Unstuck Success: Removing Broken Filament from 3D Printers

Oh, the wonders of 3D printing! But alas, one of the common obstacles faced by 3D printing fans is the dreaded broken filament lodged in the printer’s extruder. Ever been there? Tried various hacks but still stuck? Fear not! Today, I’ve got you covered with this detailed guide on tackling this pesky problem.


The ultimate trick to extricate the trapped filament from your 3D printer? Simply detach the PTFE tube and manually yank out the filament. Often, the filament remains connected through the Bowden tube, but if that’s not the case, you can resort to trusty tweezers.

But wait! Why does this filament drama happen at all? Let’s dive into the underlying causes, a deeper dive into solutions, and preventive measures for future prints.

Reasons Why Filaments Go Rogue:
1. Mechanical Strain from Coiling: The filament spool undergoes significant strain from being consistently straight after being wound around the reel. Think about it like stretching your fingers after they’ve been tightly clenched. Over time, the persistent pressure might cause the filament to snap inside the tube.

2. Filament Quality Matters: The market is flooded with countless filament brands. Some are more bendy than others, depending on their make. Fresh off the factory, filaments possess high elasticity. But as they age, they’re more prone to breakage. Pro tip: Don’t be swayed by the price tag alone. Scour online reviews, feedback, and ratings before making a purchase.

3. Moisture Absorption: Filaments are like sponges, soaking up moisture. Hence, seasoned 3D printers store their filament in airtight bags with a vacuum valve. This clever hack drastically reduces the chances of filament fractures below the extruder gear.

Rescuing Jammed Filaments in 3D Printers:
When faced with a filament blockade, the strategy varies depending on the breakage point. If it’s near the edge of the PTFE tube, heat-assisted removal is your best bet. If it’s deeper inside, around 0.5 to 1 cm deep, target the extruder filament pulley. Your weapon of choice? Tweezers. In some extreme cases, employing a vice grip and a drill bit might be necessary.

Regardless of your 3D printer model, be it Prusa MK3S+ or Anycubic, the methods discussed here should serve you well. And remember, if you’re struggling to extract the filament, ensure the nozzle is at its regular printing temperature. Then, you should have no issues pulling the stubborn filament out.

Guided Steps for a Quick Fix:
1. Release the clips off the Bowden tube.
2. Manually push or pull the filament until you have a good grip, then yank it out.
3. If the filament is lodged deep inside, tools like a thin wire or another filament piece can aid in removal. Ideally, your tool should be around 5-6 cm long and 1-1.5 mm in width.
4. Gently push the tool through the extruder until all remnants of the broken filament are extruded and the nozzle is free.

For those wielding an Ender 3, renowned for its excellent features, filament removal requires finesse. Start by heating the nozzle to its usual print temperature. Then, release the extruder lever to loosen the filament grip. Once done, detach the PTFE tube from the extruder gears and pull out the broken filament.