Install the Spool
The MakerBot Replicator Z18 is optimized for the large (0.90 kg) spool of MakerBot PLA filament.
Use a tool to unlock the lid of the MakerBot Replicator Z18. For more information on this process, see the User Manual. When you have removed the lid, set it aside.
Next, press the right side of the filament drawer to open it. Place the spool in the drawer with the MakerBot logo facing up.
Route the Filament
Detach the free end of the filament from the spool and insert it into the hole at the back left corner of the filament drawer. Continue to feed the filament into this hole until it emerges from the end of the filament guide tube in the top compartment.
If you're using a Smart Extruder+, you'll be able to push the filament directly into the top of the extruder. If you're using a Smart Extruder, it could be configured in one of two different ways. Depending on which configuration you have, you will either clip the filament guide tube into a filament swivel guide or route it under an extruder guard during the loading process. The top of your Smart Extruder will look like one of these:
Smart Extruder with filament swivel guide:
Load Filament into the Smart Extruder+/Smart Extruder
- Use the control panel dial to select Filament > Load Filament.
- Remove the lid if it is shut.
- Wait for the extruder to heat.
- Cut the end of your filament to create a clean edge. If you are using a Smart Extruder with an extruder guard, route the filament guide tube underneath it.
- Grasp the top of the extruder assembly and push the filament into the opening at the top of the extruder until you can feel the motor pulling the filament in.
- Wait until you see plastic emerging from the extruder nozzle before pressing the control panel dial to finish the filament load process.
- Fit the filament guide tube securely into the loading tube on the Smart Extruder+ or Smart Extruder. If you are using a Smart Extruder with a filament swivel guide, snap the filament guide tube into the guide.
Filament routed correctly to a Smart Extruder with a filament swivel guide:
Filament routed correctly to a Smart Extruder with an extruder guard:
When you're done, make sure to replace and relock the lid of the MakerBot Replicator Z18.
Alternate Routing Options
Sometimes loading a spool of filament from the bottom drawer will give too much resistance to the extruder pulling the filament in. You can choose to route the filament from the left side of the printer and use a spool holder to mount the filament. You can print a spool holder from Thingiverse.