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How Many Meters of 1.75mm PLA Filament in 1KG? Here is a Quick Check

Jan 06,2024 | 3D4Create

For beginners getting started with desktop 3D printing, one common question asked is "How much 3D printer filament will I get per spool?" This article will focus on how much PLA filament - the most popular desktop 3D printing material - is contained in a standard 1kg spool.


I. What is PLA 3D Filament?

PLA, or polylactic acid, is a biodegradable plastic made from renewable resources like corn starch or sugar cane. It's one of the three most widely used desktop 3D printing filaments, while the other two are ABS and PETG. Compared with ABS and PETG, PLA is easier to print with and does not require a heated print bed in most cases. 

The most popular diameters of PLA filament are 1.75mm and 2.85mm. 1.75mm PLA is used by a majority of consumer desktop 3D printers while 2.85mm is less common but offers benefits like reduced bending in prints. When purchasing PLA filament the diameter is very important to ensure compatibility with your printer.


II. Factors That Affect PLA Filament Length

The total length of filament that can be produced from a 1kg spool depends on several factors:

  • Filament Diameter - 1.75mm vs 2.85mm PLA filament results in vastly different lengths per kg.
  • Density/Quality - Higher quality filament that is more densely packed will contain more length per kg.
  • Accuracy of Extrusion - Filament consistency and reliability of the extrusion process impact how efficiently it is used.

These factors result in a range of possible lengths for a given spool weight. Generally higher quality filament that is packed tightly and extruded consistently will maximize the length, while lower quality budget filament may provide less.

PLA 3D Pen Filament 50M/100M - Bright Color, Safe

PLA 3D Filament - Vivid Color & Safe


III. Average PLA Filament Lengths

Here are some typical lengths you can expect from a 1kg spool based on industry standards:

So on average, you get about 50% more length from a 1.75mm PLA spool per 1kg compared with a 2.85mm spool of the same weight. Keep in mind the density and quality factors above can alter these numbers in either direction by around 10%.

3D4Create 3D Printed Retractable Sword - Crafted Using 1 kg of High-quality PLA Filament

Besides, there is also a formula to calculate the length of PLA filament for any given weight.

The formula is: FL = Mass (M) / Density (D) / Area (A) / 100

Where FL is the Filament Length (m)
M is the filament mass (g)
D is the density (g/cm^3)
A is the cross-sectional area (cm^2)

Let's calculate the length for 1kg of 1.75mm PLA:

  • Density (D) of PLA is 1.24 g/cm^3
  • Radius (R) of 1.75mm filament is 0.0875 cm (1.75mm / 20)
  • Cross-sectional Area (A) is πR^2 = 3.1415926 * R * R = 0.0240528 cm^2
  • Mass (M) is 1000g

Plugging these into the formula: FL = M / D / A / 100 ≈ 335.3 (m)

Now that you know the math behind calculating ideal PLA spool lengths, you're probably wondering how it differs for other materials. The good news is that the process is the same! Other filaments like ABS and PETG just have slightly different densities. By plugging those values into the handy formula above, you can figure out the perfect 1kg filament length for these materials as well. 


IV. Tips for Getting the Most Filament

To make sure you maximize the length of filament you get from each spool, follow these tips:

  • Make sure the filament is tightly wound on the spool and not loosely packed.
  • Store 3D Printer filament properly in a cool, dry location to prevent degradation.
  • Use optimal retraction, temperature, and speed settings to reduce filament waste during printing.
  • Use a direct drive extruder for more consistent and reliable filament usage.
  • Consider printing models with lower infill percentages to save filament.
  • Recycle scrap filament using devices like the Filament Welder to create fresh spools.


V. Conclusion

To summarize, you can expect to get around 335 meters of PLA filament of 1.75mm from a 1kg spool under normal conditions. This equates to approximately 1100 feet. For the less common PLA filament of 2.85mm, expect around 125 meters or 410 feet per 1kg.

Filament length can vary based on quality, diameter, and printing efficiency but these averages provide a good rule of thumb when estimating projects. 



Q1: What factors impact the total length of filament on a spool?

A1: Filament diameter, density and packing quality, and accuracy of the extrusion process all contribute to the total usable filament length per spool weight.

Q2: How can I calculate the length of filament on a spool?

A2: You can use the formula: FL = Mass / Density / Area / 100. Plug in the filament mass, density, and cross-sectional area to get the total length in meters.

Q3: What tips help maximize filament length per spool?

A3: Buying quality filament, ensuring tight winding, optimizing print settings, using a direct drive, reducing infill, and recycling scrap can help maximize the usable filament length per spool.