Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What to Do When the Cube Clogs.

While it is not an every day occurance, when a clog happens it is bound to be disappointing as amply illustraetd by this email I got a few minutes ago...

Well... Got the clicking sound this morning and I suppose the darn thing is clogged although I don't get why or what caused it.

So, I tried to remove the cartridge so I could see if the filament was still pointy, but the unit does not let me discharge the filament. It stays on the first step the whole time... Just saying to move the tube away...

So the filament is still installed...

Any suggestions for how to resolve this?

I hate to bother you. Just a week old and already. I can already think of some design tweaks for this unit that could help with this, but for now I am stuck...

D...
That's OK.  I'm here to be bothered.  I've chosen that role and I enjoy helping.

I know exactly how "D" feels.  It's no fun to have to put everything on halt while you attack a clog.  But, let me assure you that I don't know anyone with any extrusion 3D printer that doesn't face it at some point.

First, let's look at some potential causes.  The first, and foremost, is a print gap that is too small.  While a single sheet of paper might not seem very thick, that is just enough gap.  Binding the paper as you set the gap can be a potential problem.  The second cause can be a plate that wasn't fully seated, so that part of the place touched the print head.  And, the last potential cause is an impurity in the filament that causes it not to melt at a particular place in the filament stream.  Though, the latter is rare, it can happen. 

So then what?

When "D" talks about not being able to discharge the filament, I know what they are seeing because I have recently seen it myself.  I hate to say just pull hard.  But, that is the only solution that worked for me when it happened.  I think that it probably happens when the filament has an impurity.  Not only will it not melt to create the object; but, may not be melting enough to release the filament.  Pulling hard eventually worked.  But, then, as "D" pointed out, the screen didn't move on.

In that case, press the large start/stop button to go back to the menu.  Cut off two or three inches of filament before starting the loading process again.

Here is where the nifty spring wire comes into play.  When the Cube heated up, I ran the wire, from the top, into the head and pushed out any melted filament through the nozzle just to clean it out before inserting the filament again.

Once the filament is loaded, be sure to recheck your gap.  If it is not perfect, go through a two step process of resetting the gap.  First set a ridiculously large gap and save it.  Then do the process again.  But, this time being careful NOT to raise the table high enough to hit the print head.   If the table hits the print head.  Start over with a wide gap.

Please let me know if this is confusing to you or if it is helpful.  In the meantime, thanks to "D", I'm going to report the fact that filament doesn't always unload easily to the Cube team.  I don't like to jump to conclusions unless someone else verifies what I THINK I've seen.  And, "D" did just that.  THANKS!

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