One of the basic things you need to know how to do with the Silhouette Alta® is load the PLA (polylactic acid) filament, or the plastic material, that the Alta uses to print your objects. The Alta can print any PLA filament that is 1.75 millimeters thick.

To load the filament in your Alta 3D printer, start by opening Silhouette 3D™, powering on your Alta, and connecting it to your computer. In the software, click on the 3D Print tab. In the upper right-hand corner, ensure that your machine has been selected.

With the Alta selected, click on the Filament button.

Place your filament spool on top of your machine and put the roll of filament on the spool.

When using filament that comes in either a loose roll or on a reel, it is important to make sure that you keep a hold of the leading end because the filament can become tangled.

On top of the machine, there is small loop with a hole, also called an eye, and a filament loading lever. Feed the filament through the loop and the standalone filament tube.

To prevent the filament from becoming tangled, jamming the machine, or wearing out the loop, push the filament tube back through the loop, but only slightly as shown in the image below.

Next, insert the filament through the opening in the filament loading lever using light pressure until you feel it stop as it comes to the motor gear.

Keep hold of the filament and click “Load” in Silhouette 3D™.

Click Next in Silhouette 3D™,

and then click Load.

Continue applying light pressure as you push the filament farther into the hole. Once the gear grabs the filament, release your hold of the filament. The Alta will continue to feed the filament through the machine and heat up the print head.

The print head will then move down and extrude (or expel) a little bit of filament once the filament is warmed up. This primes the print head and clears out any leftover filament that may have still been inside (which is especially helpful when you are switching filament colors).

Included with your machine is a loose roll of white filament that is approximately 60 grams. If you want to purchase more filament, Silhouette sells spools with 500 grams of filament in a variety of colors.