Want to change the filament on your Ender 3, but aren't sure how best to do it? Learn the easiest, quickiest, and smartest way.
If you’re new to the Ender 3, the first thing you may want to change, however, is the filament. For instance, Batman, a.k.a. the Dark Knight, just doesn’t look as intimidating in the stock white filament. Changing the filament color to black would produce a more authentic effect.
Whether you’re simply changing the color of the filament or changing materials, the process for an Ender 3 filament change is the same. And on the Ender 3, there are some extra steps to ensure none of the old filament transfers over. Follow these three easy steps, and you will be switching filament like a pro.
The first step in an Ender 3 filament change is to remove the filament currently loaded. In order to do this, you have to heat up the nozzle to the melting temperature of specific filament (see spool for exact temperature).
To get there: Turn on the Ender 3 and click the control knob to bring up the menu. Scroll to Control Settings > Temperature > Nozzle.
Wait for the hot end to reach the desired temperature. Then, squeeze the extruder lever to release the grip on the filament, withdraw the filament, and remove the spool. This is a good time to thread the end of the filament into one of holes on the edge of the spool so that it is held in place for storage.
Now your hot end to free to accept a different filament.
Now that you have a free and clear nozzle, it’s time to load the new filament of choice. Cut a sharp angle on the end of the filament to help it enter the extruder. Feed the new material into the extruder.
As the filament comes off the circular spool, it is not going to be perfectly straight. Therefore, it may help to gently bend the end of the filament to straighten about a 2-inch section. This will make it easier to guide it into the extruder and the Bowden tube.
Push the new filament along until you feel firm resistance. This means it has reached the nozzle.
Now that your new filament is at the nozzle, it’s time to feed it through the nozzle with the extruder. But, before you can start using the new filament you must purge the old filament from the nozzle. This will ensure that the old filament is gone from the hot end and you will be printing only from the new filament.
Note: If you are changing from a higher temperature material to a lower temperature material, you should set the nozzle temperature to the higher value until the purging is complete.
The Ender 3 has some features in its software to help purge the old filament. Click the control knob to open the settings menu and scroll to Move Axis -> 1 mm -> Nozzle -> 15 to 20.
The extruder will start feeding material through the nozzle, which will purge the old filament and feed in the new filament. You may want to do this more than once to ensure all of the old filament is out of the nozzle.
The nozzle is purged once you see the new color or material flow out the nozzle.
That’s it! You’ve complete and Ender 3 filament change. Now you’re ready to start a new project or continue 3D printing the same. Just don’t forget to check that the settings are now correct for the new filament!
Interested in modifying your Ender 3 more? Check out these related articles:
Feature image source: RFrogner / All3DP
License: The text of "Ender 3: Change Filament – The Easiest Way to Do It" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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