What are the advantages/disadvatages between 1.75mm & 3.0mm filament printing?

  • Can anyone please explain the advantages and/or disadvantages between printing with 1.75mm filament or 3mm filament.

    And what parts need changing on the machine to change filament sizes.


  • You get more control and precision using the 1.75 mm filament and a faster build using the 3.0 mm filament.

    Depending on the machine, you might have to consider adjusting or changing the following components:

    1) Hot End

    2) Filament feeder (including bowden, if your not using a direct feeder)

    3) Filament settings in MatterControl

    4) Firmware and/or EPROM settings.

  • 1.75 mm filament has the following advantages over 3 mm filament.

    1. Finer control over the amount of filament extruded.
    2. Less force required to push filament through. With smaller area, less force is required to achieve the same pressure within the hot end. Gear reduction is not required to increase torque, like on 3 mm extruders. This makes the extruder cold end simpler, lighter, and more compact. For example, see the EZStruder vs a Wade's style extruder.
    3. Less oozing due to smaller volume of the melt zone.
    4. Faster possible flow rate. It may seem counterintuitive, but 3 mm filament is actually not better for faster printing. This is due to the fact that smaller filament has a larger surface area to volume ratio, making it easier to pump more heat into it more quickly.
    5. No confusion over diameter standards. "1.75 mm" filament actually is 1.75 mm nominal. "3 mm" filament may actually be either 3.00 mm or 2.85 mm nominal. Some machines (like the Ultimakers and Airwolfs), are designed for 2.85 mm filament and will have trouble with 3.00 mm.

    3 mm filament has one important advantage over 1.75, though. It is much easier to run 3 mm flexible filaments in extruders that are not specifically designed for them. The fatter filament is less prone to buckling.

    Hackaday did an article discussing the origins of the two filament standards. Basically, 3 mm was initially used in the early days of the RepRap project since it was easily obtainable in the form of plastic welding rod. As the industry grew and plastic manufacturers began making filaments specifically for the commercial 3D printing market, 1.75 mm became more popular.

  • Thanks guys for your answers to my question. Both were very incite full and go along way to teaching newbies the differences. ☺

  • @unlimitedbacon thanks for the info. I had thought as much, and was also under the impression that newer printers were all moving to 1.75. My Kossel Pro uses it, for example, as well as the little MOD-t. So now I am all stocked up on 1.75mm filament.

    But two of the highest rated printers that you sell, the Taz5 and the Ultimakers both use 3mm. Do you know why they went with this form? Just carry over from the old days?

    And, if I were to buy a Taz5, would it be worth converting it to 1.75mm? Its hexagon all-metal hotend seems pretty nice; how does it compare to the E3D for example?

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  • I just thought of something else. With 3 mm filament, variances in the diameter of the filament have a much larger effect on the actual amount of plastic extruded. We've seen the diameter in different places on the same spool vary but up to 0.10 mm. This means that you could be pushing out 10% more filament (by volume) in some spots than in other spots. I wonder how much of the Z banding we see is actually caused by differences in the filament diameter.

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