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Everything You Need to Know: How Many Meters of Filament in 1kg

Nov 16,2023 | 3D4Create

I. Overview of Common 3D Printing Filaments 

As 3D printing has grown from a niche industry to a mainstream technology, a variety of materials have emerged for use as 3D printer filament. The most common types of plastic filaments seen in desktop FDM 3D printing include:

  • PLA - Polylactic Acid - Made from plant-based sources like cornstarch, PLA is strong, glossy, and easy to print. It requires low temperatures.
  • ABS - Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene - ABS is tougher and more flexible than PLA, but needs higher print temps. It's used for mechanical parts.
  • PETG - polyethylene terephthalate - PETG is highly chemically resistant and gained FDA approval for food contact applications.
  • Nylon - Nylon filaments are extremely strong and durable, but prone to absorbing moisture. The material is slippery and tough to print. 
  • PC - Polycarbonate - PC offers very high thermal resistance and mechanical strength, but requires an enclosed high-temp printer.
  • TPU - Thermoplastic Polyurethane - Flexible TPU filament is used for 3D printing elastic parts, flexible joints, and durable tools.

These materials are available as filament in two standard diameters - 1.75mm and 2.85mm. The smaller 1.75mm size sees wider use as it allows more precise prints.

 

II. Filament Length by Material and Size

Filament is sold on spools, with sizes ranging from trial 50g spools up to 10kg industrial spools. The most common desktop 3D printing filament size is 1kg

Within a fixed weight and material, filament length varies primarily based on diameter, which includes 1.75mm, 2.85mm and so on. 

eSUN ABS+ Filament for 3D Printer 1.75mm 1KG

eSUN ABS+ Filament for 3D Printer 1.75mm 1KG

 

III. Impact of Material Density on Length

The density of a material directly affects how much length can be fit onto a spool of fixed weight.

PLA has a lower density around 1.24g/cm3 enabling more length per kg. PETG is denser at 1.27g/cm3 so less length fits per spool.

More exotic filaments like the metal-powder infused CopperFill have far higher densities of 3.9g/cm3 or more, severely limiting length. A 1kg spool contains only around 107m.

3D4Create 3D Printed Retractable Predator Cosplay Spear - Using 1 kg of PLA Filament

The following table 1 shows approximate filament lengths on a 1kg 3D printing spool for different materials and sizes.

Table 1: 1kg Filament - Material Density vs. Material Diameter vs. Length

Filament  Density Diameter: 1.75mm Diameter: 2.85mm
PLA 1.24g/cm3 335.3m 126.4m
ABS 1.04g/cm3 399.8m 150.7m
ASA 1.07g/cm3 388.6m 146.5m
PETG 1.27g/cm3 327.4m 123.4m
Nylon 1.08g/cm3 385m 145.1m
Polycarbonate 1.20g/cm3 346.5m 130.6m
HIPS 1.07g/cm3 388.6m 146.5m
PVA 1.19g/cm3 349.4m 131.7m
TPU/TPE 1.20g/cm3 346.5m 130.6m
PMMA 1.18g/cm3 352.3m 132.8m
CopperFill 3.90g/cm3  106.6m 40.2m

 

The following tables 2-3 show filament lengths for common 1.75mm and 2.85mm diameters at various weights.

Table 2: 1.75mm Filament - Material Density vs. Weight vs. Length

Filament  Density Weight: 500g Weight: 750g Weight: 1kg Weight: 3kg
PLA 1.24g/cm3 167.6m 251.5m 335.3m 1005.9m
ABS 1.04g/cm3 199.9m 299.8m 399.8m 1,199.3m
ASA 1.07g/cm3 194.3m 291.5m 388.6m 1,165.8m
PETG 1.27g/cm3 163.7m 245.6m 327.4m 982.2m
Nylon 1.08g/cm3 192.5m 288.8m 385m 1,155m
Polycarbonate 1.20g/cm3 173.2m 260m 346.5m 1039.4m
HIPS 1.07g/cm3 194.3m 291.5m 388.6m 1,165.8m
PVA 1.19g/cm3 174.7m 262m 349.4m 1,048.1m
TPU/TPE 1.20g/cm3 173.2m 260m 346.5m 1039.4m
PMMA 1.18g/cm3 176.2m 264.2m 352.3m 1,057m
CopperFill 3.90g/cm3 53.3m  80m  106.6m 319.8m

