Ender 3 Pro Filament Not Feeding: Solving 3D Printer Problem

The Ender 3 Pro extruder not feeding filament when printing is one of the worst experiences for 3D printing enthusiasts. You needn’t worry, though. The culprit is easy to identify, and the problem can be easier and quicker to fix than you think.

Ender 3 Pro filament not feeding is a problem commonly caused by a clogged extruder nozzle. The extruder teeth could also be worn, or the nozzle could go too close to the build plate. Other reasons include a worn out PTFE liner, worn out feeder gears, or incorrect spring tension.

Filament Not Coming Out Of Ender 3 Pro’s Nozzle? 2 Most Common Culprits

Filament not coming out of the nozzle when you’re trying to print a three-dimensional object is frustrating, but the two most common culprits are easy to fix. You either have the printer’s nozzle set too close to the build plate, or the extruder is clogged.

Nozzle Too Close To Build Plate

One of the most frequent mistakes 3D printing novices can make – and that can get the filament stuck – is printing with the nozzle set too close to the build plate.

If the nozzle is too close to the plate, the filament won’t have sufficient room to come out, blocking the nozzle’s opening. Plastic filament will eventually harden on the hole, clogging it. 

An easy way to tell if the nozzle height is incorrect is by looking at the extruder as you start printing. If the filament doesn’t come out for the first layer or two but starts extruding normally at the third or fourth layer, the nozzle is too close to the bed.

As a rule of thumb, you should calibrate the nozzle height to about 0.06mm – 0.2mm from the bed. The exact height depends on the filament thickness and nozzle diameter – the height should never be bigger than the nozzle diameter.

If the nozzle height is incorrect, you can adjust it manually by raising or lowering the Z-axis limit switch. Alternatively, you can adjust the height from your 3D slicer as long as you can control the printer from your PC.

Clogged Extruder Nozzle

A clogged extruder nozzle is another culprit for 3D printer filament print problems. There are several probable causes, including clogs formed by dust and dirt, using poor quality filament, or setting an incorrect print temperature. 

How To Check if Your 3D Printer Nozzle is Clogged

Checking if the nozzle is clogged is as easy as checking the nozzle height. Look at the printer and see what happens after you hit the start button.

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If the filament comes out stringy or curls as it comes out, you may deal with a partial clog. If the filament is not extruding at all, the nozzle could be completely clogged.

Whether it’s a partial or full clog, you must clean the nozzle before using the printer again. Because there are different methods to clean a clogged nozzle, keep reading to find out the various ways and pick the best one for you.

6 Other Issues If Extruder is Not Pushing Filament

While incorrect nozzle calibration and a clogged nozzle are the two most common reasons why the 3D printer is not feeding filament, there are other possible causes, too. Let’s check them out.

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Bad Retraction Settings

A 3D printer’s retraction settings regulate the length and speed at which the extruder pulls back the filament after printing to avoid leaks and prevent clogs. Retraction also works when the extruder moves from one of the bed areas to another, preventing the material from leaking onto the object.

The sweet spot for retraction settings seems to be around 40mm/s for the retraction speed and about 2 mm of retraction length

When calibrating these settings, remember that you don’t want the filament oozing out of the nozzle, but you don’t want to weaken it either with too much back and forth movement. 

The exact retraction settings might vary depending on the filament you use. So, start from the settings above and fine-tune until you find the right settings for you.

PTFE Liner Worn Out

The PTFE liner is an essential component of your printer. Its role is to line the extruder with PTFE for an easier guiding of the filament towards the heated end. 

Constant heating and cooling can wear out the PTFE liner and prevent the filament from feeding properly. This will eventually lead to clogs. The PTFE tube could also crack due to damage. 

To check if that’s the problem, check the ends of the PTFE tube and look for damage or cracks. Replace the tube if necessary, preferably with one made from a heat-resistant material.

Incorrect Spring Tension or Idler Pressure

3D printers are complex machines that have lots of moving parts. Among them, the feeder gear is responsible for feeding the filament to the nozzle. 

In addition to the actual gear, the mechanism includes a tension spring and an idler. When setting the spring tension, you should pay attention that it’s not too high. Too much tension can eat into the filament, preventing it from coming out the right way.

The idler could also be a cause why the extruder is not pushing the filament, generally due to too low pressure.  

Fixing the spring tension and idler pressure takes some trial and error, but there are little to no adjustments to make once you calibrate the unit.

Worn Out Extruder/Feeder Gears

Talking about feeder gears, the gears themselves could be a reason why no filament is coming from the extruder. If they are worn out, they might not be able to feed the material. Like all gears, the feeder gear has teeth that allow it to spin and feed the filament.

When these teeth wear out, the gear won’t turn properly. The only solution is to replace the gears

The extruder quality also matters. While the Ender 3 Pro comes with high-quality parts, you may have to replace the extruder at some point. If you buy a cheaper part, it might wear out faster or present feeding problems right from the start.

If you suspect that the extruder’s quality is the culprit, replace it with an all-metal or dual-drive extruder.

Weak Extruder Motor

Another 3D printer part that will wear out in time is the extruder motor. A weak motor or a broken one might not deliver sufficient power to the printer’s moving parts, preventing the filament from exiting.

A broken motor is easy to identify by the clicking sound it makes when the printer’s in use. However, that’s not the only reason the motor clicks. A nozzle that’s too close to the bed could also prevent the motor from working properly.

