3D Printing: Materials, Tools, and Accessories

Filament is the most important purchase you will make to go along with your printer. We have included links to our recommended places to shop for this necessity. There are also a few tools and accessories that we recommend for use with your 3D printer. These tools and accessories can help with print quality, design precision, and printer utility. We have included a link for where you can purchase these add-ons.



  • Hatchbox
    • This is our current favorite brand of filament. It is fairly inexpensive and some of the best quality we have been able to get for less than $40 a spool.
    • They have a wide variety of colors and some specialty / exotic filaments.
    • Available on Amazon (Remember, 1.75mm PLA is what you want for your Printrbot Simple)
  • MatterHackers
    • We prefer to stick with their “PRO” brand of filament. It costs a little bit more but we’ve found that the quality can really make a difference.
    • Shop their Clearance area for deals on PRO 1.75mm PLA, this is actually where we shop from mostly.
  • MicroCenter
    • If you have one close to you, check your local MicroCenter to pick up filament.
    • They carry a variety of brands.
  • Amazon
    • Stay away from SainSmart, it’s low-quality filament that has caused us a lot of issues and headaches.
    • Octave, we have limited experience with but would buy again, no real problems.
    • We don’t have much experience with others, but we’re willing to try.
  • ColorFabb
    • This is our preferred vendor for many of the Specialty/Exotic filaments. They are the best quality metal exotics we have found and their prices are reasonable.
  • Proto-Pasta


Must Haves

  • Screwdriver Set
    • Purpose: General printer maintenance and repair
    • Purchase: This is hands down my favorite screwdriver set: 30pc Precisions Screwdriver Set by Boxer , you’ll need some of the Hex (6-sided) bits from this as well as the Phillips screwdriver and the case makes everything very handy.
  • Small Craft Metal Spatula
  • BuildTak
    • Purpose: Provides a textured surface for the prints to adhere to during printing, Helps to remove prints from the bed after printing, Helps protect the bed from sharp spatulas.
    • Tip: Here’s a resource for installing BuildTak on your Printrbot Simple. BuildTak is available for many printers.
      • This is more expensive than Blue Painter’s Tape, but more durable and longer lasting.
    • PurchaseBuildTak
  • Shelf Liner
    • Purpose: To keep the printer from vibrating off the table.
    • Purchase: Any brand of shelf liner will do, I got this “Duck Brand Non-Adhesive Shelf Liner” on Amazon but you might find cheaper in the store.


Nice To Have

  • BuildTak Spatula
    • Purpose: Remove prints from the bed when they are complete
    • Tip: We have just started testing this out, but so far it’s been a great tool. We are waiting a bit longer to do some more testing before moving to this as our primary spatula.
    • Purchase:BuildTak Spatula
  • Cut-Resistant Gloves
    • Purpose: Provide a level of safety when removing stuck-on prints from the bed
    • Tip: We have everyone wear one of these on the hand not using the spatula to prevent spatula-related injuries
    • Purchase: G & F Cut-Resistant Kevlar Gloves


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