Jan. 14, 2021
3D printers have come a long way since they first started appearing on desktops around the world. As desktop 3D printing progressed, so too had the material choices for 3D printing; PLA, ABS, HIPS, nylon, TPU, PEEK—the list is almost endless. It’s important to know how to load and unload filament to prevent clogs, prevent color mixing, and ensure that finished 3D prints are at their peak strength by avoiding mixed material.
It should be straightforward how to load filament into your 3D printer, but if it is not, here are some guidelines on the different mechanisms used to set up your printer for receiving filament.
Some 3D printers make it easy with a “Load filament button” that enables you to load and unload material with the click of a button and automatic movement. This can either be done through the LCD of the 3D printer, or if there are “macros'' within a slicer, they will direct the extruder of the 3D printer to make preset moves to remove and insert filament. 3D printers like the Ultimaker S5 have pictures on the LCD to show you where to insert filament and lists to pick which material you are loading so it can heat properly. The Pulse XE utilizes macros within MatterControl to enable quick material unload and loading with minimal user intervention. For the advanced users, it’s possible to write your own macros as Gcode files that you can select to unload or load material; however, that requires an intimate understanding of that user’s 3D printer and the intricacies of the Gcode language. In any case, if your 3D printer features these loading and unloading abilities, it’s best to follow those steps closely rather than manually make changes.
Loading filament into a 3D printer is almost identical to unloading with a few easy caveats.
For the 3D printers that need a more hands-on approach, unloading material manually is quick and easy once you know the right method.
That’s all there is to it. Knowing how to change filament is a necessary part of the 3D printing process, and with the guidance presented here you should be on your way to 3D printing without any assistance. Every 3D printer is unique in its own way, so be sure to check any manuals or guide provided with your 3D printer initially before trying this all-inclusive method.
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