How to Unclog a 3D Printer Nozzle

Throughout your 3D printing career, you will encounter certain projects that don’t come out right, be it that they are missing layers, are stringy or just don’t quite look like how you imagined them. If you have checked the usual suspects to no avail, it is likely that your nozzle is clogged and causing your 3D printing headache. In this guide, we have compiled a few ways that you can clear a nozzle clog and get back to quality printing that you know and love.

What Causes 3D Printer Nozzle Clogs

There are numerous things that can cause your 3D printer nozzle to clog. It could be something as simple as not cleaning out the nozzle after changing materials, dirty or sub-par filament, or filament getting into places it’s not supposed to be and gumming up the system.

To check if your 3D printer nozzle is clogged simply disengage the extruder gear and push the filament through by hand. If it takes much effort or simply doesn’t come through it all, you have found your clogged nozzle.

Tools You will Need to Unclog your 3D Printer Nozzle

We have compiled a few methods for clearing clogs from your 3D printer. Below is a list of tools you will need to utilize the methods below.

  • Heat gun or Blowtorch
  • Socket Wrench
  • Acupuncture needle or specific drill bits
  • Acetone
  • Socket wrench
  • Crescent wrench

Popular Methods For Clearing Clogged 3D Printer Nozzles

  • Cleaning off your nozzle with a brass wire brush – Use a brass wire brush to clear away debris from the nozzle and surrounding areas. It’s important to note that this method requires a BRASS wire brush and not a STEEL wire brush. Steel will damage and scratch things and leave you worse off than when you started. Acupuncture Needle or Drill Bits – Heat your printer to the correct extrusion temperature for the last material you were working with. After its heated, gently insert the acupuncture needle so the filament has a path to extrude with the next use. This will help loosen material in the nozzle so it extrudes with the next use.
  • Special 3D Printer Nozzle Drill Bits – Drill bits are useful, but not as highly recommended as the other methods listed here due to the possibility of damage. The process is largely the same as the acupuncture needle method, but instead of the needle, you are using the special drill bits. Be VERY careful not to drill to deep, or tilt the bit the wrong way as the possibility of breaking and causing more damage is very real.
  • Cold Pull Method – Heat up your hotend to 250 degrees C and push cleaning filament or nylon filament of the correct diameter through the nozzle until you don’t see any of the previous filament. Cool down the extruder to room temperature, then set your hot end to 115 degrees C. Once you get to about 90 degrees C pull on the filament until it comes out of the nozzle, you should be able to see the old particles attached. After this step, reheat your nozzle to 250 degrees C and push your filament until it comes out clean and easy.
  • Remove the Nozzle – If all else fails, remove the nozzle! Always follow the appropriate safety precautions for this step as the parts you are working with will be VERY hot. Heat up the nozzle to the correct temp for the last filament you used. then use a crescent wrench, and a socket wrench to remove your nozzle. After you nozzle is out, you have a couple of options depending on what filament you were printing with. If you were printing with ABS when your nozzle clogged, you can simply set it in acetone and let the filament dissolve. For other filaments, you can use a heat gun or a blowtorch. Be very careful with the blowtorch! if you apply direct heat from a blow torch onto your nozzle it can melt it which will only exacerbate your issue.

These are only a few ways that allow you to unclog your nozzle. If you have your own way of clearing your nozzle please share it below, or email it to us.

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