We ran a 24 hour poll on social media and we asked What breaks, wears or needs replacement the most on a 3D Printer (besides the nozzle)? We thought it would be interesting to see what are the most common part failures and how they can be improved upon. We tabulated the results based off of 94 participants and here are the results…
1st place – Heat Breaks / PTFE Tubes
Out of the 94 participants the most common part to break on a 3D Printer is the Heat Break or the PTFE Lining within the throat.
So how can we prevent this?
PTFE lined heat breaks
The best choice is to switch to an all-metal heat break. Also buying quality here matters! It’s worth a couple more dollars to buy a quality made and coated heat break. The MicroSwiss coated heatbreaks are a great example of a quality part that is guaranteed to perform over time.
If you don’t want to switch to an all-metal heat break than be careful to read reviews on the part you and buy from a reputable company.
Also pay attention to your Z steps/mm and make sure the printers is moving up the correct amount. If the print head does not move up enough excessive drag can also cause the heat breaks to fail and break over time.
2nd place – Temper / Will / Sanity / Pride
Yep we can totally agree with this one. Owning a 3D Printer can be challenging at times especially when your new to the game. Sometimes the smallest detail can cause major issues. Troubleshooting is time consuming, research intensive and frustrating. Luckily there are plenty of blogs, enthusiasts, forums and YouTube videos to help you learn and fix the problems.
It’s amazing the support 3D Printer owners can get by using these resources. There is no better way to learn than fixing things on the fly. There will be times things seem hopeless but you’ll be amazed at what some patience, food and sleep will get you.
Hang in there 3D Printers, it only gets better!
3rd Place – Cooling fans
No surprise here. These cheap little axial fans are noisy, fragile and often fail.
There are a couple of things you can do to prevent fan damage and failure.
- Print a Fan Cover to protect the blades from damage
- Buy a 20mm thick fan. Thicker fans are quieter and push more air flow
- Use dampeners. Little rubber pads to cushion the fan and prevent vibration noise
- Buy quality and warranty backed fans
A great example of a fan that will stand the test of time is the Noctua A-Series Cooling Fan
Backed by a 6-year warranty these fans come with padded dampeners and are high quality. Well worth the little extra dollar amount.
4th place runner up – Thermistors
These lovely little sensors can be troublesome to install and are very fragile.
There are some expensive M3 Screw embedded thermistors that are very easy to install and they last longer.
But honestly depending on your printer it’s cheaper to just buy a pre-assembled kit with heater block, thermistor, cartridge, nozzle and all.
Overall we found the 24 hour poll very interesting. We took a step back and started to see a pattern. Aside from the odd Chinese defect part, it really comes down to the 3D Printer operator. Experience and attention to detail is what will keep your machine running without breaking. So many things can affect parts and how long they last. Firmware, Slicer Settings and even geological location can have an outcome on how your machine works. But on thing we can all agree on is when things break we learn how to fix them, which is good. Knowledge is power people…
If you think we missed something or want to comment on the article please leave a message below!