If you own an Ender 3 (Pro or V2) 3D printer, then you know it is an excellent machine for both beginners and experienced users.
But one issue that can sometimes crop up is clogged nozzles and print heads.
This can be really frustrating.
Not only does it make it difficult to print, but it can also ruin your prints.
In this article, I will look at twelve ways to clean an Ender 3 nozzle, so you can get back to printing with ease.
I will also talk about why your nozzle might be getting clogged in the first place and give you some tips to prevent it from happening again.
If your Ender 3 (Pro/V2) nozzle is clogged, there are a few things you can do to clean it:
- Use a brass brush to scrub away any residue from the nozzle.
- Use a needle to remove any debris that may be stuck inside.
- Soak the nozzle in a solution of water and vinegar for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Use boiling water to loosen any debris that may be stuck inside.
- Use a toothpick or other small tool to remove any remaining debris.
- Use acetone to dissolve any ABS slurry that might be present.
- Use alcohol to dissolve any tough residue buildup in your nozzle.
- Use Chemical Cleaners
- Use a Pipe Cleaner
- Use an Air Compressor
- Use an PLA or an Abrasive Cleaning Filament
- Use an ultrasonic cleaner to clean the nozzle
Let’s discuss all of these ways in detail.
12 Ways to Clean Ender 3 (Pro/V2) Nozzle
If your Ender 3 (Pro/V2) nozzle is clogged, there are a few things you can do to clean it.
Here are 12 ways to clean your Ender 3 nozzle:
Use a Brass Brush
One option is to use a brass brush to scrub away any debris stuck to the nozzle and around Ender 3 (Pro/V2) print head.
This is the most commonly used method.
You can also use needle nose pliers to remove any larger pieces of filament.
- Remove the filament from the printer.
- Heat the nozzle to its maximum temperature.
- Use the brass brush to gently scrub away any residue from the nozzle.
- Repeat steps 2-3 until the nozzle is clean.
- Allow the nozzle to cool before reloading the filament and resuming printing.
Use a Needle
Another way to clean a clogged nozzle is by using a needle.
First, unplug the power supply to the printer.
Then heat up your nozzle to around 200 degrees Celsius (392 Fahrenheit) using the control panel of the printer.
Heating makes the filament easier to remove. Then, take a needle and insert it into the nozzle hole.
Slowly move the needle around until you feel resistance.
This resistance is due to the clog being pushed out of the nozzle hole.
Be careful not to damage the nozzle while doing this.
Once the clog has disappeared, turn off the heat and allow the nozzle to cool down before continuing to print. Use a paper towel or a cotton swab to wipe away any residue that might be left behind.
Repeat these steps until the nozzle is clear.
Use Water and Vinegar
Soak the nozzle in a solution of water and vinegar for 30 minutes to an hour.
This will help dissolve any stubborn buildup that might be inside the nozzle.
Another method you can try is using boiling water.
Just pour some boiling water into a cup and submerge the end of the nozzle in it for a few minutes.
The heat of the water will help loosen any debris that may be stuck inside.
After a few minutes, remove the nozzle from the water and use a toothpick or other small tool to remove any remaining debris.
Be careful not to damage the nozzle while doing this.
Use a Toothpick or Other Small Tool
If there is a minor clog, then you can try using a toothpick or other small tool.
Just insert the tool into the nozzle and gently twist it around to loosen any debris that may be stuck inside. Be careful not to damage the nozzle while doing this.
If you use an ABS slurry, you can use acetone to dissolve it and clean out your nozzle.
Heat up your printer to about 200 degrees Celsius (392 Fahrenheit), and then put some acetone on a cotton swab or paper towel.
Gently wipe down the outside of the hotend where the slurry has built up.
Then, run some filament through the extruder to flush out any acetone residue.
You should only use this method if absolutely necessary, as acetone can damage both ABS and PLA plastic if used too much.
Another method is to soak the nozzle in acetone overnight.
This will dissolve any material that might be stuck to the nozzle. Just be sure to rinse off the acetone thoroughly before printing again.
If the nozzle is heavily clogged, you may need alcohol or another solvent to break down the ink and debris.
There are also commercial cleaning kits available that can be used to clean the nozzle.
If you want to dissolve any tough residue buildup in your nozzle, then using alcohol is a good option.
Simply soak a cotton swab or paper towel in alcohol (isopropyl alcohol works best) and gently wipe down the outside of the hotend where residue has built up.
You may need to do this a few times before all the build-ups are gone.
Once you have removed as much as possible, run some filament through the extruder to test if it is clear and ready for printing again.
Use Chemical Cleaners
If all else fails, you can use chemical cleaners specifically designed for cleaning 3D printer nozzles.
These cleaners are usually available in consumable kits for 3D printers.
Follow instructions on cleaners carefully and take precautions to avoid contact with skin or eyes when using them.
Be sure to dispose of any chemicals properly when you are finished cleaning
Use a Pipe Cleaner
Another way you can clean your Ender 3 (Pro/V2) print head is by using a pipe cleaner.
