Filament grinding

Filament grinding

Filament grinding arises when the filament cannot move forwards, the extruder is still spinning and his sharp teeth grind away enough plastic from the filament, so that there is nothing left for the gear teeth to grab on to. You will identify the typical small bits in the filament as you see in the picture. Sometimes you hear clicking noises of the extruder.

All FDM 3D printers use a small drive gear which grabs the filament and presses it against a bearing or another drive gear. This drive gear has sharp teeth, that allow it to grip the filament. If the filament is unable to move, the drive gear keeps spinning and it can grind away enough plastic from the filament so that there is nothing left for the gear teeth to grab on to.

If this happens on your printer, you will usually see lots of small plastic chippings from the filament that have been shredded away. You may also notice that the extruder motor is spinning, but the filament is not being pushed in the hot end.

To solve this problem, you can try:

  • to increase the nozzle temperature by 5-10 degrees so that the plastic flows easier.
  • to change the printing speed, if the extruder tries to push the filament faster trough the nozzle than the hot end can melt it. Reduce it by 30% to see if the problem is resolved.

If the extruder slipped, make sure that the drive gear of the extruder is clean, because the plastic shreds can fill in the teeth of the drive gear. If this happens it is more likely that the drive gear slips again.

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