Depending upon the filament you use, the aerostruder can have a heat creep problem which ultimately results in clogs. In the standard single struder, cold pulls are king. In the dual extruder cold pulls are difficult but possible. In the aerostruder it is physically impossible.
The best method I have found for dealing with a clog is to remove the nozzle, and attempt to pull whatever is stuck in the filament oath down through the heater block. It is terrible. In some cases I have pushed items up into the gears but there is no way to push it out since the build up is usually bigger than the feeding tube which is attached ti the gear mechanism.
So my wuestion is this. Has anyone figured out a better way to clear clogs in the aerostruder?
One way that we use over here when we get a bad clog on an Aerostruder, is to disable the heat sink fan by placing an index card or something similar over the fan to prevent the airflow into the heat sink. Once you have the heat sink fan disabled you will then heat the hotend up to 220C for PLA or 250C for the higher temperature range filaments. You then let the hotend reach the temperature you have it set at, and let it sit for a minute or two. This allows the heat to travel up the heat break and soften the filament in the heat sink area. Once the filament has had a little time to soften, we then use a 2.5 mm hex head wrench and make sure the tension is loosened all the way and then stick the hex head wrench into the feed hole on the top of the extruder and then use it as a plunger to try and push the filament down and out through the nozzle.
I had my doubts but I just used this technique to unclog my mini.
Jams seem to be occurring more often since I started using Hatchbox instead of Verbatim. Coincidence?
I ordered more Verbatim…
I also use the increased heat method to clear clogs, however, i prefer not to jam the fan blade because the continuously applied
current to a non spinning fan will eventually degrade the fan motor. I have elected to pull the fan ground wire out of the connector instead.
It’s a simple push of the pin retention feature through the hole on the back of the connector and the pin slides out, fan stops.
The pin is the 4th from the left as you look at the back of the double row connector with the green arrow on it.
I have also removed the extruder nozzle after the temperature is up (as above) and then pushed some material down through the
now unrestricted filament path. This presumes that there isn’t a jam further up in the plastic feed tube.
It worked for me. There was some material left behind in the nozzle thread area, that was a pain to get out.
Also, if you elect to remove the nozzle, be sure that the heater element doesn’t also rotate and make contact with the support,
or you will see wisps of smoke as the support plastic starts to melt. Don’t ask me how I know this…
I used the business card technique successfully some weeks back, but now have another clog, and it isn’t working. There’s a couple inches of PLA stuck in the teflon tube. I can grab it and move it up and down, but can’t remove it entirely, so can’t plunge it with a hex wrench. When I turn the temperature from 220 to 222, I can smell the filament burning, but it remains stuck.
Any other suggestions for unclogging the hot end without disassembling the works?
Love the aerostruder print head! I got myself in this situation before. I took it apart, had no choice. It’s never been the same since. It was assembled with very tight tolerances. Here’s what I suggest trying. Heat it it up to about 260C. Power off and unscrew the nozzle. Heat it back up again. Be sure to move your Z axis to the top, near its max height. Turn the tensioner to max looseness, you don’t need that interfering. Put that Allen wrench up through the nozzle pushing with an upward force. Since you say you can grab the filament and pull on it do that, pull on the filament as you push on the filament with the Allen wrench. If this don’t work then you may need to try a heat gun in the area of stuckness.
Be sure you’re using 2.85mm filament and not 3mm.
Thanks Joe, I’ll give it a try, maybe on the weekend when I’m good and rested and less likely t screw up. I should’ve said it’s a 1.75mm extruder, in case that makes the operation any trickier.
Should be the same with the exception that the Allen wrench would have to be smaller to fit in the filament path/tube. I’m not sure if it will be long enough though. Maybe try a drill bit or screw driver or a barbecue skewer; you get the gist, a tool that’s narrow enough and long enough.
Ok, thanks. I’m considering grabbing an acupuncture needle set off Amazonia, which seem to be sold for just this purpose. But I admit to feeling a little nervous about unscrewing the nozzle, which I gather can be a delicate operation–easy to cross-thread or over-tighten and such.
Best way to remove the nozzle is to heat it up to about 260c, turn the printer off, hold the heater block with curved tip pliers to prevent it from turning while loosening the nozzle. The nozzle should take a 7mm wrench or socket if the nozzle has more than 2 flat sides. Use then same procedure when putting the nozzle back on and being careful to not over tighten.
Good advice, thanks again Joe. I’ve since learned that the nano-coating on the Nozzle X can be damaged by inserting needles, so will try your method instead. With any luck, I won’t short out my board, over-tighten my nozzle, or burn off my fingerprints in the process.
Well, I removed the Nozzle X, cranked it to 260, and stuck a hex wrench up there while pulling on the stuck filament from the top, but it’s still stuck pretty firmly. Tried a few different temperatures, but no go.
So I guess there’s nothing for it now but to remove the Aerostruder and tear 'er down. What could possibly go wrong?
After many months of distraction, I finally tore my new, hopelessly clogged Aerostruder apart, as per the excellent instructional video from Zach of ITWorks. Found the clog in the teflon tube, pulled it out, and reassembled it all with a brand new Nozzle X. No heat guns or replacement parts required.
After some struggles with the CURA library (which seems overly sensitive to any profile changes), it’s printing perfectly again. Phew.
From now on, I will be avoiding cheap metal-filled PLA. Now, on to the ColorFabb & Proto-Pasta!