Among the many different components of a 3D printer, the nozzle is a very critical aspect. It is the final component to come in touch with the printed 3D piece.
Considering that it has such a significant function, it is essential to keep it well managed. This nozzle determines the accuracy of the 3D printouts, at the end of the day.
However, it is not easy to prevent clogging of the nozzle. And, it is even worse for a multi-nozzle 3D printer. So, how to clean a 3D printer nozzle?
In this article, we are going to provide step-by-step instructions for two types of nozzle cleaning- light and deep. Depending on the severity of your clogged condition, you can choose which method works the best for you.
From this article, you can learn about all the necessary tools and materials you need for a 3D printer nozzle cleaning kit.
How to Clean a 3D Printer Nozzle
The nozzles in 3D printers get clogged more often than not. And, there are several ways to unclog a 3D printer nozzle.
Here, we are going to talk about two of the best ways. The first is for light cleaning. And the second one is for deep cleaning. It requires an additional chemical substance, acetone.
6 Easy Steps for Light Cleaning
Follow the directions below properly to clean out your 3D printer clogged nozzle;
Step 1: Unloading the Filament from the Printer
First, you have to go to the ‘Filament Settings’ on your printer’s program. From there, find the ‘Unload’ option and select it. Shortly, you will notice that the nozzle will start heating up. Once it is all heated up, you can pull out the filament. Sudden movements may damage the printer, so take your time.
Sometimes the filament doesn’t come out as smoothly on the first attempt. If that is the case with you, heat up the nozzle again.
Step 2: Heating the Nozzle to 392 Degrees Fahrenheit
Unloading the filament is an important part, but it is only the beginning. Now, you will notice that the nozzle will start to cool down on its own.
In order to completely clean out the nozzle, you will have to heat it again from your printer program. Make sure the nozzle reaches 392 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 200 degrees Celsius. We heat it up for the second time to extract any remaining filament that may still be stuck in the nozzle.
Once it is all heated up, you can move on to the next step.
Step 3: Inserting a Nylon Filament into the Nozzle
This step requires an additional material. You have to get a nylon filament for this.
Insert the thin filament into the hole at the surface of the nozzle and force it inside. Keep it in that position for about 15 seconds. You will notice that it starts melting gradually.
Nylon filaments are used as they have much higher melting points, making it seamless for them to manage clogs.
Step 4: Taking the Filament out and Looking for Dirt
Now, you can pull the filament out from the hole. You will notice the residue on the nylon filament.
Step 5: Cutting the End of the Filament
Then, you can go ahead and use a scissor to cut off the filament, roughly 2 inches from the unclean side.
Step 6: Repeating the Process
You have to keep repeating the process from steps 3-5. After a couple of tries, you will notice that the nylon filament is pulling up less and less dirt each time.
Once the filament comes out completely clean, you are done!
6 Easy Steps for Deep Cleaning
If you think your nozzle is severely clogged and light cleaning will not help, follow the steps below to effectively clear all the dirt from your nozzle.
Step 1: Removing Excess Filament Particles Using a Brush
For this method, the nozzle has to be tightly secured in its place. So, just keep it on the printer.
You’re going to need a wire brush. They’re readily accessible in all hardware stores.
Now, take the brush and add direct force to the nozzle to remove any traces of filament. Keep going at it from different angles.
Step 2: Heating the Nozzle to 302 Degrees Fahrenheit
As heating the nozzle causes the fibers to soften, it makes it much more convenient to extract them. We’re going to use the heating strategy here.
Set the temperature to 302 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees Celsius) from the printer settings. Wait some time for the steel to expand.
Taking away the cold nozzle might destabilize the fibers and make it harder to turn them back. So, make sure the nozzle is completely heated before proceeding with the rest of the process.
Step 3: Using a Wrench to Remove the Nozzle
Now that the nozzle is all heated up, you can detach it. Take a wrench to the nozzle and keep spinning it anticlockwise until it pops out of place.
Then use your gloves to put it aside. Touching it with bare hands will result in serious injuries.
Step 4: Dipping the Nozzle in Acetone and Drying It
We’re at the most crucial part of the procedure. Take a bowl and fill it up with acetone. If you don’t have some at home, you can find it in any pharmacy in the form of nail polish remover.
If you have a stainless-steel nozzle, this process will work very smoothly. Take the unscrewed nozzle and dip it in the bowl of acetone. Let it remain immersed in the liquid for about 15 minutes. This period is going to let the acetone disintegrate.
Once the 15 minutes is up, take it out and dry it with a clean cloth.
Step 5: Using a Heat Gun to Heat up the Nozzle
For this step, you will have to get a heat gun. They are easily accessible. You can find one at any local hardware store.
Take the gun, set it up, and aim it at the nozzle. Make sure the heat reaches the nozzle from different angles. One minute of heating is enough for an even distribution of heat.
Step 6: Pushing Away Dirt From the Nozzle Using a Thin Wire
Secure the nozzle with pliers. Then insert a thin wire through the opening on the nozzle. Push the wire around to clear any traces of filament. Keep scraping the inner walls till it becomes clear.
In case the nozzle still isn’t clear after about 3 minutes of poking and prodding, heat it up further so that the filament does not stabilize.
As 3D printers require innovative technologies, they are equipped with distinct frameworks. But that doesn’t help with the upkeep of printers.
In fact, it causes filaments to disintegrate and come out from the nozzle. Quite often, these get stuck and clog your printer. At times like these, the only solution is to unclog the nozzle, or nozzles if you have a dual nozzle 3D printer.
We have included detailed guidelines for two of the most effective unclogging methods that should help you with any sort of dirt accumulation problems.
So, let us know if you liked our guide on how to clean a 3D printer nozzle.