Filament materials for fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printers usually come in two standard diameter sizes: 1.75 millimeters (0.07 inches) and 2.85 millimeters (0.11 inches). They are also generally sold in 500-gram (17.64-ounce) and 1-kilogram (2.20-pound) spools. But how long does 1kg (2.20lbs) of 3D printer filament last?
A 1kg (2.20lbs) 3D printer filament generally lasts a month or two if you print a bunch of small objects. But it really depends on a few factors, like the size, material, quantity of prints, and infill. The slicer software helps take the guesswork out by saying how much filament to use for each project.
In this article, I will talk about everything you need to consider to determine how long your filament material will last. I will also give you examples of how users gauge their filament consumption based on their 3D projects.
Exactly How Long Is the Filament in a 1Kg Spool?
There are different types of filament materials and thermoplastics used in 3D printing. And different kinds of filaments have different densities. As such, a 1kg (2.20lbs) roll of filament means varying lengths, depending on what specific material it is.
Generally, a 1kg (2.20lbs) spool of filament with a 1.75mm (0.07in) diameter can be 327.4 to almost 400 meters (12,890 to 15,740 inches) long, while a 2.85mm (0.11in) filament can be anywhere from 123.4 to 150.7 meters (4,858 to 5,933 inches) long.
It is also important to know the different properties of various filament materials because these things could affect the flow rate of your printer.
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene or ABS filament is a very durable thermoplastic commonly used in additive manufacturing and rapid prototyping environments. It has higher temperature resistance, machinability, flexibility, and strength, all of which make it an ideal material for engineering and mechanical applications.
- Density of ABS: 1.04 g/cm3
- Length per kg of a 1.75mm (0.07in) ABS: 399.8 meters (15,740 inches)
- Length per kg of a 2.85mm (0.11in) ABS spool: 150.7 meters (5,933 inches)
Polylactic acid or PLA is a thermoplastic that is made from ecological and renewable resources like tapioca roots, sugarcane, or cornstarch. Because of its more environment-friendly origins and because it is easy to work with, PLA has become a popular choice and gained wide acceptance in the 3D printing industry. This material is a semi-crystalline polymer with a lower melting temperature than ABS.
- Density of PLA: 1.24 g/cm3
- Length per kg of a 1.75mm (0.07in) PLA: 335.3 meters (13,201 inches)
- Length per kg of a 2.85mm (0.11in) PLA: 126.4 meters (4,976 inches)
Acrylonitrile styrene acrylate or ASA filament is an all-purpose 3D printing thermoplastic suitable for various applications. Its chemical makeup is similar to ABS plastic, but it has better mechanical properties, it is UV-resistant, and it has better aesthetics. This material also comes in more colors than the other filament materials.
- Density of ASA: 1.07 g/cm3
- Length per kg of a 1.75mm (0.07in) ASA: 388.6 meters (15,299 inches)
- Length per kg of a 2.85mm (0.11in) ASA: 146.5 meters (5,768 inches)
Nylon is a versatile yet extremely durable 3D printing material. It makes an excellent 3D printing material because it has superior layer adhesion, which is essential in making strong prints for working prototypes and end-use applications. Higher-grade nylon materials are chemically and thermally stable, allowing 3D prints to keep their shape throughout a wider temperature range.
- Density of nylon: 1.08 g/cm3
- Length per kg of a 1.75mm (0.07in) nylon: 385 meters (15,157.5 inches)
- Length per kg of a 2.85mm (0.11in) nylon: 145.1 meters (5712.6 inches)
Polycarbonate or PC filament is a strong, impact-resistant, and heat-resistant thermoplastic material with various applications, including medical ones. It has good electrical insulation properties and boasts high optical clarity. It also absorbs moisture in the air and can become unprintable within 24 hours if exposed to humidity.
- Density of PC: 1.20 g/cm3
- Length per kg of a 1.75mm (0.07in) PC: 346.5 meters (13,641.7 inches)
- Length per kg of a 2.85mm (0.11in) PC: 130.6 meters (5,141.7 inches)
Polymethyl methacrylate or PMMA is a strong, transparent, and lightweight thermoplastic. This material is also called acrylic, and it is used as a stronger, impact-resistant, and less fragile alternative to glass. Its density is half that of glass, but it has comparable UV absorption properties and transparency. When printed correctly, this filament provides great light diffusion.
