How to Change Your 3D Printer Filament.
One of the first things you’ll want to do with your new 3D printer is learn how to change filament. This step by step guide will teach you how to change filament spools without damaging or clogging your extruder nozzle.
These instructions work for most FDM printers from Creality Ender 3 to Voxelab Aquila S2 and Anycubic Kobra. However, it’s always a good idea to read the manual for your 3D printer, especially if you’re new to 3D printing or using a model you’ve never used before.
How to Change the Filament on Your 3D Printer
There are several common reasons for changing filaments.
1-You have reached the end of the thread on the spool.
-You want to use a different thread type.
3-You want to change the thread in the middle of printing to achieve the effect.
The current thread is broken.
Whatever the reason you want to replace your filaments, the steps are pretty much the same.
1. Turn on the printer
Make sure your printer is turned on. The nozzle must be hot to replace the filament. If this is not the case, you may not be able to clear the old filament and may not be able to load new filament up to the tip of the nozzle.
2. Set the desired hot end temperature
You need to know the recommended print temperature range for the filament already loaded in the printer (if any) and the recommended temperature for the filament you want to load. Heat the hot end to the higher of the two temperatures. This will prevent extrusion problems in the future.
That’s why. While you are loading the new filament, there can be two different types of filament in the nozzle at the same time – some old filament, as well as the new filament that you are loading. The nozzle temperature must be high enough to melt both types. Otherwise, you may end up with a clogged nozzle.
For example, imagine you are printing from PETG and want to switch to PLA filament. Because PETG melts at a higher temperature, if you set the temperature for PLA, the PETG may not completely melt or blow out completely during filament replacement. This is the most common mistake people make when changing filament.
3. Delete the old thread
Some printers have a menu item on the printer’s LCD screen for unloading existing filament. On other printers, this may be a completely manual process. Refer to your printer’s documentation. If this happens automatically, use this option and follow the instructions on the screen.
When manually removing old filament, if the nozzle is too close to the printer bed for you to slip your fingers under it, find your printer’s Move Axis command and raise the Z axis about 50mm.
Then turn off the stepper motors. Usually it’s in the control settings. Alternatively, you can send a g-code command, m18.
Some Bowden tube printers, such as the Ender 3 Pro, have a manual extruder lever to release the filament from the stepper motor. Pull the filament very gently until it completely separates from the printer. Be careful not to pull too hard. You may break the thread.
If there is a lot of resistance, double check the temperature of the hot end; make sure the stepper motors are off and if you have a bowden extruder make sure you use the manual extruder lever if needed.
After you’ve removed the filament, try blowing compressed air through the extruder gear to remove any accumulated plastic flakes.
4. Prepare and load the new thread
Examine the new thread. Make sure there are no kinks, weak spots or gouges. You want the thread to look and feel pristine. Your fingertips are very sensitive, so run your fingers along the thread for a few feet to see if you can feel any blemishes. If you do, cut off that part of the thread and discard it.
While you are checking the thread, make sure it does not unwind from the spool. You don’t want the thread to cross or tangle.
To prepare new thread, use wire shears or a razor blade to cut the thread at a 45 degree angle. It should be sharp at the tip. This ensures that it is easily inserted into the printer. Place the spool of thread on the spool holder before continuing.
1-If your printer has a menu item to load filament, find it and follow the on-screen instructions.
2- If this is not the case and it is a Bowden printer, make sure you use the manual release when threading new filament through the Bowden tube.
3-If your printer has a filament runout detector, make sure you load the filament through it.
Push the filament until the purge is complete and you can see the molten filament coming out of the nozzle. Make sure the color matches the color of the new filament you are loading.
After you have replaced the filament, make sure the hot end temperature is set to the recommended temperature for the newly loaded filament. If you loaded it manually, once it reaches the target temperature, push in some more filament. If the hot end temperature is set higher than the filament you are loading, you need to load new filament quickly and adjust the hot end temperature right away to keep the filament from getting too hot.
Remove any filament that has been extruded. Make sure the nozzle is clean and ready to go.
What to Do If You Run Out of Filament in the Middle of a Print
If you have a low filament detector, your printer will warn you that you are out of filament. Follow the steps above to remove the old thread and load the new thread.
Typically, you want to load a new spool of filament before the existing filament runs out completely. If the filament is so short that it goes past the extruder gear, you may need to disassemble the hot end to get it out. In our opinion, a filament end sensor is a must. If your printer doesn’t have it, consider adding it.
When replacing the filament with the same type of filament, you can leave the hot end temperature as it is. Otherwise, follow the instructions above.
If your printer does not have a settings menu item for changing filament, you can send the g-code m600 to the printer. This will pause printing and move the print head out of the way so it’s not touching your print. You can now load a new thread as described above. Send g-code m602 to resume printing.
To troubleshoot any other issues, see our Filament 3D Printing Troubleshooting Tips.
How to Change Your 3D Printer Filament
How to Change Your 3D Printer Filament