SainSmart TPU Flexible Filament Reviews

by | Aug 9, 2016 |

It may do just fine if I printed it really slow ( Robo 3D R1+)
on June 7, 2016

After a while of playing with PLA and PETG, I decided to take the plunge with flexible filaments. Starting off, do NOT try to print this without support between the extruder and the hot end. I figured that since this was not full on flexible filament, it may do just fine if I printed it really slow. Unfortunately the filament started to bunch up between the extruder and hot end. I stayed nearby, just in case, so I caught it before it became a major issue.

After a little digging on the Robo forums, I discovered that a pen’s ink tube could be used in a pinch. Some others suggested some small brass pipes, and others suggested PTFE tube. No matter which, I highly recommend having some method to fill the gap. I also printed quite slowly, and around 240C for the temperature.

I printed a small vase, which came out pretty nice. It wasn’t amazing visually, but it was cool to have something that could be squashed, and spring back. It also took quite a while to print, compared to some of the other items that I printed. Really, that is what I expected, so it isn’t that big an issue. I also printed a gasket, which worked out quite nicely.

Something you should keep in mind is that this is Semi-flex filament. This is not stretchy, it simply is flexible. Which definitely has its uses. It did just what I wanted it to do. After trying this out, I am looking forward to trying fully flexible filament.

Why didn’t I give 5 stars? Well, I can’t say that I love this filament. I definitely like it, and will keep using it. If you are looking to try semi-flex, then I highly recommend getting this filament. I just don’t currently plan to use it too much, since it is a bit of a hassle to use it right now. The ink tube works, but I would really like to upgrade my printer so that it can use this filament without any trouble.
If you want to try it, then research ways to make it play nice with your printer. Well, unless you already have a printer that can use this already. Either way, if you can, I would recommend trying this filament.

A little extra Info, I use a Robo 3D R1+. It can be made able to use this filament, it just requires minor modifications. If you find a more permanent solution, let me know. 🙂

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Prints very well! (Printrbot Play)
on May 28, 2016

Prints very well in my Printrbot Play at 225c bed at 60c with Kapton tape (Upgraded bed) Other settings, print speed, top/bottom layer thickness, etc, same as the ‘other flex’. The print on my phone case came out a little stringy, but that’s to be expected given the openings and the way they print. (Sorry for the lousy picture quality on the phone case)

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Pleasantly surprised (Flashforge Creator Pro)
on February 19, 2016

I had wanted to try a flexible filament and purchased this based on reviews. It did not disappoint. It printed beautifully on a Flashforge Creator Pro. The color is a great shade of a medium blue.

Extruder temp 220
Heated bed 85 (cool room)
Print speed 30 mm/s

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Nice flexible filament! (alternative flexible filament for the expensive ninjaflex and semi flex filament)
on June 11, 2016

I was looking for an alternative flexible filament for the expensive ninjaflex and semi flex filament I found this TPU. Since I have used SainSmart 3D filament before I decided to try this filament out.

First off SainSmart TPU is a lot different from the ninjaflex filaments in the way that it’s not as rubbery and is a little more firm. By being like firm it is easier to print for direct drive extruders. I found that the TPU filament quality greatly increases when printed with a cooling fan. But also you will need to print it with 4 top layers to get a completely sealed top layer. The print quality of this filaments is very nice bust is prone to stringing. This can be solved with playing around with the different temperatures. I have been experiencing a problems of the 3d printing parts not laminating as much as other materials such as petg or pla. But I think it has to do with me not figuring out the perfect settings for this material.

The TPU material is perfect for creating sturdy but still flexible objects. And in my opinion is way more useful than the ninjaflex material. One of the applications that I use this filament in is for damping printed object such as a rock tumbler inner wall, drone shock absorbers and tool holders. This material opens up new possibilities to what you can make. I ended up buying another box so that when I finish this spool I will still have some to continue printing it.

This flexible 3d filament is one of my go to filaments when it comes to prints that I want to come out flexible. The filament prints nicely without major problems. Overall this is a solid flexible filament to print with. I would highly recommend you try out this filament to see what you can make. If I see any changes with the new updated TPU spool I will make a update in my review on if they fixed / improved the filament or if new problems appeared.

