Extruder Grinding Filament? Unravel the Why’s & Fixes in 3D Printing!

Hey tech enthusiasts! It’s Carolina here! If you’ve ever felt the frustration of your filament feeder crunching up your prized filament and causing underextrusion, you’re not alone. It’s heartbreaking to see that after all your careful setup, no filament gets extruded. So, let’s delve deep and troubleshoot this annoying hiccup together.


Have you ever hoped for that one-size-fits-all solution in 3D printing? Sadly, it’s not always that simple. However, with a bit of patience, you’ll conquer these challenges and embrace the beauty of 3D printing. Buckle up, and let’s dive into the myriad of reasons your filament might be facing these issues.

What Might Be Making Your Extruder Munch on Your Filament?
Quick Guide for Tackling Filament Crunching in Extruder
Retraction Settings Needing a Rethink
Underextrusion Due to Nozzle Obstruction
Excessive Tension in the Feeder
Aging or Worn-Out PTFE Tubing
Extruder Gears Tainted with Dust or Debris
and a Few Uncommon Culprits for Filament Grinding Issues
Hitches in Software or Slicing Profiles
Mismatch between Filament Extrusion & Melting Speeds
Misalignment of Nozzle & PTFE Tubing
Faulty or Inefficient Extruder Cooling Mechanism
Inconsistency in Filament Diameter
Sub-Optimal Extruder Motor Efficiency
Power Supply Shortcomings
Extruder Driver Chip Issues – Overheating or Malfunction
Challenges with Under Extrusion or Thermal Creep
Unexpected Alterations in Nozzle Composition or Size
Steps/mm Settings for Your Extruder Gone Awry
Bowden Tube Journey – Is It Too Twisted?
Filament Dampness
Bolt Pressure Adjustments on Feeder
Complications in Filament Feed
Poorly Coiled Filament

Let’s deep dive, shall we?

Retraction Settings Revisited: If you’ve noticed your filament getting squashed, consider tweaking your retraction settings. Ideally, you want your retraction distance between 5-10mm and speed between 25-40mm/s. Experimentation is key!

Nozzles and Obstructions: Clogged nozzles from previous prints can hinder smooth extrusion. A tell-tale sign? Filament curling. A thorough inspection of the nozzle might reveal the root of the issue.

Feeder Tension – The Goldilocks Principle: Not too hard, not too soft – just right! Adjusting the feeder tension might alleviate your woes. Dual geared extruders generally navigate these issues better, but regular adjustments can be the key.

When PTFE Tubing Gets Old: Continuous exposure to high temperatures can degrade your PTFE tubing. Replacement with quality tubing, like the reputable Capricorn PTFE Bowden Tubing, can work wonders.

Gritty Extruder Gears: If your filament crunches early on, perhaps your extruder gears are grappling with dust or rust. A quick cleanup or a replacement might be in order.

Slicer & Software Hiccups: Did you recently tweak any slicing settings? Reverting might be a game-changer.

Extrusion vs Melting Rate: When filament feeds faster than it melts, grinding happens. Strategies like raising the nozzle temperature, lowering print speed, or using a shorter layer height might solve this.

The Gap Conundrum: Ensure there’s minimal space between your nozzle and the PTFE tubing. This can optimize the melting process.

Cooling Fans – A Breath of Fresh Air: Your extruder’s cooling fan plays a pivotal role in preventing undue heat travel. Ensure it’s in tiptop shape!

Filament Diameter Disparities: Uniform filament diameter is key. Using a caliper to measure can highlight any discrepancies.

Motors and Power: From ensuring your motor wires are well-connected to verifying that your power supply is adequate – these tiny checks can prevent filament crunching.

Chip Off the Old Block: An overheating or defective extruder driver chip could be the silent saboteur. A bit of monitoring can go a long way.

Thermal Creep Woes: Sufficient cooling, quality heat breaks, and a mindful eye on extrusion multipliers can help combat this issue.

Nozzle Material Shifts: If you’ve swapped out your nozzle, recalibrating the temperature can ensure optimal performance.

Steps/mm & Calibration: Occasionally, tweaking these settings in software like Pronterface can bring relief.

Bowden Tube Path: Ensure a smooth, unhindered journey for your filament. If feeding the filament feels forceful, some realignment might be needed.

Moisture Trapped in Filament: Store your filament smartly. Moist filament can be brittle and problematic.

Bolt Tension & Feeder: Occasionally, a simple loosening of the bolts on the feeder can solve the mystery.

Filament Feeding Hitches: Adjust the angle at which your filament enters the extruder. Sometimes, it’s all about the angle!

Is Your Filament Too Tightly Wound? A spool wound too tightly might be causing undue tension, leading to grinding.

And there you have it! With a bit of patience and these troubleshooting tips, your 3D printing journey will be back on track in no time. Happy printing, tech lovers! ️