Nozzle Blockage ~ Or is it?

At some point in time you may experience a failed 3D print scenario, the “Air” print as some like to call it.

Just when it seems that your print is going well and you will soon have your amazing 3D printed model in your hands, the filament stops extruding from your nozzle, or another scenario is that you have arrived to remove your 3D printed model from the printer bed and all is not as it should be.

The print has completed but the printed object feels sort of spongy, like intermittent layers are missing, or the filament hasn’t extruded properly whilst printing.

We don’t know about you but when we first started on our 3D printing journey and this happened, we immediately thought that it was a nozzle blockage.  So off came the nozzle and we checked to see if is was blocked, but no, all was fine.  We would hand push through some filament and it extruded beautifully out of the clear nozzle.  We would then run another print only to find that after a short while the print would show signs of failing again.

Ok, so it must be a hotend intermittent temperature issue, or a filament diameter problem.  Though having ensured neither of these were at fault, we were then at a loss to what it could be and that it must be something more technical and we would now have to strip down the printer, re-flash the firmware, recalculate the e-steps take the 3D printer back to default know, the extreme measures!

It is only when we came to strip the hot end right down that we came across the tip of the Bowden tube, i.e the PTFE tube that runs into the hotend/nozzle.  Now some 3D printers you may look at and think the tube wouldn’t really matter when it comes to the filament extruding and all the “work” is done at the nozzle end.  That is when we became enlightened through poking around the hot end setup on our machines as to the significance of the “tube”.  A selection of some of our own “tubes”….

As you can see there are many different PTFE setups, Bowden and Direct Drive, some are easier to access than others.

What we found when the white/blue PTFE tube was removed from the hotend, because of a failing print, the end of the tube would invariably look like this…

When the end of the tube should actually be clear and debris free, or at least like this.

Too much debris building up at the end of the PTFE tube can reduce the diameter inside of the tube and create friction against the filament being pulled/pushed through, causing an intermittent flow rate.

Now because the end of the tube is hidden within most hotends you do not immediately think this would be causing your flow problems.  Well guess what, this is now one of the three things we always look at first, when we have an extrusion flow problem.  Now all you need to do is just take a sharp blade and slice off a slither at the end of the tube and voila you are good to go!

We have found Wood like and carbon infused filaments have a tendency to degrade the end of the tube, or at least gunk it up.  So as part of your regular machine maintenance you may want to clean out your “tubes” once in a while, before the intermittent failed 3D prints make you want to scratch you head.

A 3D printing update for you

Manufacturing Materials that Can Be 3D Printed

3D printing entails building objects in three-dimension from a computer-aided design (CAD). In the printing process where sophisticated forms of printing are used, the material is added successively layer by layer. This is the reason why 3D printing is also referred to as additive manufacturing.

Many processes like presses, hammering and casting are involved in conventional manufacturing. But with 3D printing, materials are added in layers, hence making it more convenient to create objects as compared to manufacturing them conventionally.

It is only a matter of time and 3D printing will replace traditional manufacturing and assembly of products. With 3D printing, it is possible to get industrial prototypes and final products with utmost precision.

3D printing is synonymous to speed and optimisation in that objects are made in record time with efficiency and in a tidy working space, as opposed to traditional forms of manufacturing.

This process entails fusing of molecules and powder grains layer after the other. The layers are then solidified under computer control, resulting in a three-dimension product. Companies like Geomiq can even complete your project in 3 days.

Mobile telephony, aerospace and automotive industries are among those that have adopted this new form of production to create parts and crucial component. It ensures that parts are replaced, modernised and upgraded with new functionalities and components.

Some of the advantages of printing products in 3D over manufacturing them traditionally are as follows:

  • 3D printing is useful in training and consulting experts for new products and projects.
  • It helps in surveying and digitizing real parts.
  • It helps in remodelling and re-engineering.
  • It helps in faster production of prototypes in new inventions before mass production.

