Bowden tubes are essential 3D printing accessories that many 3D printers come equipped with. They can be used to print objects at high speeds or for specific purposes. However, if you accidentally disconnect a Bowden tube while using your printer, you’ll need to reattach it to continue printing.
Here’s how to reattach a Bowden tube in 7 easy steps:
- Switch off and unplug the printer.
- Disconnect the Bowden tube from the 3D printer.
- Clean the Bowden tube with isopropyl alcohol.
- Insert the Bowden tube into the connector.
- Tighten the connector.
- Plug the 3D printer into the power socket.
- Test the connection.
The rest of this article will outline each step in more detail. If your PTFE tube keeps popping off and you need a quick and effective fix, keep reading.
1. Switch Off and Unplug the Printer
First, you need to switch off your 3D printer. Once it’s shut down, you can unplug the power cord from the back of the printer.
Disconnecting the printer from the wall socket protects you from an electric shock and prevents the risk of damaging your machine.
Note: It’s wise to unplug the printer before undertaking any maintenance or repairs, just to be on the safe side.
2. Disconnect the Bowden Tube From the 3D Printer
Once your printer is switched off and unplugged, you can disconnect the Bowden tube from your 3D printer. To do this, first look for where the Bowden tube enters into the printer’s extruder assembly (the place where the plastic filament is melted before it’s deposited).
There will be two parts to this entry point: one end of the Bowden tube will sit in an opening or port on your extruder assembly, while another end will connect to a threaded section that screws into another part of your printer.
To disconnect the Bowden tube, you need to unscrew the threaded section (the end that isn’t in the extruder). Be careful not to lose or damage any parts of your printer. You can use a wrench or pair of pliers to help you loosen the section if necessary.
Once the threaded section is loose, you should be able to pull on either end of the Bowden tube until it comes undone from the rest of your 3D printer.
3. Clean the Bowden Tube With Isopropyl Alcohol
After disconnecting your printer’s Bowden tube, it’s crucial to clean the PTFE-lined tube before reattaching it. The inside of the PTFE tubing may be dirty or contaminated with old plasticized filament (which can cause further jams).
To clean your Bowden tube, you should use diluted isopropyl alcohol and a paper towel. First, check if any small filament pieces stick out of your printer’s Bowden tube (this could indicate that the end is blocked). If pieces are poking out, pull them back into the extruder assembly; this will avoid snagging on the part where the Bowden tube attaches to its threaded section.
If no pieces of filament are sticking out, you can proceed to clean the tube. You should moisten a paper towel with some isopropyl alcohol and wipe away any potential dust or debris on the inside of your Bowden tube. You should do this over a sink just to be safe.
4. Insert the Bowden Tube Into the Connector
After cleaning and drying your PTFE-lined tube, it’s time to attach the tube to its threaded section. You should do this by holding the Bowden tube with one hand and tightening the back end with your other hand until you can feel a firm connection between both parts.
When you insert the PTFE-lined tube, ensure it enters into the opening without any snagging or resistance. If there is any resistance, check if the opening port on your printer’s extruder assembly is free from obstruction.
5. Tighten the Connector
Once your Bowden tube has been inserted into its opening port, you should tighten the back end using either a wrench or a pair of pliers. To do this, hold your Bowden tube steady with one hand and twist its threaded end (the end that you unscrewed earlier) with the other until it’s firmly secured.
If you’re using a wrench or pair of pliers, you should take care not to damage the threads on your printer’s Bowden tube; this could make reattachment even harder and cause further problems.
Here’s a video demo that will come in handy when disconnecting and connecting your Bowden tube:
6. Plug the 3D Printer Into the Power Socket
After reattaching your printer’s Bowden tube, you should plug your 3D printer into the power socket and switch it on again. Now that your Bowden tube is back in place, you can begin using your 3D printer for its intended purpose again.
Remember: Ensure the printer is off before plugging it into the power socket. This prevents any short circuits or electrical safety hazards.
7. Test the Connection
Before resuming normal printing operations, it’s wise to perform final tests on your connection first. To do this, load up a filament spool into your 3D printer (even if it’s empty) and attempt to print something; if everything is working fine, you’ll see some plasticized material coming out of the machine and quickly cooling down.
If the machine doesn’t seem to extrude any material at all, check the back of the filament feeder (where you reattached your Bowden tube) for any possible jams or obstructions.
However, if your printer still doesn’t succeed in extruding any material after these steps (or if it only spits out filament drops), you should consider buying a new Bowden tube altogether. Sometimes, Bowden tubes are too severely damaged to be repaired, so it’s cheaper to buy a brand-new one in the long run.
If you need a quality Bowden tube, I recommend this Creality Capricorn Bowden Tubing from Amazon.com. This premium product is designed to ensure you get accurate, quality prints in a short time, making it one of the best options to try.
Here are some key things to remember:
- If you ever encounter problems with your filament feeder, you should always check the Bowden tube first for possible blockages or obstructions.
- It’s crucial to keep your Bowden tube clean at all times because grime and other contaminants can cause jams or further complications inside the printer’s assembly. You should also clean the Bowden tube before reattaching.
- Ensure your 3D printer is turned off before plugging it into a power socket or connecting/disconnecting anything. This reduces the risk of electric shocks and prevents damage to any connected parts.
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I started 3D printing since 2013 and have learned a lot since then. Because of this I want to share my knowledge of what I have learned in the past years with the community. Currently I own 2 Bambulab X1 Carbon, Prusa SL1S and a Prusa MK3S+. Hope you learn something from my blog after my years of experience in 3D printing.