Having to replace the filament in your 3D printer is common. Sometimes, the filament might have broken and you need to get it out. Or you might be running low and need to change to a new spool. Though this can sometimes seem like a daunting task, fear not. Here’s everything you need to remove the filament from your 3D printer safely.
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Why Does Filament Break?
Before we talk about how you can get a broken piece of filament out of the printer, let’s talk about why it broke off in the first place. There might be a few reasons. First, the filament could have become brittle. This is common if it’s been in there for a while.
It might also be a sign that you are storing the filament improperly. If it’s in a humid room, it can absorb some of that moisture. This makes it more prone to snapping in the printer. It also affects build quality. We’ll discuss some ways to combat this a little later.
Third, it might be a sign that you are using cheaper filament. While it can seem like you are getting a great deal, this type of material will be more likely to snap.
Removing the Filament
The first thing that you need to do is heat up the nozzle. This will start melting the plastic, making it easier to remove. You won’t need to heat the printer bed during this process. The heat settings used on the hotend will vary, depending on the type of material you are using.
For example, if you are using ABS plastic, you will need to set it to between 300 to 320 degrees Fahrenheit (150 to 160 degrees Celsius). But if you are working with PLA, you will need to set it between 390 to 430 degrees Fahrenheit (200 to 220 degrees Celsius).
Next, you’ll need to manually extrude a small amount of filament. To do this, you will need to push the filament through the nozzle.
Then, you’ll need to push down on the coupling. This should allow you to remove the filament from the printer. Remember to do this slowly, as the filament will still be fragile. You will then be able to spool it back up. We’ll discuss how to do this later.
The final step is to gently remove the blob of plastic from the nozzle. This can be a delicate process, so it’s best to use tweezers. After this has been done, you should turn off the machine.
Removing Filament That is Stuck in the Nozzle
Sometimes, you might find that the filament breaks off, with one end remaining stuck in the printer. Your first option should be to try the method described above. You might need to use tweezers to grip the filament.
But if this isn’t possible, there is another option that you can explore. First, you’ll need to remove the hot end from the printer. If you are unsure of how to remove this from the machine, this video will talk you through it.
Once you have removed this part, you can start work on removing the filament from it. This is very simple. You will need to find a thin piece of metal. You might want to use a piece of metal or a drill bit. You can use a vice to hold this in place. Then, you will need to put it inside the hole on the hot end.
Carefully, you should be able to push the stuck filament out. You might need to use a little bit of force to do this. The most important thing is to make sure that you are keeping everything straight. If you push at an angle, you will be scraping the inside of the equipment.
How to Respool Filament?
Once you have removed the filament from the printer, you’ll need to work on re-spooling it. The good news is that this is a fairly simple procedure. All you need to do is slowly wind it back around the spool. As you are doing this, you should make sure that you are applying consistent tension. When you have finished, you’ll need to clip the filament into place. If there isn’t a clip, you can tape it to the side of the spool.
Finding Replacement Filament
One of the most common problems that you will encounter is trying to find a replacement filament. There are dozens of options on the market. But they might not be compatible with your printer. Here are some of the ways you can find the right one for you.
First, you need to think about the type of plastic you want. This is a big decision, which will usually be informed by the type of project you want to take on. Each type of plastic will come with its own set of pros and cons.
For example, PLA is the easiest to work with, making it one of the most popular options on the market. Plus, it comes in a wide range of colors. However, it can be quite brittle, so it’s not a good choice for delicate components. This article goes into more depth about the types of filaments and which ones you should use for your projects.
Before you purchase a filament, you should double-check with your owner’s manual. This ensures that you will be getting something compatible with your device.
If you are looking for something that will last for a long time, you should use TPU filament. This is known for being able to withstand a wide range of temperatures. It’s also resistant to abrasions and chemicals. This TPU filament guide breaks down the different options to make finding the right one for you easy.
Adding New Filament to the Printer
Once you’ve chosen the type of filament you want to use, it’s time to add it to your printer. This is a fairly simple process. First, you will need to warm up the nozzle. How hot it will need to be will depend on the type of filament you are using. Remember, it will take a while before it reaches the right temperature.
Then, you will need to mount the spool on the holder. Then, take the end and, holding down the extruder clip, slot the filament into the nozzle.Push it through. You might feel a little resistance. This is your cue to stop pushing. It means that the filament is close to the nozzle.
Sometimes, there will still be some old filament inside the nozzle. You’ll need to get rid of this before you can start printing with the new filament. Often, your printer will come with a function that will help you do this. It might be marked as “Change Filament” in the menu. If it’s not there, you should check the owner’s manual.
Not all printers will have this option. This means that you will need to change the filament manually. This is fairly simple; you will need to gently push the new filament through the nozzle. If you were using flexible filament, this might take a while.
You should notice the filament start to change color, as the old one is forced out of the printer. To finish you will need to remove the old filament. You’ll need to do this with a pair of tweezers, remember to be careful not to damage the bronze nozzle. After this, you will be using the new filament. Once you see this, you can cool down the printer nozzle. The next time you want to make a model, everything will be ready to go.
Generally, you should be able to leave the filament in the printer for a few days. But you should be wary about leaving it set up for months at a time.
The humidity in the air will cause the filament to become brittle. This can cause it to break off. Plus, it will start to affect the print quality. This is the reason why you might be hearing a popping sound as it is printing. These are the water molecules being boiled inside the plastic.
When you are waiting to use it, you should put it into an airtight container. You can also use something like a Ziploc bag. This stops it from absorbing water. Plus, it will protect it from dust, which can also lower the print quality. When stored like this, the filament will be able to last for a long time.
It should be noted that wet filament isn’t a lost cause. You can get the water out of it by placing it in a special oven. The low heat will remove the moisture safely. It will often take a few hours.
If you are working with a 3D printer, you must be able to change the filament. The good news is that this isn’t an overly difficult procedure. It only takes a few minutes, and you’ll be back to printing in no time.