I changed to a different (new) roll of filament - this time Hatchbox 3mm white ABS. It had the same problem getting into the hole at the top of the metal screw (or tube) above the heating piece. After twisting the cable around for a while, I got it into the hole, though it still feels as though that piece doesn’t fit well. Or at the very least, due to the curl of the filament, it has a habit of clinging to the right wall as I push down, and thus hits the metal wall of that tube.
Anyway, I increased the temperature to 240° C and kicked off the print job again. It failed horribly - barely any filament had come out.
I pushed some of the yellow HIPS that came with the Lulzbot into the hole, and was able to get it down to the bottom of the extruder, verifying that there wasn’t a clog. (Which brings up the question - does that HIPS have a smaller diameter than normal 3mm filament? It seems to go in much easier than the justpla PLA and Hatchbox ABS…)
I then realized that the feeder cog was clogged up now that it had chewed through several filament strands. I cleaned that (and rotated it a few times) with the metal brush Lulzbot included with the Mini. (BTW, kudos to Lulzbot for including they tools they include. Big thumbs up to you guys.)
Then, I ran the job again. This time, it extruded filament and printed fine for about 1" tall of the object, but then the entire object shifted a few inches to the side, and it just made a big wiry mess. I clipped the filament, re-cleaned the feeder gear, and increased the bed heat from 60° C to 80° C for the print job, and restarted it.
It’s printing now, but seems to be doing fine. I’m hoping the higher heat on the bed keeps the ABS in place this time.