Why Isn’t My 3D Printer Extruding?

Coby McKinley Profile image

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Updated February 15, 2023

If you’ve invested in a premium printer, understanding “Why isn’t my 3D printer extruding?” is critical. Even the best 3D printers can have extruder issues, but it’s usually simple to diagnose. Running out of filament material is the most common answer to extrusion issues, but there are other causes you should know about, such as stripped filament or extruder problems. So, read on to learn why your 3D printer isn’t extruding.


  • A 3D printer extruder guides filament through the printer until it reaches the print head and nozzle.
  • Running out of filament and overheating are the most common culprits of a 3D printer that stops extruding.
  • You may have a mechanical issue inside the extruder assembly or have stripped filament inside the extruder gears.

Why is My 3D Printer Not Extruding?

Investigating why is my 3D printer not working can seem like an intimidating task. Experts advise starting with the simplest task before moving on to more challenging fixes. For example, if your 3D printer stops extruding mid-print, see if the spool of filament is empty before deconstructing the 3d printer extruder.

Insider Tip

Use a dedicated cleaning filament every 90 to 120 days to prevent filament buildup from clogging the 3D printing process.

Whether your unit runs out of filament mid-print or doesn’t start at all, you should investigate each troubleshooting tip below.

That said, all 3D printing hobbyists should understand the parts of their printer to ensure a safe 3D printing environment and quality prints. Learning how many fans are on a 3D printer and other hardware specs can help users troubleshoot issues and get the most from their hardware. Check our guide to the coolest things you can 3D print for some inspiration for your next 3D printing project.

No Filament

Whether you have a Dragonfly vs. a Micro Swiss hot nozzle or any other type, your machine won’t print without filament. Ensure you have enough 3D printer filament before starting a printing project. If not, replace the spent roll with a new one and feed the new filament into the extruder mechanism.

Overheating Extruder Motor

The extruder temperature can reach critical levels during a long print job or multiple sessions in quick succession. When the printing temperature exceeds safe levels, the entire extruder assembly will stop to prevent damage to the extrusion motor. Give your 3D printer a heat break between jobs to ensure the correct printing temperature for your extruder.

The Nozzle is Too Low

A nozzle that’s too close to the print bed will prevent stop the melted filament from flowing onto the print bed. A low print head can help with first-layer adhesion, but it will crush the initial few layers and possibly lead to 3D filament jams. You can fix the issue by raising the initial layer height in .5 to 1.0-millimeter increments until the extruder issue clears up.

Clogged Nozzle

Over time, dust particles, filament debris, and other residues can stick in the extruder path and nozzle. Without proper maintenance, the leftover filament particles can cause nozzle jams.

You can push a nylon filament or metal wire down the extruder path to temporarily clear the clog. Alternatively, you can use a heat gun on the nozzle if the block is dirty filament particles.


Cheap filament spools are more likely to cause 3D printing quality issues and clogs in the extruder nozzle.

Stripped Filament

Extruder gears feed filament through the print nozzle. If the gears grip the filament too tight, they will grind the filament until it is too thin, leaving filament grindings caked on the gears.

With the thinned-out filament and dirty extruder gears, the material cannot move along the filament path. You have to access the entire extruder assembly to clean the filament residue off of the gears.

STAT: Of those living in a household where the total income was 100,000 U.S. dollars or more per year, 58 percent said that they owned Canon products. (source)

Why Isn’t My 3D Printer Extruding FAQs

Are 3D printers expensive?

3D printers have a large price range depending on the print quality and feature set. An entry-level machine can cost under $200, while professional-grade 3D printers can exceed $5000.

What is proper filament storage?

You need to keep your filament spools in a climate-controlled space and away from direct sunlight. Additionally, you can store the filament in an airtight container to minimize moisture and dust contamination.

What type of filament is best for tabletop miniatures?

PLA 3D filament plastic if you want to display your tabletop miniature, but it won’t be very strong. Experts recommend printing with PETG if you need durable sets or characters for your tabletop games.
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