When shopping for a new spool of filament, the only thing that usually comes to mind is the compatibility between the type of the filament and the hardware of the 3D printer, as not every 3D printer is capable of printing every type of filament due to distinct requirements in factors such as hotend temperature.
On the other hand, one vital factor that is often overlooked when picking up a new spool of filament is its diameter, which is just as important as the type for the purposes of compatibility, as the extruder of each 3D printer is manufactured in a way to support a particular filament size.
In today’s article, our topic will be the filament size compatibility of the Ender 3, in particular, which is one of the essential factors to consider when purchasing a spool of filament for your Ender 3, as incorrect sizing would mean that the filament would not fit correctly, and as a result, fail to print.
So, which filament size (diameter) does the Ender 3 support?
The stock Ender 3 only supports filaments with a diameter value of 1.75 mm, meaning you will need to ensure that any spool of filament you’re buying for the purposes of usage with your Ender 3 needs to meet this criterion to be compatible and correctly fit through the extruder.
Next up, we will further discuss how filament sizes work, clarify why a 3D printer, such as the Ender 3, needs to support a particular filament diameter, and finally, find out whether it’s possible to get the Ender 3 to support more filament sizes than it does by default through modifications.
Which Filament Size (Diameter) Does Ender 3 (Pro/V2) Support?
As attempting to use a spool of filament with a diameter that your 3D printer does not support will end up in failure, the supported filament size for your 3D printer is a vital piece of information to keep in mind when shopping for new filaments.
In the case of a 3D printer with a Bowden system, such as the Ender 3, the filament starts its journey by going into the extruder first, where the extruder gear (or gears) pushes the filament further down to the Bowden tube, which is the filament’s second destination.
As the extruder gear keeps turning, the filament goes through the Bowden tube and arrives at the hotend, which is where the other end of the Bowden tube is connected and practically the final destination of the filament while it’s still in its solid form.
As a result, the space that the filament goes through on the extruder, the size of the Bowden tube, and the space where the filament enters the hotend need to follow a certain standard, where they are designed in a way that allows the filament to fit through without any issues and move smoothly to its next destination.
At this point, the diameter of the filament becomes an essential factor to consider, as it needs to be compatible with the sizes of the spaces it’s supposed to move through, where any incompatibility would create a physical impossibility that cannot be fixed.
In the case of the Ender 3, the extruder, the Bowden tube, and the extruder are designed to accommodate filaments that have 1.75 millimeters of diameter, meaning that any other size will absolutely not fit, making it vital to ensure that you’re buying the correctly-sized filament.
Fortunately, the fact that a 1.75 mm diameter is the standard and that there are only two sizes to choose from (with the other being 2.85 mm) makes the selection process more straightforward, especially considering that most filaments only come in 1.75 mm.
Can You Adjust the Ender 3 (Pro/V2) Supported Filament Size?
In some cases, it’s possible to end up with a spool of filament that your 3D printer does not support due to a mistake or for a particular spool of filament to only be available in one size, where the two options would be either adjust the supported filament size of your 3D printer or purchase a new spool.
Technically speaking, it is indeed possible to adjust the supported filament size of your Ender 3 and switch the filament diameter it accepts from 1.75 millimeters to 2.85 millimeters, which will allow you to use a 2.85 mm filament spool without any problems.
On the other hand, such an adjustment will require you to replace the extruder, the Bowden tube, and the hotend completely with counterparts that are produced with the purpose of accommodating 2.85 mm filaments, which will render your Ender 3 unable to use 1.75 mm filaments anymore.
Considering the amount of time, effort, and budget required to perform such a change is way too great, especially to prevent a single spool of filament from going to waste, our recommendation would be to accept that you won’t be able to use the 2.85 mm filament, and buy a new spool of 1.75 mm filament instead.
On the other hand, if you would like to switch to using 2.85 mm filament permanently, our recommendation would be to pick up a new system that supports this size in its stock form, which will give you access to two different devices that allow you to use both 1.75 mm and 2.85 mm filaments.
While filament size is not a topic that is discussed often due to most 3D printers supporting one standard size, in particular, getting familiar with the filament diameter that your Ender 3 supports is the best way to ensure that you don’t make any mistakes when you’re shopping for new spools of filament.
To quickly recap, the filament diameter that a 3D printer supports is completely related to its hardware components, such as the extruder, the Bowden tube, and the hotend, and in the case of the Ender 3, the supported diameter value is 1.75 mm.
While it’s technically possible to change the filament diameter that a 3D printer supports, especially in the case of a heavily modifiable 3D printer such as the Ender 3, it would be necessary to completely change the extruder, the Bowden tube, and the hotend with ones that support filaments with 2.85 mm diameter instead.
Mike started his 3D printing journey with the Anet A8 when it first came out back in 2017, and has been obsessed with 3D printers ever since. Nowadays, he primarily uses his Ender 3 to print functional parts that make his life more convenient whenever possible.