I think there’s a definite 3D printer filament shortage going on on eBay at the moment – at least as far as Black ABS or PLA in 1.75mm diameter is concerned. Black seems to be the most popular colour choice all round and 1.75mm is the most common diameter size and it’s no small coincidence that many if not all the cheap to mid priced 3D printers sold on eBay require 1.75mm diameter filament.
As a result it’s becoming harder and harder to source 1.75mm Black ABS or PLA at at a decent price.
This is something I first noticed when I ordered my 3D printer and decided to order an extra roll of Black PLA as well so I had plenty in stock to practice with. It took an hour or more to find an eBay seller stocking a 1Kg roll of Black PLA at 1.75mm diameter and at a reasonable price. I had hopes that stocks would have been replenished by now but I’m still finding it difficult to source Black ABS or PLA in 1.75mm diameter.
3D Printer Filament Shortage of Black ABS / PLA at 1.75mm on eBay
Today I’ve been searching through eBay again to try and find a 1Kg roll of black ABS at 1.75mm and I’ve lost count of the number of listings I’ve clicked on only to find they’re out of stock of black 1.75mm filament or they only have black in 3mm diameter. Listing after listing it’s the same story. This is of course understandable given the number of 3D printers out there now these days.
Everyone has the same idea. Nobody wants to print anything out in Bright Red or Super Hot Pink – myself included – until they get a handle on 3D printing in general. Maybe later I’ll get more adventurous with the colours but for now (same as everyone else) I just want a roll of black ABS to practice with.
Are Cheap 3D Printers Becoming a Victim of their own Success?
As I said earlier, there are now so many 3D printers cheaply available on eBay that every household could in theory afford to own one. This explosion in home 3D printing has obviously sent demand for black 1.75mm (the most common variety) filament through the roof. So much so that my guess is manufacturers of ABS / PLA Filament just cannot keep up with the demand.
Most of the listings for Black ABS I looked at on eBay today were the same ones I looked at when I ordered my printer – which must be about a month ago and they’re still out of stock today. If that’s not a 3D printer filament shortage, I don’t know what is.
I wonder then. Are the filament manufactures adjusting their production to meet these high demands? They must know black filament is in high demand, short supply if all the suppliers are out of stock or running out and they’ve not had any new stock for a month or more. I can imagine the suppliers and eBay sellers frantically trying to find any black filament stock to sell from any manufacturer at this point.
If I were a filament manufacturer and black ABS or PLA filament was in really high demand I’d switch most of my production into making the black filament instead.
Coloured 3D Printer Filaments – Popularity Vs Shelf Life
This issue with the high demand of black filament versus colured filaments also makes me wonder.
Nearly all the sellers I looked at on eBay when searching for my black ABS filament had coloured filaments in stock. That suggests to me that coloured filaments are not all that popular and not nearly as many are sold when compared with the black filament. So I wonder how old some of the coloured filament stocks are when we buy them?
In my mind, Black filament will more or less be guaranteed to be fresh-ish as it appears to sell out almost as quickly, if not quicker than it is manufactured. It doesn’t have time to sit around on shelves gathering dust. This is of course merely an assumption / supposition based on my current observations. I’m not saying all coloured filaments will be old and out of date but it makes me wonder how many sellers there are that have had several rolls of bright purple knocking around on the shelves they brought several years back and couldn’t sell.
Back to the Searching for Black ABS 1.75mm Filament
Well, I guess I’m going to have to go back and search even harder to find my Black ABS filament. Or in the event I can’t find a roll that fits the bill I might have to just bite the bullet and go with Super Hot Pink. Hahahha =]
While it is a little annoying that I cannot find any Black ABS for myself, I am actually glad to see it is in such high demand. It shows that 3D printing is really catching on and more and more people are giving it a go which is great. More people to add to the 3D Printing community. =]
Happy 3D Printing everybody.