PrintrBot Simple Metal Fan Shroud - 3d Printing

3d Printing and How to Deal With a Clogged Nozzle

3d Printing is a rabbit hole of a hobby. Last week my PrintrBot 3d Printer developed a pretty serious clog.  This being my first time, I hit the forums and read through the dozens of “solutions” touted by others. I had no idea where the clog could be, there were so many options and horror stories. After an hour or so of reading, all I knew was that I didn’t want it to be above the melt chamber (and that I’d been doing it wrong when I pulled the filament out hot).

The Problem

The symptoms were a skipping and hot E motor. It would print fine on perimeters, but moments into a solid fill and it would skip. Obviously my prints deteriorated quickly.

I managed to push some piano wire down into the hot end and jam a few strands from a 22 AWG hookup wire into the nozzle and this appeared to clear things up for a bit. After some more research, I would not suggest this route to anyone else. Nevertheless, the printer managed to make it through another two prints but when I switched to some Glow In Dark filament it clogged once again. This time no matter what I did I couldn’t get it to clear up. I determined the nozzle was the culprit.

The Solution

Everywhere I looked the suggestion was to take the nozzle off of the hot end, put it into a vice or some other holding device, and take a blow torch to it to burn out the filament. In my case I didn’t have a blow torch, but I did have an old Circle K lighter in the cupboard. I just hoped it had enough juice left.

Grabbing a pair of needle nose pliers and the lighter, I headed to the kitchen sink. A big, metal tub with nothing flammable seemed like the best option. Alternating between applying heat and scraping with a push pin I managed to get a lot of charred gunk out of the nozzle. Feeling somewhat confident I reassembled and it was time for the moment of truth. Sure enough, success!

3d Printing - Majora's Mask
Majora’s Mask 3d printed on PrintrBot Simple Metal