How To – Clogged MakerBot Smart Extruder

clogged extruder nozzle

Is your MakerBot Smart Extruder clogged or jammed? Is it making a clicking sound? This how-to will show you what to do if your extruder has a clogged nozzle, a clogged thermal barrier tube, or both. Video tutorial is at the bottom of the page. Here’s how to fix it.

Tools Needed:

Let’s Get Started

1. Remove the acrylic panel(s), set them aside.

2. Remove the filament guide tube.

remove filament guide tube - makerbot mini - clogged smart extrduer clog

If using the MakerBot Replicator Mini: Go to the software and select “Load Filament”. Wait until the smart extruder is heated to 215°C.

3. Remove the loaded filament.

  • On the right side of the smart extruder, press down on the spring lever. At the same time push down on the filament and then pull it out.

4. Make sure the nozzle is still heated to 215°C.

  • If the “Load Filament” script has ended, press “Load Filament” again and wait for it to heat to 215°C.

5. Loosen the nozzle.

makerbot smart extruder clog - clogged smart extruder - jammed smart extruder - smart extruder nozzle

  • Take a crescent wrench and start turning on the nozzle. If there is resistance, hold the smart extruder to the gantry system with your other hand.
  • Once loose, unscrew the nozzle a couple more times with the crescent wrench.

6. Allow the nozzle to cool. NOZZLE MUST COOL FOR 5-10 MINUTES.

jammed smart extruder - makerbot jam - makerbot nozzle

  • Once the smart extruder has cooled down, remove it from the gantry system and unscrew the nozzle (it should be safe to touch at this point).

7. Check to see if the nozzle is clogged.

  • If there is debris in the nozzle, you have a nozzle clog. Set it aside.

8. Look down the barrel of the smart extruder.

smart extruder clogged - makerbot clog - how to

  • If you see debris then you have a thermal barrier clog.

Nozzle Clog:

Head here for instructions on how to clean a clogged extruder nozzle.

Thermal Barrier Clog:

1. Replace the smart extruder back onto the gantry system.

2. Using the software, select “Load Filament”.

  • Wait for the smart extruder to reach 215°C.
  • Once it is heated, insert more filament.
  • While holding the smart extruder to the gantry system, push filament through the barrel. The clog should release.

3. Let the filament extruder for a couple of inches and then clip off the filament.

makerbot extruder clogged - filament clog - pla clog - clogged nozzle

Here, you can see the filament clog itself. Clip it off before unloading the fresh filament.

4. Remove the filament.

  • Push down on the spring-loaded lever while pushing down on the filament. Then pull the filament out.

5. Cool down the smart extruder.

6. Clean the threads of the smart extruder.

makerbot extruder clogged - cleaning smart extruder

  • Once cooled, remove smart extruder from the gantry system.
  • With a wire brush, clean threads of the thermal barrier tube to ensure there is not filament left over.

7. Screw in your new nozzle by hand.

  • Take a crescent wrench and tighten the nozzle a little bit more until snug.

replacing smart extruder nozzle - Smart extruder clog - smart extruder clicking

8. Place your unjammed smart extruder back onto gantry system.

9. Go to software and select “Load Filament”.

10. After nozzle has reached 215°C, hold the smart extruder to the gantry system and tighten the nozzle with the crescent wrench.

11. When nozzle is secure, load filament.

  • Once you see filament coming through the nozzle, cancel the “Load Filament” script.


Watch: How to Fix a Clogged Smart Extruder with Jake Clark

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  10. Jennifer Gallatin 3 years ago

    I have a clogged mini extruder. I have done everything suggested I have found online, and I still cannot get it unclogged. I normally use Makerbot filament, but am currently using Mika3D PLA filament.

  11. Mason 6 years ago

    Thanks for the video! It helped me awhile back, but now I have a new problem. My filament is stuck in the extruder, and I can’t unload it. No kidding… It seems (based on what I feel…) that it’s melted to a lump/ball on the end of the filament, and I can’t get it to either extrude more or retract out of the extruder (even when squeezing the gear release). Any thoughts? Thanks!

  12. carmelo 7 years ago

    Hello there, I have a quick question. I have a maker bot replicator mini and I’ve been having problems with it. It unloads the filament by itself and I don’t know why. Do you happen to know what’s causing it?

    I really appreciate the help. Thanks in advance!

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