We get asked a lot of questions via our website and one that we receive often by those new to the hobby and those with experience is how long will my 1kg 3D printing filament last? And while I know this may sound like a simple question – it lasts as long as it lasts – but there a few ways you can actually determine how long your 3D printer filament will last you and the number of prints you will be able to achieve.
As with many aspects of 3D printing, the answer will be subject and dependent on a number of factors, however, in this instance, we are excluding filament degradation caused by inadequate storing of filaments which can rapidly reduce the longevity of your filament. We have done an article on this topic of the best ways of storing filament and can check that article out for more information. Having said that, the remainder of this article will focus on the number of tangible objects you can print from one spool of a 1kg filament and in order to do that we must take into consideration a few aspects such as;
- The dimensions of the object
- The percentage of infill used
- Amount of support material required
This question is similar to how long is a piece of string and so it really depends on the above which will determine the number of prints you can get from a certain amount of filament. There are calculations available online, if you want to get really technical about the numbers which include the weight of the plastic used and density of each filament material, however, the main number you need to know is the weight of the object you wish to print in order to get an estimate of the number of prints you can get from a 1kg spool of filament, or any length/weight left of a filament. In this example, we give you the simplest way of calculating how much filament you will need for a desired print.
The easy way of calculating this is and determining the weight of your object is through your slicer tool. Most tools these days show the estimated print weight for the object you create and want to print. Provided you have plugged in all the correct variables such as the infill percentage and amount of support material for your overhangs, your slicer tool should be able to give you an accurate weight estimate for the object you wish to print.
Once you have this number, can take this number and simply divide it by the weight of the filament you plan on using, for example, 1kg or 2.2lbs.
Remember; the number you get by following this method is only subjective and there are a number of ways you can reduce the amount of filament you use for your prints.
Depending on the object, adjusting your infill percentages can often be the quickest and easiest ways of saving filament on your prints and so reducing your infill percentages can work well in saving you filament and giving you more prints. Keep in mind, many objects can be printed with infill percentages less than 40% (unless the object has a large area of infill that will otherwise become too weak or if you simply want a heavier object) with typically a 20% infill percentage with a ‘fully honeycombed’ or ‘rectilinear’ internal fill patterns working well. The bonus of reducing your infill percentages and internal fill patterns will not only be less filament used and more available for other prints, but it will also speed up your print times in most cases.
Reducing your extrusion width/layer height and/or multiplier can also help but do remember to adjust your infill percentages or (vice-versa) so as not to undermine the structural integrity of your object. So for example, if you are printing an object with a 40% infill at .20 microns and you want to reduce the infill amount to 20% to save on filament and printing time, be conscious that it might be a wise idea to increase your layer height to .3 microns to keep your object strong. Of course, this works in reverse and so tweaking these numbers can impact other aspects of your print such as print quality and time.
We hope you have found this article of value, if you have, do remember to leave a comment with any recommendations you have on saving filament and also remember to check out our wide range of filaments where you can try printing with something different such as our metal filament range such as titanium and tungsten as well as carbon fibre.