Glow in the dark filaments are a great way to jazz up a 3D printing project. I have personally used them in my projects, though only after doing plenty of research to find the best glow in the dark filament.
In my experience, the best glow in the dark filament is made by Hatchbox.
The Hatchbox glow in the dark filament is made by a reputable company that is known for offering high-quality filaments and resins at low prices. Their glow in the dark filament is no exception.
Not only is it affordable and made out of high-quality materials, it is available in multiple colors.
While Hatchbox offers the best glow in the dark filament in my estimation, there are other good glow in the dark filaments on the market.
Two of the best options are made by Amolen and Gizmo Dorks.
Both of these options offer something a little different than the filament from Hatchbox.
Read on to learn more about the best glow in the dark filament and how to use it for your project.
The Best Glow In The Dark Filaments
Hatchbox 3D Printer Glow In The Dark PLA Filament – Best Overall
I consider Hatchbox’s glow in the dark filament to be the best on the market. It offers good color selection and high print quality.
It is also not as hard on print nozzles as many of the other glow in the dark filaments on the market.
Additionally, it is fairly affordable, with a price point that is about average for glow in the dark filament.
Hatchbox’s offering even looks good in normal light conditions. It is a creamy gray color when the lights are on. It glows green when you turn the lights off. Hatchbox also offers two other varieties of glow in the dark filament.
One looks green when the lights are on and glows green when you turn the lights off. The third is blue when the lights are on and a glowing blue when you turn the lights off.
All three colors are made from polylactic acid, better known as PLA. Hatchbox says that its filament is non-toxic and does not have a foul smell. It is available in widths of 1.75 mm (for greater detail) and 3 mm (for greater strength).
Hatchbox’s filament is also resistant to warping, which is a common problem with 3D printing projects. It does not even require a heating bed, making the curing process much quicker and easier.
Amolen 3D Printer Glow In The Dark PLA Filament – Best Color Selection
Amolen’s glow in the dark filament may not be as impressive in as many categories as Hatchbox’s filament, but it does have one major advantage. It is available in numerous colors. The color selection includes green, two shades of blue, and even red.
No other major filament manufacturer offers a red glow in the dark filament.
In addition to the impressive color selection on offer, Amolen’s glow in the dark filament is also made of high-quality materials and has a reputation for glowing brighter than some of its competitors.
Like the Hatchbox offering, Amolen’s glow in the dark filament is made from PLA.
However, it includes a larger percentage of strontium aluminate, which is the chemical that creates the glowing effect. This is what gives Amolen products their very bright glow.
However, it can also increase the wear on your printer.
Amolen’s glow in the dark filament comes in only one width: 1.75 mm. This width is perfect for making small, highly detailed objects.
However, if you plan on making larger, stronger objects. you should go with a 3 mm filament.
Like Hatchbox, Amolen claims that their product has little to no odor. Also, they claim that their glow in the dark filament is resistant to warping.
Gizmo Dorks 3D Printer Glow In The Dark ABS Filament – Best For Makers On A Budget
Gizmo Dorks is a well-known brand in the 3D printing space that has a reputation for offering good products at very affordable prices.
Its glow in the dark filament is priced 10% to 15% lower than the products made by Amolen and Hatchbox.
This may not seem like a lot, but the savings will add up if you plan on printing many glow in the dark items.
Gizmo Dorks’ product is not just unique because of its price. It is also the only product featured in this article that is made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (often called ABS).
ABS is commonly used for 3D printing projects because of its strength and durability. However, it has a reputation for producing a foul smell during the printing process.
Gizmo Dorks has created a special ABS blend that greatly reduces the foul smell. The ABS used in Gizmo Dorks’ product is also more flexible than the PLA used in the products from Hatchbox and Amolen.
- Related: Comparing ABS to PLA filaments
The only real drawback to the glow in the dark filament from Gizmo Dorks is the glowing itself. Gizmo Dorks’ filament does not glow very brightly, nor does it glow for very long.
This prevents it from being named the best glow in the dark filament.
How Glow In The Dark Filament Works
Glow in the dark filament is made from the same materials (usually ABS or PLA) and functions in the same way as normal filament except for its glowing effect. The glowing effect comes from a chemical additive that is blended with the PLA or the ABS.
As previously mentioned, the chemical used in glow in the dark filament is strontium aluminate. Sometimes, zinc sulfide or calcium sulfide are added to the strontium aluminate to produce an even brighter glow.
To glow in the dark, strontium aluminate must be charged with UV light.
Artificial lights that use standard light bulbs do give off some UV light, but not enough to get strontium aluminate to glow brightly.
Sunlight includes a much higher percentage of UV rays, but leaving filament in direct sunlight for extended periods of time can cause it to become brittle.
The best way to get glow in the dark filament to glow brightly is to hit it with an artificial UV light source.
If you have experience with 3D printing, there is a good chance that you already have a suitable UV light source.
The UV lights that you may have used to cure UV resin will work perfectly to charge your glow in the dark filament with UV light.
After you’ve bathed the filament in UV light for half an hour or so, simply turn off the lights to check the brightness of your filament’s glow.
Equipping Your 3D Printer For Glow In The Dark Filament
As cool as glow in the dark filament looks, it does have one major downside. It is very hard on 3D printers. Specifically, it can cause nozzles to wear out much more quickly than they would otherwise.
Just how quickly a standard brass 3D printer nozzle will wear out depends on how often you print with glow in the dark filament and how much strontium aluminate the filament has in it. The only way to deal with this is to get a nozzle that is made of a harder material.
Your 3D printer likely came stock with a brass nozzle. However, you will need to upgrade to either a hardened steel nozzle or to a ruby nozzle. Ruby nozzles are too pricey for many makers, though they will last the longest. However, a hardened steel nozzle will be sufficient for hobbyists.
Getting The Best Results With Glow In The Dark Filament
Getting a bright glow from glow in the dark filament is about more than just choosing the right product. You also have to ensure that you have the best settings selected on your printer.
The higher the infill density of your creation, the brighter the glow will be. This is because there will be a higher density of strontium chloride particles in the product.
Picking The Best Glow In The Dark Filament For Your Projects
While I’ve picked Hatchbox’s glow in the dark product as the best, it may not necessarily be the best for your needs. If you are on a tight budget or you plan to make quite a few glow in the dark objects, the money you save by going with the Gizmo Dorks product will be substantial.
If you want to create glow in the dark products that have a very unique look, you may find yourself drawn to Amolen’s red filament. It may be a good idea to try out multiple products and find the one that best fits your needs.
Getting Your Chosen Glow In The Dark Filament
Amazon offers a wide range of high-quality 3D printing products at a reasonable price. The Amolen, Hatchbox, and Gizmo Dorks products featured in this article can be found on the site. Get them today and try your hand at glow in the dark 3D printing.