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rjd

Super Clogged Extruders

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I left a 19 hr job running overnight and came back to find this. I've never encountered this. The error message said to check untimaker.com/ER17. I did and will attempt to check the limit switches and belts but first need to figure out how to remove this mess. Any tips?

 

 

IMG_6713.jpg

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This really sucks, man.  to fix it you need a heat gun.  Hopefully it's PLA as if it's a high temp material you are even more screwed.  This has happened to many people and they get through it eventually.  Heat the cores to 150C if they'll let you.  If one is failing then only heat the other.  But mostly you need to get this all out with a heat gun.

 

The root cause is that your part didn't stick well to the glass and was wider than tall so it didn't fall over and instead got carried around the bed like a hockey puck while extruding into a huge blob.

 

The fix is to get your parts to stick better.  Pay a lot of attention to how to make your parts stick better and check to make the first layer is squished well into the glass.  It's important to use a very very very thin layer of glue and important to do squish.  This is talked about in more details here.  Think about how much time you waste cleaning this head and how much watching this entire 15 minute video could have saved you.  In other words - it's worth watching the whole thing.

 

 

 

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Thank you for the advice. It is PLA and PVA and I do have a heat gun. I'll give it a shot. Great video too. In the past I have always monitored the job for the first several layers to make sure all is good. I did that in this case but something happened along the way. With every failure is a learning opportunity for sure. I'll report back with what I discover about this situation. 

Edited by rjd

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in engineering this is called a BAD failure mode. printers fail sometimes. but they should not fail like THIS.  material gets unstuck from the build plate sometimes. but THIS should not be the result. THIS IS BAD. my printer head metal parts are all bent and useless. my local dealer wants payment for fixing, this is not my fault. the UM3 printer cannot be operated un-attended. 

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It's not enough to watch the first layer.  You have to check that it squished hard.  These are photos of 0.3mm thick first layers and how they look with the head starting off at different heights - nominal would be 0.3mm above the bed which doesn't squish hardly at all.  0mm above the bed will give you the most squish and the most sticking.  0.15 is about right for me but if it will be an unattended-multi-hour print I squish more than that.

 

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4 hours ago, wydmynd said:

in engineering this is called a BAD failure mode. printers fail sometimes. but they should not fail like THIS.  material gets unstuck from the build plate sometimes. but THIS should not be the result. THIS IS BAD. my printer head metal parts are all bent and useless. my local dealer wants payment for fixing, this is not my fault. the UM3 printer cannot be operated un-attended. 

Careful operation to make sure the printer is doing its job can be monitored remotely via the app. I am not sure what you mean by 'unattended'.

 

While there may be a fix on the way for say, a sensor to detect build-up, on the offing, it really is up to the user to make sure your prints stick. That is the only reason this occurs.

 

Your analogy would be that of complaining that tires come apart on the highway when the driver never makes sure they are inflated properly, check wear and such. They should not unravel like that, but it does happen when people do not watch their equipment and make sure it is properly operated. It also causes massive issues on highways for the driver of the vehicle and others who have to navigate the mess they leave on the road yet, they still do not monitor their tires.

Edited by kmanstudios

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@kmanstudios thanks for the reply. If I had bought the printer and it had said "you must monitor print every 1.5 hours using app or catastrophic failure can occur , you may lose both printcores, and the entire printhead if using nylon or cpe."  then I would accept your comment. unfortunately sales people say it is no problem to print unattended, worst case your print may fail. 

 

now i have found a "private" document published only to service providers. they call this problem "flooded print head" and comment that this problem can happen more often than they care to admit. and they are "investigating". but no word to customers. this is not fair. i already lost 4 printcores!!! my provider will not replace them. now UM is admitting to a problem and they instruct the provider to fix the problem, but my provider will not fix it for free even though my printer is under warantee. 

 

I can try to link to the doc in a separate post so it does not get moderated.

 

 

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The flooded printcore issue only happens when a part gets knocked over and dragged around. Only took me one core to figure how to stop it.

 

As for unattended, I just returned from a business trip and left both my printers running for up to 9 days without monitoring and returned to a finished print. The only thing I did was to start them before leaving to make sure all parts stuck to the buildplate.

 

Is it an issue on the Ultimaker end? Yes, but there is also the responsibility to make sure that your parts are sticking down. These are not magical machines that just 'do it.' There is a bit of the user to take into account.

 

Edit: Oh yeah, not sure about 'no word to customers' as it is discussed and mentioned here, complete with a solution to the issue.

