One concern you will always have with your 3D printer is how long the filament will last. Because the filament runs out mid-print, you just end up with a wasted 3D printed model. Also, it can cause issues with your 3D printer.
Another reason you should be aware of how long does 3D printer filament last is the cost factor. You will need to know how long they last to determine how much you need for your projects. Depending on that, you will have a cost of filament.
That’s why I have got all the information you need regarding this matter. You will get to know how long filament lasts on a 3D printer, and I will also share some ways to increase the duration. So, could you stick with me till the end?
How long does filament last on a 3D printer?
I am using 1kg worth of filament as a reference point to make it easier for you. So, here I will be mainly discussing 1kg filament. How long does it last, how many projects you can do with it, what settings you will be working with, and so on?
Now, answering this question isn’t as easy as you would expect. Because many things determine how you use the filament for your project. Even the size of the project has a lot to do with it.
I mean, when you are printing a large model, you can run out of 1kg filament pretty quickly and easily. Compared to that, when you print smaller models, 1kg of the filament may last for a long time.
You have to print more oversized items like cosplay costumes and props. In that case, you may need about 10kg worth of filament to complete the whole project. So, 1kg filament in that scenario won’t last for that long.
On the other hand, if you are printing smaller items like miniatures, you may use 1Kg filament for months. It truly depends on what project you are working on.
Flow rates and nozzle size
Another factor that greatly impacts the longevity of 3D filament is the flow rate. A higher flow rate will make the filament run out quickly. Here’s an example to make it easier for understanding.
Let’s say you need 500g of filament to print a model, and it lasts about 45 hours. Here, you will be using a nozzle size of around 0.4mm to start the printing.
To print the same model, if you start using a nozzle size of 0.1mm, this will increase the flow rate. As a result, the prints will be done much faster. However, you will use 625g of filament to print the same model.
So, you can see the nozzle size and flow rate of your print settings have a lot to play on the longevity of your filament. This brings up the question, why would you use a different flow rate or nozzle size.
Well, the answer is pretty simple, you want to save time. When you have to print your models in a hurry, a bigger nozzle size and higher flow rate will yield quicker results. But to get that immediate result, you will need to use more filament than usual; that’s just the price you have to pay.
How much filament your printer uses and utilizes can also be a factor in longevity. That’s how you get efficiency out of your 3D printer. A printer that uses a lower amount of filament for printing the same models is much more efficient than a printer that uses more material.
The speed also matters. When using a printer that can print models quickly, you don’t need to opt for that higher flow rate anymore. You can still get your projects done within a short amount of time.
Along with that, other printer settings can also impact how much filament you will be using and how long it will last. However, the difference in this factor isn’t that noticeable between printers as long as they are pretty similar in size.
Infill pattern and percentage
The infill percentage has a huge role to play in how long your filament will last. This can create a big difference compared to all the other factors. Because when you use a higher infill percentage, you will end up using a lot of filaments on that. However, it’s not necessary to use a higher infill percentage in some cases. So, this is where you can quickly go wrong with the filament use of your prints.
While having an infill is essential for the rigidity and stability of the print, it’s also essential to maintain filament usage. You don’t want to waste filament on unnecessary infill patterns and percentages. Make sure you choose the correct infill pattern for your project to save up on filament usage.
Some infill patterns require a lot of material, while some can quickly be done. However, the patterns requiring more material also provide better stability and strength in the printed models. So, making a decision here can get very difficult at times.
Now, these are the things that impact how long your filament lasts. To estimate, if you are working on larger projects with constant settings, 1kg of filament can last a few days. You can barely complete a large project using 1kg of filament.
But if you are working on smaller projects, you can expect them to last half a month or so with constant settings.
Related: TPU Print Setting
How to ensure better longevity for 3D printing filament?
While the results won’t vary that much, there are still things you can do to make your filament last for a longer time. Doing this will minimize filament waste, and you can make them last for a longer time. Let’s check them out one by one.
Reduce support material as much as you can
Sometimes when you are printing your 3D models, you will need a support system. This allows the prints to hold their shape and provide a clean print thoroughly. However, this also uses material, and it’s not part of the actual model.
This is why you will need to minimize the use of material for printing support. There are several ways you can cut out the support material used.
One is finding a way to print your models without support. Sometimes it’s possible to figure out a way to print your model without any support at all. Another solution is to create custom support. You can use different slicer software like Meshmixer to do this.
Don’t use skirts, brims, and rafts without the need
It’s not always necessary to have a brim, raft, or skirt in your 3D printing project. Some people consider them to be compulsory, which is not the case. Sometimes, you can avoid using these to save up on filament material altogether.
Sure, they are practical and helpful for some prints, but they aren’t needed in all the scenarios. I suggest considering very deeply whether your project requires a brim, skirt, or raft or not. If you want to save up on filament, try avoiding them as much as possible.
Choosing the infill settings
Whether it’s the infill pattern or the percentage, it can help you save up a lot of filaments without any questions.
Deciding on a percentage is much easier in this case. The default should be around 20%. If you are printing something light that doesn’t need too much support, you can even go lower than that. However, you should never go above 70% in any case.
The tricky part is choosing the correct infill pattern, which has the most impact. Usually, when working with a model that needs a lot of strength, you have to go for a complicated infill pattern. These patterns use a lot of filament material to get that sturdy structure.
On the other hand, some patterns aren’t as strong but great for flexibility. So, you have to make sure you choose the correct infill pattern according to your needs.
Aside from these things, you can always opt for smaller models rather than larger ones. Also, don’t print too often if you want to save up on materials. I also highly recommend making a temperature tower to save on filament waste.
To sum up, there is no way to pinpoint and say how long 3D printer filament lasts. It depends on many factors and how you are using them as well. So, if you are concerned about the usage and how long they will last, you should consider the different factors.
You can go through those factors and decide on the different aspects. Which infill pattern do you want to choose, what type of model are you thinking of printing. Whether you want the prints to be done as quickly as possible or time isn’t a factor for you. All of these things combined will give you the desired results.