There’s a good probability that you’ll experience the extruder of your 3D printer slipping or clicking at some point. In addition to making a loud noise, it can cause major issues in a 3D-printed object. Under-extrusion is the most obvious problem brought on by a clicking extruder, but in extreme circumstances, filament leakage from the hot end may also be present.
The best way to stop your 3D printer from clicking or skipping is to run a series of tests, including determining whether your nozzle is too close to the print bed, your extrusion temperature is too low, your printer can’t handle the speed, your nozzle or tube is blocked, and whether dust or debris is lodged in your extruder or gears.
In this article, we will discuss in more detail how to fix the extruder clicking noise coming from your Prusa Mini.
Level the Bed
A leveled bed indicates that the gap between the build platform and the nozzle is constant across the print surface. If the distance is too large, the first layer won’t adhere to the build plate, but if the nozzle is too near the bed, the material has less room to move. As a result, the pressure inside the system may eventually rise over the stepper motor’s capacity. The stepper motor clicks as a result.
It is important to always level the bed uniformly and to leave sufficient space in between so that the filament is just compressed enough to cling to the bed. A decent rule of thumb is to create a gap that is just wide enough for a piece of paper to glide with minimal resistance between the nozzle and the bed.
Lower Print Speed
For a 3D printed object to be of high quality, the print speed must be just right. The filament may not have sufficient time to absorb heat and melt correctly if you print at a pace that causes the extruder to push the material too soon. The nozzle also might become clogged by the partially melted filament. The extruder will then experience pressure from a clogged nozzle, which will cause clicking.
It may be necessary to reduce the printing speed if your extruder is clicking. To ensure a smooth flow, this should enable the filament to heat and melt effectively. In fact, reducing print speed is a popular solution to a multitude of problems; whenever in doubt, go slowly.
Raise the Temperature
It’s essential to carefully set the hot end’s temperature to guarantee a steady flow of the filament. The filament might not melt correctly if you lower the temperature too much. Low temperature can also cause the nozzle to become blocked, just as a faster speed may. The filament has nowhere to go if the nozzle is blocked. The filament will begin to “slip” since the extruder can no longer move it.
Try raising your temperature by 5 °C or 41 °F intervals if you think it’s too low. Additionally, make sure to flush the previous filament out before swapping filaments if the material you’re printing with needs a lower temperature than the one you previously printed with. Otherwise, trace leftovers might become an issue.
A Bowden tube is commonly used in printers to transport filament from the extruder to the hot end. The filament could, however, encounter too much resistance if this tube is too tight. Additionally, if there is any dust or other debris, it may produce friction between the tube and the filament. The stepper motor won’t be able to move the filament if the friction rises above a certain point, which could lead to the extruder motor slipping.
These problems also lead to the extruder motor overheating and under extrusion in the 3D printed components. By manually inserting the filament into the PTFE tube, you may quickly inspect it. It needs to be able to move freely and with the least amount of resistance. To ensure there is no dirt inside the PTFE tube, you should also clean it on a weekly basis. Alternatively, if nothing else works, you can just buy a new tube.
Check Hot End
Most Bowden and direct drive configurations have a PTFE tube lining the hot end all the way to the nozzle. Therefore, the molten filament could escape from a connection that is too loose into the space between the tube and the nozzle. This substance will ultimately partially obstruct and impede the filament’s passage.
The stepper motor could stop pushing the filament forward as a result of this partial obstruction. And eventually, the back pressure will cause the stepper motor to begin clicking.
Your Prusa mini’s extruder settings will determine how to resolve this issue. You may need to totally disassemble the hot end in some instances. After that, keep an eye out for any remaining filament lumps and wipe them out. After making sure the path is entirely clear, swap out the damaged coupling for a new one and check to make sure the PTFE tube is completely encased in the heat break with no gaps.
It might only include taking off the nozzle, disconnecting the tube, and pushing it all the way down the open hot end channel if your printer has a Bowden arrangement, which the Prusa mini does.
You may have a clogged nozzle if little dust particles or other material block the nozzle’s hole. As a result, the flow of the filament will be disturbed and unequal, which will increase the pressure in the feeder system. Like what we’ve previously explained, the stepper motor will break under the pressure. You’ll hear clicking sounds when the stepper motor slips.
The nozzles with a smaller diameter are where this problem is most noticeable. A straightforward nozzle cleaning needle can be used to swiftly clear any debris from the nozzle. Alternatively, or if it doesn’t work, just replace the nozzle. They are easily replaceable and reasonably priced.
A tiny gear and a pulley system typically hold the filament in hot ends. Together, this helps move the filament by gripping it. The extruder gear’s teeth, however, could gradually lose their sharpness after extensive use due to the soft substance of the gear. As a result, it may be unable to support the filament, which causes the filament to slide inside the extruder.
In most cases, this won’t cause clicking, but it could cause grinding. The gear keeps turning but doesn’t push the filament. Thus, this is sort of the “reverse” issue.
Nevertheless, if you’re going to print a lot of harder materials, you should opt for a steel extruder gear. Additionally, think about using a dual gear design rather than a single gear and pulley system. This will lead to a better grip on the filament, ensuring that it’s being pushed evenly.
One other component of the extruder that you must consider is the extruder spring. The grip force on the filament is produced by the extruder spring. The extruder gear won’t adequately hold the material if spring tension is too low. Once more, this results in the grinding of the filament.
On the other hand, if you set the pressure too high, the gear may grab the filament too firmly and become immobile because of the stress. In that instance, the stepper motor for your extruder can give way first.
Check Stepper Motor
This should be your last concern because it isn’t a typical problem. Even so, it cannot be entirely overlooked. A high-quality stepper motor guarantees accurate motor calibration and sturdy construction of the motor’s individual components.
The given stepper motor ought to be able to handle the appropriate stresses. However, it is occasionally possible that the motor’s connections may be flawed. It’s also possible that the stepper motor’s current or voltage parameters are not calibrated properly.
Both problems will prevent the stepper motor from operating properly. The stepper motor may quickly heat up, skip steps, and click because of the high temperature. To help with some of the heating problems, you can add a heatsink to the stepper motor. Additionally, you should look outside for any wiring issues. If that doesn’t work, try replacing the stepper motor with a new one.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Often to Replace a Prusa Nozzle?
Although there isn’t a set period of time in which you should replace your nozzle, in general, you should do so every 3-6 months.
How Long Does the Extruder Last?
Extruders have a lifespan of 5000–7000 hours. If you print each day of the year for a 5000-hour extruder, you can print over 13 hours each day.
What Are Stepper Motors?
The axes’ movements are handled by stepper motors, which are crucial parts of a 3D printer and are managed by the stepper driver (motor driver).
A 3D printer may create a clicking sound for several causes, including stuck filament, a broken feeder motor, or a clogged nozzle. Most of these issues may be resolved at home by modifying the printer’s settings and making sure that every component is properly cleaned, fastened, and working.