Edited by kmanstudios

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Hi Everyone, sorry to hear about the damaged printhead. 

The advice everyone has been giving here has been spot on. It happens when your print get detached from the bed. Although it doesn't always happen when your print gets loose. We did take precautions in the design of the Ultimaker to prevent this from happening. Like the silicon cover in the bottom of your printhead and the rings around the nozzles of your print core. Unfortunately, with the right amount of bad luck a print head can still flood on rare occasions. That is why we and our resellers do what we can to help our users. 

 

I assume @brightorange, @wydmynd and @rjd are different users right? The comments kinda complete each other so I wasn't entirely sure about it.

Anyway, if I am not mistaken you should be able to rely on the services of your reseller to fix this for you. If you could send me the name of your reseller and country (in a DM if you want) and we'll see if there is a (communication) problem somewhere on the line. 

 

Thank you for your time and patience, I'm sure we'll have you back in 3D printing in no-time. 

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Hi All, thank you all for the comments. I think threads like this are the useful type because they provide a problem and solution. In my case I always like to provide as much of a solution as I can offer. I always learn a ton from posts like this across the many forum communities I engage with and love to contribute back. 

 

I went about cleaning the clog using a heat gun as @gr5 suggested. It mostly worked as it was the only real way to separate plastic from printer parts. I ended up using several types of pliers and snips to cut away plastic as I went along. Overall the cleanup took about 4 hours and resulted in losing the two print cores. I really tried my best to save both cores down to the end when I discovered they were stuck within two rings of plastic in the bottom metal plate (just above the white silicone sheet where the nozzles stuck out). They broke just between the extruder block and the aluminum shaft with threads. You can see where they broke in the photos. 

 

I got to this point by taking apart the entire extruder assembly and removing the two axes. I didn't expect I would need to remove as many parts as I did. As a result I am now wondering if there is a better solution to this problem. Meaning, I wonder if there could be a better design for the the dark grey plate (shown in UM-Issue-12.jpg) that holds the black base of both print cores such that in the event plastic comes up to this point due to failure, it would not be able to get stuck inside this region inside of the print cores (UM3-Issue-11.jpg)? What if the dark metal piece doesn't have sunken wells for material to get stuck in? Would this change anything else in the system design?

 

I'm currently out of commission still but will look into @SandervG's advice. We have only had the system for a few months so I assume it should be under warranty. I'll report back on this later. 

 

In related matters, I attempted to install one new AA print core and use the machine with only 1 core. I am finding that that the printer will not respond to only 1 print core being installed. It apparently requires two to be installed. I found this post about Cura with an interesting response from "Ghostkeeper" about using the printer with one print core. I'll repost the response below.

Quote

 

The hardware team says that with the print core missing, the air flow in the head is messed up and we can't guarantee the same print quality.

The firmware team says that active levelling fails if the second print core is missing because the magnetic properties of the head are different and the z-offset calibration is obviously impossible. If you disable active levelling it could in theory work as long as the g-code never mentions T1 (and it's T1 that is missing). However, they plan to actively forbid this because of the reason that hardware mentions.

 


Hopefully this helps others that may encounter this problem in the future. Cheers!


 

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That metal plate you spoke of.  That is meant to hold the cores consistently every time - within maybe 10 microns I'm guessing.  Because that way once you calibrate the X/Y position on a pair of cores you don't have to ever calibrate them again because that metal plate is supposed to hold them in the same position every time.

 

So it's kind of critical I think.

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@gr5 Yes, I agree. It makes sense what it's purpose is in the assembly. My comment is regarding the actual design of the plate and the round slanted hole areas that each print core extruder align with (See UM3-Issue-12.jpg). The sunken well is where the material pooled up and got stuck inside the two print cores, making it impossible to move them up and down via spring action. See the filament stuck in UM3-Issue-11.jpg. In retrospect, one way to remove the filament in print core BB might have been to immerse a portion of the module in water and wait for the PVA stuck inside this region to dissolve. 

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@kmanstudios

 

excuse me your response is highly misleading. 

 

I have worked with 30 different machines UM2/2+/3/3E since 2015 and never seen such catastrophic clog  result from such a common problem (print detached from bed) 

as far as I am concerned there is no proper solution to this problem. every time it occurs my sales representative requires me to purchase 2 new printcores (over $100 ea) 

and if the machine is out of warranty I need to pay for the whole head replacement (in some cases, clog is so bad that metal parts are bent and no repair possible)

prints detaching from print bed is something to be expected in 3D printers, and cannot be avoided completely. especially when working with CPE , Nylon and other materials 

I currently instruct colleagues to use ABK sticker sheets with all materials except PLA.

