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Top 3 Reasons Why Your 3D Prints Are Failing!

The majority of people who own 3D printers will experience all sorts of issues with them. This can range anywhere from filament getting clogged to prints ending up looking like pasta. Most people who run into these issues will try to adjust their slicer settings (like retraction, extrusion, etc.) in hopes that this will fix the issue.

However, a lot of times it doesn’t and can’t. Simply put, the condition of your materials and the thermodynamic properties of your 3D printer parts have a huge influence on how successful your prints will be. Below, you’ll find the top 3 reasons why your 3D prints are failing, and what you can do about them:

Wet Filament

Whenever someone stumbles upon a stringy mess on their print, their immediate reaction is to increase retraction. While this can help, most of the time using dry filament will fix the issue immediately. Why does filament get wet and why does this help?

Well, a lot of filaments are hygroscopic, which means they retain moisture from their environment. If you live in a humid climate and leave your filament out all the time, your filament will end up getting wet. It is unavoidable.

Now, the reason this causes stringiness is that every time you go to print, you are heating up the filament with water trapped inside of it. When you go above 100°C, the water will boil out and pop (sometimes you can hear this). This popping disrupts the flow of plastic through your nozzle and ends up causing erratic extrusion behavior.

So, how do you prevent your filament from getting wet?

1) Buy a sealed container that you can store your filaments in. This will aid in keeping out moisture from your environment.

2) Place desiccant inside of this sealed container that can absorb moisture from the air surrounding the filament. While there are many different types of desiccant on the market, Slice Engineering's Filament Drying Desiccant seems to be the best one. This desiccant is 10X stronger than silica gel and is optimized for 3D printing applications.

Heat Creep

Simply put, heat creep is when heat travels up a hotend (which is the component on your 3D printer that is actually melting the plastic) and melts the filament too early.

In order to understand why this matters, the general anatomy of a 3D printer will need to be understood first (and is explained in the next paragraph). If you already know the parts of a 3D printer, feel free to skip the next 2 paragraphs.

To start, you have a roll of plastic, called filament, that you are putting into a component called the extruder. The extruder is responsible for providing the pushing force for the plastic filament as it makes its way towards the hotend.

Now, the hotend is made up of three main components: the hot block, the heat sink, and the heat break. The hot block is responsible for melting the plastic, the heat sink is responsible for keeping the plastic cool (and usually has a fan attached), and the heat break is responsible for separating the hot zone (on the hot block) from the cold zone (on the heat sink).

Hotend Diagram

So, why is heat creep such an issue? Well, unlike most materials, plastics don’t have a clean transition from solid to liquid during melting. As filament moves through the hotend, it heats up and reaches the material’s glass transition temperature (Tg), entering a semi-solid, semi-liquid, “gooey” state.

While in this state, the plastic responds to applied forces like a wet noodle, causing undesirable print effects like reduction in resolution, blobbing, and jamming. This is where an efficient heat break comes into play. An efficient heat break narrows the physical distance during which the plastic is in this gooey-like state, ideally creating the shortest path from a cold zone to a hot zone.

With an inefficient heat break, you’ll end up having the heat cross over the heat break and into the heat sink which causes clogging, blobbing, and jamming.

Unfortunately, the majority of stock 3D printer heat breaks are made out of one material (since this is a lot cheaper). With this being said, this small component can have a drastic effect on your 3D printer performance and can end up ruining a lot of your prints if you don’t have an efficient one.

Our top recommendation for a replacement heat break would be the Copperhead® Heat Break. This bimetallic heat break is very affordable, will significantly increase the performance of your machine, and comes in multiple variants to fit printers from brands like Creality, MakerBot, and Prusa.

Aside from that, it will allow you to use engineering-grade plastics (like carbon fiber for drone frames & PETG for high-strength prototyping) that you didn’t even realize you had the option of using.

Inaccurate Temperature Sensing

This is an issue most people don’t even think about. At a base level, hotends on 3D printers heat up by having a heater cartridge pump heat into the hot block. The amount of heat that is pumped into the hot block is regulated by a temperature sensor on the hot block.

This closed-loop system is constantly monitored by the temperature sensor (just like the AC system in your house). If the temperature sensor reads the hot block is at a higher temperature than its set temperature, it will turn off the heater cartridge. If the temperature sensor reads the hot block is at a lower temperature than its set temperature, it will turn on the heater cartridge until the set temperature is reached.