 

Table 3: 2.85mm Filament - Material Density vs. Weight vs. Length

Filament  Density Weight: 500g Weight: 750g Weight: 1kg Weight: 3kg
PLA 1.24g/cm3 67.0m 94.8m 126.4m 379.3m
ABS 1.04g/cm3 75.4m 113.0m 150.7m 452.1m
ASA 1.07g/cm3 73.3m 109.9m 146.5m 439.5m
PETG 1.27g/cm3 61.7m 92.6m 123.4m 370.2m
Nylon 1.08g/cm3 72.6m 108.9m 145.1m 435.4m
Polycarbonate 1.20g/cm3 65.3m 98m 130.6m 391.9m
HIPS 1.07g/cm3 73.3m 109.9m 146.5m 439.5m
PVA 1.19g/cm3 65.9m 98.8m 131.7m 395.2m
TPU/TPE 1.20g/cm3 65.3m 98m 130.6m 391.9m
PMMA 1.18g/cm3 66.4m 99.6m 132.8m 398.5m
CopperFill 3.90g/cm3 20.1m 30.1m 40.2m 120.6m

As shown above, the length of 1kg of filament depends on the density and diameter of the material. Want to learn the step-by-step formula derivation? Check out the blog post 'How Many Meters of PLA in 1kg?'

 

IV. Estimating Filament Needs for a Print

The amount of filament needed to print a particular 3D model depends on the print volume, infill percentage, layer height, and other slicing settings. 

1. Larger models require more material to print compared to miniature designs. Tall models need more vertical filament.

2. Higher infill uses more plastic to make an object solid, while sparse infill saves material. 

3. Smaller layer heights lead to more print layers, consuming more filament to achieve detailed resolution. 

Fortunately, most slicer software like Cura include filament usage estimates prior to printing. There are also online filament calculators that provide estimates based on model dimensions and print settings.

As a rough starting point, expect to use 10-15m of 1.75mm filament for a medium 6 inch tall model printed at 15% infill. Dialing in exact usage for your models will maximize efficiency.

 

V. Getting the Most Value from Filament 

To save money and minimize waste, follow this guidance when purchasing and using filament:

1. Buy quality brands - Well manufactured filament has tight diameter and density consistency so you reliably get the labeled length. Cheap filament may have more variation.

2. Optimize slicer settings - Enable settings like "sparse infill", "infill before walls", and lower layer heights to reduce material usage while maintaining print quality.

3. Dry filament properly - Some materials like nylon are hygroscopic. Drying before use prevents popping and helps consistency.  

4. Recycle plastic - Grind failed prints and leftover filament into granules to re-extrude your own filament with a recycler.

Getting the maximum yield from your supply allows more prints per spool. Take the time to optimize for efficient filament usage.

SUNLU S1 Plus Filament Dryer Box - Drying Filament During 3D PrintingSUNLU S1 Plus Filament Dryer Box

 

VI. Conclusion and Key Takeaways

- Expect approximately 107 to 400 meters of 1.75mm filament per 1kg spool. Actual length varies by density.

- Print infill percentage, model size, layer height are key factors impacting filament needs.

- Maximizing filament efficiency comes down to quality, optimized settings, and recycling scrap plastic where feasible.

Knowing precisely how many meters are on a spool enables accurate estimates of material needs for planned 3D printing projects. Match filament volume to your printing workload to avoid wasted material.

 

FAQS:

Q1: How much filament is on a 1kg spool?

A1: A typical 1kg spool of 1.75mm diameter filament holds around 330m of material. For 3mm filament, expect around 100m on a 1kg spool. The exact length varies by brand.

Q2: How is filament length calculated?

A2: Length is determined by the filament’s density and diameter. Heavier spools contain more linear meters of filament. Thinner diameters allow more filament per kg.

Q3: Why does filament length matter?

A3: Knowing spool length helps estimate how many prints you can make with a spool. Tracking filament usage also assists noticing inconsistencies from diameter variations or slipping extruders.

 

See Also:

How Many Items Can 1kg of PLA Filament Print? Here is a Quick Look

PLA vs ABS: What's the difference?

PLA, ABS, Nylon & PETG Shrinkage & Compensation: Essential Facts

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