Adding New Spool Mid-Print

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Adding New Spool Mid-Print

Post by ata0921 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 6:26 am

I know some people had requested a pause function to change spools during a print, but it turns out that it is possible to simply add another spool while printing.

Not sure if anyone has posted this either, but if its a repeat...SORRY.

Some key things to be aware of when hot swapping spools:

Timing: You don't have to do it superfast, but don't take your time. As soon as the current filament runs through the auto-feeder completely, remove the plastic tubing. Feed the new spool's filament through the feeder and manually press down the trigger activater, feed through the tubing until it exits on the other side. Now you should still have some time before the old plastic enters the extruder, the moment it starts to disappear follow it with the new plastic immediately! Force it down there with some pressure (don't over do it!) and make sure it catches. Check to see if it is actually feeding through by looking at your autofeeder and whethere tension is building up to pull the trigger. Also make sure there isn't any inconsistency in your plastic output.

Cut ends of plastic flat: To make sure that there is no fluctuation on the pressure inside the extruder, cut the end of your old plastic filament flat, as well as the beginning of the new spool's plastic. You want it to be flat so that when the two ends push up against each other in the barrel, there will be no room for "play" and you will lose minimal extrusion force.

Try at your own risk (if there is one)! I just tried it using scraps from 4 spools and it worked everytime.
- Andy

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Re: Adding New Spool Mid-Print

Post by jmgiacalone » Sat Dec 18, 2010 1:06 pm

I would like to add that anyone attempting this should take extreme care.

When I tried hot swapping, I found it hard to get the filament into the moving extruder. Having managed to do this however, I then pushed the new filament in a little too hard and ended up jamming the extruder, thus ruining my print, (which was quite heartbreaking considering I was 6 hours into a 7hour print).

I often find that I end up with plastic left on my reels as the Material counter is not clever enough to know how much material I have used on a failed print (for example if the raft isn't laid down very well, which seems to happen quite often when the head pauses at the end of a thread and pulls up the raft as it moves to the start of the next thread).
So if I think I won't have enough material for a whole print, I end up loading a fresh reel.

I think a pause button would be the best solution.

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Re: Adding New Spool Mid-Print

Post by bashidap » Sat Dec 18, 2010 6:51 pm

Same here! First time it went very well, second time it got stuck. I haven't checked tho if the filament was cut straight.
Next roll there will be another try!

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Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2010 8:24 pm

Re: Adding New Spool Mid-Print

Post by -soapy- » Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:36 pm

jmgiacalone wrote: I think a pause button would be the best solution.
No, the best solution would be if the machine detected the spool was out, then auto-paused. Otherwise you have to stand there and watch it!