Clogged Nozzle and New Colors

I’m learning a ton with my recent printer, here are things I’ve picked up recently.

My failed prints are most likely caused by two things: Clogged nozzle and the plastic getting caught between the spool and the print head. I’m printing out a part to help feed in the plastic right now. It sounds like clogged nozzles are caused by two things generally: The nozzle left heated too long without extruding, burning plastic, dust and other things getting in the nozzle to clog it. The first is easy to address, the second is trickier. It looks like one thing to help is people put a sponge at some point along the plastic feed, to pull off dust and debris. I might also want to do a deep cleaning of my nozzle, taking it off and soaking it in some acetone or something. That is a lot scarier and more complicated, so I will hold off.

I’ve learned to identify what prints will probably work, and what will probably fail. Large areas of full fill usually fail, my printer seems to rarely get clogged doing infill, but doing a full fill seems to be risky. Prints with lots of need to retract the plastic seem to fail. I’ve tweaked the retraction settings, and it helps a lot, but my nozzle does love to drool a bit when moving around.

I also learned that not all plastic is created equal. I ordered some transparent ABS plastic and black ABS plastic off of Amazon, after finishing off the spool of natural colored plastic. The transparent has a different feel to it than the ABS, and seems to melt and extrude a little different. It’s failing prints in ways the natural plastic was not failing. I’m wondering if the issues are due to me ordering off someone on Amazon and it’s lesser quality than what I would get from Solidoodle directly, or if it’s a problem with translucent plastic. I haven’t printed anything in black yet, but it sounds like I might need to expect problems with black, it’s the “junk” color that some manufacturers will mix in a bunch of leftovers from other colors, and people often have issues because of this.

I have started experimenting with 0.1mm prints, and not always doing 0.3mm. These prints take way longer, and seem to fail more often due to the above reasons. I am also still at the point where my list of things to print grows faster than I can print, so I don’t like doing lengthy 0.1mm prints yet, anyways.

I did manage to print this awesome dice tower with the transparent plastic, and it came out really well. The sword was a 0.1mm print of a sword from DOTA 2, printed in the natural color ABS.


Joseph Stankowicz is a software engineer who has worked in the video games industry for over eight years. The last two years have had a heavy focus on Unity development, where he helped ship over eleven titles to iOS and Android platforms. He also is really excited about 3D printing, and keeps his Solidoodle 3 printing out stuff as often as possible. You can view his LinkedIn profile here

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