How To Get Filament Out Of 3D Printer?

Cheryl Owens18 Mar 2022

No matter how careful you are, the filament can always get stuck inside your 3D printer. To clean filament out of a 3D printer without harming the machine, you’ll need some simple supplies and a few tricks up your sleeve. If it's been a while since you've last printed, then this is the perfect guide to show you how to remove the filament from your 3D printer.

3D Printer Basics

Before we get started, it's important to understand the basics of 3D printing. A 3D printer is a machine that uses melted materials to create three-dimensional objects. These objects are printed layer by layer on a horizontal printing surface that makes up the printer’s build platform. The thing is then cooled and hardened with a “support material.” That’s the result: you have something tangible in your hands.

What are the causes of filament getting stuck in your 3D printer?

The filament can get stuck in your 3D printer because the filament spool can spin too fast, you are using a new material, or the extruder is clogged with filament. If it's been a while since you've last printed, then this is the perfect guide to show you how to remove the filament from your 3D printer. The best way to avoid getting filament stuck inside of your 3D printer is to take care when printing and follow these steps:

  • Keep the print bed clean and clear
  • Make sure that the build plate is level
  • Don't overheat or melt the filament
  • Keep an eye on how your prints are progressing
  • Stop and remove any builds that finish slowly or smell funny
  • Use a small tool like a needle or tweezers to remove any filament from the extruder
  • Put some silicone oil on a paper towel before trying to pull the filament out of the extruder

Preventing and cleaning filament from your 3D printer

If you're tight on time and don't have a lot of supplies around your house, you can use water. It's a fast and easy cleaning method that won't break the bank or strain your printer. To prevent the filament from getting stuck inside your 3D printer, make sure that there aren't any obstructions in the print path. You'll also want to make sure that there aren't any loose wires or plugs near the opening of the filament spool holder. These two small measures will help keep the filament clean and free-flowing when it enters the print head so that it doesn't get stuck there. To clean filament from your 3D printer, dampen a rag with cold water and wring out most of the excess liquid before placing it over one of the nozzles. Then, use gentle pressure to remove any remaining filament from the inside of your 3D printer. This should take care of any leftovers without causing damage to your machine.

How to remove the filament from your 3D printer

If you've been noticing filament sticking out of your 3D printer, it's time to pull out the tools and get ready to clean the machine. The following tools are required.

  • A pair of scissors
  • Current filament
  • A pair of tweezers
  • Replacement filament
  • A screwdriver

To start, remove the filament from the extruder nozzles. This can be done by unscrewing them with a screwdriver. Then, use a long-handled tool or a pair of pliers to push the filament back down into the extruder. You may want to take this opportunity to clean up any leftover plastic that has accumulated in your extruder as well. Next, set up your workspace for clearing away the old filament. A small table or cutting board will work just fine for this job. Finally, make sure you have some acetone on hand before beginning any cleaning process. This is an essential part of removing filament from your 3D printer without damaging it in any way. Pour acetone over the old-filament strand until it melts completely into a liquid form. Then, slowly pour it down into your extruder nozzle and let it run through as new filament begins to form at the bottom of your nozzle basket. Another method: Your filament is only oozing out (not stuck). If unknown reasons (e.g., the last person to use the printer did not feed it correctly) has made bits of filament stick out from the spool, then this is what you can do to get it out of there: Take a portion of the subassembly with the tweezers protruding the most. Peel back any edges that stick to themselves and remove them wholly by force. If you struggle to rip apart any extruding portion, just cut through with scissors, as long as it allows painless removal afterward.

Cleaning up after using a hot glue gun

If you’ve been printing with a hot glue gun, then you know how much gunk can get stuck in between your layers. To remove that gunk, you’ll need a dry paper towel and a little patience. Start by wrapping the wet paper towel around one of the extruders to remove the majority of the gunk. Then gently slide it around to clean out all the nooks and crannies. If you need other troubleshooting tips, don't forget to check out our guide on fixing common problems with 3D printers.

How to clean filament from a hot glue gun

First, you’ll need a hot glue gun. (If you don't have one, you can use a regular glue gun and silicone). Once you’ve got a hot glue gun, plug it in and let it get to the right temperature. Next, take the filament out of your 3D printer and tie a knot at the end of it. Next, put the knot into the hot glue gun’s nozzle and hold it there for about 15-30 seconds. Then, pull the filament back out of the nozzle as slowly as possible. Immediately wipe off any excess glue with paper towels. This trick should be able to clean out any extraneous filament that might be stuck in your 3D printer's nozzle. If you don't have a tool like this handy, then using a razor blade can also be an option - but proceed with caution as blades can cause damage if not handled correctly! A sharp razor blade can cut through PLA, and ABS filaments like butter, so make sure it's clean before slicing into your spool. Using this method, pull down on one end of the filament until it breaks loose from its connection before continuing upwards towards where your extruder will feed material into it until finally breaking through at its weakest point.

Cheryl Owens

Cheryl Owens

Welcome to Printlitic! 3D printing became a hobby of mine 5 years ago with an earlier model of Anycubic printer. Since then, I have grown to love seeing what people can build & create, and how these printers can change the world.

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