How to Clean the Drive Gear

    After a few months of printing on your MakerBot Replicator, you may start having some extrusion trouble. That probably means it's time to clean the drive gear.

    The drive gear is the part of the MK8 Stepstruder that pushes filament through the extruder, and eventually it will be clogged by bits of hardened plastic. To clean it, you'll have to open up your extruder.

    First, unload the filament from the extruder that's giving you trouble and move it out of the way.

    Now take a look at the front of the extruder. Unscrew the two bolts at the lower corners of the fan. Remove the fan and set it aside, along with the heatsink and spacers.

    Now look at the top of the extruder. There are two bolts in front of the black extruder cable, one right up against the cable and one directly in front of it. Unscrew them both and disconnect the motor cable. You should now be able to pull the stepper motor out of the extruder.

    Take a look at the drive gear. You’ll probably see a lot of tiny bits of plastic clogging up the gear. You can clean them out with a brush or a toothpick. Then put your extruder together again and get back to printing.

    If you’re still having trouble, you may need to replace the plunger.

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