- Density of PMMA: 1.18 g/cm3
- Length per kg of a 1.75mm (0.07in) PMMA: 352.3 meters (13,870 inches)
- Length per kg of a 2.85mm (0.11in) PMMA: 132.8 meters (5,228 inches)
High Impact Polystyrene or HIPS filament is a dissolvable thermoplastic that is frequently used as support material because it can be removed easily and cleanly with a limonene solution. HIPS does not require cutting, scraping, sanding away, or any other removal method.
This filament is quite similar to ABS. You can experience the real magic of using this type of filament if your 3D printer has a dual extruder and you use it as an easy-to-remove and easy-to-dissolve support material.
- Density of HIPS: 1.07 g/cm3
- Length per kg of a 1.75mm (0.07in) HIPS: 388.6 meters (15,299 inches)
- Length per kg of a 2.85mm (0.11in) HIPS: 146.5 meters (5,767.7 inches)
Polyvinyl alcohol or PVA filament is a water-soluble, non-toxic, and 100% biodegradable support material ideal for dual- or multi-extrusion printing. This material will give you the convenience and freedom to design complex geometrical models that require supports.
The supports can then be safely dissolved in ordinary tap water. This filament reliably adheres to PLA and nylon. It has good thermal stability and therefore gives your print better degradation resistance.
- Density of PVA: 1.19 g/cm3
- Length per kg of a 1.75mm (0.07in) PVA: 349.4 meters (13,756 inches)
- Length per kg of a 2.85mm (0.11in) PVA: 131.7 meters (5,185 inches)
Thermoplastic polyurethane or TPU is a highly flexible, durable, and easy-to-use filament. However, the relative softness of TPU could mean that it is difficult for an average extruder to handle. Instead of smoothly feeding into the hot end of the extruder, TPU’s flexibility causes it to knot up and bend in the print head’s excess spaces.
- Density of TPU: 1.20 g/cm3
- Length per kg of a 1.75mm (0.07in) TPU: 346.5 meters (13,641.7 inches)
- Length per kg of a 2.85mm (0.11in) TPU: 130.6 meters (5,141.7 inches)
PETG is a co-polymer that is a combination of polyethylene terephthalate and glycol. It’s an extremely durable and tough yet flexible and easy-to-use 3D printing material. It combines the relative ease of use of PLA and the rigidity and strength of ABS, making it a common choice for food packaging and medical applications.
PETG also boasts high break resistance and can stand up to cutting, sanding, grinding, and other post-processing techniques, making it ideal for prototyping.
Density of PETG: 1.27g/cm3
Length per kg of a 1.75mm (0.07in) PETG: 327.4 meters (12,889.8 inches)
Length per kg of a 2.85mm (0.11in) PETG: 123.4 meters (4,858 inches)
Here’s how long a 1-kg spool of filament is in table format:
|Filament Type||Density||Length Per 1kg(Diameter Size: 1.75mm)||Length Per 1kg(Diameter Size: 2.85mm)|
|ABS||1.04 g/cm3||399.8 meters||150.7 meters|
|PLA||1.24 g/cm3||335.3 meters||126.4 meters|
|ASA||1.07 g/cm3||388.6 meters||146.5 meters|
|Nylon||1.08 g/cm3||385.0 meters||145.1 meters|
|Polycarbonate||1.20 g/cm3||346.5 meters||130.6 meters|
|PMMA||1.18 g/cm3||352.3 meters||132.8 meters|
|HIPS||1.07 g/cm3||388.6 meters||146.5 meters|
|PVA||1.19 g/cm3||349.4 meters||131.7 meters|
|TPU||1.20 g/cm3||346.5 meters||130.6 meters|
|PETG||1.27 g/cm3||327.4 meters||123.4 meters|
If you have already used up some of the filament in a 1kg (2.20lbs) spool and would like to know how long your remaining filament is, you can use this filament calculator.
