A 3D printer diary – clogged nozzle

After printing a stringy mess, the nozzle of my 3D20 is covered in goo (filament). At room temperature, it’s a nice hard crusty smooth goo. The instructions explain how to clean the nozzle. There’s a nice video (with jolly music) that shows how to do it too:

  • Put the printer in heat mode to get the nozzle up to the correct temperature.
  • Don’t touch the nozzle – it’s 220 degrees C.
  • Remove filament from the top of the print head.
  • Don’t touch the nozzle. It’s hot.
  • Let the filament ooze through the nozzle for a bit.
  • Did we say the nozzle is hot?
  • Poke the cleaning tool in at the top and push out any filament.

I did this, and the cleaning tool went quite deep into the print head, almost to the nozzle. Then I pulled the cleaning tool out, and as I did so, I realised something had gone wrong. It felt like filament had been pulled out with the cleaning tool. I tried poking the cleaning tool in again, and it wouldn’t go. I guessed that the filament had solidified on the top of the metal part of the print head.

Schematic showing filament (in green for this diagram)

As expected, I’m not the first to experience problems like this. Here is a video, (with no sound), showing how to dismantle the print feeder, to get at the print head. Be careful not to loose the nylon spacers behind the heat-sink, behind the fan.

Photo showing my blocked print head (looking down on the steel print head). The blob of filament is white.

With filament back in the machine, a print job could be started. The results are shown below, and I’ll talk more about it in the next post.

3D printed version on the left in white.
Original (injection-moulded ABS) on the right in yellow.

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