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The feeder pushes the filament from the spool through the Bowden tube all the way to the print head. Cleaning the feeder and setting the correct tension are important to ensure good and consistent extrusion of the filament.
Cleaning the feeder
After a lot of printing, the knurled wheel in the material feeder can accumulate small filament particles. It is recommended to check and clean the feeder every three to six months (depending on your printing hours), or when you experience extrusion problems.
|Unload material||First, remove the filament from the printer. In the Material menu, select Change. Take the filament out of the feeder. It is recommended to remove the spool from the spool holder for better access to the feeder.|
|Clean the feeder||To clean the feeder and the knurled wheel, you can either use (compressed) air, or a small brush (such as an old toothbrush). Make sure all the filament particles are removed.|
|Reload||Place the spool back onto the spool holder. Follow the steps on the display and insert the filament into the feeder.|
Tip: If you are cleaning the feeder after you had problems with material grinding, make sure to cut off the damaged piece of material before reloading the filament. Also check for material particles in the Bowden tube, and clean the tube if necessary.
The tension of the feeder is controlled by a spring and lever inside the black feeder housing. In order to properly guide the filament through Bowden tube and into the print head, the feeder tension must be set correctly.
|Tension too high||
If the feeder tension is too high, the filament will be pressed against the knurled wheel too hard. This can flatten the filament. In worse scenarios, the feeder will dig (grind) into the material.
Eventually, this will lead to the filament getting stuck in the feeder and lower or no extrusion.
|Tension too low||
When the feeder tension is too low, the feeder does not have sufficient grip on the filament. The filament can slip inside the feeder instead of forwarding consistently through the Bowden tube.
This will show as underextrusion in your prints.
For Ultimaker PLA, the feeder tension should be on the loosest setting. This means the white tension indicator at the side of the feeder should be all the way at the top. For other (third-party) materials, the feeder tension may have to be adjusted.
Insert a 2 mm hex key or screwdriver into the hole at the top of the feeder. Turn the screw to adjust the feeder tension. The lower the white tension indicator at the side is, the more tension is on the feeder.