I've been able to print with it just like PLA! It's' twistable and slightly cushion-like, opening up new possibilities for me!
on June 8, 2016

This was pretty awesome! I was impatient, so I just loaded it up and ran a print I had mad for a PLA piece wit the same settings 230 nozzle 45 bed and 40mm/s. Worked fine. I made a gas-bike motor-mount with it that has held together for over three weeks, and because it’s softer than PLA, makes a great vibration isolator too! Smooth ride.

Awesome TPU filament for MOD-t!
on May 15, 2016

Prints very well on my New Matter MOD-t The New Matter MOD-t 3D Printer. I slice using Cura, and set the temperature to 220C and lower all of the speeds to 30. It adheres very well to the MOD-t’s build surface, no tape or glue required. Layer adhesion is incredible, and the color looks very cool. Adding more than 5% infill quickly adds a lot of strength to parts, so if you want your part to be squishy, print with 0-5% infill. At 15%, parts feel almost solid.

Love this Filament! (Zortrax M200)
on April 11, 2016

I love this stuff, it’s so clear and squishy and candy like – like printing Gummi Bears! Prints very well on the Zortrax M200 using Z-Temp and ZT-HE hot end. I hope they come out with a few more colors, like purple, for instance.

Not so bad after some tweaking! You MUST tweak before it prints good. (Not so bad after some tweaking! You MUST tweak before it prints good.)
on April 7, 2016

Okay, let me start from the fact that I purchased this twice. After my first purchase I have posted a 1-star review complaining about various issues. Only after I returned this TPU and purchased Ninjaflex TPE, I realized how much worse Ninjaflex actually was. Ninjaflex went back after days of trying to print it right and a lot of wasted time and I repurchased this filament. I feel bad about doing this to seller, therefore I am making up that fault with this positive review. In fact this filament is very good, but you need to take in account that it is flexible, it will require tweaking and while tweaking of course, you will waste some filament. It underextrudes heavily for some reason (simplify3D), even when i adjust multiplier does not help much. So, my workaround was to set filament diameter in the software to 1.65 (which is quite possible by the way, considering it is being pulled from the spool through the tube and stretches), my extrusion multiplier is set to 1.20 (rising it more changes nothing in Simplify3D at all, also seems to not affect outlines, so diameter setting tweaking is suggested instead). I have dual extruder flashforge creator pro. Do not expect out of the box performance with something like standard ABS/PLA settings. You will also have little luck to print good on speeds over 30mm/s. Flexible filament must be printed slow.

My settings:
Environment: Open air
Heatbed: 40C
Heatbed surface: Glass bed with kapton tape on top and ABS+acetone mixture on top (well, never hurts to add extra lol), it will not stick to naked glass!
Extrusion temps: 210-220C (230C for first layer)
Speed: 30mm/s
Retraction: enabled; retraction speed: 30mm/s
Cooling fan: ON (50%)

Good luck!

Worked well with Replicator 2 and no heated build plate
on March 18, 2016

I am very happy with this product. I was nervous about using flexible filament with my Replicator 2 which does not have a heated build plate. Worry not as the filament stayed on the plate and was easy to peel off. Loading was also easy as I had read how others released the spring on the extruder as it was feeding through. That tip helped and filament was instantly grabbed and feed through with ease. As for the actual print, I too was happy with the results. Very flexible and held up to bending and squishing, but I am only printing about 0.125 ” thickness.

Super strong (Rostock Max v2 and Flasforge)
on January 6, 2016

While it is possible to complain that the price us high, the spool is non-standard, the diameter may be inconsistent, the material itself is very good. Prints come out clean and extremely strong.. i have used it with Rostock Max v2 and Flasforge succewfully.. Sticks to 60 degree glass very well, It will extrude at 190, but I prefer to run it a little hotter, to help feeding it faster. Rostock can extrude it at 60mm/s (.35x.50) for a short time, but eventually jams, so a more reasinable speed is 20-30mm/s with a standard setup. It would be nice to have more certainty on the chemical composition of the particular TPU or a reference to manufacuring specs. This, of course, applies for all filaments, not just this one.