 

I decided to paste some of the content of the service update. notice the text "Salespartner only". so it is not publicly admitting  there is a problem , and also admitting that repair is sometimes impossible.

I will do this in next post.  I hope it is not moderated.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, brightorange said:

@kmanstudios

 

excuse me your response is highly misleading. 

 

I have worked with 30 different machines UM2/2+/3/3E since 2015 and never seen such catastrophic clog  result from such a common problem (print detached from bed) 

as far as I am concerned there is no proper solution to this problem. every time it occurs my sales representative requires me to purchase 2 new printcores (over $100 ea) 

and if the machine is out of warranty I need to pay for the whole head replacement (in some cases, clog is so bad that metal parts are bent and no repair possible)

prints detaching from print bed is something to be expected in 3D printers, and cannot be avoided completely. especially when working with CPE , Nylon and other materials 

I currently instruct colleagues to use ABK sticker sheets with all materials except PLA.

 

I decided to paste some of the content of the service update. notice the text "Salespartner only". so it is not publicly admitting  there is a problem , and also admitting that repair is sometimes impossible.

I will do this in next post.  I hope it is not moderated.

 

 

 

I do not see how my comments are misleading.

1) I relayed my experience directly with no manufacturing of information

B) The reason it happens is because prints are not sticking to the buildplate and getting dragged around.

iii) Solve the sticking issue and you solve the buildup issue.

 

As I said, it took me one core to get it figured out and start making sure my prints are not cutting loose. I am extremely anal about my buildplate prep. As a matter of fact, recently, I got a chance to test a machine out and it really frustrated me because I could not go through my normal routine preparations and it caused issues with getting things done.

 

But, nobody is saying it is not happening to  you. We are saying what the solution is as it has worked for everybody that has posted here. And, you may have the super secret, double probation paperwork, but it has been acknowledged here by Team UM and users as well as support people.

 

And, comparing other machines is a false equivalency. My favorite car that I had was a 1965 Corvair. Why? It was simple. period. And, you know what? It never had the problems of modern engines with computer controls and other doohickeys. So, kinda not following the comparison.

Edited by kmanstudios

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1 hour ago, brightorange said:

@kmanstudios

 

excuse me your response is highly misleading. 

 

I have worked with 30 different machines UM2/2+/3/3E since 2015 and never seen such catastrophic clog  result from such a common problem (print detached from bed) 

as far as I am concerned there is no proper solution to this problem. every time it occurs my sales representative requires me to purchase 2 new printcores (over $100 ea) 

and if the machine is out of warranty I need to pay for the whole head replacement (in some cases, clog is so bad that metal parts are bent and no repair possible)

prints detaching from print bed is something to be expected in 3D printers, and cannot be avoided completely. especially when working with CPE , Nylon and other materials 

I currently instruct colleagues to use ABK sticker sheets with all materials except PLA.

 

I decided to paste some of the content of the service update. notice the text "Salespartner only". so it is not publicly admitting  there is a problem , and also admitting that repair is sometimes impossible.

I will do this in next post.  I hope it is not moderated.

 

 

 

7

 

Hi @brightorange, thank you for your reply. What is misleading about kman's response? 

You speak of a clog, and even though you can now consider your printhead as clogged the origin of this problem was not a clog. It was a print that got loose from your build plate. This may not be relevant for finding a solution, but good to realize nonetheless. And although you can have a clog with every 3D printer, even previous Ultimaker generations could have filament accumulating around the heater block, but this used to be easier to clean because the hot end was much simpler. The Ultimaker 3 print head (and print cores) are more advanced, the upside is they are capable of more things but the downside is that if all the pieces of the puzzle fall in the wrong places, such a blob is more 'catastrophic' for your head and more difficult to clean. We're sorry you had to experience this first hand. 

 

Like you have stated, and I also see your post in the moderator queue, you seem to have found a piece of communication from Ultimaker to our sales partners. Because it states 'Salespartner only', I will not approve that post because it was not intended to be shared publicly. But I don't think it holds any dark secrets. Of course we (Ultimaker) know about the (small) chance that this can happen. In the design of the Ultimaker 3 we tried to reduce the chances of this happening to a bare minimum by inserting the silicon sheet and rings at the bottom of your printhead. The best thing you can do as a user to prevent such a thing from ever happening is ensuring your print won't get loose. Like using active leveling, clean your glass plates, use potentially recommended adhesives and suggested temperature and speed for your heated bed / initial layer. There are several threads on our forums that go more in depth about bed adhesion.

