I’ve been lucky enough to have a 3D printer in my classroom for the better part of the past five years. I’ve printed countless items that my students have created and my machine has been rock solid. When we originally purchased my printer, I wanted something different, but I’m very happy with the printer.
Over the past five years or so I haven’t had a single major problem and the machine has been reliable, fast, and easy to use. A local elementary school recently purchased the same model printer and they did not have the same experience. Within the first six months of owning the printer, they were no longer able to load filament.
I was contacted and asked to take a look at it. So I did. The first thing I checked to see is if the filament was old or had experienced excessive moisture. PLA filament will expand when exposed to water and it will not feed properly. This filament however, worked perfectly fine in my functioning printer.
After that I heated the printer up I used the declogging tool that Dremel ships with their printers to see if that was the problem, but I could not get the tool to feed through the machine.
So the next step was to take the extruder apart and see if the nozzle was damaged or if the heat was not working properly. To begin with I removed the two front facing screws.
After that I removed the fan and had access to the cooling fins. There are also two small plastic spaces attached to the screws that I carefully placed in a safe location as to not lose them.
The cooling fins can be completely taken off as they do not have any wires attached to them. Once there, the feeding mechanism and servo can be found. You simply need to swing these towards the rear of the machine as shown below.
The yellow arrow above points to the nozzle and the hot end of the machine. The red arrow points to the filament that was stuck above the nozzle. I took the declogging tool out, heated up the machine, and fished the clog from the machine. The problem was that too much filament had made its way past the feeder, but was stopped before the nozzle. This meant . that even when the machine got hot, the filament stayed cool as it was on the cool size of the nozzle.
I removed the clog, put the machine back together and heated the machine up. I also did a quick check with the declogging tool and I was able to run it through with no issue. Then I loaded some filament and boom, a feeding printer.
I did a few quick test prints and the machine worked normally and as expected. It was a pretty simple fix for a simple problem, but if you don’t know what you are looking for or are not familiar with how 3D printers work it could be a nightmare to figure out. Luckily I was able to get it up and running in about 5 minutes.