How do i take care of my hotends?

Ive recently noticed that my hotends are getting very gunked up around the nozzle with lots of fillament stuck. a. Is there any way i can stop this - maybe by cleaning frequently? b. Now that its all gunked up - how does one go about cleaning/removing the filament thats stuck around the end?

It almost looks like its starting to erode the surface which i wasnt expecting to happen only a month into printing. Are these heads something thats expected to be replaced relatively often?

thanks
Nick

You can clean your nozzle with a brass wire brush after heating it up to temperature to soften the material stuck to the nozzle.

The nozzle that comes with the A1 mini is stainless steel and not hardened, which will wear out quicker. Before your printer does a bed level, it goes to the back of the build plate and rubs the nozzle tip against it, which will wear it out over time.

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oh! thanks. Do you have any tips on how id remove the hot end before cleaning? I find it quite fiddly to remove and with some kind of oven gloves even harder

At the risk of minor burns to my fingers I just heat it up, flick the lock open with a fingernail, and then handle the nozzle only briefly by the baffles/fins on the sides, those don’t get hot too quickly.

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ooof - well… I might try carefully :slight_smile:

Bambu has you take it off with pliers :slight_smile:

https://wiki.bambulab.com/en/a1-mini/maintenance/clean-hotend-assembly

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Oh! Interesting. Thanks. Wish I’d know this earlier and cleaned from the beginning :frowning:

I wonder if there’s a way of doing this without heating in the actual printer first. Like maybe taking a lighter to it or something? :thinking:

I wouldn’t do it while installed on the printer, but I routinely heat up my nozzles with a lighter or a heatgun to clean them up/unclog. I had a stubborn mix of PLA/PETG that would not surrender to anything less than a long application of a butane torch.

As for your longevity question - I’ve gone through a nozzle every 2 months or so on my printers, but I do a lot of printing and a lot of ironing. They are certainly considered a consumable part, and I make sure I have at least one spare at all times. Back in my Ender 3 days I would replace them often because they were like $.10 a pop. I would definitely recommend hardened nozzles if you are wearing them out quickly.

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aha! yeah a heat gun is a good shout - thanks!

When I had a clog, I took the hot end out and stuck it in a toaster oven set to 350 degrees. Let it heat up, and while wearing heat-proof gloves (I weld things, so I’m used to handling hot metal), used the 1.5 hex wrench to push the clog down and out of the nozzle. I repeated this several times, until nothing more came out. No problems since, but I also purchased a set of new hot ends to have on hand.

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