All spheres of life require 3D printing and have already started reaping the benefits. For instance, the medical world is about to revolutionize organ transplant by availing some of these body parts through 3D printing. Parts like skin, limbs and kidneys are now available thanks to 3D printing.

Even the new space technologies are utilizing 3D printing such as Stargate’s Terran 1, the world’s 1st 3D printed rocket. Stargate’s patented technology gives way for an entirely new chain that made Terran1 possible.

Complex geometries can be fabricated as well quickly, in a reliable manner, and with lots of flexibility, regardless of the size. 3D printing comes with the benefit of low operational costs as compared to conventional manufacturing processes, which are typically expensive.

When one invests in an effective and affordable 3D printing solution, they are assured low-cost production and efficiency.

Statutory requirements and improved conditions of work coupled with customer satisfaction and changing trends and designs are all guaranteed by the use of additive manufacturing.

In addition, it is possible to redesign old data from drawings or even artefacts. To do this, you will first have to convert the old data to CAD data to provide the raw material for 3D printing. Once that is done, you will be able to create the exact product as the old one.

3D printing, however, requires a bit of conventional manufacturing to finish printed objects either by the assembly, milling and cutting by use of machines before getting the final product.

Physical projects are converted into digital models through 3D laser scanning, which allows quick and accurate capture of shape and geometrics. This provides a digital form to be used in the additive manufacturing process.

Image link:

This improved invention of paper printing is very resource-efficient by the fact that it has minimal or no waste at all as compared to conventional manufacturing. This automatically makes it cost-effective.

Contrary to traditional supply chains which would rely on the efficiencies of mass production and require many assembly workers, 3D printing requires very little work.

Additive manufacturing, however, has its shortcomings, especially when it goes past the prototyping stage.

One disadvantage is that, unlike traditional modes of manufacturing which recreate products with high speed, additive manufacturing is slower. This is because every product has to be produced in layers and the process has to be repeated for all the parts which may take hours.

The use of specific materials also requires different models of 3D printers which are specifically designed for those materials. A lot more innovations are required in 3D printing because some materials still can’t be worked on a 3D printer such as metal alloys owing to their high melting points.

Research and innovation are, however, ongoing to make advanced inventions of 3D printers. This could only mean that the future holds a lot about additive manufacturing.


3D printing is creating new possibilities in many fields. The process is quite fast and accurate, and that allows people to create prototypes easily before mass production. 3D printing or additive printing is quite efficient and cost-effective.

New filaments New Ideas

3D printers and filaments are both obvious drivers in the 3D printing market.  Filament manufacturers are developing unique filaments for the ever expanding range of 3D desktop printers.

At 3D Filaprint we have seen a significant increase over the past 10 months in the commercial take up of 3D desktop printing.  Many businesses are seeing a use for 3D printing in their workplace, whether it is for a new concept/project, or to improve current workflows.

Manufacturers such as 3DXTECH, Proto-pasta, fiberlogy, Fillamentum, PolyMaker, taulman 3D have created and are creating new filaments that are fuelling that drive, for the mainstream business market.

Then there is Kai Parthy!  A German chemical engineer who has been at the forefront of speciality 3D filament creation for several years.  Though as yet still remains somewhat unheard of in the mainstream filament market.

3D FilaPrint has always enjoyed the specialist and unique materials that have come out of the great mind of Kai Parthy.  None more so than his new filament “Growlay”.

We ran a couple of prints using the Baby Groot model and as it was a brand new speciality filament and we were in a rush to grow something in time for a local tech presentation we had coming up, we didn’t really mind that we had a couple of failed prints, in fact the failed prints helped with the project immensely as the unfinished prints gave a wonderful base for the mustard seeds to grow on.

At first set up a mock incubator to speed up the process but found after just two days, a sort of mould started to grow, so we removed the prints and let it grow within our unit for the next few days.

We will be adding the new Growlay filament to the list of many unique and amazing Kai Parthy filaments already available on our store.  Click the  image below.


For more information on the properties of the Growlay 3D printing filament goto for a full review by 3D Printing Industry.