Getting into the nit and grit of 3D printing? In this guide, we will discuss one of the major factors of 3D printing: Material. We will be tackling all about 3D printer filaments: the types, usage, and pricing.
What is a 3D printer filament?
How 3d Printer Filament Is Made
What Is 3D Printer Filament Made Of?
Choosing a 3D printer filament
Choosing a 3D printer filament will very much be on what material you could use. We will be giving a brief description of each filament type. You can also go through our “3D Printer Filament Types & Uses” post for a more comprehensive guide.
3D Printer Filament Types
Another thing to consider important when choosing a filament is the filament diameter. There are two kinds of printer filament sizes: 1.75 mm and 2.85 mm in diameter.
The most common filament today is 1.75mm as this filament size is adopted by many 3D printer manufacturers, however, brands like Ultimaker and Lulzbot use the larger 2.85 mm filament size.
Most likely you will be needing a 1.75 mm filament, but just make sure that you check this with the filament you’re buying.
Filament Spool Size
Filament rolls can also come in various sizes. The 1kg standard is what you can mostly encounter, but there are smaller and larger rolls as well. Some printer filaments, especially expensive ones, provide rolls less than 1kg, usually starting from 250g.
Larger spools are getting more in demand due to the increased popularity of 3D printers, as well as the rise of large-scale 3D printers. Having a giant spool means your print can run through days to complete a print without the need for replacing filament.
How much filament does a 3D printer use?
How Long Does 1kg of 3D Printer Filament Last?
Your first 1kg filament roll can last depending on your usage. If you print, let’s say 100 grams of print in a month, your filament can last for 10 months. A 1Kg filament is just right to start off, as you can print 3d printed upgrades as well as small accessories and toys with it.
When printing a model, you can see how much filament you will be spending on the specific print job. With that, you can monitor your filament usage.
You may wonder if the reading is accurate: For the purpose of monitoring your filament usage, we can say that it is pretty much accurate. If you want to improve accuracy, you can modify your slicer settings and type in the density of your filament.
How Much 3D Printer Filament do I Need?
Based on our experience, a typical print can range as low as 10-15 grams (test and calibration prints, small toys, accessories, flower pots, and planters) to about 50-100 g (wall decors, containers, detailed models). However, for full-blown projects (helmets, costumes, props, architectural models, etc.) a whole 1kg filament may be used and may need more.
How to Save on 3D Printer Filament
You can adjust your slicer parameters to help you save filament. Here is a list of some that you can do:
- Lessen the infill percentage: According to reviews and user experiences, the infill does not help too much with regard to the strength of the part. With that, you can reduce your infill percentage as long as it still makes the part printable without running into print errors.
- Instead of adding infill percentage, add the number of perimeters. The outer walls substantially affect the part strength.
- Minimize the use of supports by reorienting your print.
- If not needed, you can skip printing bed adhesion tools like rafts or brims. Skipping these saves filament as well as print time.
- Create various slicer templates that contain different settings according to the applications. For example, you can create and set up a profile for decorative prints, while having another profile for tough and functional prints. With this, you will only spend more filament on necessary projects that justify the need for thicker walls, bed adhesion, supports, etc.
How much is a 3D Printer Filament?
The market for 3D printer filament has been growing since. The prices are very competitive, but make sure to check the quality as well.
Common filaments such as PLA, ABS, and PETG are priced at around $20-30 on average, which are the cheapest filament types. Other materials are generally more expensive, with the exception of some composite filaments, which can be priced the same with these common filaments.