A couple weeks ago I was trying to print something using PLA at very low speeds, and I was hit by the somewhat infamous heat creep issue where filament ends up melting in the PTFE tube. I took my extruder apart and was able to clear the clog after soaking the tube in some boiling water to soften the PLA that was stuck in the tube.
A couple of weeks passed and life intervened so I havent gotten back to printing. But today I was finally able to try again. I wanted to print out some very simple calibration parts to try end better understand some of the various settings in the SLIC3R profiles, since blindly setting things to be very slow is probably what ended up causing the clog in the first place.
I am finding today that the extruder is barely laying down any material. I’m just getting a very thin, wispy strand laying down on the bed (or rather, that’s mostly failing to adhere to the bed because there’s so little of it). If I manually force filament in to the head it flows, but lacking a force probe in my hand I cant say for sure whether I had to push this hard in the past. Is the problem likely to be due to some error I made in reassembling the extruder head, or will I have to take things apart and do a more thorough job of cleaning the PTFE tube?
If I have to better clean the tube, how should I go about doing that? Everyone always says “soak it in acetone” but my understanding is that acetone is not effective on PLA. I would give it a shot but I dont have any on hand. My research has never really turned up what would be an effective solvent for PLA. I use isopropyl alcohol to clean my print bed but I think that’s mostly just removing my finger oils from the bed. Is the lack of a good, relatively safe solvent one of the reasons why some people stay away from PLA?
Would it be easier to just replace the stupid tube? I probably would have ordered a new one already if I had seen a 3mm tube on the Lulzbot shop.