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How to fix 3D printer filament grinding issues

Posted by Thomas Brooks on

Filament grinding is a common problem in 3D printing that occurs when the extruder digs plastic out of the filament rather than pushing the filament through the hot end. This results in a grinding or clicking sound from the extruder motor as well as the appearance of powder in the color of the filament you're printing with. Here is a check list you can use to fix filament grinding in a 3D printer:

  • Increase the hot end temperature: If the temperature is too low, the filament may not melt properly or have too high of a viscosity, and both of these increase the flow resistance of the molten plastic through the nozzle. Try increasing the hot end temperature by a few degrees.
  • Reduce the print speed: You may be printing faster than your hot end or extruder can handle. If your hot end doesn't produce enough heat to melt the filament fast enough, or the extruder isn't capable of providing the required force, your filament can grind.
  • Adjust the extruder tension: The extruder gear may be pushing too hard or not hard enough. Adjust the tension on the extruder gear to ensure that it's not too loose or too tight.
  • Clean the nozzle: Sometimes a clogged nozzle can cause filament grinding. Heat the nozzle to the melting temperature of the filament and then use a fine wire or needle to clear any obstructions. Be careful to not push plastic into the heat break of the hot end.
  • Check the filament: Make sure the filament is loaded properly and there are no knots or tangles in the roll of filament that could prevent it from unspooling.
  • Check the filament path: Make sure that the filament path from the spool to the hot end is not rubbing on anything or tangled.
  • Upgrade the extruder: If you've tried all the above steps and still have filament grinding issues, you may need to upgrade the extruder motor or to a dual gear extruder that can handle the force required to push the filament through the hot end.

By following these steps, you should be able to troubleshoot and fix filament grinding in your 3D printer.

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