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I have an all-metal V6 hotend clone that has worked in the past, but recently will clog very easily.

I've tried the following to address it:

  • Clean/replace the nozzle (0.4 or 0.5 mm, nozzle is hot-tightened)
  • Ensure nozzle is tightened against the heat-break tube, not the heater block
  • Adjust nozzle temperature higher/lower (190 °C to 230°C)
  • Recalibrate extruder steps/mm
  • Improve cold-end cooling with a 40mm fan (also, a 40 mm blower directly aimed at the fins did not help)
  • Try different filaments, from different brands (all 1.75 mm PLA)
  • Adjust slicer settings (speed, line width, layer thickness is usually ~0.2 mm) and even tried different slicers
  • Reduce/eliminate retractions
  • Replaced stock Ender 5 Bowden extruder with dual-gear setup for higher grip
  • Replaced the thermistor (wire was getting worn from disassembling/reassembling)

Some things I've noticed:

  • Prints tend to work fine for a while (~30 min to 1 hour or so), then the extruder is suddenly unable to push filament through the Bowden tube and begins to grind/click. There is very little to no period of reduced flow. It simply stops flowing completely.
  • I am unable to push the filament through by hand to clear the clog, but pulling the filament out and trimming the end works
  • The very end of the filament is the only place with any signs of being molten, well within the nozzle length itself
  • Pushing and pulling the filament in the hot-end by hand works for very small retractions, but can instantly result in a clog if pulled too far back (a few mm)
  • So far I have not seen particles / black buildup / other gunk that would explain the clogs
  • Letting the filament sit in the hot-end for a few seconds is enough to make it much harder to extrude by hand until enough filament is pushed through to clear what's melted (sitting too long will make it clog), but there are still no signs of heat-creep beyond the nozzle length.
  • I can always easily pull the filament out by hand after it jams (while still hot)

Examples of what the filament end looked like when a clog formed:

filament1

filament4

Since the melted material is so short I don't think it's heat-creep. Maybe it's the (very cheap) nozzles themselves having inconsistent dimensions? Not being able to retract a few mm and re-extrude by hand seems pretty odd. I have ordered official E3D nozzles to try in case they are the culprit.

Any thoughts on what else it could be?

Edit: I had commented with the new nozzle being a solution, but unfortunately I spoke too soon. Using the E3D nozzle helped for prints that maintain a high enough flow-rate, but when printing small parts and/or multiple parts it seems that the flow rate becomes low enough to overheat the filament and clog (even with reduced print temp to 190 °C).

Update: While using the new nozzle and improving cold-end cooling with a blower aimed directly at the cold-end fins did help delay the clogging a little, it did not prevent it. It seems unrealistic to say that this is traditional heat-creep since the fins were cold to the touch and the length of deformed, clogged filament is even shorter than before (<5 mm).

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  • $\begingroup$ When it has been up to temp for a half hour or clogs, can you try touching the heat break? If it’s hot it’s heat creep. $\endgroup$ Jun 18 at 2:05
  • $\begingroup$ I'm able to touch the heat-break, and while it's warm I can keep my finger on it indefinitely. $\endgroup$
    – Mandias
    Jun 18 at 2:28
  • $\begingroup$ Have you tried increasing the hot end temperature after you increased cooling of the heat sink? $\endgroup$
    – Perry Webb
    Jun 20 at 13:47
  • $\begingroup$ Can you clarify why you deleted your self-answer? Did it turn out to be wrong? $\endgroup$ Jun 23 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, per the Edit at the bottom of the original post I found that it only helped for some prints with relatively high/consistent material flow, but when multiple parts or small parts were printed it still resulted in clogs. $\endgroup$
    – Mandias
    Jun 23 at 19:48

2 Answers 2

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Since I have been unable to find a way to fix the E3D V6 clone hotend I have instead replaced it with a Creality Mk 8 that I had on-hand, which has so far worked flawlessly.

I am assuming that the improved performance is related to the use of a shorter nozzle and/or the Bowden tube butting directly against the nozzle instead of interfacing with an all-metal heat-break. Those seem to be the biggest differences between the two designs.

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I had issues with my all metal hot-end where I got heat creep. I ended up doing e-steps, PID tune, and ensuring my speed wasn't too slow either. Is your printer in an enclosure? I found that mine being in an enclosure caused the hotend to not cool sufficiently, so I had to lower the hot bed temp by 10 degrees and that seems to have resolved my issue for heat creep. I also have the Hero Me fan housing which improves airflow.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the response. I am not using an enclosure, and the room is air-conditioned (I only print PLA). I had tried pointing a 40mm blower fan straight at the heat break fins with varying print temps, so I'm fairly confident that my cooling was not the issue. $\endgroup$
    – Mandias
    Aug 6 at 0:44
  • $\begingroup$ I had to revert back to my stock tube for my Ender 5 Plus because the Capricorn tube caused too much drag and for some reason caused heat creep as well. The troubleshooting took forever as my unit being stocked worked perfectly fine, and then i did a bunch of upgrade on it which then caused many problems. So I had to by process of elimination revert back slowly until the heat creep went away. I also asked a local 3d printer shop here and the guy said that these clones cause a lot of troubles for folks as they're not made the same and not a true all metal hotend. $\endgroup$
    – Dayclone
    2 days ago

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