When 3D printing, it is very common to have some kind of leftover filament as a lot of the time our prints don’t use entire spools or an even number of them. To avoid wasting filament, it’s good to know what to do with the last bits of it.
The best things to do with the last bit of filament include combining it with other filaments or using it to make different small prints. You can also keep the leftovers to help with the calibration process or use it with a 3D pen.
Keep reading to find out more about what to do with the last bits of filament.
Best Things to Do with the Last Bit of Filament
These are the best things to do with the last bit of filament:
- Combine it with other filaments
- Make a small print
- Keep it for calibration
- Use it with a 3D pen
1. Combine it with Other Filaments
One of the best things you can do with the last bit of filament is to combine it with other filaments. This can create interesting color combinations and save you from having multiple partially-used spools taking up space.
By combining the filaments, you can create a custom color blend that can be used for a variety of projects. You can either combine the filament by splicing the leftovers together or by hot-swapping the filament.
Hot-swapping refers to the process of changing the filament while the 3D printer is still printing, which can be done by pausing the print, swapping the filament, and then resuming the print.
To splice the filament, cut the end of each filament at a 45-degree angle and place them together. Use a lighter or heat gun to melt the ends together, making sure that the spliced area is smooth and free of any bumps or bubbles.
When splicing filament together, it is recommended to use a heat gun, such as the SEEKONE Heat Gun, which one user stated is perfect for any crafting needs and especially for 3D printing.
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I wrote an article about How to Join & Fuse Filament Spools that can be helpful to you. This can create a unique and custom look for your 3D prints while also reducing waste.
One user stated that he saves the last bits of filament near his printer and then hot-swaps them out during a print, using 3 – 5 of the bits. He thinks it adds a nice eclectic color change to the print.
Another user recommends splicing your leftover rolls together so you can still print something with the remaining bits of filament.
One 3D printing hobbyist recommends spinning the PTFE tube to help splice the filament together. He also added that they were using a butane torch initially but switched to a lighter, which worked perfectly.
Another hobbyist tried the splicing method and got lucky after 3 attempts.
Check out the video below for more information about combining filament together.
2. Make a Small Print
Another great option for what to do with your last bit of filament is to make a small print. There are plenty of small 3D print designs available online that you can use to make something useful or decorative.
You can also experiment with different print settings and see how the filament behaves with different temperatures or speeds.
Making a small print can be a great way to test out a new filament or print setting. You can use the small print to check for any issues or inconsistencies in the filament or test different print speeds or temperatures.
Small prints can also be great for creating decorative items, like keychains or miniature figurines. By using up the last bit of filament for a small print, you can avoid wasting any material and potentially create something useful or fun.
Here are some examples of small 3D prints you can make with the last bit of filament:
- Tri Fidget Spinner Toy
- Coat Hook
- Business Card Maker
- Quick Disconnect Keychain
- Lego Separation Tool
- AA Battery Holder
All the models above can be found on Thingiverse for free. For more small 3D prints, I wrote an article called 30 Quick & Easy Things to 3D Print in Under an Hour that may be helpful.
One user makes business cards for his 3D print business with the last bits of filament from his prints. He stated that a full sheet of 7 business cards takes about 100g of filament so it’s perfect to use with those last bits.
Another user prints Mini-Octopus models with his last bits. When he got to about 40 of them, he gave them for free to local kids. The Mini-Octopus Model is available to be downloaded for free on Thingiverse.
Check out the video below with many examples of small prints to finish the last bit of filament.
3. Keep it for Calibration
Another good thing to do with the last bit of filament is to keep it for calibration purposes.
When you’re setting up your 3D printer, you’ll want to calibrate the extruder and bed, and having a small amount of filament on hand can be useful for this.
By using the last bit of filament for calibration, you can ensure that your printer is set up correctly and avoid any issues with your prints. Calibration is an important part of 3D printing, and having a small amount of filament on hand can make the process much easier.
You can use the filament to check the extruder’s steps-per-mm or to calibrate the bed level. By keeping the last bit of filament for calibration, you can avoid wasting any material and ensure that your 3D prints turn out correctly.
One user suggests keeping all the little bits for bed leveling tests and small calibration prints, that way you won’t waste any new filament with that kind of test.
Those can be downloaded for free to help you properly calibrate your 3D printer.
4. Use it with a 3D Pen
Another popular option is to use it with a 3D pen, which uses the same filament as 3D printers. You can use the pen to draw designs or create small 3D objects like figurines, jewelry, or even sculptures.
Experiment with different techniques, like layering or filling in spaces, to create interesting textures and designs.
One user recommends getting a 3D pen, especially if you own a lot of leftover filaments. He stated that after getting one, all his last bits of filament go straight into the pen supply box.
Another user stated that he uses the leftover filament in his 3D pen for repairs and adhesion sealing of glued parts. He stated that the last bits of filament are perfect for that.
Users suggest getting the SCRIB3D P1 3D Printing Pen, which is available on Amazon for a great price. One user stated that he enjoys the SCRIB3D P1 3D Printing Pen as it takes all kinds of 1.75 mm filament, so his leftover pieces of filament can be put to good use.
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Check out the video below to see how to use the 3D pen in detail.
This should help you to understand how to use your last bits of filament.