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Cleaning your 3D printer nozzle can be a pretty tricky thing to do. It is often not the most exciting part of 3D printing, but it is crucial to print correctly, with good quality, and without mistakes. So, let’s look at different ways on how to clean the nozzle without damaging it:
How To Clean Your 3d Printer’s Nozzle
1) Simplest way – with a drill
One of the easiest options is to simply take a drill and attach one of those nozzles that you can find in some sort of cleaning kit (usually, they come as standard with some low-end 3D printers). You will need to choose the correct size for your printer nozzle and screw it on.
Now, all you need to do is put it back into its place and turn on the drill – use slow speed at first and then go faster. This trick will allow you to clean any built-up material or leftover bits from previous prints, which might cause issues later on if left alone too long.
2) Using salt + acetone mixture
An alternative option is to try using salt and acetone mixture. It is an interesting option since it doesn’t require additional tools (unless you want to try using a drill like in the previous option). You will need:
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 cup of acetone
3) Using vinegar + hydrogen peroxide mixture
Another interesting option is to use standard white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide (which you can buy just about everywhere). You will need:
- 1/4 cup of vinegar
1 teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide This time, all you have to do is mix these two components and place your 3D printer nozzle inside. Make sure it stays at least 10 minutes before removing it, but if necessary, try leaving it there even longer (up to 30 minutes or so).
After this is done, rinse your nozzle thoroughly and wipe it with a paper towel. This is a really easy way to clean your 3D printer nozzle and, in my opinion, the best option if you want to try out some homemade options.
4) Using acetone + bleach mixture
Another good choice for when you need to clean ABS filament hot end is acetone + bleach mixture. For this trick, you will need:
- 1/2 teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide
- 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid (although I suggest using less than this)
A few drops of acetone You can mix all these components in a glass or plastic container and place your printer nozzle inside (just like before). Keep in mind that using pure acetone can damage your nozzle, so do not try that.
You will also need to make sure that the acetone evaporates before you go on and print again (you can simply turn your printer on and wait until it gets hot enough).
5) Using vinegar + saltwater mixture
Another good option for those whose main issue is ABS filament residue stuck inside their 3D printer nozzle is vinegar and saltwater mixture. This is a traditional technique used by jewelry makers and dentists to remove various materials from their equipment (such as gold or silver alloys). Here’s what you will need:
- 1 cup of white vinegar
- A big bowl filled with lukewarm water (ideally distilled water)
1/4 cup of salt Now, to prepare this mixture, all you have to do is mix these three components in a bowl and then let your hot end sit inside for at least 30 minutes before turning on the printer. If necessary, leave it there overnight or even longer than that.
6) Using acetone + saltwater mixture
Another easy option when it comes to cleaning ABS filament nozzle is choosing acetone + saltwater mixture. For this trick, you will need:
- A small container filled with lukewarm water (ideally distilled)
- 3 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid (although I suggest using this)
- A few drops of acetone
Mix these components until they form a paste, and let the nozzle sit there for at least 15 minutes. Then, remove it from this mixture, wipe off any excess and pour out the water inside your container.
Now just rinse your hot end thoroughly with lukewarm water and wait until it’s completely dry before going on and turning on your printer again.
7) Using vinegar + salt + baking soda mixture
Another good option if you need to clean ABS filament hot end is to use simple white vinegar mixed with baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). Here’s what you will need:
- 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar (cheapest type works best)
- 1/4 cup of baking soda (ideally sodium bicarbonate)
A little bit of water And just like before, all you have to do is mix these components in a container and then let the hot end sit inside for at least 30 minutes before turning on your printer.
After that, rinse it thoroughly and allow it to dry completely before going on and using again.
8) Using ammonia + alcohol mixture
One more good option for cleaning the ABS filament nozzle is the ammonia + alcohol mixture. Here’s what you will need:
- 2 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol (you can also use isopropyl)
- 2 tablespoons of household ammonia
Just mix these two components in a small container, and then let your hot end sit inside overnight or for at least 8 hours before you turn on the device again.
9) Using hydrogen peroxide + baking soda mixture
If you need to clean the ABS filament nozzle, choose this method, as it’s considered one of the best when it comes down to homemade tricks. Here’s what you will need:
- 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide (you can also use food-grade version)
3 tablespoons of baking soda and a little water to achieve a paste-like consistency Mix all these components together in a plastic container and then place your printer nozzle in there (just like before).
Leave it there for at least 30 minutes before turning on your printer again. You can also leave it there overnight or for at least 8 hours if you need to.
10) 2 teaspoons of dishwashing soap
This should be enough for two cleaning sessions. All you have to do is mix half a teaspoon of salt and one tablespoon of acetone into a small glass and then add two teaspoons of dishwashing liquid. Just keep adding more salt until you don’t see any granules left on top.
Then, simply put your nozzle back into place and let this solution sit for at least 15 minutes before printing as usual. If, after this time, your nozzle still doesn’t look clean, you will probably need to repeat this process once again. Keep in mind that the acetone evaporates quickly, so you should think of making an appropriate amount for each session.
To maintain the good condition of your ABS filament nozzle, you will need to clean it from time to time. However, this is not meant to be done daily, but if you notice any problems and clogging in the process of printing, then you might want to consider cleaning the hot end more often than usual.
Also, don’t forget that all these options mentioned above work for PLA, too, so feel free to use them with this type of filament as well.