Replacing the print head axial fan (front fan)

The axial fan at the front of the print head spins when one of the print cores is above 40 ºC. This helps to prevent the heat from the nozzle from traveling too far upwards. Without this fan, the filament could get soft above the heater block, which leads to extrusion and print quality issues.

This fan could get blocked by small filament strands, if not cleaned timely according to the maintenance schedules of the Ultimaker 3 and S-line.

If the fan is not spinning, it is recommended to replace it before starting a new print. The following steps describe how to correctly replace the front axial fan.

Note: This guide applies to the Ultimaker 3, Ultimaker S3, and Ultimaker S5. The small differences between the print heads are highlighted in the instructions with an * and additional instructions.

Caution: Make sure the print cores have cooled down, the Ultimaker is turned off, and the power cable is disconnected before you start the replacement.

Requirements

Parts Tools Time

1x Axial fan 

(part number 2133 / 215431 / 227102)

 

2.0 hex screwdriver

Flat nose pliers (optional)

20 minutes

Disassembly

1. Loosen the side fan bracket

  • Place the print head in the middle of the printer for easier access.
  • Use the hex screwdriver to remove the four screws that hold the side fan bracket.

2. Move the fan bracket down

  • Slightly open the front fan bracket.
  • Move the front and side fan bracket assemblies down to create some room.
Ultimaker3_Loosen-side-fan-bracket.jpeg Ultimaker3_Move-fan-bracket-down.jpeg
Loosening the side fan bracket.

Move the side and front fan brackets down.

 

3. Loosen the front fan bracket

  • Slightly bend the side fan bracket open.
  • Loosen the front fan bracket by dislodging the holes in the front fan bracket from the tabs in the side fan bracket.

Note: For steps 4-6, see alternate instructions for S-line printers below.

4. Loosen the front fan cover *

  • Put the side fan bracket out of the way.
  • Use the hex screwdriver to remove the two screws that connect the front fan bracket and cover.
Ultimaker3_Loosen-front-fan-bracket.jpeg Ultimaker3_Unscrew-front-fan-cover.jpeg
Dislodge the front fan bracket.

Remove the front fan cover screws.

 

5. Remove the fan from the cover *

  • Carefully bend the metal tab that covers the fan wires slightly open.
  • Move the fan wires out from underneath the tab.
  • Take the fan out of the cover.

Caution: Do not open the tab too much, otherwise it may break off.

6. Disconnect the fan *

  • Turn the Ultimaker around.
  • The axial fan, with the black and white wires, is connected to the second connector from the right as seen from the back of the print head.
  • Carefully remove the fan plug from the connector.
Ultimaker3_Remove-fan-wire.jpeg Ultimaker3_Connect-new-front-fan.jpeg
Carefully open the tab at the side. Disconnect the fan from the print head.

Note: For newer style Ultimaker 3 print heads (with transparent nozzle cover) and for S-line printers, it is recommended to remove the entire front fan bracket from the print head. After dislodging the front fan bracket from the side fan bracket (step 4), first disconnect both the axial fan (black-white) and the capacitive sensor (red-white) from the back of the print head. Next, use the hex screwdriver to remove the screws that hold the front fan cover. To remove the fan, carefully and only slightly open the two tabs that secure the wire to the bracket. Be careful not to damage the shrink sleeve on the small tab.

Reassembly

1. Place the fan in the fan cover

  • Take the new fan and hold it at the correct orientation; with the sticker facing towards you and the wires in the top left corner.
  • Place the fan in the front fan cover. Make sure it is well aligned and sits completely flat.

Caution: When placing the fan in the cover, never apply pressure to the center of the fan. Always only push on the edges to properly align the fan.

Note: For steps 2-4, see alternate instructions for S-line printers below.

2. Connect the fan cover to the fan bracket *

  • Place the wires under the metal tab on the left side of the fan bracket.
  • Align the holes in the fan cover with the holes in the fan bracket.
  • Secure the parts together with the two screws that you removed earlier.
Ultimaker3_Place-fan-in-cover.jpeg Ultimaker3_Align-fan-cover-bracket.jpeg
Place the fan in the cover.

Align the cover with the bracket.

 

3. Close the wire cover

  • Ensure that the fan wires are under the metal tab.
  • Press it firmly to close the tab, to prevent the wires from getting out.

Tip: Use pliers to ensure that the tab is firmly closed.

4. Connect the new fan

  • Take the plug from the front fan and connect it to the second connector from the right as seen at the back of the print head.
Ultimaker3_Close-wire-cover.jpeg Ultimaker3_Disconnect-front-fan.jpeg
Close the tab at the side. Reconnect the axial fan.

Note: For newer style Ultimaker 3 print heads (with transparent nozzle cover) and for S-line printers, pay special attention to the cable routing for the axial fan. The front fan bracket and the cable routing are slightly different.

S-line_axial_fan_cable_routing.jpg
  1. Make sure the fan's wires go on the inside of the tab closest to the fan, then through the opening.
  2. Guide the fan's wires through the tab at the side and press it shut.
  3. Secure the wire under the small tab next to the capacitive sensor board. This should have a small shrink sleeve around it to protect the wires.

Note: When the fan is properly secured, reconnect both the fan (second connector from the right, as seen from the back) and the capacitive sensor (second connector from the left, as seen from the back).

5. Attach to print head

  • Slightly bend the side fan bracket open.
  • Align the holes in the front fan bracket with the tabs in the side fan bracket and click it in place.

6. Attach the side fan bracket

  • Align the side fan bracket with the header bracket.
  • Secure the fan bracket with the four screws.

Tip: If the side fans have come out of the bracket, ensure to place them back with the excess wire looped at the back. The fan should face to the inside of the print head, and the open side must be at the bottom. See the images below for reference.

Side-fan-1.jpg Side-fan-2.jpg

Loop the wire at the back. Note the open side of the fan in the image.

 

The fan faces to the inside and the open side is towards the bottom.

 

7. Close the front fan bracket

  • Push the front fan bracket upwards to close it.
  • Check if it moves smoothly. If it does not, you may need to relocate some wires or fix the connection to the side fan bracket.
Ultimaker3_Attach-front-fan-bracket.jpeg Ultimaker3_Attach-side-fan-bracket.jpeg Ultimaker3_Close-front-fan-bracket.jpeg
Attach the front bracket to the side bracket. Secure the side fan bracket with the four screws.

Check if the print head smoothly and reliably closes.

 

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