This small accessory can protect your FFF 3D printer filament from two common issues - cleaning and lubrication.
A sponge wipes the filament clean from any dust particles and prevents them clogging the extruder. By dropping a few drops of common mineral oil on the sponge the filament passing through gets lubricated thus relieving the extruder motor from strain.
Lubrication is specially useful if the filament needs to travel through long tubes before it enters the extruder.
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Step 1: Download and 3D-print the STL File
Download the attached STL file Universal filament filter.stl and 3D-print it on your 3D printer using standard settings. The inside of the barrel-shaped housing is designed to have a sloped angle so that no support material structures are needed.
Therefore it is important that you don't use support structures in your 3D-print settings.
Update: A new version of the filament filter is uploaded. It has a smaller exit hole for the filament which prevents the PTFE filament guide tube entering the filter. (new file: Universal filament filter v02.stl)
Step 2: Cut a Small Piece of Sponge
Cut a small portion of a standard household sponge of roughly the size of the overall outer shape of the 3D-printed filament filter.
Step 3: Insert the Sponge Into the Filament Filter
Use a stick or a pair of tweezers to grab the sponge and poke it into the filter housing.
Step 4: Insert the Filament Through the Filter
Cut the end of the filament at a sharp angle. Poke it into the sponge at one end and force it through the filament barrel until it comes out the other end. Be careful not to hurt yourself! The tip filament is sharp.
Step 5: Place the Filter Between the Spool and the Extruder
Place the filament filter somewhere between the spool and the extruder. If your 3D printer has a plastic tube to guide the filament into the extruder, preferably place the filament filter where the filament enters the tube.
This will reduce the friction of the filament inside the tube. See the example images in this step on how to place the filament filter on different models of 3D printers.
Step 6: Lubricate the Sponge
Appart from wiping off dirt from the filament, the sponge can also apply a tiny amount of lubrication. To do so you just need to drop a few drops of mineral oil onto the sponge.
You can use standard oil which is commonly used for lubricating sewing machines, bicycle chains, door hinges, etc.
Step 7: Secure the Filter in Place When Not in Use
When inserting the filament through the filter, make sure that the filament exists at the same end where there is a small groove.
When you remove the filament from the 3D printer you can bend the end at 90 degrees and fix it into the groove, thus keeping the filter securely to the spool.
/3D-print team at Creative-Tools.com