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How Often Should a Bowden Tube Be Replaced?

The Bowden tube is an essential part of your 3D printer. The motor guides the filament through the line to the print head, keeping it safe from breaking. This part also increases printing speed and makes your final results more accurate.

A Bowden tube should be replaced at least once per year. Over time, the inside can become scratched, damaging the material traveling through it. For the best quality prints, you’ll need to replace them and clean them monthly. 

It can be challenging to see damaged areas on the tube, so it’s necessary to replace it every year. If you don’t print too much, you might be able to get away with replacing it less often. I made sure to include everything about the Bowden tube below, so continue reading!

When To Replace the Bowden Tube

It would be best if you replaced a Bowden tube at least once a year. Letting it go for too long can cause the material to catch on scratches and snap inside it! It can be annoying to deal with this problem, so most people want to prevent it.

However, you may need to replace it sooner if the Bowden tube isn’t working correctly. If this is the case, you might notice it’s harder to feed material through it. 

There’s an easy way to check if you need to replace your tube. To do so, remove the Bowden tube from the printer, then feed a new piece of filament through it. If it catches and doesn’t go through quickly, you’ll need to replace it.

Removing the tube will also let you inspect it more closely. Look for signs of damage, including melting, tearing, chipping, scratching, and wrinkling. If only the end of the tube has damage, you can trim it down and continue using it.

How To Replace a Bowden Tube

Before replacing the Bowden tube, you’ll want to have a tube cutter on hand. They make getting perfect square ends on the new Bowden tube easier. Plus, you can use it to cut damaged ends off the old ones if you want to get more use out of them.

I recommend that you try using the ALLEN TECH PTFE Tube Cutter from Amazon.com. It’s simple to use and gives your cut a smooth edge.

So, let’s go through the steps to replace your Bowden tube:  

  1. To replace the Bowden tube, remove the old one first. You’ll need to unscrew the nozzle, unclamp the tube, then pull it out.
  2. Get the new tube ready by cutting the end and making it as square as possible. 
  3. Then, insert the new tube into the hot end firmly. 
  4. Reclamp the tube into place. 
  5. Finally, screw the nozzle back on.

You’ll know you’ve replaced it right if the printer operates smoothly. A loose or misaligned tube can lead to clogging or runny material. Since each printer is slightly different, make sure you use the correct method!

If you still need to find a quality Bowden tube, you can use the AMX3d PTFE Teflon Bowden Tube from Amazon.com. 

It’s cost-effective, durable, and is highly flexible. There are also two different length options to choose from on the page. I always recommend a longer one so that you can get more bang for your buck and keep trimming the tube down as it deteriorates. 

Overall, replacing the tube isn’t hard. Once you know how to remove it, you do the steps in reverse order to add the new back into the printer.

Why Replacing the Bowden Tube Is Important

Old Bowden tubes can wear out over time. If it were to tear, the printer would stop extruding. You’ll have a mess to deal with! Keeping the Bowden tube clear and clean is essential since you want your prints to turn out well without complications.

The Bowden tube guides the filament to the printing head; the material won’t make it through the hot end without it. Old Bowden tubes can disconnect from the printer, so make sure you check on them before you start printing.

You need to take care of many different parts of your printer. Many people find it more convenient to replace the printer when doing other maintenance. It’s good to have a monthly maintenance routine to ensure your 3D printer lasts as long as possible.

Overall, you’ll want to replace your old Bowden tubes. These parts are essential to making some 3D printer models run as smoothly as possible- you won’t get as good results without them!

How To Clean a Bowden Tube

Neglecting your Bowden tube and never cleaning it will cause it to need replacing sooner than a year. However, cleaning the part isn’t very difficult when you know how to do it.

  1. Every printer is different, so you’ll want to check the manual before starting. Then, follow what it says to remove the Bowden tube. 
  2. Next, use a piece of filament to push a small part of a sponge through the line. You want the sponge piece to be small enough to fit but still large enough to brush against the inner sides of the tube. It should be a tight fit yet still easy to push through. Keep pushing the sponge through to the other side, then repeat a few more times.
  3. Remove all the dust and debris that can build up in the tube. It’s best to clean it out every month to avoid blockages and clogs. When you’ve finished, you can reconnect the tube to your printer.

Overall, it’s not hard to clean the Bowden tube. Doing this every month will significantly increase the lifespan of the part! If you’ve had trouble making the tube last in the past, you probably were not cleaning it enough.

This YouTube video shows the entire process from start to finish:

Final Thoughts

To summarize, you should replace the Bowden tube at least once per year. You’ll want to clean the part out monthly as well, so it can last that long. Leaving a damaged Bowden tube in your machine will only ruin your prints.

Overall, it doesn’t take long to change out the Bowden tube. Having a new, clean one can positively impact how your final prints turn out!