How to Fix 3D Printer Filament Sticking to Nozzle – PLA, ABS, PETG

Getting melted filament stuck on your 3D printer nozzle can get quite annoying, especially since it can be hard to actually clean.

Many of us have been through this annoyance, so I decided to write an article about how to fix your 3D printer filament sticking to your nozzle, whether it’s PLA, ABS, or PETG.

You should increase your nozzle temperature to fix 3D printer filament sticking to the nozzle, since it provides consistent extrusion. In some instances, your nozzle or extrusion path may be clogged, so unclog it as best as you can. Increase your bed temperature and ensure your nozzle isn’t too high from the bed.

The rest of this article will go through the steps to get this done, as well as detail preventative measures, so it doesn’t happen again.

What Causes 3D Printer Filament to Stick to the Nozzle?

We all have faced the issue, especially after some series of printing.

To explain what causes 3D printer filament to stick to the nozzle, I will go through some of the main causes behind it which many 3D printer users have experienced.

  • Nozzle too high from the bed (most common)
  • Filament not heated properly
  • Clogging in the nozzle
  • Bad adhesion on the surface
  • Inconsistent extrusion
  • Bad temperature isn’t high enough
  • Cooling on first layers

How to Fix Filament Sticking to Your Nozzle?

After knowing the main causes of this issue, it allows us to come up with solutions which work well, leading us to getting those high quality 3D prints. Let’s get into the solutions, along with action points that help you solve the issue step by step.

Fix the Nozzle Height

Having your nozzle too high from the print bed is one of the main problems that causes filament to stick to the nozzle.

Your nozzle requires a good amount of pressure onto the print bed to properly extrude, but if it’s too high, you start to see filament curling around the nozzle and sticking.

In order to fix this, you should:

  • Check the height of your nozzle from the bed.
  • If it is high, start adjusting the height and make it come closer to the build surface.
  • Make sure your bed is levelled properly, either manually or with an automated leveling system.

Heat the Filament Properly

Now, if your nozzle height is calibrated and at the right point, the next thing that comes to mind is the filament temperature. Many users who have implemented this solution to their 3D printers have seen quick results.

If the filament is heated properly, it can easily come out to the nozzle and get deposited on the surface without inconsistencies.

  • Increase your printing temperature so filament can flow through easier
  • Check the temperature range for your filament and try to use the upper range
  • With some temperature testing, you should be able to get some good extrusion.

Unclog the Nozzle

It is one of the main steps which you should follow if nothing else is working. You can go for it right before even starting the print. I am going to list the steps through which you can clean the nozzle.

  • Cleaning with a needle: Use a needle and make it go inside the nozzle; this will break the particles if there is any present in it. Repeat this process again and again.
  • Use a hot or cold pull to clean out your nozzle thoroughly
  • Get Capricorn PTFE Tubing for a smoother extrusion path
  • Also check whether your nozzle is damaged or there isn’t any bends at the nozzle tip.

When it reaches an adequate temperature, pull it fairly firm. Repeat the process until you start to see a clean filament coming out.

  • Wire Brush: The wire brush helps in removing all those particles which are attached to the print surface. But make sure you are not damaging the nozzle with it.

The cleaning will help you to avoid filament getting stuck to the nozzle.

Add Adhesion to the Surface

Now, if you are still facing the issue of filament making the loop or curling around the nozzle instead of sticking to the bed, you need to check the adhesion properties.

This part is simple: your surface has less adhesion, which is not allowing the filament to stick to the surface, and it is rolling around.

What you have to do to make sure filament sticks to the bed is:

  • Add adhesive material to the surface, such as hair spray, tape, glue, etc.
  • Make sure the adhesive material and the build surface are of different materials than the filament.

Note: Be careful with the choice of adhesive material, because it can cause trouble for you in the post-printing process.

Increase Bed Temperature

Filament has a better time sticking to the print bed when there is heat involved. For materials like PLA, it is known that a heated bed isn’t necessarily needed to stick to the build surface, but it definitely helps out.

  • Increase your bed temperature for better adhesion of your 3D prints

Don’t Use Cooling for the First Layer

When your filament gets cooled, you usually experience a small amount of shrinkage which doesn’t give the best results for the first layer especially.

Your slicer usually has default settings which stops the fans for the first few layers, so double check this setting and make sure fans aren’t enabled straight away.

Make Your Flow Rates More Consistent

If you have an inconsistent feed rate, there is a chance you will be having an issue of filament not coming out properly.

Remember, everything in 3D printing is related to one another when it comes to print a model. It would be best if you make sure everything is stable and properly maintained.

The filament sticking to the nozzle can happen when the feed rate is too slow.

If you recently changed filament, this can definitely be your cause, so I would:

  • Adjust your flow rate, usually an increase is what will help out an inconsistent flow of filament.

How to Prevent PLA, ABS & PETG Sticking to the Nozzle?

I am going to give you a brief detail on all these three filaments by which you can avoid them curling around, clumping, sticking, or bunching up on the nozzle. So keep on reading.

Preventing PLA Sticking to the Nozzle

With PLA, you might be facing the problem that the filament is curling around to clumping to the nozzle. I am listing a few ways to avoid this while keeping the printing process smooth.

  • Get a good quality hot-end nozzle, because a poor quality nozzle might pull the filament up.
  • Make sure the distance between the nozzle and bed is adjusted for proper printing.
  • Check the filament/nozzle temperature to meet the requirements which are need for PLA.
  • Every filament has a different standard temperature, so follow it carefully.

Preventing ABS Sticking to the Nozzle

  • The right temperature and the feed rate are the keys to avoid any curling up of filament here.
  • Make sure the build surface is close to the bed.
  • Try to control your operational temperature, so you don’t have fluctuations
  • Clean the extruder and nozzle before you start printing with ABS – set nozzle to high temperature then extrude

Preventing PETG Sticking to the Nozzle

Before starting anything, remember every filament is different in its properties, so it requires a different temperature, different bed settings, different cooling temperatures, etc.

  • Make sure you maintain the PETG filament temperature based on what the packaging says
  • Inspect and clean your nozzle before you start printing
  • Maintain the bed height but remember it is different from PLA, so set the height accordingly.
  • PETG shouldn’t be squished onto the build plate like PLA
  • It absorbs more moisture, so keep it in a dry environment.
  • Keep cooling it during the printing process.

Hopefully after going through the solutions above, you should finally have your problem of filament sticking to the nozzle all sorted out. It’s always a good feeling when 3D printer issues finally get fixed!

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