Gunked Gear? Cleaning the Drive Gear

If the filament melts near the extruder gear, it's possible that you might need to clean the drive gear and drive gear area. You'll also want to determine why the filament got so warm by the gear in the first place.

Authors note: this new aluminum extruder is awesome. With a hairdryer on the extruder body and drive gear, I could melt the filament to cause a jam, but I couldn't get the filament to actually clog up the drive gear. I just couldn't recreate the problem for a photo. If I can ever get it to happen, I'll snap some photos and add it to this guide.

Cleaning the Drive Gear and Drive Gear Area

1. Cancel the print, and set the hotend temperature to 180 (PLA) or 210 (ABS). Allow time for the extruder motor and aluminum extruder to cool.

2. Carefully attempt to pull the filament out through the top with a pair of small pliers.

3. If the filament breaks, remove the extruder bearing arm, and swivel it out of the way.

4. Slowly and carefully full the filament out with a pair of pliers. Taking care not to snap the filament off is critical here.

5. Use an X-acto, other hobby knife, or possibly a toothpick to scrape any melted plastic out of the extruder gear, using your print host software to advance the extruder a few mm as needed, until the extruder gear is completely cleaned.

6. Reassemble the extruder by reattaching the bearing arm. Caution: Be very careful to not cross-thread the M3 bolt as you attach it to the extruder. If the bolt is cross-threaded, the motor might have to be replaced. Put pressure on the spring so the M3 screws straight into the motor.

7. Determine why the filament melted in the first place. It's highly likely that the extruder motor got too hot, and the current needs to be adjusted.

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