Now, what if the temperature sensor is sensing the wrong temperature? In this case, your hot block will never ACTUALLY be at the temperature that you set since it is basing its feedback system on an inaccurate measurement. Being that filaments need a specific temperature to melt at, reading bad temperature measurements is a recipe for disaster. Luckily, there is a solution for this that doesn’t involve you finding a new temperature sensor. This solution exists in an inexpensive chemical called Boron Nitride Paste.

By applying Boron Nitride Paste into your sensor/heater holes and onto these components themselves, you’ll be getting rid of air gaps, increasing the amount of surface area these components are touching, and improving the conduction of heat throughout your hot block. Simply put, your temperature sensor will be reading the temperature the entire hot block is at since heat is being conducted through the hot block a lot more efficiently.

The majority of people who own 3D printers will experience all sorts of issues with them. This can range anywhere from filament getting clogged to prints ending up looking like pasta.

Most people who run into these issues will try to adjust their slicer settings (like retraction, extrusion, etc.) in hopes that this will fix the issue.

However, a lot of times it doesn’t and can’t. Simply put, the condition of your materials and the thermodynamic properties of your 3D printer parts have a huge influence on how successful your prints will be.

Below, you’ll find the top 3 reasons why your 3D prints are failing, and what you can do about them:

Wet Filament

Whenever someone stumbles upon a stringy mess on their print, their immediate reaction is to increase retraction.

While this can help, most of the time using dry filament will fix the issue immediately. Why does filament get wet and why does this help?

Well, a lot of filaments are hygroscopic, which means they retain moisture from their environment.

If you live in a humid climate and leave your filament out all the time, your filament will end up getting wet. It is unavoidable.

Now, the reason this causes stringiness is that every time you go to print, you are heating up the filament with water trapped inside of it.

When you go above 100°C, the water will boil out and pop (sometimes you can hear this). This popping disrupts the flow of plastic through your nozzle and ends up causing erratic extrusion behavior.

So, how do you prevent your filament from getting wet?

1) Buy a sealed container that you can store your filaments in. This will aid in keeping out moisture from your environment.

2) Place desiccant inside of this sealed container that can absorb moisture from the air surrounding the filament.

While there are many different types of desiccant on the market, Slice Engineering's Filament Drying Desiccant seems to be the best one. This desiccant is 10X stronger than silica gel and is optimized for 3D printing applications.

Heat Creep

Simply put, heat creep is when heat travels up a hotend (which is the component on your 3D printer that is actually melting the plastic) and melts the filament too early.

In order to understand why this matters, the general anatomy of a 3D printer will need to be understood first (and is explained in the next paragraph). If you already know the parts of a 3D printer, feel free to skip the next 3 paragraphs.

To start, you have a roll of plastic, called filament, that you are putting into a component called the extruder. The extruder is responsible for providing the pushing force for the plastic filament as it makes its way towards the hotend.

Now, the hotend is made up of three main components: the hot block, the heat sink, and the heat break.

The hot block is responsible for melting the plastic, the heat sink is responsible for keeping the plastic cool (and usually has a fan attached), and the heat break is responsible for separating the hot zone (on the hot block) from the cold zone (on the heat sink).

Hotend Diagram

So, why is heat creep such an issue?

Well, unlike most materials, plastics don’t have a clean transition from solid to liquid during melting.

As filament moves through the hotend, it heats up and reaches the material’s glass transition temperature (Tg), entering a semi-solid, semi-liquid, “gooey” state.

While in this state, the plastic responds to applied forces like a wet noodle, causing undesirable print effects like reduction in resolution, blobbing, and jamming.

This is where an efficient heat break comes into play. An efficient heat break narrows the physical distance during which the plastic is in this gooey-like state, ideally creating the shortest path from a cold zone to a hot zone.

With an inefficient heat break, you’ll end up having the heat cross over the heat break and into the heat sink which causes clogging, blobbing, and jamming.

Unfortunately, the majority of stock 3D printer heat breaks are made out of one material (since this is a lot cheaper).

With this being said, this small component can have a drastic effect on your 3D printer performance and can end up ruining a lot of your prints if you don’t have an efficient one.

Our top recommendation for a replacement heat break would be the Copperhead® Heat Break.

This bimetallic heat break is very affordable, will significantly increase the performance of your machine, and comes in multiple variants to fit printers from brands like Creality, MakerBot, and Prusa.

Aside from that, it will allow you to use engineering-grade plastics (like carbon fiber for drone frames & PETG for high-strength prototyping) that you didn’t even realize you had the option of using.

Inaccurate Temperature Sensing

This is an issue most people don’t even think about. At a base level, hotends on 3D printers heat up by having a heater cartridge pump heat into the hot block.

The amount of heat that is pumped into the hot block is regulated by a temperature sensor on the hot block.

