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Ultimaker suddenly stopped working

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I have only had my Ultimaker for a week so am very new to this.

I bought it pre assembled and was very happy with my first few prints. However I then attempted to print a model I downloaded from sketchup and the printing did not work very well at all.

I am using PLA and was prior to the problem was printing successfully at 220C.

I have gone on to the forum troubleshooting and am relatively confident there is no blockage in the Bowden tube nor the brass hot end piece. The printer goes through all the motions of the print but no filament passes through. The extruder seems to work ok until it pushes the filament to the very be of the tube entering the hot end. There are then some odd sounds and the extruder begins to rub a way at the filament.

I think there is a problem at the hot end but I'm not at all sure. I have attached a photo of the filament I have pulled out after unsuccessful printing showing the end at the hot part.

I would be so very grateful for any help as I have been struggling to resolve the problem for the past two days.

Many thanks,


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You can contact Ultimaker support as well but they work M-F on Netherlands time which is 6 hours after east coast and 9 hours after west coast usa so if you are in usa then email might be best or call as early as possible in the morning.

There is no photo. To upload a photo you might have to make 5 posts so you can start by replying to this and saying "ok". But you go to the top of this page and click gallery, then you upload the picture, then you go to make a post and click "my media" to add the picture(s).

It's good that you started debugging.

Everytime you grind the filament you need to pull it out and cut off an inch or so. This way the ground part will be up in the bowden tube and not right at the extruder.

1) Extruder. It sounds like the extruder is working but you can test it by inserting it only a little way into the tube and turning the gear with one hand and fighting the filament with the other hand. The extruder should be able to pull 22 pounds before it starts to grind. If you just grip the filament hard and let it try to pull you hand into the extruder and you can't stop it then that's probably at least 10 pounds which is good enough for most prints.

2) clogs. There are "two" locations you can get a clog.

2a) Nozzle - most likely location with the newer ultimakers.

2b) higher up in the print head.

2c) It might not be a clog - it's possible but unlikely that the filament is stuck on an edge higher up.

2c is easiest to test for and least likely. Just use cutters to shape the tip of the filament to a point before feeding it in.

2b is pretty easy to check. But I would try 2c first. Remove the filament. Then remove the little blue clip where the clear bowden tube goes to the print head. Don't lose it. Then push down on the ring that the clip was holding up and pull quite hard on the tube. It will slide up. Look inside with a flashlight for clogs of filament. Stick some filament in there and see if it feels like it can go almost all the way to the nozzle.

2a - nozzle - most likely the problem. You can have partial clogs or full clogs. They can be caused by dust or wood chips that stick to the filmanent as it feeds. Or if you simply leave the hot end hot for 10 minutes the PLA will slowly "boil" and change it's composition to a blackish brownish gunk that sticks to everything and causes bad clogs. Remove the nozzle by first heating to 200C (as PLA is in the threads by now). Take a wrench and very delicately unscrew the head. don't turn it the wrong way. Don't apply much force at all. Brass is very soft and easy to destroy with a twisting wrench. It's metal so it's kind of strong but you can easily force it to twist into two pieces.

After you get the nozzle off, use pliers or tweezers and put it in a flame. Ideally if you have a gas stove, use that. Burn the heck out of all the pla that is left. Don't get it red hot or it will deform but get it hot enough to see the pla burning/boiling away until it's gone. You can test the nozzle with a 3 inch piece of pla - just push it through. If it goes through you are done. If not, start over. If after 3 attempts no luck then you need a thin wire. I use normal household electric wire and I remove a single strand of copper and use that to poke through the hole from the front. I wish I had something slightly thicker though.


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I see your picture now! I see you have already performed 2b.

That is a very normal looking tip. The hollow part is when you pull it out while it is still warm but not hot enough to melt. That is normal.

Seeing this your problem is very likely not 2b or 2c. That leaves 2a or 1.


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The simplest test is of course to see if you can push the filament by hand. You should never need to apply any excessive force for the filament to go through the extruder.

It could also be something as simple as an incorrect diameter on the filament? If it's too thick, it'll get stuck in the Bowden tube with no filament getting through. This is common with cheap filament, but I've also had it happen to high quality filament too. Are you sure this is not the case?

I've had my UM for quite some time and this one bit my tail a few weeks ago...



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Hello all,

Hello all,

Thank you for your responses.

I have tested the nozzle to check it is not blocked using some wire and it seems to be fine. I will check again following the procedure gr5 has suggested however.

I will grapple with the extruder later this afternoon.

jenschr- I'm using filament bought from Ultimaker so I had my fingers crossed that that wouldn't be the problem.. The filament doesn't seem to have a problem getting through the tube when I push it along by hand. Just nothing seems to come out of the hot end...

Also two more points which I have observed which may be helpful for 'those who know' to help diagnose the problem I have been having:


  • I have noticed there is significantly less tension in the spring when I go to fasten the extruder than there used to be. Could this be a contributing factor?
  • There is quite a lot of 'brown gunk' sat on top of the silver piece of metal (see photo attached). Could this be as a result of something being 'loose'?

Thanks again for words of advice!


photo 37


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