First, heat up your printer to around 225 degrees Celsius (437 Fahrenheit) and then insert the pipe cleaner into the hotend until you feel resistance (this means you have hit the clog).
Gently twist and turn the pipe cleaner until you break up the clog and then flush out any residue with regular PLA or ABS filament.
Use an Air Compressor
Another way to remove any debris causing a blockage in your Ender 3’s hotend orifice is by using an air compressor with a pressure set between 30-40 PSI.
Aim the compressed air at both sides of where your hotend meets the build plate while also depressing both buttons on your control panel simultaneously, which will retract both Z-axis lead screws slightly so that air can flow more freely through your hotend assembly.
After a few seconds, release both buttons and check if any debris has been blown out from either side of where your hotend meets the build plate.
If not, repeat this process until satisfied that both sides are clear.
This is a quick and easy way to clean your printer without disassembling anything.
Use PLA Filament
Another way you can clean your clogged nozzle is by using PLA filament.
First, heat up your nozzle to around 200 degrees Celsius (392 Fahrenheit).
Then, insert a piece of PLA filament into the hotend feed tube.
Push the filament all the way through until it comes out of the nozzle hole.
You may need to use a pair of pliers to help push the filament through if it gets stuck.
Once the filament is through, turn off the heat and allow the PLA filament and nozzle to cool down before continuing to print.
Use an Abrasive Cleaning Filament
Another effective method to clean out a partially or fully blocked hotend orifice on an Ender 3 (Pro/V2) print head (or really any FDM 3D printer) is feeding some abrasive cleaning filament, such as nylon filament, through while also heating the hotend assembly to around 240°C (464°F).
The nylon filament works best if the clog is close to the tip of the nozzle.
The high melting temperature of nylon combined with its abrasive nature makes it ideal for breaking up and removing any hardened debris stuck inside the hotend without damaging sensitive components.
Just like cleaning out a blocked hotend using PLA filament, start by heating the hotend assembly to around 240°C (464°F) and then feed some nylon filament until it starts coming out the opposite side of where the blockage is located.
Depending on the severity of the blockage, you may need to use pliers or other tools to help feed the nylon filament through if it gets stuck.
Just ensure not to get too aggressive, as you don’t want to damage sensitive components inside the hotend assembly.
Once the blockage has cleared, turn off the heat and allow the hotend assembly to cool down to room temperature before resuming regular operation.
Use Ultrasonic Cleaner
The final option you can use is cleaning a partially or fully blocked nozzle on an Ender 3 (Pro/V2) print head using an ultrasonic cleaner.
First, you will need a small container of ultrasonic cleaner and something that is safely dissolvable in water, such as liquid soap or the same cleaning solution used for contact lenses.
Then, add enough of the solution to cover both electrodes in the tank, followed by warm water until it reaches the tank’s shoulder level.
Next, place your end cap back on top and securely tighten all four bolts so that there is an airtight seal between the tank and the lid.
Now, place the items you wish to clean in the tank, keeping them below the threshold level so that they do not touch each other.
Let the ultrasonic cleaner run for the preset time frame, usually between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on the model.
Check the manufacturer’s instructions after the time has elapsed.
Remove the items from the tank and rinse them well under warm running water.
Dry the items thoroughly before using them once again.
So, these are the 12 most effective ways to clean the nozzle on Ender 3.
If the quality of your prints is not getting better even after you try one or more ways, it is probably time to change your nozzle for a new one.
Why Does Ender 3 (Pro/V2) Nozzle Keeps Getting Clogged?
One common culprit for clogs is not cleaning the nozzle regularly.
Over time, tiny bits of filament and other materials can accumulate on the nozzle, causing blockage.
There are other reasons why your Ender 3 nozzle might get clogged.
Here are some of the most common reasons:
You’re Using the Wrong Filament
One of the most common reasons for clogged nozzles is using the wrong filament.
For example, if you are using PLA filament and your printer is not correctly calibrated, then the PLA can start to degrade and clog up the nozzle.
To prevent this, ensure that you are using the recommended filament for your printer and that your printer is calibrated correctly.
You’re Using Wrong Sized Filament
One of the main reasons for nozzle clogs is using the wrong type of filament.
If your filament is too thick, it will have difficulty getting through the nozzle.
The filament should be 1.75 mm in diameter.
If it is any other size, it will not fit properly in the nozzle, causing clogs.
To fix this, make sure you use the correct size filament.
If you are not sure, you can measure it with a caliper to be sure.
You can also try changing the nozzle to a different size.
This may require you to calibrate your printer, but it is worth it if it prevents clogs.
Filament Quality Issues
Another reason for nozzle clogs can be due to poor quality filament.
If you are using a lower-quality filament, it is more likely to have impurities that can clog your nozzle.
Make sure you are using high-quality filament that is free from defects.
You can also try changing brands to see if that makes a difference.
There are a few ways to tell if the filament is of poor quality:
- If the filament is brittle, it’s likely of poor quality.
- If the filament is not round, it’s also likely of poor quality.
- If the filament has a lot of debris, that is another sign of poor quality.
Buildup of Debris
Over time, debris can build up inside your nozzle and cause a clog.