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Thus, if you hear unusual sounds coming from the printer, the first thing to do is to calibrate the nozzle and check all other possible culprits mentioned above. Once you’ve ruled out everything else, test the motor and replace it if needed.


If you’ve checked everything above but still can’t tell why the filament is not feeding, you should also check the extruder cog.

The cog is responsible for feeding the filament through the Bowden tube. It is fixed to the tube with Allen bolts, and these bolts could become loose. Simply check and tighten the cog bolts to fix the issue. When checking, also make sure that the cog is aligned properly with the feeder disc and correct any misalignments.

Unclogging Stuck Filament From A 3D Printer Nozzle

Unclogging a 3D printer nozzle isn’t hard, but you must use the right method depending on whether you have a partial or full clog. Use the method above to figure out what type of clog you’re dealing with – if the filament is not feeding at all, you have a full clog; otherwise, it’s a partial one.

Cleaning a partially clogged nozzle

You can unblock a partially clogged nozzle with cleaning filament or manually, either with a brass wire brush or by pushing the filament through the heated nozzle until clean.

Using cleaning filament is as easy as it gets. This filament type is designed to sweep dust and debris out of the nozzle. Load the cleaning filament into the 3D printer and print following the instructions on the filament package (each cleaning filament may come with its own instructions). 

In addition to cleaning the nozzle interior, also scrub its exterior with a brass wire brush to clean any clinging material.

Alternatively, you can heat the nozzle to the proper temperature for the filament you’re using and feed the filament through the nozzle manually until it’s clean.

Cleaning a fully clogged nozzle

The easiest way to clean a fully clogged nozzle is with an acupuncture needle or guitar string. It doesn’t matter what you use as long as the tool of choice is smaller than the nozzle diameter. For better results, heat the nozzle to the filament temperature to make it easier to dislodge the clog.

The cold pull method could also work. To do this, heat the nozzle to 482°F (250°C) and feed it nylon or ABS filament until the material starts oozing. Let it cool down until the filament solidifies, then heat the nozzle to 248°F (120°C)

Use tweezers or a pair of pliers to grab the filament and pull it out of the nozzle. You should see all dirt and debris particles stuck inside the nylon or ABS filament.

If the clog is caused by poor quality filament, you could use a heat gun to melt it and clear the nozzle. Alternatively, you could remove the nozzle from the printer and dip it in acetone. Leave it to soak for about 24 hours until the obstruction is dissolved.

How To Feed Filament in Ender 3 Pro in 5 Easy Steps

Whether you’ve removed the old filament to unclog the nozzle or have to change the spool, learning how to feed filament to the Ender 3 the right way is crucial. The operation isn’t complicated, and even beginners can complete the task successfully. Just follow the steps below.

1. Remove the old filament

If the filament is currently loaded in your printer, the first step is to remove it. To do this, you have to heat the nozzle to the filament’s specific temperature, then squeeze the extruder arm lever to release the filament and remove the old spool.

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2. Prepare the new filament 

To feed filament into the extruder, you must first cut its end at a sharp angle for an easier fit. Grab the filament end and hold it still. Use a pair of scissors to cut the filament tip at a 45-degree angle

3. Straighten the filament

Feeding filament into the extruder can be tricky, mainly because the filament doesn’t come off the spool perfectly straight. Bent filament could be challenging to feed; thus, you have to unwind a filament section and bend it gently until it’s straight.

4. Feed the material

Now, squeeze the extruder arm and place the filament between the toothed extruder gear and idler pulley. Keep the arm pressed and continue feeding until you feel firm resistance. This means the filament has reached the nozzle. Close the extruder lever arm.

5. Run a test

That’s all it takes to feed new filament in your Ender 3 Pro, but you might have doubts and worries when feeding new filament for the first time. If you want to make sure you’ve completed the task successfully, print a small object and see how it goes.

If the filament is not loading, you can follow the steps below to troubleshoot the issue: 

  1. From the printer’s control panel, open Utilities and go to Filament Options.
  2. Hit Unload, then wait. The printer will heat the extruder, preparing the printer for filament unloading.
  3. Remove the filament from the extruder and make a fresh cut at its end.
  4. Feed the filament again until you feel firm resistance. 
  5. Move the extruder lever arm to the Closed position, then run the test again. If it’s still not feeding, you may have trouble with the extruder fan or assembly.

Troubleshooting Filament Not Feeding

There are two possible reasons why the filament is not feeding when you’re hitting the start button: the filament might be bent, or the extruder could be jammed.

Check the filament first, removing it from the nozzle. If its end is bent, there is a chance the filament is slipping under the bearing of the extruder instead of going through it. The material won’t hit the hot end and will not come out. Straighten the end to solve the problem.

If the filament end is straight, the extruder could be faulty. Follow the instructions in your printer’s manual to remove the extruder fan and assembly. At this stage, you can actually watch the filament as it feeds through the extruder and determine where it gets stuck.

Clean the extruder and remove any clogs if needed. You can then assemble the extruder and extruder fan back into their places and feed the filament again. It should go through this time.


While there are several reasons why filament is not coming out when printing, the most common issues are very easy to fix. Alternatively, we hope this guide can help you troubleshoot your Ender 3 Pro extruder and filament feeding mechanism.

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