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printer stops extruding filament but continues to "print"

Erik Norris Apr 17, 2017 05:56AM PDT

Recently my printer has been acting weird. I've noticed when my print job gets to 45% complete, I'll look at the print and the plate will still be moving around like it's printing but no filament is extruding from the hot end. I've clipped filament and reloaded several times to make sure nothing is clogged but still getting same results. I've switched from Neon Green to Translucent Green back to Natural White. All from Hatchbox, all PLA, and all 1.75 mm 1 kg spool. I read on the troubleshooting to wait for the status to read "Press the flashing button on the front of your printer" to make sure the file has been completely uploaded and sent to the printer. What am I doing wrong or is it something not on my end??

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Nick Apr 17, 2017 11:04AM PDT MOD-t Agent

Hello Erik,

This is Nick with New Matter support. Thank you for reaching out, and I’m sorry to hear that you are having some trouble.

First things first, I recommend that you STOP using the Hatchbox WHITE filament with your MOD-t. One of the things we have seen with some regularity is that WHITE, BLACK, and GREY colored filaments from manufacturers other than New Matter tend to “glob up” and leave a residue inside of the MOD-t’s hot end that can build up quickly and result in the symptoms you describe. The use of 3rd party filaments in the ROY G BIV rainbow colors tend to be just fine, but there is something about the way that many manufacturers make their WHITE, BLACK, and GREY filaments that seems to cause this problem when used in the MOD-t.

With that said, my next question is, is this something you are seeing with ALL of the filament colors you mentioned (neon green, translucent green, AND white), or is it just with the white?

Since we really can’t guarantee the compatibility of any 3rd party filaments with the MOD-t, we might just have a situation where there is something with those green colors you mentioned that causes them to leave a similar type of residue in the hot end that is building up and eventually causing the “ghost printing” that you mentioned. Since noticing this problem, have you tried running a job with some New Matter branded filament? If so, did that turn out better?

Another thing that could be happening is that there might be some tangles on the filament spools you are using that is causing the MOD-t to have trouble pulling it into the carriage. If the strand of filament cannot freely roll off the spool, there is a good chance it will result in this type of issue, so it’s worth taking a look to see if you notice any tangles or even just a general “tightness” to the way that the filament is wound onto the spool. Try rolling 10 feet of filament off of your spools to check and see that the filament rolls off easily and that there are no tangles. If everything seems fine there then this is probably not a contributing factor. One more note about obstructions, it can often happen that the filament gets stuck on something as it is leaving the spool but before it enters the back of the MOD-t. It’s never a bad idea to check your work environment for anything that the filament might be getting stuck on. I have even seen it where the filament will get stuck under the “foot” of the filament spool holder, and we want to avoid that as well.

It certainly sounds as though you are doing everything right as far as waiting for the file to finish transferring to the MOD-t before starting your print jobs. If it were a matter of starting your jobs before the file had finished transferring, you wouldn’t really be seeing the ghost printing issue. Instead, the printer would simply stop dead in its tracks once it ran out of instructions, so if the printer is continuing to move, my instinct is that this issue is unrelated to the current problem.

I really think that the Hatchbox filament is likely the source of the issue. Again, I wasn’t completely clear about which of the colors you mentioned also seemed to coincide with the problem, but I really can’t stress enough that I have seen lots of problems with the use of their WHITE, BLACK, and GREY colored filaments in the MOD-t.

If you haven’t already tried this, go ahead and load some New Matter branded filament (if you have some) and give that a try. I’d like to see if the issue persists when using our filament versus theirs, and if it does we can certainly keep troubleshooting in order to see if the problem might go deeper than just incompatible filament.

Please keep me posted and good luck!

Thank you,

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Erik Norris Apr 17, 2017 09:40PM PDT
White seems to be printing fine now and it's not from Hatchbox. Neon green and Translucent green printed fine too before. When it seemed to not print in those colors I activated the load sequence with the filament still fed thru the tube and it seemed to clear itself and then it seemed nothing was wrong. Sometimes the greens will print things funny like started to ghost print. That happened with grey as well. Translucent green is not from Hatchbox. Neon green is though but never really had any trouble with it.
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Nick Apr 18, 2017 10:35AM PDT MOD-t Agent

Great to hear that you are back up and running! Again, just keep an eye out for tangles or obstructions that might affect the extruder motor’s ability to pull the filament into the printer, and try not to use white, black, and grey filaments from manufacturers other than New Matter if you can help it.

Thanks so much!

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