PLA and hotend clogging

Here are some tips on how to avoid it

The X1 series of Bambu Lab printers is defined by many as the “Prusa killer“, because it offers a valid alternative to Prusas in terms of high build quality and excellent print quality/speed.The X1-Carbon model stands out from the crowd because it is specially designed and calibrated for 3D printing of carbon-filled filaments (e.g. PLA-CA, PETG-CA, etc.) that are difficult to print with a common 3D printer.The introduction of the Automatic Material System, also known as AMS, gives an extra touch of professionalism both in storage and in line management of the reels, elevating this printer from a mere consumer product to a professional tool.How much does it cost? Just over € 1.700, affordable for those who want to take things seriously.

X1-Carbon and PLA

Like all technical products, weaknesses are necessarily created. We can say that the real “Achilles heel” of the Bambu Lab X1-Carbon is certainly the PLA print.

The heat resistance of PLA is the lowest among 3D printing materials. The glass transition temperature of PLA, the temperature beyond which the material passes from solid to a soft, normally fluctuates between 55 °C and 65 °C.

When you use a Bambu Lab X1-Carbon to print with PLA, you will have significant benefits in having a high airflow in the envelope, because you will have cooler temperatures (if the envelope remains closed it creates a small greenhouse) and, above all, you can avoid clogging (obstruction) of the hotend.

Hotend clogging

The hardened steel hotend produced by Bambu Lab is designed to print carbon loaded filaments: the temperatures involved for these prints are quite high and you want not to have sudden drops in temperature. This is why the printer is closed (the P1P version, on the other hand, is completely open).When you print PLA all these precautions can be lethal because if the cover is fully closed, failing to cool adequately, the hotend has a high thermal gradient and during the retraction phase of the filament this can get stuck in the upper part of the hotend, where is placed a radiator to minimize the problem.
Bambu Lab hotend

The solution

The solution to avoid clogging the hotend is very simple: print by removing the top cover. This will allow the hot air to escape from the printer easily.

thrutheframe spacer X1 Carbon

On Printables”>Printables the user thrutheframe has made available his project related to spacers for the Bambu Lab X1-Carbon that allow to have the upper glass cover open from the front, to allow excellent ventilation.

The cover will be raised frontally by 8mm and this “slide” could be annoying for those who prefer to place the AMS on top of the printer.

Krazyderek spacer X1 Carbon

Also on Printables, the user Krazyderek has created a mod intended for the most demanding users, which allows the upper cover to be raised completely, on all sides, while still allowing the use of the AMS resting on top of the machine.

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