Replace Plastic Bowden Tube


Summary

Your printer's plastic Bowden tube wears naturally over time due to the ruggedness of the print material. Replacing the tube is a relatively simple maintenance operation and should take no longer than 10 minutes to finish.

Tools

  • 10 millimeter open-ended wrench (optional)

Diagram

Below is a diagram of the plastic Bowden tube assembly. Carefully note which end of the tube the hardware is installed on in relation to the print head and extruder.

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Uninstall your plastic Bowden tube

  1. Begin by removing any plastic filament from the Bowden tube: Materials > Unload Plastic. Ensure that no Nylon or Onyx remains in the Bowden tube.
  2. Remove the print head end of the Bowden tube by unscrewing the nylon tube retaining bolt from the print head. The bolt and tube should pull out, along with the ferrule

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  3. Remove the extruder end of the Bowden tube by unscrewing the second nylon tube retaining bolt from the extruder's brass Bowden tube adapter. The M4 standoff (shown in step 4) is inside the extruder and will pull out along with the Bowden tube. If you have trouble removing the nylon tube retaining bolt from the Bowden tube adapter, use a 10 millimeter wrench to hold the Bowden tube adapter in place.

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  4. Unscrew the M4 standoff screw off of the extruder end of the Bowden tube. 
    Take care not to simply pull this part off the tube! It is threaded onto the plastic tube and must be unscrewed rather than pulled straight off. Note the threads in the image below:

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  5. With the M4 standoff removed, you are free to slide the nylon tube retaining bolt off of this end.

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  6. With the M4 standoff and the nylon tube retaining bolt removed from the extruder side of the Bowden tube, you are now free to remove the old Bowden tube from the flexible black energy chain that houses the Bowden tubes. To do so, pull the Bowden tube forward by the print head end, toward the print head, until the entire tube has been snaked out of the flexible black energy chain and is completely free.

    The image below shows the disconnected extruder end of the tube and the direction of movement:

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Install a new plastic Bowden tube

  1. Begin by removing the M4 standoff and the nylon tube retaining bolt from the extruder side of the replacement Bowden tube.

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  2. Take the now-exposed extruder end of the Bowden tube and snake it through the flexible black energy chain. 

    Pro Tip: Manually move the print head to the back right corner of the printer. This straightens the energy chain, making it easier to snake the tube through.

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  3. Once the extruder end of the Bowden tube passes all the way through the energy chain, install the following hardware:
    1. Slide the nylon tube retaining bolt on first, with the threads facing the extruder.
    2. Thread the M4 standoff back onto the threaded plastic of the Bowden tube.

  4. With the extruder end hardware reinstalled, insert the M4 standoff into the brass fitting of the extruder, then screw the nylon tube retaining bolt into this brass fitting.

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  5. At the print head end of the Bowden tube, carefully insert the ferrule into the appropriate opening for the Bowden tube. Now screw the print head end nylon tube retaining bolt into the print head.

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  6. You can now load material and resume printing.