But still, we think it is better to keep all of our sales partners informed and prepared so when a customer checks in with such a problem, they know what most likely happened and know immediately how to fix it. This should shorten the time it takes to solve your problem faster and improve the customer experience overall. Policy is we should always look for the best and reasonable solution for our customers. 

 

That you have to pay for the damaged print cores may slightly depend on your specific situation, hard for me to say, but let me check internally if that is indeed intended policy or not. Thank you for your time and patience. I'm sure we'll get you back to 3D printing shortly! 

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hi again.

 

I usually dont spend time in forums and trying not to be too much of a troll. 

I have vast technical experience with 3D printers since my first printer I assembled in 2011 (the kit came with an actual, physical medal. because if you got it to work, you deserved it!)

 

I am trying not to expose myself too much but I recommend UM printers to schools and institutions because I think it is the most reliable printer under $5K for institutional use. labs I work with have logged  over 55K hours of printing combined, on UM2/2+ alone 

 

prints detach from buildplates, at least partially every ~15 prints on average I would say. even if you always turn on brim (which rules out some  types of models i.e with hinges or chain-like) the only way to make 100% sure your print stays stuck to the build plate is to check it every half hour or so.

 

I tell printer operators, 90% of failures are in the first layer. even so, prints can detach even if you put glue, and made super-sure that the first layer is fine. especially with non-PLA materials.  And you know well that they can detach in the 3rd, 4th and 50th layer. It happens. till now, no biggie. just come in the morning to pile of premium ColorFabb spaghetti. 

 

My point about misleading post is that I do not consider "making sure your print sticks to build plate" as a solution to this problem, when you are dealing with a school or company that has over 3 printers and just expect them to work well, or at least fail gracefully when they do. Remember, these people don't have the time to monitor the printer every 30 minutes. 

 

If the school lab manager swears to me they checked the first layer was  stuck well to the build plate, and they come in the morning to a print head un-repairable heap of bent metal and goo, imagine  their un-pleasant surprise when they discover the malfunction is considered their fault and may not be repaired for free even under warranty. 

 

I think it is good and fair that you are admitting that you moderated the post including the "salespartner only" document even though I only pasted 2 short paragraphs from it. but I know some of your customers (incl. my partners) are not getting the service and repairs they deserve under the terms outlined in the document. will you take responsibility??

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22 minutes ago, brightorange said:

but I know some of your customers (incl. my partners) are not getting the service and repairs they deserve under the terms outlined in the document. will you take responsibility??

You should really @SandervG on that last question (I just did it for you) as I can't speak for Ultimaker.  Most of us here are users but Sander works for UM.  He asked you I think to let him know who your reseller is.  Hopefully you sent him a private message about that as he wants to look into how your reseller is treating you.

 

22 minutes ago, brightorange said:

when you are dealing with a school or company that has over 3 printers and just expect them to work well, or at least fail gracefully when they do.

For me I would say much less than every 15 prints come loose.  It's more like 1 in 1000.  Probably less often than that. But I get your point - you are dealing with a group of people using these printers so it's now getting more indirect.

 

You clearly seem to have a lot of experience and are pretty good about getting parts to stick but at least for me personally (I could be wrong) but I don't think I could achieve that 1 in 1000 if I used the auto leveling.  If you really want your parts to stick one of many key things you have to do is to squish the bottom layer more than the default auto leveling will have you do.  I really suggest you watch the video (second post from top) but even if you don't...   There are many things you have to do to get parts to stick well (such as brim as you mentioned and having the bed above the softening temp of the filament - 60C is a good bed temp for PLA - clean the bed every month - clean immediately if you spill oil on it) but I found that squishing that bottom layer makes a huge difference.  I did many tests where I printed with varying amounts of "squish" and used a special test that involved a scale and a screw driver that measured somewhat objectively the force needed to get parts off the bed.  The more you squish - the harder it is to get parts off the bed.  There's a tradeoff of course.  There's always a tradeoff.

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Hi @brightorange, thank you for your fast reply, it is much appreciated.

Must have been quite an assembly, your first kit. Which 3D printer did you start with?