Factors That Affect How Long Your 1Kg Filament Will Last
Some people will say that a 1kg (2.20lbs) roll of filament lasts them a few weeks, while others will say that it lasts them a few months. And that’s because the amount of time it takes for your roll of filament to run out depends on a few things.
Other than the type of filament material you are using, these factors include the kind of objects you are printing, how small or big these objects are, how often you will be printing, and the infill or internal mass of these objects.
If we are talking about big projects like cosplay props and costumes, you can easily use up several 1kg (2.20lbs) spools of filament. Of course, how quickly each 1kg (2.20lbs) roll runs out would also depend on the size of your 3D printer and its nozzle or extruder.
If your 3D printer, build area, and extruder are small, you can only print big objects one part at a time, and these parts will be assembled later. So, it may take a few days to use up 1kg (2.20 lbs) of filament.
However, if you are printing large objects using a large printer with a much larger extruder, 1kg (2.20lbs) of filament could quickly run out in one day.
For example, a certain piece or part that needs almost 500 grams (17.64 ounces) of filament takes 45 hours or almost two days to print using a 0.4mm (0.02in) nozzle. That means two similar pieces take 1kg (2.20lbs) of filament in 90 hours.
But if you change the nozzle size to 1mm (0.04in), the number of hours it takes to print this same piece is reduced to less than 17 hours. Yet along with the 60% decrease in total printing hours in this example, filament consumption increases to 627 grams (22.12 ounces).
Changing to a bigger nozzle may make the printing process faster, but it can also be expected to use up more filament. This is because while the finished product would look the same, its inner structure or design changes. Your print may need more support, or its infill pattern may change.
Meanwhile, if you like printing miniatures and tiny objects, like Dungeons & Dragons figures, and if you print in low volumes, a 1kg (2.20lbs) roll of filament could last you one or two months. For example, a D&D item can use up around one to 3% of a 1kg (2.20lbs) filament spool.
How Many 3D Objects Can I Print With 1Kg of Filament?
To give you a picture of what you can print with 1kg (2.20lbs) of filament, it’s somewhere between 335 calibration cubes with only 5% infill and 90 calibration cubes with solid or 100 percent infill.
Calibration cubes are simple geometric cubes that are common test prints to help fine-tune the settings of a 3D printer.
You can also print around 400 chess pieces of average size with 1kg (2.20lbs) of filament. Or, you can print 125 pieces of 8-gram (0.28-ounce) chess pawns, which takes one hour and 26 minutes of print time each.
The good thing is that if you don’t want to do all these computations and all the guesswork, your slicer software always gives you an estimate of how much filament each project will use.
This way, you can just subtract how many grams of filament are consumed by your current print from the kilogram of filament roll. And knowing this will allow you to estimate how many more projects you can print and how many printing hours you have left until your spool needs to be replaced.
How Can You Make Your Filament Last Longer?
There are different ways to make your 3D printer filament last longer. One is to reduce the size of your 3D prints if that is possible. You can also reduce your use of supports, skirts, rafts, and brims to cut down on your plastic consumption. Reducing your infill is another trick, too.
You can play around with your printer’s settings or with your slicer software so you can lower your use of filament. This could be trial and error at first, but the more you learn about 3D printing, the easier it will be for you to do these things. You can pick patterns for your infill to ensure that while your print is not solid inside, it is also not weak and hollow.
How long your 1kg (2.20lbs) roll of 3D printer filament will last depends on several things, so there is never an absolute number of hours or days. Instead, you can estimate how many similar objects you can print by taking note of how much filament they need.
Based on the number of hours it took to finish printing the first object, you’ll get an idea of the total number of printing hours for a 1kg (2.20lbs) spool.
Computations are trickier when printing objects of various sizes, though even more so if you need different-size nozzles for each print.
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I started 3D printing since 2013 and have learned a lot since then. Because of this I want to share my knowledge of what I have learned in the past years with the community. Currently I own 2 Bambulab X1 Carbon, Prusa SL1S and a Prusa MK3S+. Hope you learn something from my blog after my years of experience in 3D printing.