Clogs can be extremely frustrating! We have provided procedures for unclogging Solidoodle printers.
When no jobs are printing and the extruder is turned on while the build platform is in the home position, you will most likely get a clog.
The best way to avoid a clog is to lower the build platform at least two inches from the extruder nozzle tip any time a print job is not running.
There are two main clogs: The cold clog and the hot clog.
The Cold Clog
This is where the Solidoodle filament has become lodged in the PEEK barrel. This usually happens when a bit of filament has sheared off before extrusion. Because of this, it is keeping further filament from advancing through the tube. Since no heat is present in this part of the extruder barrel, the filament cannot melt.
You should suspect a cold clog when your filament will not advance past the peak.
The best thing to do, is to find an appropriate object to push the PEEK down into the hotter brass areas of the Solidoodle. The hex wrench from the tool kit is perfect for this purpose. Alternatively, you can "fish" the filament out with a thin wire.
The Hot Clog
The hot clog involves filament forming a hard ball in the nozzle. It has been hypothesized that this happens when the filament burns inside the nozzle. The burned filament would be far harder than filament normally is, and much harder to melt.
If your printer is extruding irregularly, or not at all, but the filament still attempts to feed, you may have the hot clog.
Hot clogs can be very frustrating to correct, however there are several possible solutions.
- Solution 1: Break the Clog
You can try to use a sharp bit or wire or other similar implement to break through the clog. If the clog is small, or easily broken this will be very easy, but might not work every time.
- Solution 2: Remove Hot-End and Clean
This may be the best solution when the clog is very stubborn. If you have read the section on Hot-End Replacement - It is usually advisable to contact us before taking the Solidoodle apart. We do not recommend you remove your nozzle, or take apart your extruder.
- Alternative: Acetone bath
An alternative solution would be to remove the nozzle, and leave it to soak in acetone. This would (in theory) dissolve any remaining ABS, though it will not help PLA clogs. If you are going to attempt this, please remember that acetone puts of dangerous, flammable fumes. Acetone dissolves PEEK, so make sure you separate the nozzle from the rest of the machine if you are going to try this.
- Extreme/Not Recommended: Blow Torch
At least one user has cleared a clog by using a blow torch on the nozzle. Since the PEEK plastic barrel cannot withstand high temperatures, be sure to remove the nozzle and work with it separate from the rest of the machine.