 

What you say sounds fair and true. I would agree around 90% of failures can be detected/prevented in the first layer, but yea.. it is 90%, not a 100%. So 10% still remains. It is good to realize not every loose print would result in such a blob as you have experienced. You should be able to rely on your Ultimaker to run independently, especially if you made sure it was off to a good start. 

 

20 minutes ago, brightorange said:

will you take responsibility??

I have send some questions to my designated colleagues, but given the time of day, it was already out of office time. Hopefully tomorrow there will be an update (or at least some wheels in motion) and I'll share it back with you once I have some news. Thank you for your time and patience, it is much appreciated!

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1 minute ago, gr5 said:

He asked you I think to let him know who your reseller is.  Hopefully you sent him a private message about that as he wants to look into how your reseller is treating you.

That would indeed be helpful if you would like to do so. Feel free to send me a DM with some more information. Perhaps your account did not allow you to do so earlier since you had a new account and during your first two posts you have limited rights (we need to do this to prevent spam), but now you should be able to send a DM. Thank you. 

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I also feel that when parts do come loose and if they are wider than they are tall and they get dragged around the print bed, then the resulting "head flood" is much worse on the UM3 than the older printers.  It sucks on the UM2 as well (and the UMO) but because the head kind of contains things it's worse.

 

I'm lucky that in my first few years' printing when parts came loose they were always taller than wide and they simply fell over.  No head-flooding disaster.  Now parts don't come loose.  Now I have the opposite problem - I'm often getting chips of glass inside the bottom of my prints.

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I think (and I know you ulticult members will think this is me being negative and blaaablabla) the other 10% could have been mitigated also by properly communicating that most of the first um3 printers had a really bad glass (within the um specs of a 0.3 total up/down warp) that can’t be fixed totally by the automagic level. 

 

Also. About prints detachment. I have a 1/1000 times that happens. I only use hairspray for complex materials but that’s life (I never nor will ever use the glue stick). Also ofc shit happens. But also, with zero communication from um to the customers about how to confront the printer low points, this is bound to happen (And I mean on the manual).

 

As for Warranty I highly doubt this wouldn’t be covered by EU law but ofc USA warranty is 1 year. Specially since UM3 has a ISO to be left unattended right? I wonder if that iso test was done under what conditions but well, stuff happens. 

 

Also um3 has a good camera (with the resolution lower down by software to keep up the frame rate speed). It should be fairly easy to place an alarm detector to check every 5 minutes if a, for example a Barcode that if, when doing the switch for example, gets unreadable, it just sends a photo of the printer and sends that photo by email to the user. After all it’s been more than a year since release, and the board has plenty of unnused CPU. So? Anyway, just easy ideas that come to my mind now.  

 

Now going back to the topic. Doesn’t the um3 has a temperature monitor on the front area? Could that be just be save-log to debug if the issue of parts making a chulhu out of the printhead cores. Because maybe even with a perfect bottom layer if the printer is left overnight and the temperature drops suddenly (room temperure heating going off in winter) maybe this issues could be easily debugged for the customer and reseller know what’s the issue & properly inform the customer of how to keep the ambient room to get the best out of their printers. 

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11 minutes ago, neotko said:

 

Indeed Cthulhu! That’s how I nickname the printheads flooded XD

 

Specially since this one

 

https://community.ultimaker.com/topic/13267-umo-strange-issue/

I am glad you shared that link. According to everybody else,it never happened to anything but the UM3.

 

But, yeah, I think Cthulhu is a perfect name for it :)

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38 minutes ago, kmanstudios said:

I am glad you shared that link. According to everybody else,it never happened to anything but the UM3.

 

But, yeah, I think Cthulhu is a perfect name for it :)

 

Oh it can happen on many printers. I think the big issue is that the cores can break on the process. But when this happens on a um2/umo/e3d the replacement parts are cheaper an there’s a whole library of manuals of how to do that. On the um3 there’s no parts, but full cartridges/cores

 

Its a know issue of fdm. Part unsticks and sticks to the nozzle

 

um2 examples

 

https://community.ultimaker.com/topic/15266-ultimaker-2-fossilised-hotend/

 

https://community.ultimaker.com/topic/15266-ultimaker-2-fossilised-hotend/

 

 

The other problem on the um3 is that if can break the electronics inside the printhead the parta to replace in $ do skyrocket. But for other printers changing a heater, pt100, thermistor, 5v fan, fancap fans. That parts while ain’t plug/play separated are cheaper.

 

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