A Small Yet Critical Tip for Bowden Tube Printers

When I was brand new to this sport, knew nothing about 3D printing, as do most people. And we all want to help each other out. So there’s the internet to guide us. What could go wrong?

Well, this (this is an example illustrating one of my Life Lessons to my daughter on this very site):

There’s a quite helpful Facebook group for people who own the same model printer I do, and variants thereof, which makes it a popular global group. Maybe ~50k people in it.

And you can ask questions and seek answers from seasoned pros. And ignorant know-nothings. You never know who’s typing that “advice.” This of course goes for any group, online or not. So vet your answerers and make sure they’re credible. People are too willing to trust strangers. I’m guilty of it – I admit it. I like to trust people, as we all do. We like to feel safe and certain about things. All too familiar with it.

Anyway, I once asked a simple question about a zip-tie that’s always attached, and cut, on new hotends, on the collar that you can push down on the top of the hotend where the Bowden tube enters it, to release or replace the tube. Eventually, that may happen, of course.

And the consensus on the Facebook group page was that it was for nothing and could be on or off. It serves no actual purpose.

Not so fast.

As with every single thing on this printer, I learned that is not true. In fact, it can be related to some catastrophic disasters, print-wise. The smallest thing, which is why it’s a hobby that attracts people who are meticulous and are always searching to optimize their environment and certain areas of their lives.

The Anycubic engineers are very smart, which probably goes without saying. Here in the US, we may be used to sloppy workmanship, but you tend to not get that anymore from China. That’s an incredible thing to be able to say if you were alive 40 years ago. I’m not saying what we get is high-quality now. It’s programmatically exactly what you expect, which puts the onus on you and me. Personally, I love it. Give me more control like that. China can engineer anything. YOU have to be able to specify what you want though. There’s the tradeoff, which a lot of people avoid I know because it involves a degree of dedication and autodidactic abilities, which not everyone has. I get it.

Being up to specs IS exactly what I, and a lot of other people who are able to dictate their own standards, enjoy. Anything you want can now be made on this planet, as long as you provide the specs.

So to get on with the purpose of this post, that zip-tie is there to prevent ANY tampering with the Bowden tube on the hotend. Period.

If there’s an emergency and you HAVE to get that tube out, then clip it.

But when that tube is pulled out, it immediately creates a gap between where the tube and the heat brake meet. If there’s a space between the two, accumulation will eventually cause problems. The zip-tie a person intentionally placed there is for a reason. Who would’ve thunk it?

And come to think of it, I clipped the zip-tie because I was told it was irrelevant, somehow, on the two hotends that needed to be replaced. They both failed soon after messing with the Bowden tube that meeting of the Bowden tube and Heat Break.

Here’s a good video that breaks it down and shows you what I’m talking about:

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