I’ve experienced my 3D printer stop extruding halfway in a 3D print, and just start printing in mid-air which can get frustrating. It took a while, but I finally found the solution to fixing a 3D printer that stops extruding mid-print.
Keep on reading to finally get the detailed solution to fix a 3D printer that stops extruding mid-print.
Why Does My 3D Printer Stop Extruding Halfway?
There are many reasons why your 3D printer might stop extruding halfway through a print. It could be due to the filament, incorrect temperature, a clog in the extrusion system and much more.
Below is a more extensive list of
- Filament has run out
- Extruder gear tension stripping filament
- Bad retraction settings
- Low extruder temperature
- Blocked nozzle or extruder pathway
- Extruder motor driver overheated
How to Fix 3D Printer That Stops Extruding Mid Print
1. Check the Filament
Yes, I’m going to state the obvious one to get the solutions kicked off! This kind of thing happens to the best of us, so double check that your filament is still finding its way through to the nozzle.
You also want to make sure there aren’t any obstacles or twists and turns which make it hard for filament to extrude. It would mean your motor has to work harder, and it might not have enough power to supply the filament through.
- If the spool is out of filament then simply insert new filament to continue
- Make the filament pathway smooth and unobstructed
2. Fix Extruder Gear Spring Tension
During a print, the extruder motor continuously spins. The motor tries to push the filament to the nozzle to extrude the filament from the nozzle.
However, when you attempt to print excessively fast, or you attempt to extrude much more filament than the nozzle capacity, the filament may get stripped off.
What can happen here is the extruder motor may crush the filament until there is nothing left for the gear to take hold of. The gear may end up filled or stuck with the plastic and lose the capability to grab more filament to extrude.
To resolve this problem, you may have to check a few things:
- Check if your motor is spinning and not extruding filament
- Undo the tension spring on your extruder, so it isn’t so tight and firm
- Look at the filament to see whether it has been chewed away at, meaning the spring tension is too tight
3. Retraction Settings
Retraction settings are really important to keep extruder working properly throughout your prints. You should look into the retraction settings as they are crucial.
If your retraction speed is too high the stress on the extruder will increase.
Even having a retraction distance too long can cause problems, as the filament gets pulled back a little too far which can cause clogs in your 3D printer.
- The first thing I would do is find an ideal retraction speed and length for your 3D printer
- Now, dial in your retraction settings using a retraction test so you can truly figure out the optimal settings
- Use trial and error with multiple prints until you pick the settings which return the best quality 3D prints.
4. Increase Your Printing Temperature
Temperature settings are also very important in fixing a 3D printer that stops extruding mid-print. There is generally a temperature range that is set for your filament which should be followed.
Within that range you should dial in your settings the same way as the retraction settings.
- I usually start with the middle of the range for printing temperature (205-225°C would be 215°C)
- If you really want to dial it in, run a test print using each temperature from 205°C then increase by 5°C increments
- Compare and contrast each 3D print and determine which print gives you the best quality.
- It should be high enough that it melts and extrudes smoothly
5. Clear Up the Clogged Nozzle
After following the previous steps If the problem persists, and it is slowing down the print speed, your printer nozzles are probably clogged.
A clogged nozzle makes it harder for the filament to come out properly which may result in your stopping extruder halfway.
Usually, the nozzle clog is identified at the beginning of the print job, however, it can get blocked midway through printing too. There can be several reasons for a nozzle clog.
Most common is a build up of dust and residue which gets heated up to high temperatures and gets burnt. This ends up leaving carbon in the extruder and can cause hardened plastic to get stuck in your nozzle.
Other reasons may include an idle nozzle or moisture affecting your extrusion process.
To resolve this issue try the following:
- Clear out the nozzle with a nozzle cleaning needle or wire brush
- You can sometimes clear the nozzle by manually pushing the filament in the nozzle by hand from behind the extruder.
- There are cleaning filaments out there which are commonly used to clean out a nozzle (cold a cold & hot pull)
- Heat up your nozzle to a high temperature and put the cleaning filament through, and it should clear out the clogs.
- If the clog is stubborn, some people have used a heat gun to loosen the material
- At last, if nothing works than just disassemble the hotend and clean the debris by soaking the nozzle in the recommended solvent.
6. Cool Down the Overheated Extruder Motor Driver
If the printer stops extruding in the middle of the print then another reason can be an overheated extrusion motor.
If the printer does not have a good cooling system, the extruder motor gets overheated. The drivers of the extruder motors typically have a thermal cut-off or a decided threshold at which the drivers make the extruder motor stop automatically.
Following will keep the temperature moderate and the extruder motor keeps on working effortlessly without any resistance.
- Stop printing for some time to let the motor rest and cool down
- Make sure that the printer gets resting time in between multiple printing jobs
- Check that your extruder motor isn’t working harder than it needs to with bad filament pathways
How to Fix 3D Print That Fails at Same Height/Point
To fix 3D prints that fail at the same height or point, you want to physically check your printer to see if there are any obstructions or tangles in the wiring or cables which are getting caught on something. A good lubrication of your printer is a good idea, as well as checking that your gantry isn’t screwed too tight.
These are just a few things you can try to fix this issue, as well as more listed below.
I would recommend trying to print a cube with no infill or top layers that has a height above where the failure is. You can do this with a 0.3mm layer height.
If the cube prints fine, you can then try a low-poly print like a Low-Poly Pikachu and see if the problem occurs.
This will allow your printer to quickly reach the observed point of failure so you can view what exactly is happening.
It could be a problem with the tightness of your gantry wheels on the side of the Z-axis.
For specific prints, it could be a problem with not having enough infill material to support the layers above, leading to a print failure.
Another thing you can do is to use an infill that is naturally more dense like the Cubic infill pattern.
I’d also look into increasing your printing temperature to account for any under extrusion because it can definitely cause prints to fail. If you are getting layer delamination or bad layer adhesion, a higher printing temperature can fix that.
One thing that many people do is to 3D print a pre-sliced file like one that comes with the SD card alongside the printer. If these files work fine but your sliced files have those same issues, then you know it’s most likely a slicer problem.
Either updating your slicer to the latest version or using a whole different slicer can fix the issue of 3D prints that fail at the same height. Cura has really good default settings nowadays so it should work fairly good without changes.
It’s a good idea to check the physical features of the printer such as the cables, wires, belts, rods and screws. Even a good lubrication around the moving parts can provide a solution to 3D prints from a machine like the Ender 3 or Prusa printers failing at the same height.
Ensure that you tighten screws around the printer because they can loosen up over time.
As you can see, there are a few different ways that you can solve the issue of your 3D printer stopping extrusion halfway through the printing process. Once you identify the cause, the fix is usually pretty easy.
I’m sure after you try out the methods detailed above, you should be well on your way to fixing this issue.