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How much filament do I need to buy for an Ultimaker 3 Extended?

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Hi there, I've bought an Ultimaker 3 Extended and it's going to arrive soon. I was wondering how much filament I need to buy and what types I should look for. How much filament will I get through in a month, for example? It will be used maybe once or twice a week for an object about 20cm cubed. I will need to use a build material and a water soluble one together.

Thanks for your help

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Well you could slice a few things in cura which is free and you will need it anyway to use your UM3. That will tell you how much filament you need - typically in meters but I think it's possible to get it in weight. Filament is sold by the weight. For example UM sells .75kg spools. Some companies sell 1kg or 2.2kg spools.

I recommend you try faberdashery filaments - I've never tried them but hear great things and they are in the UK. Also I recommend UM for the PVA as their formulation doesn't absorb water quite as fast (keep PVA very very dry).

I also recommend you start out with prints that take less than 3 hours - start small! You will learn more faster. It took me about 100 prints before I really understood all the main issues and was getting perfect prints every time. This will come much slower if you are doing 20cm multi day prints.

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Well you could slice a few things in cura which is free and you will need it anyway to use your UM3. That will tell you how much filament you need - typically in meters but I think it's possible to get it in weight. Filament is sold by the weight. For example UM sells .75kg spools. Some companies sell 1kg or 2.2kg spools.

I recommend you try faberdashery filaments - I've never tried them but hear great things and they are in the UK. Also I recommend UM for the PVA as their formulation doesn't absorb water quite as fast (keep PVA very very dry).

I also recommend you start out with prints that take less than 3 hours - start small! You will learn more faster. It took me about 100 prints before I really understood all the main issues and was getting perfect prints every time. This will come much slower if you are doing 20cm multi day prints.

Thanks for your reply! This will be really helpful to me.

So, to check that I've understood the basics:

- Buy non-PVA filaments from faberdashery (I just checked it out and it looks perfect!)

- Buy PVA support filament from Ultimaker themselves (or at least from a reseller)

- Start small

Also, which diameter filament do I need? Faberdashery offer 1.75mm or 3mm and the Ultimaker website says it needs 2.85mm :/

Edited by Guest

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I would stay away from faber. They haven’t improved their formula since the start, their filament size consistency is ok but color shifts from pack to pack. Also they never solved the issue of micro dust particles inside the filaments, and sounds silly but affects more than what you expect, specially for pastel colors.

For precision get smartmaterials (spain, super quality) fillamentum and for a safe bet colorfabb.

Also try to buy pva boxes (easy to diy) to keep pva dry. If you planto get nylon or much pva, there are food dryers that can recover a spool overnight They are quite cheap (compared to what UM charges for a pva kilo)

So. Tupperwares, desiccant, plastic zip bagges also help to pack filament after use (many big ones for food with zip are cheap on amazon).

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Echoing the above, start small and work your way up, you will find a lot of things to print, that you need to print to test the machine.

  • Overhang tests
  • Cubes...yes cubes to practice with different things and easy to check reliability
  • Things that need PVA and things that do not

If you start out like I did, you will burn through a lot of plastic just making the basic things to get adjusted to the process, like what you see in your slicer (an approximation of what it will print) and what will actually print, difference between layer height qualities for certain objects (Steep curves vs. Shallow curves), different infills and different wall thicknesses.

It may seem crazy, but a lot of 30 minute prints beat the heck out of hours or even day long prints for fine tuning your process. Also, you have to figure in failed prints, which will happen from time to time. It lessens as you gain experience, but, it is tech. And, tech will fail at the weirdest times. "Murphy's Law" was named for a reason. :p

Also, above, you can see that filaments are just like anything else: People will have varying favourites. But, starting with Ultimaker filaments are not a bad place to start and check a different brand every now and then.

The Ultimaker filaments are what is coded for in the base Cura Setups and much easier to mess with when learning.

But, I have used Faberdashery and ColorFabb.

I like Faberdashery, but the fact that it is not on a spool really sucks for me. I also prefer the Colorfabb PLA/PHA stuff as it seems the most consistent from spool to spool and colour to colour.

Do not be afraid of off brands like Matterhackers. They are not too bad and I use the heck out of their PVA.

You will also start out with one idea and it will morph over time into different things as you gain experience. For instance, I started out with the idea that colour made no difference. That is because I started out using a model making sensibility: Piece it, glue it, sand it, paint it, finish it. But as soon as I discovered how to make translucent objects to use in lighting, I gots boatloads of colours in the transparents and translucents, and in PLA, PETG and whatnot to see which ones work well.

And, finally, have a ball!! Have fun!! And, stick around...there is so much to learn and I keep learning just by reading almost everything in every thread to find and draw parallels. Even though I am on a UM3E, I find great info from any printer and response as it is still all the same basic philosophy.

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There are two standard sizes of filament: 1.75 and "3mm". UM uses 3mm but it's not really 3mm. In fact you have to make sure the filament is smaller than 3mm because if it's truly 3mm it will get stuck in the bowden.

So make sure it is 2.85mm or 2.9mm filament before buying it. This is rarely a problem - there used to be some chinese cheap filaments that were 3mm but I think all the companies that are more than a year old know now to make it a bit smaller (typically 2.85mm). So they may say "3mm" but if you look closely at the specs it will be 2.85mm+/-.05 or something similar.

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