Can you Change 3D Printer’s Filament Mid Print?

Changing the filament is a regular activity when you want to print with a different color or material. The process of changing is pretty simple in most Bowden 3D printers like Ender 3, Ender V2, etc. We’ll provide you with a detailed step-by-step guide to change your 3D printer’s filament.

How to change a 3d printer filament?

In short, preheat the filament to its melting temperature; for example, the melting temperature of PLA is 180 degrees Celsius. Then, press the extruder to release its grip from the filament. Pull the filament outwards, and now cut the tip of the new filament at a 45° angle. Then, press the extruder again and push it inside towards the nozzle.

Here’s the 3 Step Process to Change filament of your 3D Printer

1. Taking Out the Old Filament

As common sense says before feeding new filament, you need to remove the old filament, so the steps to make that happen

  • Preheat the filament: So, Before pulling the filament, you need to heat up the hotend to the filament’s melting temperature. Below is a chart showing the melting temperature of the most commonly used 3D printing filament materials.
MaterialMelting Temperature Range
PLA180°C – 210°C
ABS210°C – 240°C
PETG220°C – 250°C
TPU220°C – 250°C
Nylon250°C – 300°C
  • Press the Extruder: When the temperature reaches the melting temperature of the filament currently in use, press the extruder’s lever to release its grip from the filament.
  • Unloading Filament: Keep the pressure on the extruder’s lever to keep the filament free from the extruder’s grips. Then, start unloading the filament by pulling it outwards or you can say the “opposite direction of the hotend”.

2. Feeding New Filament

After following the above steps, your extruder is now free. Now, it’s time to load the new filament into the machine.

  • Cutting the Filament: You can’t directly insert the filament into the extruder because the extruder’s hole has a diameter only slightly larger than the filament’s 1.75mm diameter. To insert it smoothly, you need to cut the tip of the filament at a 45° angle. If you might find it hard to cut the filament at 45° angle with scissors or a cutter like many of us. Worry not! Since you own a 3D printer, you can easily 3D print a filament guide, making your future filament changing processes much easier.

Filament Cutter STL – https://www.printables.com/model/67509-filament-cutter-45deg

  • Press the extruder: After cutting the filament at a 45° angle, press the extruder’s lever, as you did when unloading the filament, to detach the idler from the stepper gear.
  • Insert the Filament: Now keep the pressure on the extruder’s lever to keep idler detached from stepper gear and then try to insert the filament, you might face some difficulty in inserting  the filament due to the curved shape from being rolled on a spool. You’ll need to maneuver the filament slightly to pass it through the extruder into the PTFE tube.

3. Prepare the Nozzle

“Now, you have completed 99% of the work, but there is still some material left in the nozzle. It’s time to flush that out.”

Heat the Nozzle: Heat the nozzle to the filament’s melting temperature, just like you did when removing the filament. But make sure of one thing: suppose the previously loaded filament was PETG with a melting temperature of 240°C, and now you’ve loaded PLA with a melting temperature of 200°C. Firstly, heat the hotend to the PETG’s melting temperature.

Purge: After heating the hotend to PETG’s melting temperature, push the filament manually or use the extrude option inside the “move axis” menu of your 3D printer. Once all the PETG has been purged from the nozzle and PLA starts coming out, revert back to PLA’s melting temperature. Now Your  3D printer is ready for printing.

Conclusion

Changing the filament is pretty easy as the guide above shows. The steps which are given in the guide are not only applicable to Bowden 3D printers but also to 3D printers with a direct drive extruder. In fact, I would say it’s even easier with a direct drive system. The only difference comes in the setup: in the Bowden system, the extruder is away from the hotend and connected via a PTFE tube, while with a direct drive system, the extruder is attached directly to the hotend.

FAQ

Can you change the 3D filament mid print?

  • Yes, you can change filament in the mid print by pausing your print, unloading the filament before the hotend cools down, loading the new filament, and then clicking on resume print.

How do you swap filaments?

  • To swap the filament, first, preheat the filament to its melting temperature. Then, hold the extruder’s lever to release its grip on the filament, unload it, cut the tip of the new filament at a 45-degree angle, and insert it into the extruder.

How do you remove filaments from a 3D printer?

  • To remove filament from a 3D printer is quite simple. Just preheat the filament to its melting temperature and press the extruder’s lever to release its grip from the filament, then pull the filament in the opposite direction of the hotend.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *