Would you be interested in being able to buy exotic filament by the metre if you could get absolutely every type of filament from one place in the same shipment?
Recently i’ve been testing lots of “exotic” filaments, getting hold of them has been a pain, i’ve had to import them, buy a whole kilo of filament when I just wanted to play with a little bit of it, wait weeks for shipping, and when it arrives I have no idea about the filament’s printing characteristics or composition.
The idea is to have EVERY exotic filament under one roof, which you can buy by the meter, shipped by FedEx-Priority for a low price, and most importantly I would review and provide as much info as I can on the material. This would include info about how to print it effectively, and hopefully the composition of the filament (but not all manufacturers are going to disclose their exact info).
This is something I want to make happen, and it fits well with the upcoming kraken. I really think that the multi-material printing age is upon us, and the more easily people can access the filament to play with themselves the better.
Also! I would love to integrate UFID with a service like this. So people can easily get printing parameters without even trying. Thoughts @Whosa_whatsis @Camerin_hahn @Ross_Hendrickson ?
(UFID = “Developing a method for tagging, tracking, and identifying filament for 3d printing in machine-readable formats to eliminate the guess-work.”)
Honestly, this is one of my current hangups with filament. There’s just so much out there to try. I don’t want to buy 1kg just to find out that I’m not really going to use it. 0.25kg would be closer to what I would want to test from.
Sorry guys, cleaning up this thread for the sake of keeping things on topic. Banned the spammer.
@Sanjay_Mortimer that is the goal of UFID. You get your filament, plug it in, then print.
@Sanjay_Mortimer , when I first started gathering various filament for a similar business idea, I realized that it would quickly become very difficult to manage and properly store all of the different inventory needed to sell by the meter. The bigger problem is that most people don’t want to pay more than a small premium for the amount of filament they are getting, so if you had a $40/kg spool, you would only be able to charge about $10/100 grams, if that, unless you have a very specific Must-Have filament. (Faberdashery is apparently successful with this model – though I suspect they mostly sell full rolls, too.)
If you could make it work for you, great! Just make sure you figure out the true costs of such an operation, first.
It would really help, I understand why people don’t, it would be expensive to stock both the by meter and by kg, and you will probably make more on the per kg sales. Still I would buy.
To recap my previous, now missing comment: Yes, yes, yes! Having all new-age filaments available from one seller, in small quantities and with an UFID would be pretty awesome.
I’d be interested. The trouble, as others have pointed out, is that it’s a tough business model.
I can get regular PLA for about USD 0.10/meter (~$30/kg/~300m). Exotics (or “new-age” as @Thomas_Sanladerer puts it) are typically 2-4x “regular” prices. I’d probably be okay with $0.75 - $1.00/m for most exotics, but it would be infrequent. You’d probably have to have competitive 0.5kg and 1kg spool pricing, or you’d get customers trying out an exotic from you, then buying full spools from others.
It is definitely a tough business model, but I would definitely be a customer!
I don’t know that I would use this offering very often, but I can see myself trying $10 - $15 worth of various filaments as long as it didn’t cost me more than $20 to get to my door-step here in California. Unless I got really good results with that, I wouldn’t likely be buying more than a Kg or two of what worked within a year. It seems like a worthy, but cumbersome project, to me. Who know, things may change drastically in a year or two.
I’m interested in samples. Would offering different sample packs make it more economically feasible? E.g. “the flexible sample pack” which has a few meters of the 10 different flexible filaments so I can try them out. Once I know what I want, I’m likely to buy the whole spool.
I would be interested in just getting 250g spools of specialty colors such as glow in the dark PLA. The exotics by the meter would be very interesting. Put the idea on Kickstarter and I’ll help fund it even if it takes a while to get rolling.
I always look for the best price, so I think you’d need to remain fairly competitive. I buy small amounts from faberdashery if I have specific prints in mind that I want in a specific colour or great quality, but do the bulk of my printing in cheap imported filament. Things like UFID are value add but I wouldn’t pay a huge premium. Things like quality reports and printability tips usually come from the community for free anyway. I would like a UK source with cheap UK postage to order small samples though. I really appreciated the nylon sample I got with my e3d for example!
@Sanjay_Mortimer yes, i would love to, but give the option of royal main post too. For us in “exotic” countries (argentina), fedex is expesive (lots and lots of tax and fees)
Grab bags/sample kits may be interesting as well. If have some partial spools you want to get rid of and some new materials people haven’t seen before. If I was following +Jeff Miller’s. Plan I would do a kickstarter and offer grab bags with the business plan of selling filament by the meter, but kickstarter is work and it is a hit to profits.
A cheap shipping option would be attractive. I was looking at some of the filament that you were testing and the shipping cost to the US was as much as the filament for small quatities. I would rather wait a little longer than pay double…
If I could buy a few meters of rubbery or clear fillament for a couple of euro’s instead of buying a whole spool and having to spend at least 40 euros. Yes! I would do it. But only for that special material that I need to print one little thingy of.
For the business model/labour issue concerns, the intention is to have a machine & code that when the site receives an order for filament will automatically dispense a measured and cut length of filament, as well as automatically printing the shipping box label/packing list etc and dropping it into the same box. The electronics and hardware are all just repurposed RepRap stuff. Extruders to pull the filament off the reel, but with rubber rollers. Programming to go from an order arriving on the site to GCODE for the machines is done but needs some tweaking. A filament cutter and actuator is the last thing to be done.
Human labour is so last summer.
Allow me to be the first to welcome our filament dispensing robotic overlords. I assume you’ll be using autonomous quad copters for the heavy lifting?