How to Do a Cold Pull on a 3D Printer – Cleaning Filament


A cold pull is a useful method to clean out your 3D printer hotend and nozzle when you have filament jams or clogs. This article will show you how you can perform a successful cold pull on your 3D printer, whether an Ender 3, Prusa machine, and more.

There are more details you’ll want to know, so keep on reading to learn about doing cold pulls.

How to Do a Cold Pull – Ender 3, Prusa & More

To do a cold pull on a 3D printer you should follow these steps:

  1. Get a cleaning filament or your regular filament
  2. Load it up in your 3D printer
  3. Raise your Z-axis to get a good view
  4. Increase your printing temperature to around 200-250°C depending on the filament.
  5. Extrude around 20mm of filament using your 3D printer’s control settings
  6. Turn down the printing temperature to around 90°C and wait for it to cool
  7. Pull up the cooled filament from the extruder

1. Get a Cleaning Filament or Regular Filament

The first step to performing a cold pull is to get either a specialized cleaning filament like the eSUN Plastic Cleaning Filament, or to use your regular printing filament.

I do recommend going with cleaning filament because it has a high temperature range of 150-260°C and it works really well for doing cold pulls. This cleaning filament is known as the industry’s first 3D cleaning filament, along with having excellent heat stability.

You can easily clean your extruders internal parts by removing those filament accumulations of residue. It even has an adhesive quality that pulls filament easily and won’t clog your extruder.

One user who purchased this said he bought it two years ago and still has plenty left even having 8 3D printers. It grabs everything in the hotend that you didn’t even realize was there. You only use a few mm of cleaning filament each time so it lasts a while.

It’s perfect if you need to switch materials that have large temperature differences like going from PLA to ABS filament.

2. Load it Up in Your 3D Printer

Simply load up the cleaning filament into your 3D printer as you usually would. To make it easier to insert into your extruder, you can cut the tip of the filament at an angle.

3. Raise Your Z-Axis

If your Z-axis isn’t already raised, I’d make sure to raise it up so you can get a better view of your nozzle. You can do this by going into your 3D printer’s “Control” settings and inputting a positive number into the Z-axis setting.

4. Increase Your Printing Temperature

Now you want to increase your printing temperature according to the type of filament you used. For PLA, you should raise the temperature to around 200°C, while with ABS, you can go up to 240°C depending on the brand.

5. Extrude Around 20mm of Filament

Your cleaning filament should be loaded and your printing temperature at the right point. This is where you can extrude filament through your 3D printer’s control settings by going to “Control” > “Extruder” and inputting a positive value to get the extruder moving.

The settings to do this can vary between 3D printers.

6. Turn Down the Printing Temperature

Once you’ve extruded filament, you want to turn down the printing temperature in your control settings to around 90°C for PLA, to get ready to do the cold pull. Higher temperature filaments may require a temperature of around 120°C+.

Make sure to actually wait for the temperature to cool down on your 3D printer.

7. Pull Up the Cooled Filament

The last step is to pull the filament upwards from the extruder. If you have a direct drive extruder, this should be a lot simpler but still possible with a Bowden extruder. You might want to undo the fasteners on a Bowden extruder to get a better grip of the filament.

You should hear a popping noise as you pull the filament out as well.

Check out the video below for a great visual example of the process.

One user recommends using a filament called Taulman Bridge Nylon for doing cold pulls. He basically does the same process, but uses needle nose pliers to grip the Nylon filament and twist it until it comes free.

He also recommended to leave your Nylon out in the open so it can absorb water in the environment which helps to clean the nozzle due to the steam it produces.

The steps he used with this filament were to raise the temperature to 240°C, extrude filament and let the temperature drop to 115°C.

Best Cleaning Filaments for a Cold Pull

eSUN Cleaning Filament

The eSUN Cleaning Filament is ideal for flushing or cold pulling clogs and is designed to clean a wide range of 3D printers. Another unique feature of the eSUN cleaning filament is its adhesiveness. It has a certain level of adhesiveness that allows it to collect and remove any clogging residues.

After five years of using eSUN cleaning filament, a Prusa 3D printer user cleans with it when switching between filaments or performing calibrations. He has expressed his satisfaction with the product after consistently printing 40 hours per week for the past five years.

The eSUN cleaning filament is also popular because it is simple to use. According to one user, the cleaning filament is an easy way to keep your 3D printing nozzles clean.

To ensure that the eSUN cleaning filament works properly, a user heats up the nozzle to a temperature higher than the previous filament temperature before cooling it down. As the nozzle cools, he manually pushes a few inches of cleaning filament through it.

Finally, he used a cold pull to remove the remaining cleaning filament.

The eSUN cleaning filament makes it simple to clean the 3D printer. It performs admirably when switching between different filament types and colors. A user had a positive experience with this product after following the included instructions.

You can get yourself some eSUN Cleaning Filament from Amazon.

NovaMaker Cleaning Filament

One of the best cleaning filaments is the NovaMaker Cleaning Filament from Amazon. The NovaMaker cleaning filament is used for 3D printer core maintenance and unclogging. It is highly recommended for 3D printers that use cold pull.

The NovaMaker cleaning filament is made of a highly effective concentrate for plastic processing machines, which foams quickly and begins to dissolve foreign substances such as dust, dirt, or plastic residues.

It has excellent heat stability, allowing it to withstand cleaning temperatures ranging from 150°C to 260°C. It also has a low viscosity, making it simple to remove clogging materials from the machine’s nozzle.

After 100 hours of successful printing with his 3D printing device, a user encountered clogging issues on one side of the hotend, which was blocked or occasionally produced patchy prints.

When he finally decided to clean it, he only used a few inches of NovaMaker filament, and it was only after a few more tries that he expressed his satisfaction, revealing that the NovaMaker is 100 percent wonderful.

After encountering a significant amount of difficulty with specialty filaments such as wood filaments and enjoying the clean results provided by the NovaMaker’s printer, a user praises the cleaning filament and highly recommends it to other users.

Another user attempted to use NovaMaker cleaning filament while switching between PETG and PLA to ensure the nozzle was not clogged. He calls his experience with the cleaning filament useful and recommends it to anyone attempting to transition from a hard filament to a soft filament.

Check out NovaMaker’s Cleaning Filament for your cold pulling needs.

Cold Pull Temperatures for PLA, ABS, PETG & Nylon

When attempting a cold pull, setting the cold pull temperature is an essential part of cold pulling a 3D printer. Following the correct recommended temperature for each filament is important to achieve the best results.

I do recommend using cleaning filament for cold pulls, but they can work with your normal filaments.

PLA

Some people have mentioned that letting PLA cool down to just 90°C has worked well for them, after heating it to around 200°C.

ABS

With ABS, the cold pull temperature can be set between 120°C to 180°C. After attempting fifteen cold pulls, a user achieved a successful cold pull at 130°C.

PETG

For PETG, you could cold pull at 130oC, but if you find that it breaks off before all the residues are out, try to pull at 135oC. If it stretches too much, try to do the cold pull at 125oC.

Nylon

User have said that Nylon cold pulls at 140°C successfully. Heat the hot end to about 240°C and leave to cool to 140°C before you pull it.

If you followed these steps correctly, using the appropriate temperature for each filament, you successfully cleaned your printer’s nozzle.  Repeat the process a couple of times more until you now have a residue-free nozzle.

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