This closed-loop system is constantly monitored by the temperature sensor (just like the AC system in your house).

If the temperature sensor reads the hot block is at a higher temperature than its set temperature, it will turn off the heater cartridge.

If the temperature sensor reads the hot block is at a lower temperature than its set temperature, it will turn on the heater cartridge until the set temperature is reached.

Now, what if the temperature sensor is sensing the wrong temperature?

In this case, your hot block will never ACTUALLY be at the temperature that you set since it is basing its feedback system on an inaccurate measurement.

Being that filaments need a specific temperature to melt at, reading bad temperature measurements is a recipe for disaster. Luckily, there is a solution for this that doesn’t involve you finding a new temperature sensor.

This solution exists in an inexpensive chemical called Boron Nitride Paste.

By applying Boron Nitride Paste into your sensor/heater holes and onto these components themselves, you’ll be getting rid of air gaps, increasing the amount of surface area these components are touching, and improving the conduction of heat throughout your hot block.

Simply put, your temperature sensor will be reading the temperature the entire hot block is at since heat is being conducted through the hot block a lot more efficiently.

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Mosquito® Hotend

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Mosquito® Hotend
63 Reviews | 35 answered questions
Regular price
$149.99
Pay in 4 interest-free installments of $37.49 with Learn more

The Mosquito® is a high-performance 3D printer hotend with precise temperature control and exceptional thermal efficiency. The Mosquito’s patented design provides a compact, lightweight solution that prevents clogging and allows for effortless One-Handed Nozzle Changes™.
Type:

Kit
In Stock

1
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Frequently bought with:

Mosquito® Silicone Boot
Mosquito® Silicone Boot
Price$9.99

1 Pack

50W Heater Cartridge
50W Heater Cartridge
Price$18.99

24V

Thermistor
Thermistor
Price$24.99

300°C
Rigid “Roll Cage” Structure
Machined out of aircraft-grade aluminum, the Mosquito Hotend’s heat sink is built like no other on the market. Designed with our patented “roll cage” design, the heat sink connects to the hot block with a rigid tubular structure. This unique feature protects the delicate heat break from crashes and other abuse and allows one-handed nozzle changes.

Bimetallic Heat Break™
Mosquito’s Bimetallic Heat Break is designed to eliminate heat creep and jamming, improve print resolution and allow for shorter retractions. Crafted with a highly conductive copper alloy and strain-hardened, abrasion-resistant steel, this heat break conducts 85% less heat up the filament path when compared to standard threaded heat breaks.

Super-Conductive Hot Block
Mosquito’s hardened copper alloy hot block is nickel plated and rated to 500°C, enabling printing of every commercially available filament, from basic PLAs to custom, medical-grade PAEKs. The hot block design isolates the sensor from the heater with a physical air gap, improving the temperature feedback loop.

Equipped for Excellence
Every Mosquito Hotend comes with three essential accessories that elevate your 3D printing experience. The GammaMaster® Nozzle excels in even the most demanding applications with robust, abrasion-resistant performance and exceptional thermal capabilities. Safeguard your hot block with the Mosquito Silicone Boot, providing essential protection from cold air and filament for optimal performance. Additionally, Boron Nitride Paste, a thermal conduction enhancement, and potting agent, is included to simplify heater and sensor installation.

Additional Features and Benefits

Compatible with RepRap style nozzles (M6 x 1.0 threads with a 7 mm thread length)
Compatible with Mosquito Silicone Boots
Rigid “roll cage” structure for One-Handed Nozzle Change™
Rated to 500°C
100% Made in the USA
Hotend Kit Includes:

Mosquito Hotend*
GammaMaster® Nozzle - 0.4 mm*
Mosquito Silicone Boot
Boron Nitride Paste - 1 cc
Hotend Mounting Hardware
Hotend Wrench Set
Gourmet Lollipop (Made in the USA)
*Fan, Heater Cartridge, & Temperature Sensor sold separately

