Capricorn tube with Direct drive?

Hi gang, I have an ender 5 + with direct drive, microswiss extruder. I had a snag in the filament roll that ended up clogging the capricorn tube. When I tried to remove the heat sink it appears that one of the screws is stripped. So i couldn’t remove it to work on the tube…I was able to get the clogged tube out but putting a new one in proved to be impossible…for me.

I am wondering…do i need the tube? I tried feeding the filament down the heat sink into the hotend and it seems to be printing fine now…Is this ok or will it cause an issue I am unaware of?

second question - an suggestions on how to get a small stripped screw (holding the heatsink to the axis) out?

I’d appreciate any thoughts

The tube is there for a purpose, it guides the filament so it doesn’t buckle and jam. Can you get by without it, how lucky are you. It might work fine for a while… or not.

Send pictures of the screw.

my direct drive printers do not have a tube. I have never had an issue because of a missing tube. Crappy filament for certain. Mine are both bond tech I have never used a micro Swiss. I can only assume it is similar.

Can you send a picture of what you’re using?

I used a screwdriver with a hex bit for all the other screws (as i have a dozen times b4) it wouldn’t grab the screw on the heat sink so then i tried the allen key that came with the printer. I’ve not had to disassemble the extruder since I got it back from the shop. I can only guess they accidentally stripped it when they put it back together bc everything else came off easily.

I tried printing without the capricorn tube…worked for hours…for some reason in the middle of the night it kinked and when i got up in the am there was huge mass of filament being extruded through the fan casing instead of the hot end . So thats a no go

I have to get the heatsink off so i can replace the tube but have had no luck

Watch this video, it explains the best way to use tubing and solves a lot of problems.

Thanks, I appreciate the video, but my issue is with getting the Heatsink actually off so i can reinsert the tubing. I cannot put it in while its in place bc of the direct drive components. I should have sent the whole picture.

as you can see i need to put the tubing below the gears but I cannot put it in place without removing the hotend…unless I am supposed to remove the gears above it (i’ve not had to change the tubing since upgrading to direct drive 1.5 years ago)


This is what it should look like:

You’ve replaced the gear that goes onto the stepper - why? That is going to make things more difficult.

Here are the steps to install the tubing:

  1. Unscrew the gear tensioner (the thumb wheel and threaded metal rod holding the tensioner arm against the stepper gear. Let the tensioner arm fall free.
  2. Remove the screw you added to the stepper output shaft.
  3. Take off the hot end (remove the two M3 screws on the heat sink).
  4. Carefully cut the end of your PTFE tube as square a possible and cute the length of the tube Longer than you need.
  5. Insert the section of PTFE tube, with the square cut end as far down as it will go into the hot end. Make sure it’s all the way down.
  6. Test fit the hot end with PTFE tube back into the frame, cutting down the PTFE tube so 1mm or so extends from the lower part of the extruder.
  7. Fasten the hot end back onto the frame using the M3 screws.
  8. Trim the end of the PTFE tube with a sharp Olfa/X-acto knife (ideally use a new blade) so that it is flush with the ends of the metal.
  9. Rinstall the stepper gear (this is just for you).
  10. Reinstall the tensioner spring.

With that, you should be good to go.

I didn’t replace the stepper gear…its a knob they put on at the shop when they installed the direct drive…its just over the other gear (to make it easier to turn manually?)

#3 - thats the CRUX of my whole issue…the right M3 screw is stripped…thats what i’ve been been asking for help with here.

I do appreciate the walk through of the rest. I’ve done similar tube changes before but not with the direct drive.

my main issue is I cannot get the hot end off bc the right side screw is stripped…if i could get it off I would be able to fix it…At this point I’ll probably just remove the tensioner arm and see if I can do this without removing the hot end but i don’t think i can. I ordered a special type of screwdriver that is supposed to help with removing small stripped screws hopefully that will help.


Depending how bad the head is you can use Screw Grab or valve grind compound to get more bite with your Allan key. It’s basically a gel medium with a bunch of grit in it that fills in the gaps in a rounding fastener to give the tool more grip. Sometimes it really works magic but typically I use it for larger fasteners on bicycles or ski bindings.

There likely isn’t enough material for my second choice which is to grind a slot with a Dremel to use a flat blade screwdriver.
So my next option which will likely work fine for this situation is to drill the head off of the bolt. Once it pops off the heat sink should slide off the remaining shaft of the bolt and in this case there should be enough shaft sticking out that you can twist it out with pliers or vice grips. If it’s still stuck heat can be your friend.

Sorry, it’s the inside of the screw that’s stripped (ie the hole for the hex drive)?

What I do in this case is get a drill, take off the head (it will start tearing off before you damage the heat sink), remove the heat sink and then take out the shaft of the screw with vicegrips.

I would recommend taking the whole assembly off your printer and do it on a bench, with the drill moving downwards (having a drill press makes it a bit easier).

What I would try first is grabbing the head of the screw(what little is sticking out) with a vice grip, and apply a bit of heat to where it is threaded into; then see if it can be removed. But since you won’t be saving it anyway, I would probably not spend too much time pursuing that before taking blair and mykepredko’s advice and drilling off the head. Things should be straightforward after that.

Mechanic here. There are small screw extractors available inexpensively from auto parts store they have a reverse grind at the tip they go not have to be driven by a drill just mount in a vise grip and push hard backing up the print head. as to not bend the bracket or v extrusion.

Forgot to mention, a small left hand bit will work also.