3D Printing Woes: Avoiding Filament Breaks in the Extruder

At the beginning of my tech-savvy venture into the realm of 3D printing, I stumbled upon moments when my filament would unexpectedly break, leaving my print job halted midway. Having encountered this vexing dilemma multiple times, I eagerly sought insights on averting filament snaps during the intricate printing process. Fellow tech-enthusiasts, if you’re seeking the same knowledge, I promise you’ve landed on the right digital space. So, let’s dive deep!


What Triggers Your Filament to Break During Prints?
Whether you’re maneuvering an Ender 3, Prusa, ANYCUBIC, or any futuristic 3D printer, filament disruptions might’ve posed challenges in your journey. Not always is the villain a flawed filament. Reputed brands too can occasionally deliver imperfect batches. So, it’s not always your 3D printer playing the spoilsport. Here are potential culprits:

Improper Storage: Filaments stored without due care can be more susceptible to breaks during the middle of a print. Such setbacks result from compromised filament quality due to environmental influences.

Filaments stored in damp spaces can absorb moisture, while those in dust-prone areas might gather impurities, complicating the heating process. Furthermore, prolonged exposure to oxygen or direct sunlight can fast-track material degradation.

Solution: Consider stowing your filament in airtight containers, supplemented with desiccants, to prolong its life and maintain its quality. A fan-favorite among the tech community is the IRIS Weathertight Storage Box. Its sturdy design, combined with a rubber seal, ensures optimal storage conditions. Depending on the size, it can accommodate multiple filament spools, making it a must-have for printing fans.

Moisture Uptake: Certain filament materials are notorious for absorbing atmospheric moisture, a phenomenon termed ‘hygroscopy’. Some such moisture-loving culprits include PLA, ABS, Nylon, PVA, and PEEK.

Solution: To counteract this, one can bake the filament in an oven set at 40°C for a few hours or use dedicated filament dryers. An effective preventative measure is the aforesaid airtight storage, supplemented with desiccants.

Filament Movement & Bends: At times, excessive spinning due to the pull from the extruder or filament’s inherent brittleness can lead to breaks. Storing filaments in cold environments can further reduce their flexibility, heightening the snap risk.

Solution: Optimizing the filament feed angle to the extruder can significantly mitigate this. A popular fix among techies has been 3D printing a Filament Guide.

Overheated Enclosures: A heated enclosure can soften the filament prematurely, making it susceptible to breaks when it reaches the extruder.

Solution: Introducing ventilation or adjusting the enclosure temperature can help. While this isn’t the first-line solution, it can be beneficial in specific scenarios.

PTFE & Coupler Dysfunction: If these components aren’t synergizing efficiently, they can restrict filament flow, causing snaps.

Solution: Upgrading to premium PTFE tubes and couplers can offer smoother filament transitions. One of my top picks is the SIQUK Teflon PTFE Tube set.

Finally, always ensure your 3D printer settings are calibrated, and routinely inspect for any filament jams. With these guidelines, your 3D printing journey should be more streamlined and less disruptive!