If you’re in the market for a new 3D printer, you’re probably wondering if you should buy extra filament to go with it. Although you’ll have to purchase filament sooner or later, you will probably want to check if your new 3D printer works correctly and need some filament to do so. So, do all 3D printers come with filament that you can use the first time you use the printer?
Nearly all 3D printers come with filament from the factory. Although the amount of filament varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, most of them come with at least some filament. However, the included filament is intended for testing the 3D printer, not for working on major projects.
The rest of this article will answer whether you should buy filament when buying a 3D printer, what type to get, how much you need, whether 3D pens come with filament, and if you can use 3D pen filament for a 3D printer.
You should buy filament when buying a 3D printer. Although most 3D printers come with a bit of filament, it’s usually only enough to ensure the printer is working correctly. You won’t have enough filament to 3D print any larger objects.
Ultimately, how much filament you’ll need for your new 3D printer depends on how often you plan to use it. On average, a 1.75 mm (0.06 in) roll of PLA lasts about 123 hours, and a 3.0 mm (0.11 in) roll about 141 hours.
3D printers usually come with one spool of filament or even less. Since some large projects can take 40-50 hours to complete or even longer, you’ll quickly run out of the included filament. Therefore it’s strongly recommended to buy at least a couple of spools together with your 3D printer.
You should buy PLA filament for your 3D printer. PLA filament is very easy to work with, so it’s also the most popular type. ABS filament can produce better results if you know how to operate your 3D printer. Nylon is another excellent high-end choice, and TPE is perfect if you need elasticity.
ABS can be a very tempting material to use. It costs about the same as PLA and has some clear advantages such as:
- Temperature resistance
- Matte finish
However, ABS is much harder to work with due to the high print temperature (about 250°C or 482°F) and less flexibility than most other filaments.
It’s best to stick to PLA until you familiarize yourself with your 3D printer and learn the optimal nozzle and print bed temperatures.
You need at least about 2-3 spools of filament for your 3D printer. One filament roll only lasts about 150-200 hours, so you’ll quickly need more if you’re working on a project. Most filament types have a long shelf life, so you don’t have to worry about moisture and temperature fluctuations.
A typical roll of filament is about 2.2 pounds (1 kg). Unless it’s nylon, it’s very easy to store, so most people keep about 4-5 spools in reserve. If you plan to use your 3D printer regularly, you should always have a few spools at hand.
If you offer 3D printing services, a client might order multiple things to be 3D printed, and they want it as soon as possible. If you find yourself in a situation like that, having more than 2-3 spools can be a real life-saver.
You won’t have to wait for shipping. Additionally, everything you print will look similar because you’ll be using the exact same material. This is paramount if it’s a single large project rather than multiple random things.
Most 3D pens come with filament. 3D pens are typically accompanied by many small pieces of filament rather than large 2.2-pound (1 kg) rolls. This allows the manufacturer to ship several colors and materials with the 3D pen.
It’s important to check if a 3D pen you’re interested in comes with filament. Refill filaments are very pricey. So, it’s nice to know you won’t have to buy additional refills for at least a couple of months.
3D pens don’t use nearly as much filament as full-sized 3D printers. This is one of the main reasons 3D pens are more beginner-friendly in terms of free filament refills and the amount you get.
If you can’t find a 3D pen that comes with free filament, I suggest the 3Doodler Create+ from Amazon.com. It’s a high-quality printing pen that comes with 15 colorful filament refills to get you started.
3D pen filament is the same filament used for 3D printers. Both 3D printers and 3D pens can use the same materials. The only major difference is how the filament is sold. Filaments for full-sized 3D printers are sold in 2.2-pound (1 kg) spools, whereas 3D pens use significantly smaller rolls.
It’s worth noting that the thickness can vary too. The standard filament thickness is 1.75 mm (0.06 in) or 3.0 mm (0.11 in). 3D pens and 3D printers use both variants, but 1.75 mm (0.06 in) is more common for smaller 3D pens.
Additionally, some 3D printers allow you to change the diameter through software. On the other hand, 3D pens can usually only take one size because they’re significantly smaller.
The materials used are mostly the same, though it varies based on your 3D printer or 3D pen’s capabilities. The nozzle has to get hot enough to melt the filament in question, which is why PLA is a popular choice with either. It melts at around 180°C (356°F), much lower than ABS and nylon.
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Most 3D printers come with a bit of filament, but it’s not enough to work on any major projects. They typically come with anywhere from half a spool (1.1 pounds or 0.5 kg) to up to two spools (4.4 pounds or 2 kg) of filament.
The included filament allows you to check if the 3D printer works correctly. If you plan to use the 3D printer immediately, get at least two to three additional rolls of filament.
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