Technical Specifications
Dimensions
27 x 18 x 41 mm
Mass
37 g
Cooling
Air
Filament Diameter
1.75 mm or 2.85 mm
Temperature Rating
500°C
Maximum Flow Rate Capacity
25 mm3/s
Nozzle Compatibility
M6 x 1.0 (7 mm thread length)
Maximum Heating Power
50 W (12 or 24 V)
Temperature Sensor Compatibility
15 mm length, ø 3 mm
Number of Temperature Sensors
1
Manufacturing
Made in the USA
Hotend Comparisons
The Original Mosquito®
Mosquito® Magnum
Mosquito Magnum+®
Mosquito® Prime™
Max Flow Rate Capacity
25 mm3/s (112 g/hr)
30 mm3/s (134 g/hr)
90 mm3/s (402 g/hr)
116 mm3/s (516 g/hr)
Nozzle Orifice
0.2 – 0.8 mm
0.4 – 1.2 mm
0.4 – 1.8 mm
0.8 – 1.8 mm
Mass*
37 g
41 g
73 g
103 g
Overall Height*
41 mm
41 mm
60 mm
88 mm
Max Power
50 W
50 W
100 W
150 W
Filament Size
1.75 or 2.85 mm
1.75 mm
1.75 or 2.85 mm
1.75 or 2.85 mm
* Air-Cooled Version (1.75 mm); Mass/height includes the heat sink, heat break, & hot block

Downloads
Installation Instructions
Assembly/Disassembly Instructions
Printable Mosquito®
Mosquito® STEP File
Customer Reviews
4.9
Based on 63 reviews

(58)
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Reviews(63)
Questions (35)
Most Recent
Profile of A. ChrisA. Chris Verified Buyer
Jul 4, 2023
Seriously a great Hotend
This hotend is amazing. my printer has never put out such high quality parts and i dont get the normal heatcreep. You will have to make sure there is plenty of cooling available fo... view more

Slice EngineeringSlice Engineering
Hi, Chris. Thank you, we appreciate the positive feedback and the tip! It is also nice to hear you have gotten rid of that pesky heat creep.

RR. Manuel Verified Buyer
May 29, 2023
Satisfied
Product did what it is intended too.


Slice EngineeringSlice Engineering
Hi, Manuel. Thank you for the honest review. I am glad our product is doing what it intended! We would love to hear your thoughts on why it is only 4/5 stars. Please reach out to u... view more
GG. Richard Verified Buyer
Apr 5, 2023
Great Performance
Been using a Mosquito hotend with BridgeMaster 0.4mm nozzle for 100+ hours on my Voron Afterburner with not one clog or other problem. Extrusions are very clean and consistent. T... view more


Slice EngineeringSlice Engineering
No clogs with 100+ hours of print sure is a good feeling! We're glad that our hotend is working so well for you!

SS. Ian Verified Buyer
Mar 1, 2023
Really nice
Better for nozzle handling, hands down. Tired of leaky nozzles or have to switch them a lot? this is the solution.


Slice EngineeringSlice Engineering
Hi, Ian. Thank you for the review. I am happy to hear the Mosquito® is useful for leaky nozzles and for switching nozzles frequently.

TT. Soluciones Verified Buyer
Jan 12, 2023
awesome performance
As I started to work with technical materials clogging appeared even with HF hotends like Dragon HF. now I have two mosquitoes installed in my main printers: a voron 2.4 R2 350x350... view more


Slice EngineeringSlice Engineering
Welcome to the Slice side!! Thank you for sharing your review with us!

The Mosquito® 3D Printer Hotend | Slice Engineering

https://www.sliceengineering.com/products/the-mosquito-hotend

Eliminate heat creep, change nozzles with one hand, & print up to 500°C with the Mosquito® Hotend! This incredible hotend is a must for any 3D printer upgrade.
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37 Reviews | 5 answered questions
Regular price
$29.99
Pay in 4 interest-free installments for orders over $50.00 with Learn more

The Nozzle Torque Wrench simplifies nozzle changes, ensuring a perfect seal every time. Its 1.5 Nm torque provides the ideal force to prevent leaks and enable uninterrupted 3D printing. Compatible with Slice Engineering nozzles and other styles using adapters, it offers a precise fit and versatile nozzle selection options.
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A Perfect Seal, Every Time
The Nozzle Torque Wrench simplifies the nozzle-changing process. Its purpose-built design ensures smooth and hassle-free nozzle swaps, saving you valuable time and effort. With a torque of 1.5 Nm, it provides the ideal force to achieve a secure seal, preventing leaking plastic and ensuring uninterrupted 3D printing.

Easy One-Handed Nozzle Change™
Designed to complement Mosquito® Hotends, the Nozzle Torque Wrench allows for effortless one-handed nozzle changes. This convenient feature enhances your workflow and makes nozzle maintenance a breeze. Additionally, the Nozzle Torque Wrench prevents over-torquing of the nozzle, preventing harmful damage to the hot block.

Universal Compatibility
The Nozzle Torque Wrench fits Slice Engineering nozzles flawlessly. It offers a precise and snug fit, ensuring reliable performance and compatibility with our high-quality nozzles. Additionally, it can be used with other style nozzles using readily available off-the-shelf hex-to-square drive adapters with an appropriately sized socket or the included 7 mm adapter, providing versatility and flexibility in your nozzle selection.

