Mar 24, 2016 | By Alec

How many rolls of barely used filament do you have laying around? How often have you wasted money on filament that actually turned out to be nothing like you expected? On horrible, unpredictable, stinking filament that doesn’t do what you want it to do? Fortunately there’s a solution. Startup Filapack has just launched a crowdfunding campaign for a filament sample subscription service, that sends you several samples every month so you can test popular filaments without breaking the bank.

It’s not a service we ever imagined could work through a subscription, but is certainly an intriguing concept. After all, we are collectively on the lookout for new and superior filaments all the time, and it can get expensive. This problem affected the startup’s founder Cole Washburn as well. A veteran 3D printer, he has a background in Manufacturing Engineering and Technology and has previously developed 3D printed components for the oil and aerospace industries. But like the rest of us, he has filament spools sitting around collecting dust. “That's why we started Filapack. We were tired of spending lots of money on filament we weren't even sure were going to work with our 3D Printers,” Cole explains.

That’s where this Filapack service comes in. You subscribe to Cole’s service, and he will send you four 50g samples of popular specialty filaments from notable providers. You can then test these and find out if they’re right for you. For just $20 USD per month including shipping (or $14 USD per month for a one-year subscription), it’s a fantastic way to get familiar with all those filaments you’ve always wanted to try.

To be sure, $14 per month for 200g of filament is much more expensive than buying endless rolls of 1 kg PLA or ABS, but this does get you access to specialty filaments (your choice between 1.75 and 3 mm), that are usually more expensive, and of course saves you the cost of a full 1kg spool. What’s more, you can subsequently get a discount of those filaments you do like if you order them through Filapack.

So what kinds of filaments will you be receiving? Well, Cole has already partnered with some of the biggest names in the filament industry, including Voltivo, Proto Pasta, Form Futura, Rep Rapper Tech, 3DomUSA, 3D Fuel, Clean Strands and others. All have a good assortment of 3D printer filaments (including a very wide variety of PLA composites and filaments made from organic materials), so this would be an excellent introduction tool. You might almost wonder why those companies agreed to a deal with Cole, as I imagine they make quite a lot of money on one-off purchases.

But before this ambitious concept can be realized, Cole is currently looking to raise $20,000 on Indiegogo. This money will be used to set up production, including an automated cutting line for making 50g filament bundles. And obviously by supporting them, you do get a one-month, three-month or one-year subscription.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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