3D Printer Cold Pull: How to Do It and Unblock Nozzles

Marcello De Lio

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A 3D Printer Cold Pull on a 3D printer

Clogged nozzles can hinder the performance and quality of your prints. A clogged nozzle can lead to issues like under-extrusion, gaps, and holes in your models.

Disassembling the hotend to clear the jamb with needles is tedious, but there’s another option.

3D printer cold pull uses a filament strand to clear the nozzle by picking up any molten filament and debris trapped inside the extruder.

The cold pull technique is an easy method to clear your printer’s hotend without disassembling the print head. It’s one of the first methods we recommend for clearing a clogged nozzle.

Preparation for a 3D Printer Cold Pull

The result of cold pulling filament through a fdm printer
This is the result of a successful cold pull. The end of the filament should take the shape of the nozzle and pull any dirt and debris with it.

First, gather the filament you will be using for the cold pull. Nylon filament is the best option because it’s less likely to snap when you pull it out of the nozzle.

While nylon is best, you can use any filament you have on hand.

PLA, ABS, PETG, and cleaning filament also work for cold pulling. Just be careful not to break the filament while pulling.

Our Pick
eSUN 1.75mm, Cleaning Filament
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You’ll also need some cutters to cut the filament.

Using pliers to pull the filament rather than your hands is also a good idea. Pliers are better for controlling the filament pull and reducing the chance of breaking the filament.

Step-by-Step Cold Pull Process

Performing a 3D Printer Cold Pull is an effective method for unclogging your nozzle and extruder.

By following these simple steps, you’ll have your 3D printer running smoothly in no time.

  1. Prepare your 3D printer: Detach the Bowden tube from the hotend if your machine has one.
  2. Heat the nozzle: Set the nozzle temperature to the regular printing temperature for your filament material. For PLA, heat it to 220°C; for other materials like ABS, nylon, or PETG, set a temperature of 240-260°C.
  3. Wait for the hotend to reach the set temperature.
  4. Insert the filament: Once the nozzle reaches the desired temperature, gently push it into the extruder until it begins to ooze out the nozzle. Ensure you have enough filament to grab onto for later.
  5. Cool down the nozzle: Reduce the temperature to 90°C, and wait for the nozzle to cool. Apply a small amount of downward pressure on the filament to ensure it takes the shape of the nozzle’s interior. This step is crucial; the filament solidifies inside the hotel, attaching to the blockages.
  6. Pull the filament: As soon as the print nozzle reaches a temperature of 90°C, slowly pull the filament back up through the extruder. It’s best to use the pliers to have better control. Be especially careful when using PLA filament, as it is brittle and has a high risk of snapping.

Remember that regular printer maintenance helps keep your 3D printer in optimal working condition.

Tips for Successful Cold Pulling

If you did the cold pull correctly, you should have removed most of the debris from the nozzle. Here are some tips to make cold pulling a breeze:

  • You may need to repeat the cold pull method several times to clear the nozzle.
  • Using different color filaments for each cold pull is a good idea. Lighter-colored filaments are best because you can see the dirt and debris in the pulled filament.
  • If the cold pull doesn’t clear your clogged nozzle, you can perform more invasive debris removal techniques or use a cleaning filament.

Best Cleaning Filaments for a Cold Pull

Specialized cleaning filaments are great choices for a cold pull.

Cleaning filaments work great because they’re designed to adhere to filament residue, dirt, and built-up debris inside the nozzle.

Below are my two favorite choices for cleaning filaments:

eSUN Cleaning Filament: eSUN is a well-known brand and our top pick for cleaning filament. The filament has exceptional adhesive qualities, which help it remove dust, debris, and residue from your 3D printer nozzle. eSun Cleaning Filament works well with various materials, including PLA, ABS, PETG, and nylon.

NovaMaker Cleaning Filament: Another excellent option for keeping your 3D printer’s nozzle in tip-top shape is the NovaMaker cleaning filament. This cleaning filament is designed to deliver effective cleaning performance without causing any harm to your printer. NovaMaker’s filament is compatible with multiple materials, ensuring that your cold pull process succeeds regardless of the type of filament you typically use.

Remember that performing regular cold pulls using one of these cleaning filaments can significantly improve your 3D printer’s performance. So, give your printer the care it deserves, and happy printing!

Article by

Marcello De Lio

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