How do I keep my nozzle running smooth?

Sometimes the filament does neatly get transported into your printer, but it doesn’t flow from your nozzle. It piles up in the print head. Why does this happen? And of course: how can you prevent this?

Piling up in the nozzle

When the nozzle is obstructed, the melted material cannot exit the nozzle. It will then fill up with melted filament. The obstruction can occur due to the burning of dirt or filament, especially with a small nozzle. The burning of dirt can happen in a dirty environment, like a workplace where wood, stone or dust swirls around. Therefore, make sure that the printer is located in a clean environment.
The filament itself can burn as well. When the nozzle temperature is set too high, the material will burn instead of melt. This can happen for instance when you want to print much faster. When the printing speed increases, the temperature should go up as well. This way, the material can flow through the nozzle fast enough. But be aware that you don’t push the temperature too much, so the filament won’t burn away.

Piling up in the print head

Sometimes the head isn’t clogged with melted material, but with cold filament. This is also a matter of temperature, but in this case the room temperature. When the printer is situated in a hot room, the material will get soft before it enters the print head. The extruder wheel that leads the filament through the print head, will cause a dent in the material. This could make the material bend and go back into the print head. Here, it will pile up until there’s no room left. We therefore advise to put the printer in a conditioned room, like the server room.
A print head can be clogged with cold or melted material. In any case, temperature is mostly the cause: a too high nozzle or room temperature causes trouble. So, put you printer in a clean, conditioned room and don’t set your nozzle temperature too high.