You’ve received your free sample, or just have a small amount of filament left. But now what, what can you actually print with it?
We hear you, you’ve got a busy life and making decisions can be hard – especially when you’re lacking a bit of inspiration.
And we don’t want you wasting your sample. Once you’ve printed something with it, you’ll realise what all the fuss is about with 3D printing.
After all, what can you print with just over 30g worth of filament? Well, it turns out; quite a few things, actually.
We’ve compiled a list of 8 useful things we and our other customers have printed.
No Yoda busts here (although people print those too, of course).
Each object can be printed using a 10m (or 5m 2.85mm) filament sample, at least once over. Where possible we’ve even included a direct link to the downloadable file, so you can print it yourself!
1. Spare quadcopter blades
UK Robotics have used their PLA sample filament to print these brightly visible rotors for their quadcopter. For something like this, you can never have too many parts. And who wants to wait days for replacements?
3D printing is much faster (for once??). They were really happy with the color they received, which we think goes nicely with the rest of the
cat chaser quadcopter.
Read more: our guide to 3D printed drones
2. 3D Printer Upgrade
We all know 3D printers aren’t perfect, and now you can access upgrade STLs for commonly underperforming factory parts. Like David Millar did here, with a (we think, much needed) redesigned Ultimaker 2 filament feeder.
Hopefully, no more filament slipping or loading issues for David now. We don’t have the exact file, but there are lots of designs for these on Thingiverse.
Read more: the best Creality Ender 3 upgrades
Read more: Creality Ender 5 Pro upgrades
Read more: Creality Ender 5 Plus upgrades
3. Working Bearings
This was printed as one piece, straight off our Zortrax in our Silver ABS. It only weighs 10g, so you could print 3 of these with your free sample. The finish quality is great, which means it turns really freely.
Spins beyond 1000rpm – although not for long, it’ll probably melt. Not technically “useful” – but we like to think it’s not pointless.
4. Custom Guitar Picks
This can be really fun; make any design of guitar pick you like. We might recommend ABS’s stiff flexibility for this, but PLA will work too. If you’re in a band, why not hand out custom guitar picks at your next gig for a memorable takeaway?
OK, so it might not have the same impact as throwing wads of cash at the audience, or (allegedly) biting the head off a bat, but it’ll be considerably cheaper and less messy.
Read more: 3D printed guitar files you can download
5. Belt Tensioner
You’re probably thinking, why would I need one of those? Well, belts on your printer can slacken off over time, and who wants to pay for a replacement belt or go through the hassle of replacing it?
If you notice square edges forming on your prints, you could be suffering from a case of belt looseningitis. Go for the quick lazy man’s fix and print a belt tensioner. We saw a guy with 3 of these on one belt, he may be on borrowed time.
You can download the belt tensioner here.
6. Spiral Vase
Belt Tensioner by Tyrin on Thingiverse
We think these vases look great. We love them, they’re easy to print and very economical to run (the inside is so small, you can only really fit one stem inside – why get a bouquet when a single rose will do?).
Forget scrambling around late on 13th Feb to get some petrol station flowers, just leave one of these bad boys printing overnight and get a pretty flower from the garden. Wake up; perfect & effortless valentines gift.
We should probably mention at this point that just as a homeless person might give questionable financial advice, you probably don’t want to take much notice of our relationship tips. And good look finding a ‘pretty flower’ in the garden mid-Feb. STL available here.
Read more: 3D printed vase STL files you can download
7. 3D Printer Mod 2
There really are a lot of mods you can do for your printer. This one looks like the feeder mechanism to accompany a dual extruder mod. OK, so as you can see this was unlikely to be printed with a free sample – as it’s the same color on the spool (we know, we know, you don’t miss a trick).
Read more: Ender 3 dual extruder upgrades
8. Micro Ruler
This is the genius of @boncester, called “Rule of Thumb”. Small enough to be with you all the time, allowing you to measure a host of things up to 5cm long in 0.5cm precision.
It’s clever, dead simple stuff like this that makes us smile. Download your own from Thingiverse
Feel inspired yet? This is just a fraction of what’s possible with your free sample. The important thing is, don’t overthink it – just print something and see for yourself.
For reference, if you’d like to know how many meters are on each size spool for different materials and diameters, you can check out our filament spool length chart here.