Universal 3D-print Filament Filter

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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

Step 8: Watch a Video


For more information and questions please comment this instructables or visit http://Creative-Tools.com

Instructable by Creative Tools

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    14 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    My prints keep having micro pitting, I am not sure what the cause of this is because it just recently started, I have tried different slicers, and some of my filament comes in cartridges with silica packets, so it shouldn't be too much water content. Do I need a filter?

    4 replies

    It is very difficult to know exactly what is the cause of the pitting issue. One would need to know more such as:

    - Brand and model of 3D printer
    - Brand and type of filament
    - The slicer and settings used

    Da Vinci 1.0 with stock filament, and I am using slic3r. I have tried using the original slicing program that came with the machine, but I have the same problem. That is the reason I think it isn't a computer problem. My printer just started doing this without me changing anything, so I don't think it is that....


    Reply 3 years ago

    I would question the filament first, those silica packs help but they aren't a solution.. I work in a professional print lab and even in sealed cartridges with silica packets sealed inside with it, if we don't seal cartridges in ziplock bags in between use, the filament sucks moisture out of the air and we get pitted prints from the moisture vaporizing inside the filament.

    Plus I mean, trying new filament is probably the cheapest thing to replace. Oh wait.. Da vinci uses proprietary cartridges too huh? Might not be so cheap then :(


    Reply 3 years ago

    Pretty much my situation...I tried opening the cartridge and sealing the roll in a plastic bag, didn't help. Support is a joke, at this point I want to sell my printer and build a cheap delta machine with better print quality and much faster.


    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)


    4 years ago

    Point of Interest: Mineral Oil has a flash point of 170 degrees C. ABS filament is extruded at 225 degrees C.

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Point of Interest 2 :

    (taken from wikipedia)

    The flash point is not to be confused with the autoignition temperature, which does not require an ignition source, or the fire point,
    the temperature at which the vapor continues to burn after being
    ignited. Neither the flash point nor the fire point is dependent on the
    temperature of the ignition source, which is much higher.

    Mineral oil will vaporize before it exits the nozzle.

    I think that silicone oil would make more damage than good on the structural strength of the 3D-printed part because of its much higher flash point.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the interesting comments and feedback.

    We have throughout more than 7 years of 3D-printing with filaments and experimentation still not experienced any flames or fire. Luckily! :)


    4 years ago on Introduction

    This is a very cool idea!! Certainly one of the first things to print when my printer is ready to.

    About the mineral oil, have you noticed any difference on your prints? I mean, doesn't it affect the melted plastic? Possibly it make it even easier to clean your nozzle, as the plastic might not adhere so well inside the hotend ?

    Thank you for sharing!!

    3 replies

    Thanks for your question!

    We have made many tests to see if there is any difference in part-strength but have not found any indication that lubricated parts would be weaker.

    On the contrary. In general terms, the more reliable an FFF 3D-printer runs (implying the use of lubricated filament) the better the adherence between layers - thus yielding a stronger part.

    If an FFF 3D printer runs with filament-feeding irregularities, the a weaker model is produced, regardless of it being lubricated or not.

    Thank you for your answer!

    That is very nice actually! Proves that there's still a lot to improve on 3D printing technics.

    By the way, what filaments have you tried with it? PLA, ABS, Nylon?

    Oh my, I can't wait to finish my printer!!!

    We 3D-print with almost any polymer out there which can be turned into filament. We have a filament extrusion machine which we use to test different materials.

    Lubricating filament in the guide-tube and extruder is always good for 3D-print quality, regardless of the type of plastic.