5 Best 3D Filament Sample Packs
Anyone who has been into 3D printing is familiar with the dilemma of keeping a stock of filaments. How many filament types and colors do you need? Where are you going to store all of those spools? Do you even really need that fancy metal-infused PLA filament?
For beginners, choosing which filament to buy and keep can be one of the hardest decisions you can make when you’re still starting. After all, you’re still not sure how each filament behaves and what color looks nice. An easy way to deal with this is to go for filament sample packs instead. Is getting a filament sample pack a good idea? What are the best ones that you can get?
Why buy a filament sample pack?
Filament sample packs typically comprise of several different filament types or colors at relatively small portions. The filaments that come in these packs are usually cheap and not particularly premium quality. So, what’s the point of getting a sample pack?
1. Great for experimentation
There’s a reason why most 3D printers come with a small sample pack of inexpensive filaments: they are great for experimenting or just playing around. A 3D printer is a pretty complex piece of machinery. As we often say, 3D printing is a process of constant troubleshooting. This means that things will go wrong, and figuring out how to solve these problems is how you become better in 3D printing.
A filament sample pack is also a nice way to have a couple of filaments of different colors just lying around in case you want to print a fun project. If you’re unsure about the best printer settings for a build, a cheap filament from a sample pack should be good enough to experiment on before you use that premium filament you’ve been saving for months.
2. Easier to store
You might like the flexibility of having more than 20 different colors of PLA filament, but having them all in 1-kilogram spools can easily use up all your storage space. There’s also the matter of keeping them in vacuum-sealed bags with some desiccant. This makes you look like a hoarder, takes up a lot of space, and can be quite expensive in the long run.
In most filament sample packs, filaments are provided in very small amounts – around 200 to 250 grams. Aside from keeping the packs cheap, the small spools are much easier to store and don’t make as much of clutter in your workspace.
One of the worst things that a 3D printing hobbyist goes through is spending $50 on a filament spool only to find out that it either does not work well with their printer or is simply downright rubbish. Getting a filament sample pack is a great way to save you from this headache. The great thing about filament sample packs is that they are pretty inexpensive – you can probably find a good one for less than $30.
The top 5 best filament sample packs
1. Top pick: Gizmo Dorks 1.75mm PLA Filament 4-Color Pack
For our top pick, we choose this basic filament sample pack from Gizmo Dorks because of the brand’s reliability and the fact that the pack has enough filament of each color to do several trials. There’s nothing flashy about the filaments – you only get basic blue, green, orange, and red – but the quality of the filaments is impeccable. The pack also only costs less than $25.
Each filament comes in a hard-plastic spool and is packed in a vacuum-sealed plastic bag. Gizmo Dorks commits a high-precision diameter for each filament and that they are all free of air bubbles for a worry-free and consistent printing experience.
We like how each spool comes with 200 grams of filament, which should be enough for several prints in each color. This gives you a lot of room for experimenting and playing around. PLA may be the easiest filament to work with, which makes this sample pack ideal for beginners.
If there’s a complaint we can make about the filaments in this sample pack, it’s the fact that the colors are not as vibrant or bright as we’d expect them to be. To be fair, this is really only noticeable if you compare the filaments side-by-side to a more premium brand, such as Hatchbox.
This is a filament sample pack that caught our eye simply because of its sheer novelty. This isn’t just your usual PLA filament sample pack – these are fancy filaments, infused with particles that give them the look of bronze, wood, gold, or marble.
For background, these “composite” filaments are made by combining solid particles in a PLA matrix. This allows you to create models that mimic the appearance of real wood or bronze. These filaments are very popular because of how nice their printed models look. Because they are still primarily made with PLA, these filaments don’t need a high printing temperature.
One thing about composite filaments is that they can be tricky to work with. The infused particles can either slow down or speed up the rate at which they are heated inside the hot extruder, so you might need to play around with your printer settings to get the best results.
In the same vein, we have to say that working with composite filaments isn’t something we can recommend for pure beginners. These filaments are notoriously brittle, unpredictable, and can wear down your printer’s stock nozzle.
If you’re comfortable adjusting your printer’s parts and settings, then this sample pack is a great introduction to the world of composite filaments. The sample pack is a bit pricey compared to plain PLA sample packs, but the prints look really good.
In terms of value for money, it’s going to be very hard to beat this 24-color filament pack from MIKA3D. The selection includes 15 standard colors, six transparent colors, and three metal colors, each one provided in a 10-foot spool. The whole bundle also only costs less than $20, so you end up paying less than a dollar for each filament.
Despite the low price, the filaments included in this pack are made with virgin PLA and have been manufactured with a high diameter accuracy. All of the spools are packaged in vacuum-sealed plastic bags and even comes with two silicone finger caps that can be used to handle hot prints without burning yourself.
The biggest drawback of getting this sample pack is that the 10-foot provision for each filament is really only good for a very small model. The filaments are actually better suited for 3D pens where you have better control of how big the model you’re building is.
It’s not impossible to use the filaments on a 3D printer, but you’re bound to run out of filament pretty quickly. If you mess up printing using a particular color, you’re not likely to have enough filament to do a second trial.
It’s probably the fact that most filament sample packs are made for beginners, but you don’t see a lot of sample packs that come with ABS filaments. ABS isn’t particularly beginner-friendly: you need a higher printing temperature, it tends to warp, and you’ll need a heated build platform with an adhesive aid. If all those words didn’t sound like gibberish to you, then you might be at the level where you can appreciate this two-pack of ABS filaments.
The first thing we have to say is that these ABS filaments look really good. The pack comes in black and transparent colors with a sheen and finish that can rival much more expensive brands. In contrast to the other filament packs in this list, both filament colors come in huge 1-kilogram spools, which seems to disqualify them from being mere “samples.” Yes, these are full-sized spools that you’ll need to commit to.
For a total of 2 kilograms of ABS filament, this filament pack is a very good deal. The thing about ABS is that it can be a difficult material to work with. If this is going to be your first time to print with ABS, then this filament pack gives you a lot of leeway for misprints without having you spend too much on more expensive alternatives.
If we have to give an award for the sample pack that had the most variety, then this filament pack from Paramount would easily take the prize. With an impressive selection of 40 colors, this filament pack should have any color you could possibly want or think of. The sample pack goes back to the basics with standard PLA, making it a perfect choice for beginners.
The list of colors included in this pack reads like a futuristic box of crayons. With names like Leviathan Green Blue, Egg Yolk Yellow, Military Khaki, and Cadet Blue, we can already imagine how fun it would be to pick a color and see how the model looks when printed. Paramount really pulled out all the stops with all those creative and quirky names, though.
One thing we like about this filament pack is that there’s substantial filament for each color. Each of the 40 colors in the pack comes with a 50-foot sample, which should be enough for three or four small models. This gives you a bit more room to play around and make mistakes. And even if you run out of one filament color, you’ll still have 39 more to spare.
The one downside of this filament sample pack is that it’s pretty expensive. At more than $40, you can probably get a single filament spool with an equivalent weight that costs less. If it’s within your budget, we still highly recommend this simple pack that marries versatility with excellent colors and quality.
Filament sample packs are a great product to ease your way in to the world of 3D printing. They’re fun, inexpensive, and non-committal – at least, in terms of filament types and colors. The filament sample packs we have featured here all cost less than $50. If you’re thinking of getting a brand new 3D printer for the holidays, then why don’t you go ahead and throw in a filament pack into that shopping cart?