In 3D printing, one faces different types of problems and 3D printer filament not feeding properly is one of the serious issues to be addressed. This article describes some viable solutions for the filament feeding problems.
If you find that the filament is not feeding properly then the below things have to be checked:
- Check the PTFE tube and ensure no blockages and damage on the ends
- Check if there is any nozzle blockage and unclog if any
- Check the teeth of the extruder gear wheel
- Vary the idler pressure on the feeder gear
- Check the motor functionality inside the extruder.
If you perform all the above checks, your filament feeding problem should get resolved and printed with ease.
Why Does Filament Feeding Problems Occur? Ender 3, V2, Pro, Flashforge Finder & More
- Obstructions / Blockages in the filament extrusion path
- Improper Retraction values
- Worn outliner of the PTFE tube
- Improper Idler pressure and spring tension
- Feeder gear teeth breaking
- Improperly functioning extruder gear motor
Obstructions / Blockages in the Filament Extrusion Path
Many times extrusion paths will get partially / fully blocked limiting the free movement of the filament. So ensure that the filament pathway is clear without any obstructions so that filament can travel at the required rate. The traveling starts from the PTFE tube if you have a Bowden extruder, inside the extruder, and through the nozzle.
- Ensure a clear and smooth filament path from the spool to the extruder start point. The curvature of the filament between spool and extruder should be fairly curved and flat. Thingiverse has a filament guide that can be printed.
- Ensure that the PTFE tube doesn’t contain any filament obstructions and is clear. You can replace the existing one with a Capricorn PTFE tube which provides a smoother filament path.
- Clean the Nozzle if you are using different types of filaments quite often. Use the cleaning filament like Novamaker 3D Printer Cleaning Filament in between the filament exchanges to clean out the Nozzle blockages.
As soon as your extrusion path gets cleared of all obstructions, the filament will start moving freely and filament feeding issues should get solved.
If you have Ender 3/V2/Pro pinter and see that Ender 3 filament not feeding, please check for the extrusion path as above mentioned steps.
Improper Retraction Values
Retraction is the speed at which the molten filament is pulled back without leaking during the transition of the extruder to the next extrusion point. The retraction has 2 parameters namely speed and length.
An incorrect configuration of these parameters can negatively impact your prints and sometimes spoil the print entirely.
Many times people keep the retraction speed and lengths to be very high. The recommended starting values could be 2mm for retraction length and 40mm/s for retraction speed. You can do trials and tests in small increments.
Too much retraction produces extra pressure and strain at the back of the extruder during the movements.
So it’s important to find the optimal values for your 3D printer model through research or testing.
You can also do some test prints with different retraction values and see what retraction length and speed have produced good quality prints.
Thingiverse has Test print files that help to set the retraction values.
Worn Out PTFE Liner
Sometimes, the PTFE liner gets worn out because of the excessive heat and this obstructs the filament not feeding properly. This can also reduce the diameter of the filament more than the original.
If the heat sink doesn’t dissipate the heat properly, the heat travels back into the end of the PTFE tubing and spoils it.
Double-check the PTFE tube ends on both sides and replace the tube if damaged. Always prefer high-quality PTFE tube such as Capricorn PTFE from Amazon as it reduces the instances of heat damage.
Improper Idler Pressure and Spring Tension
Idler Pressure plays a major role in filament not feeding properly by eating the filament at the feeder gear. If the extruder spring tension is high, it can scrape the outer diameters of the filament being passed and eats up the filament.
On the other hand, if pressure is less, it causes the filament to not come out properly.
Keep the pressure at its normal level not too high or too less by adjusting the spring tension. Do some trial and error on spring tension adjustments. This is an easy fix and doesn’t complicate it too much.
Broken Feeder Gear Teeths / Worn Out Extruder
Many times, the teeth of the feeder gears wear out and cause slipping in the filament pushing. This interrupts the continuous filament flow and causes the filament not to feed properly.
Usage of cheap extruders containing low-quality gears and they get degraded overtime consuming these issues
If worn-out feeder gear is causing the filament feeding problem, upgrading your extruder to a high-quality all-metal extruder of direct drive type is recommended.
Amazon has a great all-metal extruder CHPower Aluminum MK8 Extruder this can act as a great replacement for the low-quality factory set extruders.
Installation of this extruder is pretty easy and offers a good filament pushing pressure to enhance the printing performance. It can easily solve filament not feeding problems on Ender 3/v2/pro, Ender 5, CR-10 Series 3D printers.
Amazon has another great extruder which is Zonatech Dual-Drive BMG Extruder which is compatible with most 3D printer models. This extruder has a 3:1 internal gear ratio and hardened steel gears that are CNC machined. All of these work in combination boosting the feeding strength and reducing slips.
With the Zonatech extruder, you can print almost all types of filaments including TPU flexible filaments, and yet it offers high performance. The torque offered by this extruder greatly reduces the load on the motor and increases the motor life/
The Zonatech Dual-Drive Extruder is well packed and shipped without any damage.
Weak Extruder Motor
If you find that the extruder motor is clicking, then check if the filament is straight or bent. When the motor clicks it affects the flow rate of the filament. This in turn causes an obstruction to the filament feeding.
Check the motor wire connection, and connector pin and ensure no loose connections.
Change the existing motor to the high-quality one and see if it solves the problem while ensuring the proper electrical connections to the device.
Quick Fixes For Filament Not Feeding Properly
- Check the nozzle / hot end temperature and verify its correctness
- Release the strength behind the motor amperage extruder
- Ensure that the filament is not too tight between s\the spool and extruder pulley.
If you find it difficult to push the filament through the extruder, the easy solution is to clean it and apply some oil. This will ease the process of filament penetration through the extruder.
On the other hand, if the extruder is really dry, then oil application would create the slip needed for an optimal operation. This fixes the problem of the extruder not pushing the filament.
Sometimes, the filament on the end gets bulger than 1.75mm in diameter and doesn’t pass through the extruder pathway. In this case, cut off the filament end and feed it to the extruder.
You can also twist the filament simultaneously and push the filament inside the extruder to appear on the other side.
Why Won’t Filament Come Out Of Nozzle?
Jammed / Clogged Nozzle
The filament won’t come out when the filament is jammed inside the nozzle and gets clogged. To solve this problem, one must clean the nozzle using an acupuncture needle by heating the nozzle to a certain temperature.
You can also clean the nozzle using the cold pull method by heating the nozzle and placing the filament inside the nozzle. Now allow the nozzle to cool down and then pull the filament strongly to drag all the filament debris.
Distance Between Nozzle and Bed is Too Close
When the distance between the Nozzle and the Print bed is not enough for the filament to come out, it blocks the pathway and stops the printing. To solve this, follow the Nozzle and Print bed distance standards while printing.
Reasons For Filament Not Pulling From Extruder
Plastic Stuck In Molten Form
Sometimes the melted plastic on the cold side of the Nozzle gets jammed and this causes the 3D printer filament not to come out and get stuck in the extruder. You can adopt the cold pull method to clean the debris of the nozzle.
Heat Creep Effect
This is caused when the filament is heated too high which makes the filament viscous and it needs high pressure to push out. At this point, the motor will be making a clicking sound and this can be avoided by cooling the nozzle properly with a cooling fan before starting the next print.
I am Bheema Shankar. I have worked on SLS, CJP, DLP, SLA and FDM technologies at Think3D. Currently working as Process and application engineer at VEER-O-METALS PRIVATE LIMITED. I am always fascinated by the process of creating things layer by layer. This fascination led me to pursue a career in 3D printing technology. I am passionate about how 3D works and enjoy exploring new ways to improve the 3D printing process.