This debris can come from many sources, such as dust in the air, bits of old filament, or even tiny pieces of your print bed or build plate.
To prevent this debris build-up, it is essential to clean your printer regularly and keep it free from dust and other contaminants.
Short Distance Between the Nozzle and the Build Plate
If your nozzle is too close to the build plate, then it can start to drag on the plate and cause a clog.
To fix this, you must increase the distance between the nozzle and the build plate.
This can be done in your printer’s settings menu.
There Is a Blockage in the Extruder
Another possible reason for a clogged nozzle is that something is blocking the path of the filament.
This can be caused by many things, such as dust or dirt in the filament path, a bad spool of filament, or even just something as simple as not feeding the filament through properly.
In order to fix this, you will need to clean out the extruder and ensure that nothing is blocking the path of the filament.
The Nozzle Is Worn Out
Like any other part on your printer, your nozzle will wear out over time and become less effective.
When this happens, it is more likely to become clogged because there is more surface area for debris and dirt to build upon.
To fix this, you will need to replace your nozzle with a new one.
Another potential reason your Ender 3’s hotend might keep getting clogged could be incorrect retraction settings, which could lead to small pieces of plastic being left behind inside your hotend assembly and eventually causing a blockage.
To avoid this, you will want to check and make sure your Ender 3 (Pro/V2) has been configured to carry out retractions properly by going into “Control>Motion>Retraction” inside of Cura and then adjusting the “Distance” setting to around 0.8mm before printing.
Z-Axis Lead Screws Not Properly Tightened Down
Yet another potential reason why your Ender 3’s hotend might keep getting clogged could be due to Z-axis lead screws not being adequately tightened down all the way, which can result in air leaks around the hotend assembly.
To avoid this, you will want to make sure that both Z-axis lead screws are tightened all the way down before printing.
Not Enough Cooling for the Print Head
Finally, another possible reason your Ender 3’s hotend might keep getting clogged could simply be due to insufficient cooling for the hotend assembly during a print job.
If this is the case, you may need to increase the fan speed for both the part cooling fan and the controller board fan by going into “Settings>Printer>Manage Printer>Machine Settings” inside of Cura and then increasing the “Fan Speed (%)” settings for both fans accordingly.
Filament Not Inserted Properly
If the filament is not inserted correctly, it will not be able to extrude appropriately and can cause clogs.
To fix this, insert the filament into the nozzle until you hear a clicking sound.
If you are still having trouble, try heating up the nozzle and then inserting the filament.
If you heat up the nozzle first, inserting the filament will be easier and will help prevent clogs.
Incorrect Extruder Temperature
Another common reason for clogs is due to incorrect extruder temperature settings.
If your extruder temperature is too low, your filament will not flow properly and can become jammed in the hotend.
Conversely, if your extruder temperature is too high, your filament may start oozing out of the hotend, which can also lead to jams.
So, ensure that your extruder temperature Is set correctly.
Tips to Prevent Future Nozzle Clogs
Now that we have gone over some ways to clean a clogged nozzle.
Let’s talk about how you can prevent it from happening in the first place.
Here are some tips that you can follow:
Use High-Quality Filament
First, it is essential to use high-quality filament.
There are a lot of filaments available in the market, and not all of them are created equal.
Cheaper filaments are more likely to clog up a nozzle because of their inferior quality and purity because they have a lot of particles or debris in them, so it is essential to do your research and choose a filament that has been tested and proven to work well with the Ender 3 (Pro/V2).
Plus, it will save you money in the long run because you will not have to spend as much on replacement nozzles!
Store Your Filament Properly
Another way to prevent clogs is to store your filament correctly when not in use.
If you leave your filament out in the open air for long periods, then it can become contaminated with dust and debris, which will eventually lead to a clog.
To avoid this problem, store your filament in an airtight container when not in use, and keep the container away from any potential sources of contamination (e.g., pets).
Keep Your Hotend Clean
As I mentioned earlier, one of the leading causes of clogged nozzles is a dirty hotend.
To prevent this from happening (or at least minimize the frequency), you will need to periodically clean out the hotend to remove any buildup of filament residue.
You can do this by disassembling the hotend and cleaning all parts with alcohol or an aftermarket cleaning agent designed for 3D printers.
Just make sure to dry everything thoroughly before reassembling!
These are just a few quick and easy ways to clean your Ender 3 (Pro/V2) nozzle if it becomes clogged.
Following these steps can minimize downtime and keep your prints looking their best.
No matter what method you choose, be sure to follow the instructions carefully, so you don’t damage your printer.
With a bit of patience and some trial and error, you should be able to get your printer up and running again in no time!
If your nozzle is still clogged after trying these methods, or if you find any damage, it’s best to replace it entirely rather than try to fix it yourself.
You can buy replacement nozzles online or in your local hardware store.
Finally, if you want to avoid clogs, it is important to regularly maintain the nozzle on your Ender 3 (Pro/V2).
This can be done by periodically cleaning the nozzle and checking for any blockages or damage.
I hope you find this guide helpful and that it will prevent your nozzle from getting clogged in the future. If you have other tips or suggestions, feel free to reach out to us.