Nozzle clogged

I just got my mini a week ago about put about 2 hours in to printing two items. I went to print a third item (note that I’ve been printing these one a day and not removing the PLA filament) and it did the base then stopped printing. After attempt after attempt I realized it was clogged and found the lulzbot article of how to fix the problem which worked great. My question is … is this common or one of the things you just need to expect every once in a while or was it a quirk?

Thanks
James

My relatively short experience with the Mini has made me learn that the two primary reasons for a clogged head is extrusion temperature and idler tension.

The profiles Lulzbot supplies works great for the material they supply. For other brands, its good to do test extrusions to find the right temperature. My process has been to choose the middle temperature range recommended for the material being used. If it doesn’t flow, start turning the temp up by 5 degrees until it extrudes smoothly. If it’s extruding smoothly right away, turn it down by 5 degrees and try again until it starts to come out a little shakey, then turn it back up 5 degrees from there. That seems to be the optimal temperature.

As for idler tension, this printed part is fantastic for setting the right tension every time. Adjust your tension every time you change the filament, and check after every few big print jobs. The jig sits between the two washers on the idler tension adjustment. Tighten until the two washers are snug up against the sides of the plastic part. You have to go back and forth tightening them individually until they are both snug.

I find 3D printing is 60% science, 30% voodoo and 10% luck. :smiley: Don’t worry though, you’ll get the hang of it after a while.

Oh… also, watch out for cheap filament… it can have wildly varying diameters causing it to be oval shaped and under and oversized. So you’ll need to adjust your extrusion ratio on some filaments. I find this part helps alot narrowing down the proper extrusion ratio. Lower the extrusion ratio until the two parts fit together properly.

I don’t know about others but I had a number of nozzle clogging issues when I first started. I have discovered that as I became more experienced, the frequency of clogs went down considerably but I still have them.

I compare 3D printers to English cars. American cars are built with the expectation that the owner will not work on them. They work great until the day that they just die. :slight_smile:

English cars (of the 50s-70s at least) required weekly attention to work well, check the oil, top of the carb dampeners, tighten bolts, etc.

If you don’t regularly check the tension on the idler, the hobbed bolt will start slipping, eat a nice chunk out of your filament, and ruin your print. Thankfully, these types of clogs are fairly easy to clear. Unfortunately, I seem to hit them the most on long print jobs. :frowning:

I know PLA is everyone’s favorite filament, but my experience with it is very negative. Whenever I’m using PLA, it’s one issue after another. I’d suggest trying some other kinds of filament – ABS and PETG are my favorites (in that order, but note that ABS requires a warm ambient environment and PETG does better in a cold one). HIPS gets a lot of recommendations too, I just happen to have an allergy to the fumes so I can’t really say one way or the other on it.