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How can I clear a completely compacted nozzle?

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Posted (edited) · How can I clear a completely compacted nozzle?

After yesterdays long print, the nozzle didn't seem to be extruding at all. No problem I thought, I'll do the atomic method and clear it.

However, this seems to have compounded the problem by completely compacting the nozzle. When I attempted to atomic clean again, the extra filament I added to the top didn't even melt to the solid mass of filament inside the nozzle.

Is there anything I can do to unclog it quickly so I can get up and running again quickly? I thought about heating the nozzle and pushing a guitar string up it to clear enough so that the atomic method would be successful.

The material inside the nozzle is PLA. I've heated all the way up to 230ºC, which is as far as I dare.

Edited by Guest

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Posted · How can I clear a completely compacted nozzle?

If you have a soldering iron you can set it up with it's point facing up and hang the tip on that till all the stuff melts and burns out. Then bang the the noxzle upside down onto a hard surface. Then finish off if necessary with something fine through the tip. It has worked for me.

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Posted · How can I clear a completely compacted nozzle?

I presume this means complete disassembly of the print head, so the nozzle is on its own? Then hold with pliers? Not sure I trust myself banging a super heated metal object down on my desk :)

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Posted · How can I clear a completely compacted nozzle?

If you are going tear it down anyway, you might want to think about doing upgrades/maintenance while you have it apart.

Check the PTFE Coupler, it might need to be replaced. I had a nozzle clog once that wasn't a nozzle clog. The filament was jammed in the worn out PTFE coupler.

https://ultimaker.com/en/support/250-disassembly

Look into buying an I2K Insulator. This should make the PTFE coupler last longer.

https://ultimaker.com/en/community/17279-i2k-insulator-duptef-couplers

Look into upgrading to the Olsson heater block. This will make clearing nozzle clogs easier, but it won't help with PTFE coupler clogs.

Be careful overheating PLA. It might "caramelize" it and make it worse.

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Posted · How can I clear a completely compacted nozzle?

How long do the PTFE couplers last? I think this printer has done a maximum of about 70 hours.

I replaced it and I now see what the problem was. The filament and melted nicely, but from pushing new filament in to do atomic cleaning it must have forced melted filament back up the PTFE coupler. Once the unit cooled down it solidified in the coupler, so no amount of pushing would push the hardened filament back into the hot head.

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Posted · How can I clear a completely compacted nozzle?

How long do the PTFE couplers last? I think this printer has done a maximum of about 70 hours.

 

As with everything, it depends.

My understanding is that if you are printing below a certain temp, it will last indefinitely. But if you go above a certain point it starts to degrade.

https://ultimaker.com/en/community/12805-lifetime-of-your-ptfe-coupler-poll#featured

https://ultimaker.com/en/community/17587-dont-throw-away-your-old-um2-ptfe-coupler

https://ultimaker.com/en/community/17279-i2k-insulator-duptef-couplers

Read through these.

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Posted (edited) · How can I clear a completely compacted nozzle?

Great links, thank you! Unfortunately I had to severely deform the coupler to remove it. I'll chalk that up to an important lesson.

I think in future after I do a long print, I'll extrude a little material, just to ensure there isn't any left over filament in the coupler as it cools down.

Edited by Guest
Grammar

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