Creality CR-10 extruder clicking and/or nozzle clogging
So I am fairly competent with 3D printing, but this problem has got me stumped. I use a Creality CR-10 and I hadn't printed anything off for quite a while (maybe 5 or 6 months?) and I just recently starting printing again. I got a roll of somewhat cheap, but highly reviewed, filament that I have had for around a year that had just been sitting in a cupboard and went through the process of levelling and setup before starting a print.
I started to print a model and left it, expecting it to work as it usually does, but came back later and it had failed halfway; it stopped clean with no spaghetti or continuous extrusion. I started the print again and watched it for a few layers to make sure everything was working fine, and found that it printed the first layer off perfectly fine, but as soon as it started the second layer the extruder gear starting making a clicking noise like it was slipping and the filament wasn't being extruded any further.
I thought this could be because the extruder gear was worn, as it is only brass, and the teeth weren't biting the filament, so I bought a steel one and replaced it; but it's still clicking. I then thought it could be because the nozzle was getting clogged, so I took off the hotend and cleaned it thoroughly but that didn't fix the problem; even if this was the case, it wouldn't make sense that it is regularly completing the first layer before getting 'clogged'. I also tried printing at hotter and cooler temperatures, with and without the heated bed, and printing at slower speeds, but all of these attempts fail to fix the problem.
I did have a brief thought that it COULD be a problem with the model or gcode, as I did print of a spacer for the spring in the feeder which printed off without any clicks, and I also printed off a smaller version of my model (33% scale) which made the clicking noise intermittently and was affecting the filament but printed off fine in the end after I left it.
My final thought is that it could be the filament, as it isn't exactly new or expensive and was left for over 6 months, but before I buy a better roll I want to know if this is a viable reason for the clicking and slipping in the extruder. If anyone could help me out of give me any solutions I would be incredibly grateful. Thanks.
These are all my current settings in Slic3r:
Welcome to 3dPrinting.SE! Can you tell us what type of filament you are using (PLA, PETG, etc) as well as what temps you are using to print it? And anything else which might be usable in helping to diagnose?
I'm printing pla and tried the temperatures from 190 to 210 in 5 degree intervals, also using the heated bed at 40 and 50 degrees. I also replaced the Bowden tube as I thought it was too short, but none of this fixed it.
I think you need to slow down random changes and try to identify the actual cause. Are you sure the nozzle is actually hot when it happens? My guess would be that it's stopped heating.
Another "d'oh" thing to check: your filament spool isn't sticking or cross-wrapped so the feed is stuck?
I've tried changing the speed of the second layer from 60mms to 30mms and it still happens, even changing the printer to 50% speed. Also the filament is free and not tangled, but I'm pretty sure the problem is that the filament is getting stuck at the nozzle as after it started clicking, I tried pushing the filament through (while holding down the spring of course) and it wasn't extruding; I haven't checked the nozzle temperature after it happens and never thought to, so thanks for that suggestion.
This all happened before I cleaned the nozzle and I pulled out a quite substantial block of filament from the nozzle. But as soon as I printed again, it clicked. Any other suggestions?
How did you clean the nozzle? Is it possible you damaged it in a manner that caused it to keep clogging? After it starts clicking, can you manually force more material out of the nozzle by pushing it through the extruder with the gear/idler released? (Do this with the nozzle still heated.) Can you confirm by pressing a piece of filament against the nozzle and watching it melt that it's actually still at the nominal temperature?
Please check and post basic settings like retraction settings and temperatures, cooling fan percentage, etc. and insert by edit for example. Thanks!
Someone also had a similar problem and managed to fix theirs by heating up the hotend and tightening their nozzle a lot more than they thought; could anyone explain why this could be a problem?