3D Filament Fuser

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Introduction: 3D Filament Fuser

This instructable is for a 3D Filament Fuser/Welder/Joiner to join 2 pieces of 3mm 3D Filament together.

Step 1: The Heating Element

Take a hair straightener (25mm wide) that can heat up to 230°C. Mount this on a stand to keep the straightener from moving around all over the workspace.

Step 2: Filament Holder/Guide

Cut a piece of PTFE (PTFE tubing can withstand temperatures up to 680 °F for limited periods of time.*Above 500 °F, mechanical properties become a limiting factor) tube approximately 36mm long (here’s the trick, the ID of the PTFE must be 3mm, OD was 5mm). Any bigger ID will make the process a lot more complicated, nearly impossible (Tried and tested that, didn’t get any good results).

Step 3: Applying Pressure on PTFE Tube

Put a piece of tape around the hair straightener in order to get some pressure down on the PTFE tube. (This helps the PTFE tube from sliding around on the plates to loosely, and prevents it from just falling out.) Also ensures that heat is sufficiently transferred to the filament.

Step 4: Filament Heating

Switch on the hair straightener on 220 - 230°C. PTFE Tube must be inside the hair straightener before switching it on. Wait for 1 minute before inserting the 2 filaments.

Step 5: Fusing the 2 Filaments

Insert the 2 filaments into the PTFE tube. Apply pressure by pressing the 2 filaments together, keeping pressure until the 2 filaments fuse together. Check whilst pressing the 2 filaments together that the filament remains in a straight line. This step will take a bit of mastering, but will make or break the joint.

Step 6: Removing the Filament

Remove the filament from the hair straightener, and allow it to cool down for a few minutes. Put it under a fan to speed up cooling. Remove the PTFE tube by sliding it along the filament.

Step 7: The End Product

This should be the end result.

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    20 Discussions

    0
    Springfield-Jack
    Springfield-Jack

    3 years ago

    Why not cut the PTFE tube in a spiral so that it can be removed when joining two spools?

    0
    doug_scott
    doug_scott

    Reply 2 months ago

    No need to worry about taking the PTFE tube off after the joint is done, pretty sure you will still end up with a free end to slid it off after you roll the new piece onto your old roll. You could put it back into the "Fuser" after it cools if you don't want to hang onto the tube.

    0
    Hamster14
    Hamster14

    Reply 2 months ago

    Yes, one can leave it on and I would just monitor so often that it does slid along the filament nicely.....until the next joint or fusion is to be made.

    0
    Zaphod Beetlebrox
    Zaphod Beetlebrox

    Reply 3 years ago

    Loss of rigidity would probably negate the selected interior diameter of the PTFE tube.

    0
    Hamster14
    Hamster14

    Reply 3 years ago

    Hi Zaphod, you are right, as soon as you cut the PTFE tube, you loose the rigidity thereof. When trying to then join the filament, the PTFE tube flairs open, leaving you with a spoiled joint.

    0
    Springfield-Jack
    Springfield-Jack

    Reply 3 years ago

    How about placing the spiral cut or maybe just sliced length ways, in a split metal tube?Slightly more complicated but removable.

    0
    NeilRG
    NeilRG

    Reply 6 months ago

    I have contemplated a metal tube but making one would require a lathe or at least a drill press, both of which I have, but which many in the community do not. Still, it might be possible to find brass tubing at a hobby shop, or copper tubing at a home center, or forming half tubes around the shank of a drill bit of the right size. In any case I would solder the half tubes to a small brass or copper plate to improve heat transfer.

    0
    Zaphod Beetlebrox
    Zaphod Beetlebrox

    Reply 3 years ago

    I think any cut that you make will also decree the ID, it might not be a big enough difference to mater but maybe it would. Most filaments specify a tolerance of 0.05mm. If you have a Bowden set up you could just leave the tube on, it won't be able to go through to the extruder wheel. At least not on my printer, could be different for you. I think the lengthwise cut would be better than the spiral. But might cause the same problem.

    0
    NeilRG
    NeilRG

    6 months ago

    Well presented. I have an idea that might help. Put two pieces of wood on either side of the straightener to help keep the filament aligned. If one lacks the ability to cut the wood with the required accuracy, one could use screws facing upward from the fixed support set into blind holes in the wood that aligns the filament, then nuts threaded onto the screws would provide the height adjustment.

    0
    Hamster14
    Hamster14

    Reply 6 months ago

    Thanks for the suggestion. Would consider looking into it.

    1
    DIY Hacks and How Tos

    Good idea. Then you can just seamlessly go from one spool to the next.

    0
    Hamster14
    Hamster14

    Reply 3 years ago

    Works perfectly.

    0
    CharlesS17
    CharlesS17

    1 year ago

    I can't thank you enough for this idea ... I've been all over the internet trying to buy a filament splicing tool. This is about as cheap a solution as I can think of that is also effective and "clean" (no candles / flames / etc). I tried this a couple times, each iron is a little different, I found 250C was good at setting for my iron to get the filament to join. I also dipped my filament in acetone to clean the ends and pretack them as well. Cheers. Two thumbs up!

    0
    spurgco
    spurgco

    1 year ago

    Thank you for this! I think I have managed to weld 3 spools together now. Very simple and easy to source.

    0
    Hamster14
    Hamster14

    Reply 1 year ago

    Pleasure, Glad this was of help.

    0
    markk7
    markk7

    3 years ago

    That's great, and hair straighteners are much easier to find at the thrift store than a hot-end (like in other designs I've seen). Gotta try this

    0
    Hamster14
    Hamster14

    Reply 3 years ago

    Definately agree, better to use everyday available materials, and is a bonus when it works well too.

    0
    Hamster14
    Hamster14

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank you.