As a 3D professional, you are bound to encounter several issues as you strive to perfect your printing skills once in a while. Some of these problems include having to deal with clogged 3D printer nozzles, stubborn prints as well as an extruder assembly that does not work as required.
A small Nuisance…
There are several ways of dealing with a clogged 3D printer nozzle, and all this usually depends on the severity of the jamming issue. Furthermore, the mileage also often differs, so these cleaning methods have been listed from the most complicated to the simplest.
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Therefore, by knowing the easiest and best ways of dealing with a clogged 3D printer nozzle, you will be able to ensure you achieve nothing but quality work with minimal hassle.
Brush your 3D printer nozzle from outside
This is the simplest way of clogging a jammed 3D printer nozzle, and all you need to do is merely brush the nozzle using a suitable brush from the outside. However, this technique only clears the dirt around the nozzle’s tip, thereby meaning it may not help you resolve severe clogging issues. Despite this, it a simple solution that you can carry out routinely as a way of maintaining the 3D printer.
For you to achieve the best results, you need to use a wire brush as this helps you get rid of every stubborn item which has accumulated inside the nozzle. Nevertheless, you should opt for brass threads to ensure you do not damage the nozzle since a steel wire despite being more effective at removing blocked materials, causes damage to the nozzle.
Push the jam out using a pin
If you notice slight clogging on your 3D printer caused by tiny traces of melted filament, you can get rid of it by pushing it out using a needle or pin. Additionally, you can also make use of acupuncture needles, which produce excellent results when unclogging nozzles.
When removing the clog using this technique, you should slightly heat the nozzle for it to soften rather than making the material to melt. You can do this either manually making use of a hot air gun or by hot end assembly, and subsequently, taking out the jam will entail using your pin to push it out.
Cold pull with nylon filament
This is among the best ways of removing a clog from your 3D printer nozzle, especially if there has been considerable melting of the filament. You should opt for a nylon filament as it is the best option when using this method because it has high melting temperatures, with ABS also an excellent and more popular alternative.
When carrying out the cold pull technique, you need first to dismantle the setup of the extruder, and doing this will enable you to push the filament manually through the nozzle. Begin this process by heating the 3D printer nozzle to 250˚C and then leave it at this temperature for around five minutes. Consequently, gently push either the ABS or nylon filament through the nozzle.
At this temperature, the filament which causes clogging will have melted completely and thus extruded together with the nylon. Repeat this process until you can no longer notice any old filament emerging from your nozzle.
Let your printer nozzle to cool down until it reaches room temperature for the nylon filament to re-solidify, and then reheat it to around 120 to 130 ˚C. At this temperature, the filament will soften, and then you can effortlessly remove the rest of it from the nozzle.
The subsequent impression should resemble the shape of the 3D printer nozzle on the filament’s end. This process will remove any loose materials or dirt that did not come out in the previous step.
If there still are leftover materials inside the 3D printer nozzle, you can repeat this process severally to make sure it is spotless. Moreover, if you feel your attempts to take out the filament in the first stage is very difficult, you need to try greater temperature settings.
Take away the nozzle and soak it inside acetone
In case every action you take fails, you can remove the nozzle and then soak it in acetone. However, this process might not be effective at removing all the kinds of filaments and also takes a prolonged duration. Start this process by taking out the 3D printer nozzle from the heater block with a socket wrench. If the clogging happened while you were printing using ABS, you should remove the clog by soaking the nozzle for no less than 15 minutes in ABS.
Consequently, you can decide to either vaporize or wipe away any residual acetone before you reinstall your nozzle in the extruder assembly.
If the clogging is caused by a filament that does not dissolve in acetone, you should use a blowtorch or heat gun to heat the nozzle and melt away the jam. After your nozzle becomes extremely hot, you should utilize a thin, soft wire to inspect whether you can unclog a hole through the 3D printer nozzle.
By now, you must have gained invaluable insight on how to clear a clog on your 3D printer nozzle. Learning this is an essential part of understanding the whole 3D printing process, especially if you are still learning how to use a filament that you are less conversant with using or are just starting to learn this technology.
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However, it is recommended you take some preventive measures to avoid finding yourself in a situation where you often need to unclog your 3D printer nozzle. Some of these preventive measures include ensuring your filament is clean, printing at suitable temperatures, keeping your printer nozzle at an ideal height, and cleaning out the nozzle before changing filaments.
By implementing these anticipatory measures, you considerably reduce the incidences of your nozzle getting clogged. Nevertheless, once the clogging occurs, you now have an idea of the best techniques of unblocking it. Consequently, you not only get to create high-quality 3D models but also enjoy using your 3D printer whenever you are using it.