Quantum prints look as good as possible. You can download MatterControl for free right here.

Technical Specifications for Quantum PLA

  • Material: PLA
  • Hotend Temperature: 225°C ±10°C
  • Bed Temperature: 50°C (65°C on LayerLock Powder Coated PEI)
  • Diameter: 1.75mm or 2.85mm
  • Weight: 750g
  • Spool Dimensions (Approx.): 200mm Diameter, 55mm Height, 50mm Inner Core

Share Your #MHQUANTUM Prints! 

You are now ready to start printing with Quantum PLA - stock up on your favorite color combos here

We'd love to see what you print with Quantum PLA - tag @matterhackers on social media and use #MHQuantum!