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I use OctoPrint on an Ubuntu system with a M3D printer.

Midway through a recent print, the filament just stopped extruding although the motor-functions of the printer were proceeding fine. Since then, every print I attempt has trouble extruding proper amounts of filament. It's always not enough. The output is stringy and not cohesive.

I'm thinking there may simply be a clog in the extruder and wondering the safest way to remove it.

The weird thing, though, is that when I use manual control and extrude at, say, 220C, the filament comes out fine.

You can see the raft definitely isn't printing right. Way too little output:

enter image description here

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Suggested remedies for 3-D printers which are not extruding required amount of filament:

  1. First, check the temperature of the extruder. Try 220-225C to see if that improves the problem.
  2. The second step is to increase the flow of the filament (increase mm/sec) for extruder speed.
  3. A final step is to increase distance between extruder and base-plate. If the extruder is too close to the baseplate, there may not be enough space for the filament to begin the printing process.

Another possible source of lack of material extrusion is a clogged extruder. To solve this problem:

  1. Retract filament using jog control in software
  2. Heat extruder 20-30 degrees Celsius above normal extrusion temperature
  3. Disassemble Extruder, use small thin wire to remove blockage (guitar wire as suggested below)
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  • $\begingroup$ Currently 215C. Was always that way before. $\endgroup$ – khaverim Jun 12 '16 at 1:45
  • $\begingroup$ what type of filament are you using? $\endgroup$ – J. Roibal - BlockchainEng Jun 12 '16 at 1:46
  • $\begingroup$ PLA (from M3D company), as always before. $\endgroup$ – khaverim Jun 12 '16 at 1:47
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    $\begingroup$ If it prints correctly at 220C, why not leave it there? In addition, have you lowered the bed slightly? $\endgroup$ – J. Roibal - BlockchainEng Jun 12 '16 at 1:49
  • $\begingroup$ Honestly that's probably the next best step in diagnosis. I'm going to re-calibrate the z=0 bed location and bed height, then try at ~225C $\endgroup$ – khaverim Jun 12 '16 at 1:51
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You might have a case of clogged nozzle. You can check this easily by lifting the Z axis and running the extrusion motor. If it's grinding on filament or you notice extruded plastic is curling or going out slow, it's probably partial or total clog.

I have had the latter variant happen to myself recently, with the same symptoms as yours. Fixing it involved disassembly of the hotend and cleaning the clog manually using jet lighter (to heat up the nozzle) and guitar string to pull out clogged PLA.

You might have some other options available:

  1. Try pushing the filament through hotend by hand, it might clear the clog.
  2. Other variant I've heard of is heating up the extruder to 130-150°C (PLA) and just yanking out the filament, and hopefully clog along with it. I wouldn't recommend this if you don't know what you're doing, as it might damage the printer.

In my case things that were causing the clog were the big retraction distance and temperature being set too high.

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