Faberdashery Filament Review: High End PLA Filament From A UK Producer

 

Faberdashery is a high quality filament from the UK with close ties to the founders of RepRap. Faberdashery only sells PLA, but it is one of the best brands of PLA in the world.

Introduction

Faberdashery is a premier high-end UK filament producer specializing in high quality PLA filament. For over 5 years, Faberdashery has been the go-to filament producer in the UK and has developed an international following. In fact, Faberdashery competes directly with other high-end filament producers like ColorFabb and Ultimachine. Based out of Bristol and located near both Reprap and eMAKER, Faberdashery is one of the most well respected filament companies in the world.

One of the most interesting things about Faberdashery is that it sells filament by the meter. This is a controversial sales tactic and there are certainly pros and cons to doing this. The pros are that if you only need a certain amount of filament for a print, they you can order exactly the amount you need and no more. But the main con is that some filaments don’t come on a spool. Instead, Faberdashery sells individual coils. After all, why would anyone waste a spool on a small amount of filament? That means that when you buy filament from Faberdashery, you have to find it yourself. So there are definitely trade-offs to buying filament by the meter.

The other interesting thing about Faberdashery is that it only sells PLA. That’s right: no ABS, PET, or any other type of plastic. The reason behind this decision has to do with environmental concerns. A common criticism of 3D printing is that it produces a lot of plastic waste that eventually ends up in landfills, or worse, in the ocean. But PLA is biodegradable and doesn’t come from fossil fuels. That’s why Faberdashery has decided to focus completely on PLA. And boy has that focus paid off.

Faberdashery has made its name as a high-quality PLA filament producer. All of its PLAs are brightly colored with great tolerance and very high purity. It’s hard to name another filament in the same class of filaments other than ColorFabb and Ultimachine. Of course, one of the things to keep in mind when ordering a high-quality filament is that the price will be high as well. At between $30 and $40 per spool, Faberdashery is not cheap. But printing with it is a dream and well worth the money.

Who Owns Faberdashery? Where Does Faberdashery 3D Filament Come From?

Faberdashery is a family-run business owned and operated by Clare Cunningham. Based out of Bristol in the UK, Faberdashery has been around since 2011. Faberdashery has close connections with Reprap and eMAKER since they are all from the Bristol area. All Faberdashery manufacturing is done inside the UK and the only international influence comes from their PLA source. As of a few years ago, Faberdashery sourced all of their PLA material from Natureworks in the US. This might have changed by now, but if so, Faberdashery is careful not to reveal their new source.

Where Can I Buy Faberdashery Filaments?

Unfortunately, Faberdashery is not on Amazon in the US. But if you are in the US and are interested in purchasing faberdashery filament, you can certainly get some from the US reseller website, fbrc8.com. Otherwise, you can order Faberdashery filaments from their website, faberdashery.co.uk.

The Filament: Price, Quality, and Color Range

Faberdashery filament is super high-quality. After all, they are a premium quality filament company closely aligned with Reprap, so their filament is going to be good. And since they get their filament from Natureworks, which is one of the largest PLA suppliers in the world, the filament Faberdashery makes has high purity level. Faberdashery does all of its manufacturing in the UK and their systems are great.

The price of Faberdashery filament is higher than most other filament brands. For between $30 and $40 a spool, you can get 750g of filament, which puts them in the same league as ColorFabb. But the thing that they do the best with it color range. They have some of the best color range available for of NEPA distributor. And although they don’t make any other filaments at the moment are types of filament including ABS at the moment they’re color range is so good that if you’re going to buy PLA from high end stores you should definitely check them out.

Price

OK, let’s talk about the price. You can pick up a 100-meter coil of 1.75mm PLA from Faberdashery for between $15 and $20. A 100 meter coil of 2.85mm PLA costs between $25 and $30. Keep in mind that 100 meters of 1.75mm filament is about 310 grams and 100 meters of 2.85mm filament is about 840 grams, so it isn’t that much filament for the price. And remember, you won’t get spool with these coils.

