The first thing you should adjust if you’re new to 3D printing is the printer’s filament. While a spool of filament can last quite a while, you may wish to change up the colors to better match different prints. A Batman bust, for example, does not appear as frightening in white filament as it would in a darker material. Luckily, changing the filament on your 3D printer is quite straightforward, whether you’re simply changing the color of the filament or changing the materials. Many printers may even have preconfigured options in their menus to either automate the process or walk the user through the necessary steps. Here are some of the best tips for properly changing a 3D printer filament
Removing the Old Filament
The first step is to remove the currently loaded filament. To accomplish this, you must first heat the nozzle to the melting temperature of the filament you’re using. If you’re unsure about the temperature, look on the side of the spool or on the manufacturer’s website for the recommended temperature range. To melt the filament from the end of the nozzle, navigate to your printer’s hot end temperature settings. Turn this value to the appropriate temperature and manually push a small amount of filament through the hot end until you can see it extruding from the nozzle, then gently pull the filament in the opposite direction to remove it from the hot end.
Installing New Filament
It’s time to load the new filament of your choosing now that you have a free and clear extruder. Use the following steps for this process.
- Remove the filament from the extruder and cut a sharp angle on the end of the strand to assist it in entering the extruder. You can achieve this by holding the filament and cutting its tip at a 45° angle with scissors.
- Fill the extruder with the new material. The filament will not be precisely straight when it emerges from the circular spool. Straighten a short two-inch portion at the end of the strand by gently bending it.
- Squeeze the extruder arm lever and place the filament between the toothed extruder gear and the idler pulley to feed the filament.
- Push the filament through slowly with the arm still squeezed.
Purging the Nozzle
It’s time to feed your new filament through the nozzle now that it’s arrived. However, before you can use the new filament, you must remove the old filament from the nozzle. This will ensure the old filament is removed from the hot end and that only the fresh filament is printed. When switching from a higher to a lower temperature material, it’s vital to remember that you should keep the nozzle temperature at the higher setting until the purging is finished. If you are planning to switch to a more abrasive material, such as Nylon Carbon Fiber for example, you will want to make sure that you are using an appropriate abrasion-resistant nozzle before extruding the new material. To purge the nozzle, simply go to your extruder settings and change the extruder axis. Doing so will feed the rest of the filament through until you reach the new filament.
We hope this article has given you some great tips on changing your 3D printer filament! If you are looking to buy any type of filament—from carbon fiber reinforced nylon filament to PETG filament—be sure to reach out to Filamatrix!