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Problem with material extrusion and active leveling (Ultimaker S5)


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Posted (edited) · Problem with material extrusion and active leveling (Ultimaker S5)

Hello All,


For a while now, I have seen extrusion issues with my S5 printer, specifically regarding material extrusion during printing. Usually, the printing job starts with no problem, or sometimes not at all, and the error I see the most shows "There is a problem with the material in extruder 1 [...] ". At this point, I reload the same spool/material and observe the extrusion test to see if it works. This usually works, however, this issue can happen multiple times during a print job, thus slowing down the process. Additionally, I get other errors such as "Active leveling could not be performed. Please check nozzles and bed [..]". With this, I perform the manual leveling process using a calibration card and it works sometimes, however, I still get this error every now and then. 


In more detail here's what I notice: 

  • Even when I reload the material and observe it is extruding in the loading process, at times it still won't proceed with the print and the error shows up again. 
  • When I try to push the material in during the loading process, I encounter some resistance while pushing the filament into the feeder. This happens even with cutting the tip of the filament to make it go in smoother. However, after some effort, it will pass through. 
  • Sometimes, after "resolving" the issue and the print continues and finishes, the print layers are misaligned/shifted compared to the initial layers.  
  • Even after doing the print core cleaning procedure, this issue persists, so I don't believe this to be the issue.
  • For larger prints, the layers are not nicely printed or smooth as they can be. There are some grooves or small openings between the layers. 
  • I increased the tension on the feeder (below the line), assuming this would help with extrusion, however, the issue still persists. 
  • I have been inspecting the feeder itself, opening the unit, and cleaning out the debris that has accumulated. I am wondering if anything here has to have some maintenance procedure/lubing done? 


If anyone has any advice or similar issues, please let me know, thank you.


Here is my printing setup for the S5:

  • Material: Ultimaker PLA White (2.85mm)
  • Print core: AA 0.4mm
  • Firmware: S5 7.1.0 / Software 4.13.1
  • Use of 3D printing Adhesive
  • Feeder Tension: Below the Marked Line
  • Print Settings: 
    • Layer Height: 0.25mm
    • Walls: Thickness 0.8mm | Line count: 3
    • Top/Bottom Thickness: 1.5 | Layers: 5
    • Infill: 20% ; Gyroid 
    • Print Speed: 70.0 mm/s
    • Print Temp: 200.0 C | Build Plate: 85 C
    • Support: Yes ; Brim

Ultimaker Support Pic 2.JPG

Ultimaker Support Pic 1.JPG

Edited by esiddi
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    Posted · Problem with material extrusion and active leveling (Ultimaker S5)

    How many hours are on the core?  I'd try the other AA core that came with your printer.  Or get a new core.  They are considered to be "consumables" by Ultimaker.  Similar to filament.  And Ultimaker was nice enough to keep the price pretty close to cost for cores.


    The PTFE can age from the heat but I still have all my original cores.


    Basically there are several components at and above the heat break that set the internal diameter.  There is the steel heat break (inside the heatsink) and the PTFE tube (about 2cm long inside the heatsink) then there is to top of the aluminum heatsink for maybe 5mm and then the top tube.  Steel.  Ideally everything should be exactly 3mm in diameter but sometimes the PTFE might be say 3.1mm in diameter (or the heat break).  When you do retractions and also just heat creep can cause the filament to expand into that 3.1mm space and if it hardens then you have a wider section of filament that has trouble getting past the heat break or trouble exiting the core (upwards) or has trouble when re-inserting.


    Or maybe it's nothing to do with any of this and the filament sensor in the feeder needs cleaning or replacing or maybe you need to angle the filament better.  Or disable the filament sensor (I think mine is disabled?  I forget but my S5 hasn't complained about filament issues in years).


    Seriously consider taking apart the feeder - if you only remove the 2 screws it's easy to get back together as the rest is still well attached to the printer but be very careful with that strong spring and how it goes back - most people put the spring/screw back in incorrectly and then their feeder is at the minimum tension after that so look at a video or something.  And see if there is a mess to be cleaned particularly around the sensor.


    Or if you don't have the Material Station, look at how the filament sensor works and consider putting the filament on the floor.  The angle that the filament enters the feeder matters to the filament sensor.

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