Tips & Tricks: Make the Most of Your Filament
As we mentioned in our Build Plate Maintenance post, the MOD-t uses PLA – a plant-based, non-toxic filament. PLA behaves like many other plastics: it’s flexible, but it can still break.
Plastics are complicated and can be unpredictable from time to time. PLA is no exception. We can’t say for certain that treating your filament one way or another will guarantee a snap-free spool, but we do have some tips to help you make the most of your filament.
Check For Cracks
The MOD-t can sense filament breaks that happen outside of the Filament Entry Port (on the back side of the MOD-t). If filament snaps before entering this slot, your MOD-t will “notice” and pause your print so you can switch out filament before continuing the print job. However, there’s no way for the MOD-t to monitor filament within the Filament Guide Tube, so breaks inside this tube will go unnoticed and could lead to your MOD-t printing without filament. Make it a habit to check the filament in the Filament Guide Tube yourself! After all, the tube is clear, so looking shouldn’t be difficult.
Check your filament before starting each print. If you see slight kinks, bends, or cracks, it’s better to play it safe by switching out your filament. Unload your filament, use the Utility Cutters provided to remove damaged filament, and reload the unblemished filament.
Think of your filament spool as a Slinky. The filament is wound tightly a specific way and will spring back to this orientation when it’s unwound. Just like a Slinky, filament will tangle and knot if the unwound spool is twisted the wrong way. This is why it’s important to take care of your spools of filament.
Don’t unwind your spool more than necessary. It is difficult to re-wind your spool without tangles.
Don’t forget to tuck the end of your filament spool into the hole on the edge of the plastic spool. This will help prevent your spool from tangling.
Excessive force can also cause filament breaks. Avoid pushing or twisting your filament in awkward angles. Make sure your filament does not fall off of the provided spool holder, as this sudden jerking movement could also cause a snap. If you’re using a 1 Kg spool, your filament spool should stay put on the holder. If you’re using a 0.5 Kg spool of filament, you can use the Half Kilogram Spool Converter to keep your spool in place and prevent falls.
If you find that your filament is snapping on the way into the MOD-t, you can also try moving the filament holder so that it is perpendicular to your MOD-t and the filament does not have to bend to go into the Filament Entry Port.
Keep It Clean
Dirt, dust, and debris can harm your filament and cause filament snaps. The MOD-t feeds filament through a cleaner as it pulls in filament, but it’s still best to keep filament as clean as possible. Avoid storing filament on the floor or ground and don’t excessively handle your filament, as your skin could transfer dirt and oils. One way to keep your filament fresh is by storing filament in Ziploc bags when not in use. These bags will also help protect your filament from excessive moisture, which could also contribute to filament snaps.
The possibilities are endless with New Matter’s wide variety of filament options. Take care of your filament, and you’ll have even more success with your MOD-t and all of your printing projects!