If you do want to buy a Faberdashery filament on a spool, then the only option is 750 grams and it will cost $30 to $40. This price is approximate simply because if you buy it from Faberdashery’s website you’ll have to pay currency conversion and import tax (unless you are in the UK of course), which will add a few bucks to the cost of this the coil. But, if you buy over $200 worth of filament, Faberdashery will ship it internationally to you for free. So that’s nice.

One way to save a few bucks is to buy Faberdashery filament from the US supplier, fbrc8. If you buy Faberdashery PLA on fbrc8.com, then the cost of a  coil is closer to $30. And If you buy multiple spools, you can get good discounts that bring the cost per spool down as low as $24. This is a great price for the quality of material you are buying. The problem with fbrc8 is that they are often sold out of the most popular Faberdashery filaments. So you might have to check their website a few times before you can place your order.

Color Range

The color range that Faberdashery offers is fantastic. Faberdashery makes different shades of every single color of the rainbow and many different specialty colors as well. Here is a brief list of some of their specialty colors:

  • Blacks
    • Stormy Black
    • Classic Black
    • Smokey Black
  • Earth Tones
    • Desert Tan
    • Pearly White.
  • Arctic Stones
  • Cherry Sour Red
  • Bling Bling Gold
  • Galaxy Blue (flecked with stardust glitter!)

Faberdashery metal filaments are great and you can pick up a sampler pack of all of their metal filaments so that you can try each one and discover which one you like the most. Some of the tonal differences between different colors are very subtle, such as Bloomsbury Teal and True Lagoon, which are both slightly different shades of teal (True Lagoon is also translucent). The wonderful thing about all of this variety is that if you’re looking for just the right color of PLA, Faberdasheryer probably has exactly what you need. And the best part about the colors is is that they really pop. Faberdashery colors are super bright and deep. They definitely are exactly as bright as what you see in the pictures before you buy them.

Prints: Strength and Texture

Print strength and texture is astoundingly good for just a regular PLA. Some cheaper PLAs warp a lot during printing. But Faberdashery PLA prints very well and has very little warping, especially when combined with common adhesion materials such as blue painter’s tape and PVA glue. The texture of the PLA is also extremely smooth. There really is no issue with either strength or texture and this PLA doesn’t smell much while printing. If it does have a slight odor, it’s the smell sweet molten sugar that you’re used to with other PLAs.

A particularly important aspect of printing that Faberdashery gets completely right is that the colors really translate well into the prints. So you don’t have to worry about the plastic changing color during the extrusion process as you might with some cheaper filaments.

Quality and Materials

Faberdashery only makes PLA filament so that’s all we’re going to talk about in this section. Why do they focus strictly on PLA? Well the answer according to Claire Cunningham is that Faberdashery is committed to environmental sustainability. So in line with that value Faberdashery decided to forgo working with other types of filaments that require the use of materials derived from fossil fuel. Also, PLA is biodegradable. Therefore, it won’t contribute to plastic pollution, which is a massive threat to ecosystems around the world.

Because the company focuses completely on this one type of plastic, Faberdashery PLA is really excellent. It’s too bad that Faberdashery is not easier to acquire in the US. But if you can acquire it from fbrc8, you really should give it a shot. After all not all PLAs are the same and you can’t know what the best PLA is like until you’ve tried it. PLA comes in different gradients and different types that each have different qualities. Faberdashery PLA is strong and versatile, has great color and very pleasing texture. In short, it is top-notch PLA. Everybody should print with it at least once.

Website, Packaging, and Spool Design

The Faberdashery website is really slick, clean, elegant and easy to work with. You can find of all of their filaments in by clicking one button on the menu: ‘shop’. That’s it. This level of simplicity makes navigation very easy and user-friendly. The packaging is perfectly fine. Sometimes single coils are not vacuum sealed and don’t have a desiccant. But this doesn’t seem to have harmed Faberdashery’s performance in any way.

Website

The Faberdashery website is truly a pleasure and should be an example to all other filament companies. It is simple, elegant, clean and informative. The website is basically a very simple eCommerce website with all of their filament PLA colors available for purchase. There are also several pages explaining what the company does and why Faberdashery sells PLA filaments by length instead of weight. Clare Cunningham also runs a very nice blog on the site. From her blog you can really get a sense Faberdashery as a company and how committed they are to their community as well as maker culture in general.