Product Includes:

Nozzle Torque Wrench
Adapter
Technical Specifications
Torque
1.5 Nm
Nozzle Compatibility
6 mm (1/4") hex
Adapter Size
7 mm (9/32")
Manufacturing
Made in Taiwan, Packaged in the USA

Prevent leaking plastic by correctly tightening your nozzles with this torque wrench, famous for its one-handed nozzle change. Order this torque wrench now.

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Vial with suspended brush top
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Vial with open brush top
Applying plastic repellent paint to a nozzle
Vial with brush top
Plastic Repellent Paint - 45 mL
Vial with suspended brush top
Vial with sealed brush top
Vial with open brush top
Applying plastic repellent paint to a nozzle

Plastic Repellent Paint™

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Plastic Repellent Paint™
26 Reviews | 14 answered questions
Regular price
$14.99
Pay in 4 interest-free installments for orders over $50.00 with Learn more

Plastic Repellent Paint™ (PRP) revolutionizes 3D printing by repelling plastic and preventing buildup on the nozzle, resulting in enhanced print quality with cleaner and more precise prints. With reduced maintenance and increased productivity, PRP simplifies printing, instilling confidence and allowing users to focus on their projects.
Size:

3 mL

45 mL
In Stock, Limited Quantity Available

1
Buy now with ShopPay
Buy with
Delivery options available in checkout.
92126
Adding product to your cart
Maximize Productivity
Plastic Repellent Paint ensures enhanced print quality with cleaner and more precise prints by repelling plastic and preventing buildup. It saves valuable time by reducing maintenance and nozzle cleaning, leading to increased productivity. PRP simplifies maintenance, instills confidence, and lets users focus on their creative projects with peace of mind.

Hassle-Free Application
Our Plastic Repellent Paint is a water-based PTFE nanosuspension that prevents plastic from adhering to your nozzle and hot block. PRP is applied at room temperature with the included applicator; then, air dries in 60-90 seconds. Once heated, the solution cures to form a dry, transparent coating (rated to 290°C) that lowers the surface energy of the nozzle and prevents plastic buildup.

Technical Specifications
Temperature Rating
290°C
Solubility in Water
Dispersible
Form
Liquid
Color
Milky White (Dries Clear)
Drying Time
Air dries in 60-90 seconds
pH Level
9-10
Volume Options
3 mL or 45 mL
Included Applicator
Yes
Manufacturing
Made in the USA
Downloads
Usage Instructions
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Safety Data Sheet
Customer Reviews
4.7
Based on 26 reviews

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Most Recent
DD. Richard Verified Buyer
Jun 6, 2023
I just works
Not sure how it works but it does. I put it on my printers. It's like non-stick cooking spray for nozzles!


Slice EngineeringSlice Engineering
Hi Richard, Thank you for the review. I love your analogy. "Magic" non-stick cooking spray for nozzles!

HH. Gabariel Verified Buyer
May 2, 2023
Reasonable Price and It Works!
Good product. Does what it says and keeps the nozzle much cleaner


Slice EngineeringSlice Engineering
Thank you for your kind words, Gabariel!

JJ. Felix Verified Buyer
Feb 19, 2023
Amazing product, works wonders
I purchased this product after quite a bit of repetitive ads from Slice, thinking it was just $15 so I could give it a try in my next order. Turns out, this coating met or exceed a... view more


Slice EngineeringSlice Engineering
Hi, Felix. Thank you for your review! I am happy to hear you like the Plastic Repellent Paint. I appreciate your honest input on the brush bristles as well!

ZZ. Jamie Verified Buyer
Jan 21, 2023
Love this stuff
I have been using this product for about 4 years. Now I can leave a positive review. I am still using the original Heat Block set up that I assembled with my Prusa MK3S+ kit that I... view more


Slice EngineeringSlice Engineering
Hi, Jamie. Thank you for your review! I am glad to hear that you are happy with our plastic repellent paint and that it has keep your hot ends in great condition!

LL. Thomas Verified Buyer
Jan 10, 2023
Plastic Repellent Paint
This stuff is great! Keeps the plastics off my nozzle! Used to have to use a wire brush to clean off the nozzle periodically. Works as described. Will be buying again!


Slice EngineeringSlice Engineering
Thanks for the review Thomas! We recommend cleaning hot blocks and nozzles by heating them up, then wiping off the plastic residue with a cotton swab. As, metal bristle brushes ten... view more


Prevent that annoying sticky plastic buildup that causes print failures by using our Plastic Repellent Paint™. Start using this time-saving paint today.