How to Untangle 3D Printer Filaments

A knotted filament spool may not seem like a huge problem until you experience your printer stalling mid-print. Filament knots can go invisible to the naked eye as the surface may look properly wound, however, there may be a knot or two underneath. What causes these knots?

Causes for tangled filaments

  1. Not keeping your filament tightly wound by securing the end
  2. Improper storage of the filament by not securing the end and keeping it horizontal in its box.
  3. Loose spool holders that loosen up the tension of the windings

Tips & Tricks to Untangling a Knotted Filament Spool

Prevention is key when it comes to tangled filaments. Make sure to keep the filament tightly wound at all times by securing the filament end down with tape or inserting it in the designated hole in its spool.

However, if you find yourself with a knotted spool, here are ways you can untangle it:

If your printing stops due to a tangled filament spool

You can untangle your filament spool even during mid-print. While some 3D printers allow unloading the filament in the middle of printing, there are printers that don’t and you have to get creative to be able to solve the problem. You can’t just pull out the filament with a heated end either since it can cause a jam.

If there’s still enough filament between the spool and feeder entrance, you can unmount the spool and move it closer to the feeder entrance, easing the tension of the spool. With the loosened windings, you can pull the slack back through the knot to create a big enough loop to feed the spool through. Once you’ve set everything straight, you can put it back on the spool holder and resume printing.

Another technique is to extrude the filament a little then quickly and evenly remove the filament so that you can unload the filament. Once you have the filament spool, find where the knotted coils are. Once you’ve found it, push the top coils out of the way so that the knot can come into the surface. Grab the errant knot and pull it out of the entanglement. Do it for the other knots until you’ve untangled them all.

You can rewind the loose coils without tangling. It is a painstaking process but it is possible. Wind it so that the coil spins as you wind to prevent future knots. The hand that’s holding the loose filament should have a loose grip and should be freely winding through the spool. Don’t forget to secure the end to prevent it from unwinding and tangling again.

If you have wrist problems, you can simply just cut off the loose parts and chalk it up to a loss. For a more visual demonstration, watch the video here.

Get continuous printing with untangled filaments!

Don’t let tangles get in the way of your 3D printing. For more inquiries, you can contact us by phone and email. Ran out of filaments? Stock up on our popular X3D Pro filament line here! You also get free shipping for orders above $50.

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