Nozzle clogs are a somewhat common occurrence within the 3D Printing realm, so chances are that at some point you will encounter them. Clogs can happen for a few different reasons, like for example, the temperature of the hotend is not high enough to ensure the plastic melts quickly enough while being extruded, or maybe the filament you use could have microscopic particles (like types of wood filament or other infused filaments) that would gather at the tip of the nozzle restricting the flow. The symptoms are fairly easy to diagnose as these will show themselves through:
To clear most clogs you may need:
Please note that some of the operations within this guide could be hazardous if not performed with care as they involve high nozzle temperatures. Please take all precautions necessry when performing these tasks. For some of these procedures, the machine should be powered off and the nozzle should be completely cooled down for most of these procedures.
There are several methods to unclog a hotend, depending on the severity of the clog, you might need to cycle through them until you find the one that works for you:
One of the easiest ways is to increase the nozzle temperature to slightly higher than the filament requirements and then force it out.
Set nozzle temperature to 250℃(for PLA), and manually extrude the filament through the on-screen menu.
If forcing the clog out didn't work, the next step would be to try and use the unclogging pin supplied to you with the printer by following the instructional video below:
If both of the above options have failed, the next process to try is to pull the filament from the hotend using a hex key.
Disassemble the hotend in order for it to be removed from its secured position and then, set the temperature of the nozzle to 100 degrees
Take an H1.5 Allen key and heat the end of it with a lighter
Insert the now heated end of the Allen key into the hotend from the top and push it down. Wait for around 30 seconds and then power off the printer, disconnect the thermistor cable, and then pull the Allen key back out.
If it works, the filament that was jammed in the hotend should come out attached to the Allen key.
For the case of insufficient extrusion, we recommend a cold pull to remove debris from the nozzle. Especially in the case of printing carbon fiber materials, the cold pull should be carried out regularly to ensure the reliability of extrusion.
While the above methods tend to clear out 99% of clogs, there might be cases where a nozzle simply needs to be replaced as it could be damaged. If after all these your machine is printing correctly, then you have successfully unclogged your nozzle.
0.2mm nozzles are much more difficult to clear clogs from and might require the above steps several times over. On the other hand, nozzles larger than 0.4mm tend to clog a lot less than 0.4mm ones as the opening of the nozzle allows for larger particles to go through.