How to Keep 3D Printer Filament from Tangling

Updated: Jul 5, 2023 5:47 PM
how to keep 3d printer filament from tangling

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If you’re using a premium printer, you should understand how to spool 3D printer filament for effective prints. Tangled spools of filament are a common issue, even on high-end 3D printers. With a filament tangle, the feeder gear cannot pull the knotted filament into the extruder assembly, disrupting the 3D printing process. Luckily, you can resolve knotted filament without trashing the entire spool. So, stick around to learn how to keep 3D printer filament from tangling.


  • Filament tangles prevent your 3D printer from pulling filament into the print head, disrupting the 3D printing process.
  • Store your filament spools on a filament holder, and keep the roll taught to prevent tangling.
  • If you spot a tangle, loosen the filament and remove the tangled spot from the spool.

How to Prevent Tangled Filament Spools

Unfortunately, user error can ruin an otherwise successful 3D printing project. Choosing the incorrect storage solution is the top cause of filament entanglement. Employing a spool holder can prevent filament jams, but you should still learn how to get broken filament out of a 3D printer to be safe.

Insider Tip

Keep your filament end tight during the winding process to prevent the loose filament from knotting along the spool.

Users should understand how to load filament into a 3D printer to ensure it locks into the feeder mechanism. Additionally, learning how to lubricate a 3D printer can help your 3D print jobs go smoothly.

Proper post-processing can elevate the quality of your 3D printing project. So, learning how to remove supports from 3D prints can ensure an even base for your 3D printing models.

STEP 1 Observe Your Filament

Remove the spool from its box or bag, and check for knots. Experienced filament manufacturers shouldn’t ship tangled spools, but you should always check. This ensures

STEP 2 Find the Filament Knot

Look around your entangled filament spool to find the knot. You can spot a knotted filament spool by running your hand along the filament and feeling for a bump.

STEP 3 Remove the Filament Loop

Hold onto the filament loop and loosen the spool until you can slide the knotted filament off of the spool’s edge. Once the filament is loose, you can simply untangle it.

STEP 4 Wind the Filament

Pull the filament tight, and place it on a filament holder. Slowly wind the filament back onto the spool and affix the end of the filament to the spool.

STEP 5 Use a Filament Holder

Place your wound spool onto a holder, and keep it in a cool, dark place.


Your 3D printing filament spool needs to stay taught, or it may become stuck in the filament guide tube.

STAT: A 2019 Global EY study showed that 83% of the worldwide construction industry already applied or considered 3D printing for businesses. (source)

How to Keep 3D Printer Filament from Tangling FAQs

How long do 3D prints last?

A completed 3D print should last between 10 and 20 years, assuming it’s stored in a climate-controlled environment. While some filaments or resins break down within six months in a compost setup, your 3D-printed models should stay around as long as most consumer plastics.

Can I recycle 3D printer filament?

Experts recommend taking filament scraps to a recycling center for safe disposal. That said, you can create DIY filament spools with a plastic shredder and a filament extruder.

Does 3D printer filament expire?

PLA filament, like other types, does not have a specific expiration date. That said, incorrectly storing cheap spools will degrade your 3D prints. Store your filament in a dark, climate-controlled location to prevent degradation.

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