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Changing Filament

    How To Change Filament

    The easiest way to change the filament for your MakerBot Replicator Z18 is to use the control panel.

    1. Use a tool to unlock the lid of the MakerBot Replicator Z18. For more information on this process, see the User Manual. Set the lid aside.

    2. Select Filament > Unload Filament.

    3. The Smart Extruder+/Smart Extruder will start to heat up. When the extruder is fully heated, it will go through a two-part unloading process. Remove the filament from the extruder only when prompted by the control panel.

    4. Open the filament drawer and remove the old spool. Be careful to keep the spool tightly wound as you pull the filament free of the guide tube. Place the new spool in the filament drawer and feed the filament through the filament guide tube into the top chamber. For more information on this process, click here.

    5. Select Filament > Load Filament.

    6. Wait for the extruder to heat.

    7. Cut the end of your new filament to create a clean edge.

    8. Grasp the top of the extruder assembly and push the filament into the extruder's loading tube until you can feel the motor pulling the filament in.

    9. Wait until you see plastic emerging from the extruder nozzle before pressing the control panel dial to finish the filament load process.
      Note: If you're changing colors, you'll need to run the extruder for a few moments to clear out the old color before finishing the filament load process.

    When you're done, push the end of the filament guide tube firmly into the loading tube and make sure to replace and relock the lid of the MakerBot Replicator Z18.

    Changing Filament During a Print

    To create a print with layered colors, you can change filament during a print. Go to Menu > Print and select Change Filament. This will pause your print and take you directly to the Filament menu. Then follow the steps above before resuming your print.

    If you’re up to date with the latest firmware and software, you can also allow your Smart Extruder+/Smart Extruder to run out of filament. This will cause your MakerBot Replicator Z18 to run the Unload Filament script. When the extruder has finished unloading, wait for it to cool to at least 50°C. Remove the last piece of filament from the extruder, then select Load Filament. When you have finished the load sequence, go to Back to Menu > Resume.

    Using MakerBot Print

    To load and unload filament using MakerBot Print, follow these steps:

    1. Connect your MakerBot Replicator Z18 to your computer using the USB cable that came with your MakerBot Replicator Z18.
    2. Use a tool to unlock the lid of the MakerBot Replicator Z18. For more information on this process, see the User Manual. Set the lid aside.
    3. In MakerBot Print, open the print monitor panel and select Filament and then Unload Filament.
    4. Wait for the Smart Extruder+/Smart Extruder to heat. When the extruder is fully heated, you’ll hear a sound and MakerBot Print will go from saying Preheating to Unloading Filament in the printer monitor panel.
    5. When unloading the filament, be sure to pinch the tabs on the side of the extruder together. This helps with relieving the tension placed on the filament and reduces the risk of a piece of filament breaking off inside the extruder.
    6. Open the filament drawer and remove the old spool. Be careful to keep the spool tightly wound as you pull the filament free of the guide tube. Place the new spool in the filament drawer.
    7. Cut a clean end of your new filament to a create a clean edge. 
    8. In the print monitor panel, select Filament and then Load Filament. Wait for the extruder to heat before loading filament. MakerBot Print will go from saying Preheating Extruder to Loading Filament.
    9. The extruder motor will turn to help you load. Push the filament into the loading tube until you can feel the motor pulling the filament in. Make sure to pinch the tabs on the side of the extruder together once more for this process. This will help avoid any jams during the loading process.
    10. When you see plastic emerging from the extruder nozzle, click Done.
      Note: If you're changing colors, you'll need to run the extruder for a few moments to clear out the old color before clicking Done.

    When you're done, make sure to replace and relock the lid of the MakerBot Replicator Z18.


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