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Why is My 3d Printer Clicking?

Why is My 3d Printer Clicking?

Slipping or clicking is pretty common in 3D printers. That you’re reading this article is an indication that you’ve been experiencing this challenge and are looking for a solution. Clicking affects the extruder’s ability to perform its task of releasing the filament and changing it to a 3D object.

It can cause severe problems in a 3D item, aside from the unpleasant sound. Under-extrusion is the most evident issue produced by a clicking extruder, although filament leaks from the hot end may be noticeable in severe circumstances.

When you hear a clicking extruder, it means that something is wrong with the filament flow. It happens when the extruder's stepper motor stalls and cycles backwards, but it could happen for various reasons. In this article, you’ll learn about the following:

  •  What an extruder is
  •   Why your 3D printer is slipping
  • Tips to fix the problems

What Is an Extruder?

The extruder is needed for accurate operation of machines that use Binder Jetting or Polyjet technologies and 3D Systems' CPX machines. It is found in 3D Deposition Modeling (FDM Modeling (FDM) or Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) printers. These additive manufacturing machines need to deposit material before changing their chemical properties. Our guide explains these technologies.

Why Is Your 3D Printer Clicking?

When your 3D printer doesn't have enough material to print a layer correctly, clicking happens. Clicking is also called extruder skipping because it has a lot to do with that part of the printer. Even though there are various causes for this, the good news is that the problems are simple to solve if you know what to look for. The most common causes of extruder skipping are listed below.

●     Nozzle Blockage

Blockages are more prevalent in nozzles with a tiny openings. It is caused by debris or dust particles accumulation. It creates a pressure blockage in the feeder system by disrupting the filament flow and making it uneven. When the pressure is too great, the stepper motor shafts slide, which generates a clicking sound.

A thermal gap between the heat sink and the heat block might create nozzle clogs. It permits heat to reach the heat sink, leading to printing material distortion. The substance then hardens into little plugs in the colder parts, producing obstructions.

●     Low Temperature

One of the things you should constantly test with your filament is the temperature you set it to print at. A too high value may result in stringing and over extrusion, while a too low value may result in the filament never coming out at all.

If the temperature is set lower than the filament's melting point, the filament will extrude too slowly and will be unable to extrude from the nozzle. Typically, your filament will arrive with a label indicating the appropriate temperatures. If not, simply search the brand name on the internet.

●     High Speed

We all like our prints to be completed sooner. Regrettably, a large portion of 3D printing is a waiting game. Some individuals set their print speeds considerably too high to reduce wait times.

Not only may this result in poor layer cooling, but it could also prevent the extruder from feeding filament at a fast-enough rate. A particular speed is required for the filament to melt. The extruder may begin to click if you print faster than your printer's speed.

●     Position of the Nozzle

Extrusion is also prevented by limiting the filament flow. The initial layer having gaps or too thin is the best sign of an extruder motor clicking produced by a low nozzle position. When the printer bed and the nozzle are too close together, you can hear a grinding noise. The clicking sound occurs when the pressure increase is insufficient for the filament to flow through the nozzle satisfactorily.

●     Tension in the Bowden tube [PTFE tube]

The printing material is supplied into the Bowden tube, transporting it to the hot end. The filament will feel friction as it goes through the Bowden tube if the tension is too high, especially residual debris. As a result, the printing material slows down, causing under-extrusion. Excessive friction hinders the stepper motor from properly moving the filament, resulting in extruder motor slippage.

●     Inappropriate filament diameter

One crucial factor that 3D enthusiasts sometimes neglect is filament diameter. This creates filament tension, which leads to skipping. The filament is usually sold on spools with a diameter of 1.75mm, although it can also be found in 3mm. Check and make sure you didn't buy the inappropriate size spool for your printer, usually 1.75mm.

●     Stripped filament

It's conceivable that the filament material will enter into the vacant areas of the hobbed gear if the extruder gear is adjusted too tight. The gear's ability to reach the filament is reduced, making it far less capable of moving it ahead. The stepper motor rotates, although no filament entering the nozzle strongly indicates this.

●     Low feeder settings

The feeder takes the print material and feeds it into the extruder. As a result of a faulty or misaligned feeder, the print material will be supplied to the extruder in a quasi-way. As a result, uneven extrusion will occur in the production process.

The feeder tension settings should be adjusted before printing. If the tension settings are low, the knurled wheel within the feeder that grips and moves the material towards the print head won't have enough support to move the material steadily.

However, if the tension is too great, the feeder will grip the material with excessive force, leading to distortion.

Tips to Solving Extruder Clicking Problems

If you need any more help solving your extruder problems, here are some tips you can work with.

●      Decrease the print speed

If your extruder is clicking, you may need to slow down your printing speed. Reducing the print speed is a specific solution to a range of problems. It should allow the printing material to properly heat and melt, allowing for a smooth flow. Reduce your printing rates to around 35mm/s, then raise them by 5mm/s at a time.

●     Increase the temperature

The hot end temperature must be precisely regulated to enable a seamless process of filament flow. Try raising the temperature by 5 degrees Celsius at a time. Also, empty all the previously used filaments before switching to another one if you're printing a material that demands a lower temperature than the one you just printed with. Otherwise, trace residues may cause issues.

●       Clean the Bowden Tube

Gently push the filament into the PTFE tube [Bowden tube] to check for obstructions. If it's causing friction, clear out the junk first, and if it doesn't work, replace the Bowden tube. Cleaning the bowman tube once a week is recommended.

●     Level the printing bed

Always ensure that the bed is levelled uniformly and with a suitable spacing so that the filament is just squeezed enough to stick to the bed. An excellent rule is to leave just enough space between the printing bed and the nozzle for a piece of paper to glide between them with minimal friction.

To avoid the printer bed wrapping, we recommend that you warm it before levelling it and do tests to ensure that the nozzle is in the correct position.

●      Clean or replace the nozzle

The nozzles are inexpensive and simple to replace. Use a basic nozzle cleaning needle to remove any dirt from the nozzle. Alternatively, if that fails, just replace the nozzle.

●     Set the stepper voltage to a safe level.

Ensure the power connections are secure and the wires are free of snags or damage. Check that your printer's power cable is sturdy enough to handle it and correct the voltage. If you feel this is the problem, you can get a new power cord or power supply.

●     Adjust filament spring tension

change the spring tension by changing the screw, or replace the feeder entirely. We would recommend purchasing a new feeder if you have a lower-cost printer, but you should not need to do so if you have a higher-quality printer that does not have spring tension concerns.

●     Realign your extruder gear

Re-align your gear until the filament is readily pulled through the feeder. If your idler bearings are worn out, replace them, and if there's debris lodged between gear teeth, clean it out. If the temperature of the stepper motor is too high, add a tiny fan or swap it with a suitable motor.

●     Get an idle gear stabiliser

You should purchase an idle gear stabiliser, which eliminates the gaps in the support and prevents the axel from slipping.


3D extruder clicking is one of the problems hobbyists face, and we hope that we’ve helped you through this article to solve the issues. Clicking in 3D printers can make 3D printing exhausting and frustrating, especially when you experience gaps in your prints. Read the information provided in the article to understand the concept fully.

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