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How to Unload Filament

  • 5 min read

How to Unload Filament: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to unload filament?Unloading filament from a 3D printer is a fundamental process that every user should know. Whether you're changing colors, switching materials, or simply concluding a printing session, properly unloading the filament is crucial to maintaining your printer's health and ensuring the quality of future prints.
This article will guide you through the steps on how to manually unload filament from your printer and offer additional tips for unloading your 3D printer filaments. Whether you're a seasoned 3D printing veteran or just starting out, mastering the art of filament unloading is an invaluable part of your 3D printing journey.

How to Unload the Filament Manually?

When your 3D printer lacks an automatic filament unloading feature, or if this automatic function is not working properly, you may need to unload the filament manually. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you unload filament from your 3D printer safely and efficiently:

Homing the Printer

Homing the printer is a critical first step in the filament unloading process, essential for both user safety and operational precision. Generally, select the ‘Home’ option on the printer's control interface. The printer will then automatically move the print head and build plate to their designated starting positions.

Pre-heat the Machine

Preheating the printer is a vital step in the filament unloading process. Each filament type, like PLA or ABS, has specific temperature requirements for optimal melting. Preheating softens the filament, making it easier and safer to remove it from the extruder. For example, PLA usually requires a temperature setting of around 180-220 degrees Celsius, while ABS needs about 220-250 degrees Celsius.
This step is typically carried out via the printer’s control panel, where you set the hotend to the appropriate temperature based on the filament type. For example, on the AnkerMake M5 3D printer's touch screen, you can tap "Control" > "Extrude" and set the appropriate temperature.

Retract the Filament

Once the printer is preheated, carefully retracting the filament from the extruder is the next essential step in the filament unloading process. Firstly, most 3D printers incorporate a mechanism that applies tension to the filament, aiding its steady feed into the hotend. Before removing the filament, you should release the tension. Operate a lever or turn a knob on the extruder, which loosens the grip on the filament and allows it to be freely pulled out.
After releasing the tension, the filament can then be manually retracted from the extruder. If you are using the AnkerMake M5 3D printer, simply press and hold the extrusion clip located on the extruder and pull out the filament. You may need to clean up the residual filament after that.

Other Tips for Unloading Filaments in a 3D Printer

Unloading filament from a 3D printer is a straightforward yet crucial task. Here are some additional tips to ensure a smooth and successful filament unloading process:
  1. Trim the Filament End:After unloading, trim the filament at a sharp angle. This angled cut facilitates easier re-threading into the extruder for the next use. The sharp tip helps the filament navigate smoothly through the path and into the hotend, preventing it from getting caught, thus saving time and reducing frustration during the loading process.
  1. Clear Filament Residues:Ensure no filament residues are left inside the extruder post-unloading. Leftover bits can cause clogs or jams when loading new filament, leading to print quality issues or color inconsistencies. Check and clean the extruder and filament path thoroughly to remove any remnants, using tools like cleaning needles if necessary.
  1. Handle Stuck Filament with Care:If the filament seems stuck during unloading, avoid forcing it out. This could break the filament inside the extruder or cause mechanical problems. Ensure the printer is heated to the appropriate temperature for the filament type. Slightly increasing the temperature can soften the 3D printer filaments for easier removal. Check for obstructions or misalignments in the filament path, and gently maneuver the filament to loosen it.
  1. Select User-Friendly Printers: Opting for user-friendly printers, such as the AnkerMake M5 and M5C 3D Printers, can minimize issues like filament sticking:


  • AnkerMake M5 3D Printer
AnkerMake M5 3D Printer has upgraded its printing speed to an astonishing 500 mm/s, ensuring rapid printing without compromising on quality. With a precise 0.1 mm detail capability, this printer is tailored for those who demand the utmost precision in their prints, making it ideal for intricate designs and fine features. This printer is equipped with a built-in AI camera for real-time monitoring, allowing users to keep a close eye on their printing process from start to finish. The included AnkerMake app allows for seamless connection and control of multiple devices.
With the 7×7 auto-leveling system, it automatically calibrates the printer's bed without manual operation. Crafted with a robust aluminum alloy structure, this printer promises durability and stability. Its generous print volume of 235×235×250 mm³ allows you to create sizable models and components.


  • AnkerMake M5C 3D Printer
AnkerMake M5C 3D Printer is meticulously designed to meet the needs of both expert professionals and enthusiastic hobbyists, boasting a wide range of features for top-tier performance and user convenience. With an easy multi-device control through the AnkerMake app, it facilitates seamless management of multiple printing tasks. The customizable one-click button significantly streamlines the printing process, allowing quick access to frequently used settings and commands, thus saving time.
Remarkable for its high-speed printing capabilities, it operates at an impressive rate of 500 mm/s while maintaining an efficient extrusion flow of 35 mm³/s, ensuring consistent and reliable filament delivery. The 7×7 auto-leveling feature greatly simplifies setup, guaranteeing a perfectly leveled bed for each print. Versatile in its filament compatibility, it supports an array of materials like PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU, and PA, making it a robust and flexible tool for a diverse range of 3D printing applications.



How to unload filament properly is a straightforward yet important question in 3D printing. Following the steps above will help maintain the printer and prevent issues like clogging and jamming. Following the tips, like cutting the filament end at an angle for easier reinsertion, and clearing any filament residues is also necessary for smooth usage next time. Additionally, using a user-friendly 3D printer like AnkerMake 3D printer will simplify the process for filament changes. By adopting these practices, you can effectively manage the filament in your 3D printer, thus maintaining its efficiency.

Frequently Asked Questions about “How to Unload Filament

What to Do When Filament Gets Stuck in Extruder?

When filament gets stuck in your 3D printer's extruder, first, preheat the extruder to soften the filament. Then, gently apply pressure to push the filament through or use tweezers to pull it out. If this fails, disassemble the extruder, remove the filament, and ensure there's no residue before reassembly.

Why Can't I Pull My Filament Out?

If you’re unable to pull the filament out, it might be due to it being jammed or cooled and solidified within the extruder. Ensure the printer is heated adequately. If it's still stuck, carefully inspect the extruder for clogs or misalignments. Sometimes, partial disassembly of the extruder is required to remove stubborn blockages.