Best way to clean pla off extruder

So, I've been printing just a few objects to test my A5, and today I wanted to try to improve the settings.
I downloaded a "temperature tower" which is a simple object that is printed in different temperatures across different floors, to find the optimal temperature for that material.
Well, I didn't check before launching the test, but when the print was almost finished, I realized at some point there was gunk forming around the extruder, and the print was going bad.
So now I have to clean it, I don't think it's clogged, I can still see the filament coming out, but it has a lot of melted pla around.
I've read around that one of the methods to clean it is to use a wire brush, but I'm not sure if it could damage the extruder itself.

If you have other suggestions on how to clean the pla from the area around the extruder please do share, clearly the least disassembly required, the better :smile:


  • Samuel PinchesSamuel Pinches Posts: 2,588Administrator
    1. Heat up nozzle
    2. Take 3 tissues and fold them into quarters, and stack them.
    3. Wipe nozzle
    4. ???
    5. Profit.

    At least, that's what I do, and it works well enough for me :smiley:
    Thanked by 1noobmaker
  • noobmakernoobmaker Posts: 8Member
    Well that looks like a good idea, I was worried I could, idk, burn the tissues or something :smiley:
    How much do you advice to heat the nozzle? Up to printing temperatures, or slightly below? Or maybe just at half of that, just to loosen up the gunk? And also, do you dip the towels in a bit of water or anything else, or just use them dry?

    I've printed my first benchy after asking this question, and it's not too bad, at least it doesn't have any clear issues.
    The bottom is a bit meh, and the sides have visible steps, but I'm satisfied. My real concern is that it took about 2 hours to print, which seems awfully slow, considering I used the standard/medium preset in the JGcreat slicer.
  • Samuel PinchesSamuel Pinches Posts: 2,588Administrator
    edited March 2019
    I normally heat it up to 240C if its just PLA - it wipes off really easily then. I use them dry.
    Post edited by Samuel Pinches on
  • Samuel PinchesSamuel Pinches Posts: 2,588Administrator
    edited March 2019
    I just looked it up, and the temperature paper ignites at is only ~230C... but it's never caught fire for me so far, haha :D

    I think if its just a quick wipe, it should be fine. A wet tissue will cool down the nozzle too much.
    Post edited by Samuel Pinches on
  • Laser8302Laser8302 Posts: 151Member, 🌟 Super Member 🌟
    I'd download cura 4.0, it has a profile for the A5. Have you installed the community firmware?
    Sometimes I have found that just under the temperature of printing makes it so you can used pliers or tweezers to pull off the melted plastic in one go or in a couple pieces and it leaves the block a bit cleaner.

    IE if the printing temperature range is 180-200 then heating the nozzle to ~140-150 the plastic will come off in chunks instead of being a liquid mess.
  • Der_MuckDer_Muck Posts: 265🌟 Super Member 🌟
    Its also passible to heat the nozzle up, get a lost print part (best is TPU) push the print against the heated nozzle.
    Heated so that its not over heated but that the nozzle sinks in the lost printed part. Than hold it till the nozzle cool down. Now you only have to get it of the nozzle and it takes the filament left on the nozzle with it. In the end, the nozzle is clean again. 
  • noobmakernoobmaker Posts: 8Member
    For the time being, using a thick tissue well folded did the trick, but I'll be sure of trying out other methods too, thanks!
  • beatabeata Posts: 9Active Member
    I use either folded paper towel, or I prefer a piece of old sweatshirt.
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