How To Remove Broken Filament From 3D Printers?

Printer jam and under extrusion are fairly common issues for anyone who has owned a 3D printer. 

There are a number of explanations for why your printer might not extrude or extrude too little. One of the most common and yet easily overlooked explanations is having filament stuck in your printer. 

This should be the first thing you check when your printer is clogged or is not extruding enough. But what causes your filament to jam in the first place and how do you remove it when it does?

How Do You Remove Broken Filament From An Extruder?

The simplest fix for an extruder clogged with filament is to first try to physically push the filament out. This can be done using a wire, needle, or any other material solid and thin enough to fit through the nozzle hole and tubing of an extruder. If that fails the next solution to try is a nylon cold pull. 

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A nylon cold pull can be done with any high melting point material besides nylon. The idea here, especially if you are trying to remove exotic or dirty filament is to try to make it stick to your high-temperature filament.

All you do is heat the high-temperature filament until it melts and hopefully attaches or mixes in with the stuck filament. Then you let it cool before trying to physically push it out. 

Take The Extruder Apart

You can also remove filament by disassembling the extruder. As long as you can keep track of how to fit all the pieces back together, this is the most thorough method for unclogging your printer. While you have it open you can also take the opportunity to clean the extruder.

Acetone Bath

This fix will only work for ABS and if the clog is at the nozzle. You can remove the nozzle and soak it in acetone overnight. This will remove the filament since ABS dissolves in acetone.

Should You Remove Filament After Every 3D Printing Session ?

Filament absorbs moisture when not stored in airtight containers. The wet filament can cause extrusion problems or jam a 3D printer nozzle. The rate of water absorption is higher in certain filaments like Nylon which can become saturated in hours. Removing filament and storing it properly prevents this from happening.

It all depends on the filament. PLA and ABS are not as hygroscopic as nylon. You can leave them in your printer for up to days at a time provided your printer is not in an excessively humid environment.

As a precaution against moisture absorption, however, you might want to consider removing your filament and storing it away in a dry box. Source


I am a very well experienced techie civil engineer who's extensively interested in 3D printing technology and even more captivated by the potential of 3D printing livable structures

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