Packaging

Packaging of Faberdashery filaments is adequate. Since Faberdashery mostly sells filament by the meter without a spool, the filaments don’t need a protective cardboard box. This changes the way that Faberdashery packages their filaments. You simply received a plastic sleeve with filament sealed inside. It’s not vacuum sealed and doesn’t include a desiccant packet. But these extra steps aren’t necessary since the plastic sleeves rarely break. The packaging itself is elegant and simple with a nice label indicating the Faberdashery logo and certain specifications about the filament inside such as color and lot number.

Spool Design

Until last year Faberdashery did not sell their filaments on spools. Instead, they only sold individual coils of filament measure out by the meter. This is still they main way Faberdashery sells filament. The reason for selling filament this way has to do with the fact that many 3D printer enthusiasts only need a certain amount of filament for a given project. Rarely do you ever need exactly 1kg of filament for a print. And once you’ve used what you need and you are done printing, the rest of the filament on the spool sits around for months collecting dust while the you go off and explore other filaments. The end result is a huge pile of half empty filament spools that clutters up your work space.

Faberdashery Ashley wanted to change all of that by selling filament in such a way that customers could order exactly what they needed no more. That way, you don’t have to pay extra for filament that you probably won’t use.

Here’s where the spool issue comes in. Faberdashery decided to sell filament differently in order to reduce the number of wasted spools floating around printer’s work spaces. But if Faberdashery was going to sell filament amount that are smaller than what can fit on a spool in order to avoid wasting spools, then winding those amounts onto a spool would defeat the purpose. So Faberdashery decided to sell only coils of filament and cut out the spool entirely.

BY THE WAY: Cutting down on spool waste is also better for the environment. This is something that other companies such as Filabot are trying to do as well.

The only real downside to cutting out the use of spools is that it causes more work for the customer. Customers are forced to wind the coil they purchase from Faberdashery onto an empty spool themselves. Or they are forced to print a specific spool holder just for Faberdashery filament coils. Take a look at this one from thingiverse. While this isn’t such a demanding task, especially for seasoned 3D printers, it is a small inconvenience that some customers have not appreciated.

But after a lot of debate and years of customer demand, Faberdashery decided to begin selling select filaments with an optional spool amount last year. These select filaments tend to be their more popular colors as well as some of their specialty colors. So while you can’t get every Faberdashery PLA filament on a spool, you can get a few. And this will save you the trouble of winding Faberdashery filament onto a spool yourself if that is an issue for you.

The Take-Away

Faberdashery is one of the best filament companies around. It’s sells high quality filament from the UK and focuses specifically on PLA. Faberdashery has perfected their PLA to the point where it competes other high-end filament companies such as Ultimachine and ColorFabb even though Faberdashery only sells one kind of plastic. Faberdashery also offers one of the widest ranges of colors of PLA available. And at the price point of between $30 and $40 depending on which vendor you purchase Faberdashery from, the quality of the material is well worth the extra money.

The most innovative aspect of Faberdashery’s business operations is that it sells filament by the meter as opposed to by weight. This allows customers to purchase only the exact amount of filament they need for theirs print projects and no more. If you’re not sure how much filament you will need or what the conversion from weight to meter for the amount of filament you want is, simply visit the Faberdashery website where they have provided helpful calculators and conversion tools. If you’re still not sure how to order by the meter you can always purchase a select number of Faberdashery filaments at 750g per spool.

Overall, Faberdashery filaments are a pleasure to print with. Faberdashery has a loyal following and has been in the Bristol UK area for many years. Bristol is also where Reprap and eMaker are located. Faberdashery has a close relationship Reprap, which speaks to the quality of their filament. If you are a fan of Reprap and high-quality filament (and who isn’t?), this might be the filament company you are looking for.

Unfortunately, the company doesn’t sell anything on Amazon. But Faberdashery does have a great website, as well as country specific resellers. If you are in the US, you can head over to fbrc8.com and pick up Faberdashery filaments at a nice discount. Otherwise, if you are in the UK or Europe, simply go to Faberdashery.com. Buy your first spool today and get printing!

Similar Filament Brands You Should Try

 

  • ColorFabb
  • Ultimaker
  • IC3D
  • MakerBot

 

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